Natural Allergy Relief for Dogs

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Natural Allergy Relief for Dogs


Dog allergies such as atopic dermatitis and flea allergies are rather common.

Conventional dog allergy treatment is to use medications such as antihistamines to alleviate itching and skin irritations, and corticosteroids to suppress the immune system (allergic reactions are caused by an overly active immune system).

But it is a known fact that prolonged use of corticosteroids has harmful effects on dogs. Many holistic vets do not condone overuse of steroids, especially prolonged use for chronic allergy dog patients.

If your dog shows symptoms of allergy, it is important to get her tested to find out if she is in fact suffering from allergy, and if so, what the allergen is.

Then try to consult with your vet to see if milder and safer treatment options can be used. Or if conventional treatment can be used in conjunction with natural remedies.

This article looks at some natural allergy relief that can be used to help relieve allergy symptoms in dogs.

Topical Herbal Remedies for Dog Allergies

Herbs can be used topically to alleviate dog allergy symptoms such as itching.

Here are a few topical herbs that are effective:

  • Oat: Topically, oat can be used to ease itchy skin. Give your dog oat baths regularly.

    Boil about one pound of organic oat straw in 2 quarts of water and add this to your dog's bath water. Three to four drops of 100% pure Lavender essential oil can be added to the bath water as well.

    Alternatively, use a shampoo that contains colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera to wash your dog. Aloe contains acemannan (a glycoprotein), which can produce relief from itching and inflammation.

    Note, however, that if your dog's itchy skin is caused by yeast infections, DO NOT use oat! Oat is a grain which is a source of carbohydrates (sugars), and yeast thrives on sugar! That's why it is so important to find out the ROOT CAUSE of the itch before you give treatment to your dog.

    If your dog's itchy skin is caused by yeast, try using Zymox shampoo (and there is a rinse too). It is mild, safe, and effective.

  • Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera gel, which is both soothing and anti-inflammatory, can be applied on the dog's skin.
  • Calendula: Calendula has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, and can be used topically to soothe and heal itchy and inflamed skin. Make a calendula infusion and spray it on the affected areas.
  • Chickweed: Chickweed provides cooling and soothing relief to hot, itchy skin. Having a natural organic chickweed gel on hand is extremely useful if you have a dog who is prone to itchy skin rashes, hot spots, eczema, and the like.

  • Thyme: Thyme has powerful antiseptic and antifungal properties. You can make an infusion using the fresh or dried herb of thyme for mild skin infections or where yeast is commonly found (e.g. between nails).
  • Echinacea: Used topically, the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Echinacea can soothe the skin and heal wounds. Make an infusion of the herb and apply it to affected areas.

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Don't know how to make an infusion? See this page!

Other Topical Natural Allergy Relief for Dogs

Here are some other natural remedies that can be used topically to soothe itchy skin in dogs with allergies:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV can be used as a rinse for quick relief from itchiness caused by allergies.
  • Witch Hazel: Witch hazel is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory and mild pain-relieving effects. It is best for skin rashes that are moist and oozing. Get some organic witch hazel and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the affected areas 2-3 times daily.
  • Epsom Salt: If your dog has itchy feet, make a simple foot soak using epsom salt diluted in cool water.
  • Cucumber Slices: If your dog suddenly has an outbreak of hot spots and itchy skin due to allergic dermatitis and you don't have any herbs or remedies on hand, try using some cooled cucumber slices to soothe the affected areas.


This Herbal Product Works Well Too

This FidoDerm herbal spray is very effective in alleviating itchiness and redness in the skin. This is an all natural herbal spray that contains aloe and calendula - both herbs are highly soothing and calendula has excellent skin healing effects.

Herbal Remedies for Allergies in Dogs (Internal Use)

As mentioned in my article on Common Dog Allergies, many dogs develop allergy symptoms because they have weakened and imbalanced immune systems, or the proper functioning of their major organs are compromised.

So, what can I give my dog for allergies? You ask.

You can give herbal remedies that are effective in toning, balancing, and strengthening the immune system and other major "waste-disposal organs" (the liver, skin, kidneys).

Here are a few Western herbs that can be used as natural allergy relief for dogs:


Adaptogens are herbs that support the immune system - they "adapt" to the condition of the system to bring normalcy back.

For example, if a dog has an overly active immune system, adaptogens can "tame" the system so it is not over-reactive. If a dog has a weakened immune system, adaptogens can stimulate the system.

Common effective adaptogens include:

  • Astragalus: This herb increases energy and resistance to disease, strengthens the immune system, and can both prevent and treat infections so it is a good herb to use if a dog has skin or ear infections resulting from allergies.
  • Ashwaganda: This herb is immune-modulating and can restore the immune system back to its optimal functioning level. It is a great herb for older dogs who have more difficulties in mounting an immune response.

Blood Cleansers

These herbs help the body in assimilating nutrients and eliminating waste products, such as toxins. Since toxins are mostly cleared from the blood in the liver and kidneys, most of these herbs have liver or kidney effects.

Some good blood cleansing herbs include:

  • Burdock root: Burdock cleanses the blood and helps eliminate toxins in the urine and sweat. It is good for dry and scaly skin. Burdock root is very safe for our dogs and can be used as a daily dietary supplement.
  • Dandelion: Dandelion aids the liver which of course is a main toxin-removal organ. It cleanses and tones the liver and enhance its proper functioning. Another herb that also helps the liver to eliminate toxins is yellow dock.
  • Cleavers: Cleavers is a diuretic and lymphatic, so it helps to clear toxins out of the lymphatic system. Cleavers can be used as a fresh juice or even eaten as a green.
  • Nettle: Nettle is used in many herbal treatments for allergies. It stimulates blood circulation, has antibiotic properties and is effective in treating such skin problems as eczema.

Specific Skin-Supporting Herbs

Depending on how a case of allergy flares up, specific herbs targeting the symptoms can be considered. For example:

  • Echinacea: Echinacea is highly antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and a mild detoxifier. It can help relieve skin allergies and clear skin infections.

    Natural Allergy Relief for Dogs However, it is an herb that should not be used continuously as it tends to lose its efficacy over time. It's best to use the herb on a 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off basis.

  • Licorice root: Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is similar to corticosteroids.

    The compound glycyrrhizin helps stimulate the adrenal glands to produce its own natural corticosteroids which give anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, immune-supporting effects on the body.

    As a result, licorice root can give relief from the itching and inflammation without seriously compromising the autoimmune system.

    However, due to its adrenal effects, Licorice also cannot be used long-term.

  • Oregon grape: This herb is a safe herb and is effective against chronic skin conditions as well as ear infections.

There are also some Chinese herbs that are effective in soothing itchy and inflamed skin. Some common ones are:

  • Rehmannia Root: This herb supports the adrenal gland and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Bupleurum: This Chinese herb is immune boosting, anti-inflammatory and is commonly used to treat chronic skin disease.
  • Angelica (Dong Quai): This Chinese herb has blood-cleansing and immune-boosting properties.

Natural Herbal Allergy Products for Dogs

(Affiliate links)

Itch Support Gold for Dogs

This is a natural herbal formula that contains a lot of effective herbs for relieving itch and inflammation as mentioned above. The good thing about this product is, it is easy to administer and effective! Highly recommended.

This Chinese herbal formula also contains effective Chinese herbs (e.g. Angelica, Bupleurum, Rehmannia, Licorice, and more) that can bring relief to dogs with itchy skin caused by allergies.

If your dog has itchy watery eyes and nose and is sneezing a lot, this herbal formula can help. It uses nettle, eyebright, turmeric, lemon balm and more to alleviate the above symptoms and support the immune system.

Supplements for Allergies in Dogs

It is commonly said that a healthy immune system comes first and foremost from a "balanced gut". A healthy digestive system is essential as, after all, the majority of the immune system is in the GI tract.

To keep your dog's immune system in top form, feed the dog whole foods instead of processed kibbles.

You should also give supplements to your dog with allergies.

Supplements that support a healthy GI tract include:

  • Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics: Digestive enzymes improve your dog's digestion and absorption of nutrients from the diet. With better absorption, your dog will have a stronger immune system.

    Probiotics are the "friendly bacteria" in the dog's digestive system. Medications such as antibiotics tend to kill off these friendly bacteria and upset the microflora in the dog's system, resulting not only in digestive problems, but also yeast infections. Yeast infections very often manifest themselves as allergies.

Other supplements that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant should also be considered:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty acids (Fish oil, krill oil, etc.) are an important anti-inflammatory agent. Omega-3 FAs are beneficial for a variety of chronic health problems such as allergies.
  • Quercetin: If you are an allergy sufferer, you will most definitely have heard of this natural allergy relief. It is a bioflavonoid and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is a natural antihistamine because it suppresses the release of histamine from mast cells.
  • Bromelain: Bromelain is another commonly used supplement to relieve allergies. It is a mixture of enzymes that digest proteins (proteolytic enzymes) and is extracted from the stems of pineapples. Bromelain helps quercetin absorption and suppresses histamine release.
  • Kelp: Another good natural allergy relief is kelp. In a study, dogs who had been fed kelp daily for a period of six months had darker, thicker, and shinier coats. They also scratched less and their skin was not as dry.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, remove free radicals and other toxins from the body. As the skin the biggest toxin-removal organ, antioxidants are essential in keeping the dog's skin healthy.
  • Local Honey: If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, try giving him a tablespoon of local honey twice a day. The minute amount of local pollen in the honey desensitizes the dog's body so that the immune system will not over-react to the pollen when exposed to larger amounts in spring and summer.

Good Supplement Products

This soft chew contains MSM and skin nourishing herbs (e.g. cleavers, burdock, calendula, red clover). All ingredients are known for promoting skin health.

This natural herbal remedy contains natural herbal antihistamines (such as Eyebright, Mullein, Stinging Nettle), as well as blood cleansing and immune-supporting herbs (such as Licorice, Schizandra Berry). A synergistic combination to tackle allergy symptoms and strengthen the immune system.

This blend contains organic kelp and organic flaxseed, which is packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, both are essential for healthy skin and coat.

In Summary

As you can see, there are quite a few natural remedies for dog allergies.

By tackling dog allergies both topically from the outside and systemically from the inside, long-term use of selected herbs and other natural remedies can rid a dog of allergies without wreaking havoc to his body system functioning.

When using natural remedies, one thing to remember is that it takes longer to see results, so it is important to be patient!

Natural Remedies for Dog Allergies

C.J. Puotinen, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats (Keats Publishing, 1999).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).
M. Goldstein, The Nature of Animal Healing (Ballantine Books, 2000).
S. Messonnier, The Allergy Solution for Dogs (Three Rivers Press, 2000).
R.H. Pitcairn, The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (Rodale, 2005).

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