It's springtime again! If you are an allergy sufferer, you will probably have already started feeling the symptoms - itchy eyes, runny nose...
Some dogs also can fall victim to seasonal allergies, and while they may also have itchy eyes and runny nose, the most common symptom for dogs is skin irritation and/or inflammation (atopic dermatitis).
The skin irritations can manifest themselves as hives, hot spots, rashes..., and can be red and extremely itchy.
Your dog will likely to be scratching, licking, and chewing his skin incessantly. If left untreated, over time the skin will become inflamed, infected, and may result in open sores and hair loss.
If your dog has allergies, your vet may suggest giving antihistamines such as Benadryl to your dog to lessen the symptoms.
Antihistamines work by physically preventing histamine from locking onto its receptor. By doing so, they prevent the production of allergy symptoms, such as (in the case of dogs) skin irritation.
If dosed correctly, Benadryl is usually safe for dogs. One side effect may be that the dog will become drowsy after taking the drug. Some other side effects may include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and appetite loss.
But since Benadryl is metabolized by the liver, if your dog has some form of liver disease, you should talk to the vet first before using the drug.
If you prefer to go natural, there are some natural antihistamines for dogs that may help a dog with allergies. Let's take a look.
Here are some safe natural antihistamines that can be used to help dogs with allergies:
Quercetin is a flavonoid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It works by reducing the release of histamines, thereby helping to reduce allergy symptoms.
However, according to studies, it may take quite a while (several months) for quercetin to take effect in the body, so it should be used as a long-term remedy, rather than just a one-time fix. For example, if you know your dog has seasonal allergies, give quercetin to your dog a month or two before springtime to "prep" the dog's body for the upcoming seasonal assault.
You can also feed your dog quercetin-rich foods throughout the year. Foods are that rich in this flavonoid include broccoli, yellow bell peppers, berries (e.g. strawberries), and apples. The apple skin is rich in quercetin, but it may be hard for dogs to digest the skin, so the best way is to puree an unpeeled apple (with core and seeds removed of course) and feed it to your dog.
This is an enzyme for protein digestion, and can help increase the absorption of Quercetin, so getting a supplement with Quercetin and Bromelain can have synergistic effect.
Bromelain by itself also has anti-inflammatory properties, and can reduce allergic symptoms. In addition, it can "tame" an overactive and oversensitive immune system.
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine for dogs and people as well. It works by reducing the amount of histamines in the blood circulation. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant. (See this page for dosage).
Quite a few herbs are also natural antihistamines for dogs and people! Here are some safe ones for dogs:
If your dog has seasonal allergies, you may consider giving him freeze-dried nettle leaf extract before the allergy season begins.
Use an extract from the butterbur roots and make sure that it is PA (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) free, since PA is toxic to the liver.
To use this herb therapeutically for dog allergies, get a glycerin tincture of this herb.
Other natural antihistamines that you can try to use to help a dog with allergies include:
Since most dogs love the sweet taste of honey, it doesn't hurt to add this remedy to your arsenal of dog allergy remedies.
As you can see, there are quite a few natural antihistamines for dogs to choose from!
Like all natural remedies, the natural antihistamines mentioned in this article do not work overnight. It takes longer and persistent use before you can see results.
I suggest that you select one or two of the above antihistamines and try them out for a few months to see if they make a difference in your dog. If one doesn't work for your dog, don't give up, try another.
All dogs are different and they react differently to even the same remedy, so it is a matter of trial and error before you can find something that works for YOUR dog.
Besides natural antihistamines, there are other treatment options for dogs with allergies. Visit this page for information on some other natural remedies that can relieve allergy itch.