What’s causing your dog to do all that scratching, itching and excessive paw licking?
Chances are the cause is allergies, but exactly to what? Is it to food, to grass, house dust mites…there literally are hundreds of allergens.
Allergies show up in many ways, some pets can have runny eyes and sneezing, while others have serious recurring skin problems.
My one dog Jessie has some type of allergy which causes him to constantly lick at his groin, especially at night; this can be very frustrating to your dog and you as his owner.
I personally feel bad for my dog Jessie, but I’ll also get frustrated as I hear him non- stop licking.
The most common cause for allergies in dogs is environmental, otherwise known as atopy. Your dog can be allergic to house dust mites, grass pollens, trees, the carpet- the list in this case is large, but think of anything in the environment that can cause a reaction.
Food can be the source of the allergies, although happens in about 15% of allergic dogs. Food allergens are usually to the protein source, but can be to corn, wheat, soy, to artificial colors, flavors and even artificial preservatives.
Less commonly your dog can be allergic to fleas, and flea bites- in some pets, just one flea bite can cause them to react with serious skin redness and intense itching.
So what can you do?
First realize that if you have an allergic dog, your likely going to be dealing with some type of allergy symptoms your whole life, BUT you can make a big difference as to the frequency of signs, and how serious it is.
Here’s is what I suggest, and what has worked for my own dog.
1.Less Allergenic Food. Feed your dog a simple food that he is less likely to react to. I have found that a commercial diet of fish and sweet potato work very well, and with this there is less itching, and licking. Every dog is different, so you have to try different foods; there is not just ONE right food. But the principle is to think simple, minimal ingredients, avoid artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Try the new diet for 4 weeks.
2.Adequate flea control- ensure that you are not dealing with fleas as a problem. You can use a Natural flea spray that has cedarwood oil, and a safe holistic powder for putting in the cracks and crevices of your house called Borax.
3.Regular bathing- of your dog’s feet as he comes in from outside, and of your entire dog. I am giving my own allergic dog an oatmeal shampoo weekly. In the summer when his allergic signs are more common, I am bathing him twice a week. I have also found that by wiping his feet with a damp towel after he comes in from outside, there is far less itching and scratching.
4.Antihistamines- both natural and conventional. I have used Benadryl for big flare ups of his skin, dosing him at .5mg per lb ( I give 50lb Jessie 25mg of Benadryl at night), and I’ll do it twice a day if needed. Lately I have been trying Vitamin C which has some antihistamine qualities, and his itching is decreasing. The Vitamin C dose is 100mg per 10lbs twice daily.
5.Essential Fatty Acid supplements. IF your dog has allergies, he needs to be on these. I am using my supplement, Ultimate Canine Health Formula, which contains EFA’s in the form of flax oil. The omega 3 dose I suggest is 1000 mg per 10lbs daily- this works out to giving 1 tablespoon of flax per 50lbs daily to your dog.
6.Probiotics are increasingly being used for dogs with allergies. These beneficial bacteria play a role in normalizing the overactive immune system. You won’t see an instant response, but you may see some marked decrease in allergic signs after using probiotics for 4 weeks. I am using my supplements with lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, but you can dose lactobacillus at 1/4 capsule per 10 lbs of body weight twice daily.
7.The last increasingly used ingredient for allergies is colostrum. Research has found an ingredient known as praline-rich polypeptide (PRP) in bovine colostrum; it appears to be what is helping decrease the allergy symptoms. The colostrum dose for dogs with allergies varies based on the company; I advise giving ¼ of the human dose per 20lbs daily. My supplement, Ultimate Canine Health Formula contains bovine colostrum in adequate levels for your dog.
If you have an allergic dog, don’t despair, there are things that you can be doing to decreasing the itching, scratching, hair loss and constant licking. I encourage you to be systematic about this, going over my top 7 suggestions, and applying these to your dog. The allergies will not go away overnight, but you really will be able to dramatically improve the quality of your dog’s life.
Dr Andrew J
P.S. My super awesome once in a million dog supplement sale is happening NOW. You can get a trial jar sent to your door for $9.97 INCLUDING shipping, or for clients who are already on the supplement, you can now grab a bottle (bottles) for 25% OFF. This is making a BIG difference for many allergic dogs. IF your dog has an allergy, I suggest you give it a try.