Dogs can suffer from a variety of allergies, whether they stem from food, contact with grass or pollen, and other environmental triggers. While allergy medicines are an option, they aren’t the best, long-term solution since they introduce synthetic chemicals that come with additional risks and potentially harmful side effects. We try to treat allergies as naturally and non-invasively as possible.
Acupuncture for dogs with allergies is one of the safest, and least toxic, methods for treating allergies and helping the immune system stay in balance and in sync. We recommend reading our page on Acupuncture to learn more about its efficacy and how acupuncture naturally supports your pet’s holistic health.
There are also additional steps you can take to minimize symptoms and side effects of your dog’s allergies.
What’s My Dog Allergic To?
One of the first steps is to identify what your dog is allergic to. For example:
Many of the commercial pet food products out there have filler ingredients or ingredients or additives our dogs’ canine ancestors wouldn’t have come across or eaten in the wild. These ingredients trigger a range of side effects. Tummy upset, vomiting, excessive gas, and runny stool (or constipation) are some of the first signs a dog’s food isn’t agreeing with its system.
Other symptoms of food allergies include:
- Swelling or rashes on the face, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, etc.
- Constant or recurring ear infections
- Dull coat
- All over skin itchiness
- Rubbing of the bum on the ground (response to overall skin itchiness)
- Hot spots or rashes that crop up on the belly, groin, hips, or knees
- Symptoms occur consistently, year-round, rather than seasonally
Sometimes, these symptoms indicate a food sensitivity, rather than a full-blown allergy, but they require immediate attention either way. They are signs that your dog is uncomfortable – both inside and out – and that his/her diet may require modification.
In addition to using acupuncture for dogs with allergies to calm the hyperactive immune system and relieve inflammation, your vet should work with you to create a nutritional treatment plan, choosing the right dog food for your pet’s system and sensitivities. Elimination diets are the way to go, using 8 to 12-week increments of single protein foods since most food-related dog allergies are the result of chicken, dairy, beef, eggs, corn, soy and wheat.
Environmental or seasonal allergies show up much the same way as food allergies, but you may notice some variations.
- Seasonal upset (your pet’s hives, hot spots, or itchiness seem to escalate during a certain season or times of year)
- Hair loss or thinning coat
- Paw irritation or itchiness (frequent or obsessive paw licking)
- Respiratory issues in a certain environment (escalated sneezing on green grass, for example)
- Itchy, runny eyes
Again, is a good, foundational step to reduce your pet’s irritation as we work together to find out what s/he’s allergic to, and the modifications to support future allergy relief.
Is your dog allergic to fleas?
Some dogs are particularly sensitive to flea bites, and the Bay Area has fleas year-round. Flea allergies show up largely on the hind-end of the dog and are apparent via:
- Loss of fur
- Continuous scratching
Purchase a flea comb and run it through your dog’s fur. Typically, you’ll see evidence of either fleas and/or “flea dirt,” which is flea waste product and looks like fine coffee grounds.
Your veterinarian can also check for you at your next visit, also potentially testing for mites or fungal infections, which cause similar symptoms. A holistic veterinarian will offer a range of options, ranging from natural home remedies to more conventional methods if needed.
Ask Your Holistic Veterinarian About Microbiome Testing for Allergies
Recently, Dr. Martin has become interested in microbiome testing to help get to the root of chronic skin and allergic issues. A healthy gut is often key to calming an overactive immune system and quelling allergies and skin issues in the long run. Ask us for more information!
Are you interested in learning more about natural ways to treat your dog’s allergies? Schedule an appointment here at Wise & Wonderful Integrative Veterinary Center. As holistic veterinarians, we use the best that Western and Eastern medicine has to offer for more sustainable, long-term solutions.