Allergies are an uprising problem in the present pet due to the toxic modern world. It is becoming the new “norm” for pets to suffer from allergies year-round. Thankfully with the help of a holistic approach, allergies can be subsided!
Allergies can occur for many reasons, such as
Food: Diet has a significant influence on allergies and health overall. The quality of food directly affects how the body can handle imbalances. A fresh food diet is always optimal as it will allow animals to have the strongest possible immune system and diverse gut flora to help fight against allergy symptoms.
Genetics: With the uprising of irresponsible breeding, there is an increase in genetic health issues. Even though someone gave an animal was the best of everything, genetics always have the upper hand.
- Toxic Load: The toxic load that pets are expected to carry leads to numerous health problems. From household cleaners to vaccines, daily exposure to these things weakens the immune system and overall vitality.
Allergies can appear at any life stage as there are so many factors that drive the body to show symptoms, such as food, environment, chemicals, genetics, and more. The first step of healing allergies is finding the source. Is it food-based? Is it environmental? Finding the cause of the allergy symptoms can help eliminate them in the future.
Food Allergies vs. Environmental Allergies
Food intolerances often cause itching, vomiting, gas, red/hot gums, goopy eyes, and diarrhea. If it is food allergies, it can be easy or challenging to find the source depending on the diet. For example, if the dog was on a DIY raw diet, one could easily do an elimination diet and find the protein/ingredient the dog was sensitive to. But if a dog was on kibble, it creates many more barriers as there are many different ingredients that go into the bag. If you are a kibble feeder, it may be a smart idea to do an allergy test with your vet. Be aware that many “allergy test kits” online are not accurate and create false positives. Common food allergens are corn, wheat, soy, and chicken.
Itchy/dry skin, red/itchy paws, licking, red eyes, loss of fur, yeast, and ear infections are all common symptoms of environmental allergies. The type and severity of these symptoms may depend on what allergy your dog has. Pinpointing the source of an environmental allergy can be tricky as they are so many factors to consider. But eliminating as many toxins in the household as possible, paw soaks, and a fresh food diet can help tremendously. Common environmental allergens are cleaning products, fragrances, dust mites, and insect bites.
Getting Ahold of Symptoms
There is, unfortunately, no magical cure for allergies. Thankfully, there are plenty of steps you can take to be proactive in the fight against allergies.
Feeding a fresh food diet is the best defense against allergies. Providing a fresh food diet supplies the body with quality nutrients. This will make sure the body is thriving! Feeding carbs, sugar, and synthetic loaded food is no way for these systems to flourish. To support these critical parts, they require real nutrients. An animal cannot thrive off of refined and processed foods. If feeding 100% raw is not an option, try adding in kibble boosters. Any amount of fresh food is better than none!
Did you know more than 80% of the immune system lies in the gut? This means the primary focus should be healing and strengthening the gut biome. Inflammation is the #1 cause of all metabolic diseases. Inflammation in the gut causes cells to separate, allowing food antigens to fall into the bloodstream, known as leaky gut syndrome. An antigen can look like a structure of the body’s tissue protein and cause autoantibodies (cause of autoimmune diseases). When the gut is compromised, chronic illness sets in. This is why pets who have skin issues, allergies, diabetes, bloat, arthritis, hypothyroidism, gingivitis, and cancer usually lead a life with a poor diet, directly correlating with the microbiome. There are many options to diversifying and population the microflora with commensal (beneficial) bacteria such as
- Raw goat milk
- Pre/Probiotic Supplements
- Fermented Vegetables
- Soil-Based Probiotics
A wise vaxer is a happy vaxer! There is much controversy surrounding vaccines in the pet and human world. The most important thing is to do what makes you most comfortable. There are a plethora of resources to research this topic further, such as Dr. Karen Becker, who strongly emphasizes titter testing and minimally vaccinating to avoid a heavy toxic load.
 Cleaning Products
Since animals do not wear protective clothing like humans, they are like a giant magnet for all the particles in their environment. This includes everything put on them or around them, including household cleaning products, shampoo, and more. If possible, try using non-toxic cleaners to benefit you and your pets. Common cleaners may seem harmless, but more and more literature shows the harmful effects on humans and animals. A study published in Science Direct showed that 21 different phthalates (common chemicals in cleaners) were measured for the first time in dog and cat urine. This is a problem as phthalates are chemicals that disrupt your pet's endocrine system, immediately impacting the thyroid gland, reproductive system and even causing certain cancers. As you can see, this one chemical has a very high level of toxicity that negatively affects all aspects of your animal's health!
 Water & Bowls
It may not seem obvious, but water and bowls have a big impact on health. Nitrates, fluoride & arsenic, pesticides, and more are all common things to be lurking in the water. These are things that no one would purposely give to their animals but can be unintentionally given. If possible, offering water from a trusted filtered source can help rid of these contaminants. Along with water, use glass, porcelain, or metal bowls. Plastic bowls allow for bacteria to build up and may have BPA and phthalates in the material.
Holistic Home Treatments
Here are some easy home treatments to help calm allergy symptoms.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) helps balance the pH of the skin. Washing the dog with a mild, toxic-free, unscented shampoo and then dilute .5 cups ACV to 1 cup water and coat on the dog. You can rinse it off or let it dry on the coat.
- Quercetin: This is a plant flavonoid that works as nature’s Benadryl. It holds anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the itchiness that comes with allergies. This is found naturally in many fruits and veggies, or you can buy a supplement that tends to be stronger as it is enhanced with bromelain. It is easiest to purchase a human supplement and do some math to determine how much to give. The recommended dose can be found by taking the weight of your pet in pounds, multiply by 1000mg, then divide by 150 to get the needed mg for your animal. This supplement is generally safe but has been reported to give headaches and diarrhea, which are milder side effects than conventional treatments. This is not meant to be offered long-term. Use only as needed..
- Calendula: Calendula is a wonderful calming and sealing herb that can aid with hotspots as well as 100 % aloe vera. Ensure that the sore is not infected as calendula is a sealing herb.
- Plantain: Plantain and parsley help draw out infection, reduce inflammation and itchiness. Mix fresh plantain leaves with fresh parsley and hot water into a paste and make a poultice (30 mins 3-4X a day)
- Baking Soda: Baking soda can aid in reducing itching and redness—Mix 1TBSP of baking soda with filtered water and pour into a spray bottle. Shake before applying to the area.
Allergies can seem like a never-ending battle, but it is possible to overcome! But hopefully, with some of these tips, you can get a better hold of allergy symptoms. There are so many factors to consider when dealing with any imbalance, so do the best you can!
Disclaimer: Any information shared is to be used at your discretion. I am sharing what I have learned through independent research as well as formal education. I am not a licensed veterinarian, and any information shared is not intended to replace a holistic or integrative veterinarian's advice.