Five Major Signs Your Pet is Suffering from Allergies
It’s that time...
- Runny eyes
- Reverse sneezing
- Licking paws
- Scratching head and face
- Ear and skin infections
Remember that food allergies typically manifest year-round. A large percentage of dogs with food allergies also have environmental allergies. I don’t know about you but go outside right now and it looks like the scene for an allergy commercial. Pollen makes a thin film on our windshields, the aroma of flowering bushes and trees, and the wind stirring it all up for our delight!
Our pets suffer in the 5 following ways:
Runny eyes: pollen settles on the eyes and the body reacts by creating secretions to rid the eyes of them. As many pets (and people too) age the eyes become dry and this process makes for a very irritated eye.
Things you can do: rinse the eyes with a simple saline rinse and warm compress. Put an Elizabethan collar on pets that are rubbing the eyes vigorously to prevent trauma to the eye until you can get to the veterinarian.
Reverse sneezing: Repetitive sneezing activity
What you can do: calmly approach your pet during the fit and gently cover their nose to encourage them to swallow. Massage on the medial aspect of the front part of the shoulder to calm the fit. This is the area of an acupressure point called Lung 1. I’ll put up a video on Instagram of me using this technique with my dog.
Licking paws: The paws are reacting to pollen they encounter In the environment and also to breathing in allergens.
What you can do: Wipe paws when returning home with a moistened towel. Soak feet in dilute Epsom salts. Start with warm water to facilitate the dissolution of the Epsom salts and add the salts until a few granules remain undissolved or add 1-2 cups to a tepid bathtub and have them stand or sit in it for 5-10 minutes while making sure they don’t drink the water. It will cause diarrhea if they drink enough of it. Make water available for them if you are concerned they will drink the water when you soak. You can also saturate a towel and massage the towel on their feet and between their toes if you do not want the mess of a bath. Rinse and dry their feet afterwards.
Scratching head and face:
What you can do: Nettles and quercetin are a wonderful natural remedy for allergies. Also, the antihistamine Ceterizine (Zyrtec) can be used. There are other antihistamines but cetirizine has a longer durations and doesn’t seem to make dogs or cats drowsy. Check with your veterinarian that these are appropriate for your pet especially if they have a chronic condition (epilepsy for example). Dermatologists will dose these much higher. I would rather see these tried over corticosteroids as there is little downside. They will not completely stop the allergy but will dampen it. You can use with a Cytopoint inection that your veterinarian can administer.
There are few contraindications for antihistamines (seizures is the major one).
Cats: ½ of a 10 mg tablet per day*
Dogs <25 pounds: ½ to 1 per day*
Dogs 25-50 pounds: 1 per day*
Dogs 50-75 pounds: 1 to 2 per day*
Dogs 75-100 pounds: 2 per day*
Dogs > 100 pounds: ask your veterinarian
Cats: 1/8-1/4 capsule (open capsule and add to some tuna juice or food)
Dogs <25 pounds: ½ – 1 capsule/day*
Dogs 25-50 pounds: 1 capsule/day*
Dogs 50-75 pounds: 1-2 capsules/day*
Dogs 75-100 pounds: 2 capsules/day*
Dogs > 100 pounds: ask your veterinarian
*Can be given all at once or divided between meals. OK on an empty stomach.
- Ear and skin infections: Repeated digging, scratching, and rubbing ears on furniture causes inflammation. Inflammatory secretions build up and bacteria and/or yeast proliferate. Skin eruptions can occur over the entire body.
What can you do for all of these issues?
Feed a natural diet that is minimally processed and add a fresh, wild caught, Omega-3 source such as Holistic Vet Blend’s Icelandic Omega-3 fish oil. These interventions will help with all allergies. If you are suspicious of a food allergy this month’s recipe is a great start. Build your recipe with a protein your pet has not been eating. We call this a “novel protein” as they are not likely allergic to it. For this recipe, I chose turkey as it is not commonly added to most kibbles. You could choose venison or lamb for example, but the price point would be much higher. The other ingredients are quinoa, carrots, and kale. The premix I like for pets that need their allergies sorted out is the Holistic Vet Blend Limited Blend. It does not have grass-fed beef liver in it. Since it has beef protein, I rule that allergy out before feeding it. I must say that grass-fed meat is much less inflammatory invoking as corn-fed and finished cattle and pork.
Allergy testing is also available for environmental allergens. Serum testing or traditional skin prick testing can be done. I don’t typically run food allergy tests as they have not been validated as effective and it pains me to see a pet have a positive reaction to healthy food that they are denied from having for the rest of their life.
Try this recipe in the Instant Pot! It’s so easy and the dogs love it. Here’s a link to the video if you want to watch it on YouTube.
Please send pictures of your pets enjoying the recipes! We are so excited to announce that our Feline Senior Blend will be available in a few short months! Will give details soon.
My very best,
Dody Tyneway Robi DVM