Dogs display symptoms of allergies on their skin and in their eyes. The discomfort these allergies cause can alter a dog’s behavior, sometimes making her more aggressive than normal. If you notice your dog scratching herself a lot, rubbing her face or ears on furniture, biting her feet, or if her eyes look irritated, there is a good chance she has allergies. Drugs work on dogs much like they do on humans–temporarily–but natural treatments and diet changes keep them comfortable.
Triggers and Choices
Fleas, food, and seasonal triggers (similar to those that affect humans–pollen, ragweed, certain trees and grasses) are the most common causes for allergies in dogs. If your dog has always had some kind of problem, have her tested for allergies because many develop due to allergens present in a dog’s daily diet. Your dog might be allergic to something she is regularly consuming. In that case, her diet needs to change. If your dog’s symptoms are serious and he is in a great deal of pain, your doctor might prescribe an oral steroid while taking another, more natural, course of action, like a lifestyle modification. Antihistamines or steroids are not going to cure allergies, and your veterinarian is not going to recommend that you give something harsh to your dog on a regular basis. However, there are natural alternatives, even for very serious conditions.
A case study presented by the Cold River Veterinary Center in North Clarendon, Vermont, describes administering oral homeopathic antigen extracts to begin desensitizing a very strung-out dog to grasses, weeds and trees that were part of her allergic suffering. If you and your vet prefer this course of action, give 1/2 a dropper of one extract at bedtime, as recommended by Dr. William K. Kruesi, MS, DVM. Switch to another extract the next night and the last one on the third night, continuing this rotation for the duration of the treatment period recommended by your vet.
Mulnix Animal Clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado, advises its clients that dogs with food allergies are usually allergic to a major protein or carbohydrate ingredient in their diet. The natural treatment for these types of allergies is diet modification. Many of us would like to believe that the cheap, readily available, commercially processed dog food supplies all the nutrients our dogs require, but this is not true. Many are actually vitamin and nutrient deficient. These foods are full of wheat, soy, and corn, and also contain unnatural ingredients like color additives; none of these ingredients is vital to a dog’s health.
Severe allergies might require severe food changes. This means you will probably have to make your dog’s food. Make a weekly “stew” from human-grade ingredients–food you would feed yourself and your family. Work off a basic formula of 30 percent protein, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent fats. Cold River Veterinary Center recommends adding a tsp. of oil (olive, sunflower, fish) for every 20 lbs. your dog weighs. Oil provides essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are essential to getting your dog’s hyperactive immune system back on track. Don’t forget to add some bone meal for extra calcium.