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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.
Herbs can be used topically to alleviate dog allergy symptoms such as itching.
Here are a few topical herbs that are effective:
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.
Here are some other natural remedies that can be used topically to soothe itchy skin in dogs with allergies:
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.
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:
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:
Depending on how a case of allergy flares up, specific herbs targeting the symptoms can be considered. For example:
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.
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.
There are also some Chinese herbs that are effective in soothing itchy and inflamed skin. Some common ones are:
This is a natural herbal product that contains a lot of the immune-boosting herbs mentioned above. The good thing about this product is, it is easy to administer and effective! Highly recommended.
This Chinese herbal formula 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.
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:
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:
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 remedy contains natural antihistamines (such as Bromelian, Quercetin, Stinging Nettle), as well as blood cleansing herbs (such as Cleavers, Burdock), and immune supporting and skin nourishing supplements (e.g. Omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics). 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.
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!