Common Sense Dog Allergy Tips

Here are some suggestions and tips
that may improve your dog’s physical condition, lessen the effects of an allergy, and make your dog feel better.

Bathing & Shampoo Therapy
Give your dog a nice cool bath or shower and use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo or oatmeal dog shampoo. These are designed for dogs with sensitive skin. This is a cooling way to soothe your dog’s itchy skin and help control the allergy at the same time. Note: I advise that you not use a medicated dog shampoo unless specifically recommended by your vet. Also, do not use any human shampoo, especially a baby shampoo, as they are mostly detergent based and can irritate dog skin.

A bath or shower will wash away allergens in the fur and some antigens (a substance that can cause an immune response) on the skin. It is now known that antigens are absorbed through the skin and can trigger an allergenic reaction. There is no question that frequent bathing or showering will wash away allergens and will lower antigen exposure.

But how much bathing is too much? Well, there are differences of opinion. Some say you can bathe or shower a dog with allergies as often as twice a week, some bathe or shower once a week, and some will not bathe or shower their dog more than every other week. But whenever you bathe or shower your dog, make sure the temperature of the water is cool and not hot or warm. This is very important as the cool water will calm and soothe irritated skin. Warm and hot water will irritate his skin. You can read more about bathing and grooming your dog in How to Give a Dog a Bath (or Shower) which is located on my Dog Care site.

Holistic Dog Foods
I fully support the use of holistic natural dog food. The evidence is growing as we become more aware of the limitations and problems with regular commercial dog food. To put it in simply terms, many dogs have their allergy problems go away by simply taking them off regular brands of commercial dog food and switching to one of several holistic natural dog food brands that are on the market. Unfortunately, even the “Premium Brands” of commercial dog food contain corn, wheat, soy, various chemicals including preservatives, and very poor quality of meat. Some of them are not healthy to eat; and all of these items are very common allergens. It makes no sense to feed this stuff to your dog. Even many veterinarians now recommend using holistic dog foods, only (assuming you do not cook for your dog).

Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, EFA’s, that are a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acids that play a crucial role in brain function, encourage normal growth and development, and have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. The anti-inflammatory aspect of EFA’s is especially important to dogs with allergies. EFA’s are not made in the body and are not thought to be generally harmful. Omega-6 fatty acids should not be taken in excess. A balance between omega3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is important, so you should aim for a ratio of omega-6 to omega3 fatty acids of 10:1 to 5:1. As Omega-6 fatty acids are common in food, so a dog’s diet should be supplemented to insure omega3 fatty acids levels are sufficient.

Omega3 fatty acids are in fish oil capsule, especially in cod and in krill, which is a shrimp-like marine invertebrate animal. Omega-6 fatty acids are derived from certain plants such as the oil from the evening primrose. Research indicates that EFA’s supplements aid in reducing allergic reaction to allergens. They are very helpful to many allergic dogs, and are useful in the prevention of allergies especially in puppies. In fact, dogs with inhalant allergies (atrophy) can especially benefit from taking essential fatty acids supplements.

Unfortunately fatty acids in food have a short shelf life. Improper storage or preparation can cause rancidity in dry dog food fairly quickly. Also, overcooking destroys fatty acids. For this reason, it is not a bad idea to add a fish oil capsule, preferably one with vitamin E, to your dog’s diet. Organic flaxseed is another EFA that is an anti-inflammatory, so it is not a bad idea to also supplement with an organic flaxseed oil capsule to your dog’s diet. They should be given with food for best absorption into the body. A daily fish oil capsule will also benefit your dog’s coat and will help keep it in as good condition as possible. This may be more important if your dog is periodically taking steroids. If your dog is allergic to fish then you can supplement with the seeds of the Salvia Hispanica plant, which provides a rich source of omega3 fatty acids. This should be available in health food stores.

The Holistic Approach
Some dog owners use a natural approach in dealing with dog skin allergies. Holistic methods include massage, acupuncture, vitamin therapy, herbal baths, trigger-point therapy and the like. These are designed to develop a healthier dog that is better able to deal with allergens. This approach may lower medication requirements.

Having Trouble Getting Your Pooch to Swallow Canine Medications?
Getting a dog to swallow canine medications can sometimes be a chore. Some dogs are too darn smart and eagerly root out and push away their pills. Well, be aware that some pharmacies will alter the form or flavor of some medications so your dog will be more willing take it. You may need to ask. Also, you may want to try altering doggy canine medications yourself at home. Some quick methods are to crush the pill and then mix it into some ground meat or other food. You can hide liquids in fruit juice. Use your imagination and try to out smart your pooch.

Dogs with substantial allergies need some pampering. It is a good idea to give cool baths or showers to your dog using a hypoallergenic dog shampoo or oatmeal dog shampoo. The frequency of bathing is in question, but once a week should be safe. Ask your vet for his/her opinion. Most commercial dog food is not as good as you may think. Some of it is dangerous for dogs with allergies; it can even be unhealthy for dogs without allergies. Holistic natural dog food is far better in many ways. I recommend you use it. Omega3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids at a ratio of 1:10 to 1:5 should benefit your dog’s fight against allergies. Adding a fish oil capsule (cod) and an organic flaxseed oil capsule is a very good idea.

If your dog is allergic to fish, then instead of a fish oil capsule you can use the seeds of the Salvia Hispanica plant, which should be available in pill or capsule form. It is important to keep in mind that the suggestions and tips
mentioned in this article are meant to supplement and not replace normal veterinary care and canine medications as prescribed by your family veterinarian. In many cases these techniques may reduce the need for such medications but only in a few will eliminate their need.