You can clearly see that your dog is itchy and miserable. So you take her to the vet and he tells you she has allergies.
The first thing he suggests is switching her food. Okay, easy enough. So you switch, but it’s been months and she’s still having issues.
Now, hold off on the Benadryl and/or steroids. There ARE other solutions that are gentler on her, more natural AND actually work. We researched the BEST way to relieve your pup’s allergies because we know you just want her to feel better and get back to being her happy self.
1. Assess the overall lifestyle of your pooch.
Allergies in dogs are triggered by two things: food or something in the environment. Think about the cleaning products you use on the floor and furniture. Outside, think about pesticides, fertilizers and pollens. These may all play a role in upsetting your pet’s immune system and triggering an allergic response.
Now try to consider specific times they have had an allergic reaction or when it started and try to match those times with when you changed their diets or when something new was introduced to the environment.
2. Eliminate the suspects.
You don’t need to take your dog to an allergist for testing. We recommend looking closely at doggie’s diet first because sometimes it’s not as simple as switching brands. Dairy, wheat and protein (usually beef, chicken, wheat, soy, fish, lamb and/or pork) are the usual causes for food allergies. And dogs are often allergic to more than one ingredient.
Try feeding her a diet limited to one source of protein and one source of carbohydrate. It can take two or three months to determine what your dog can tolerate. After a dog improves from an elimination diet, she can begin to eat other items from her previous diet to learn what elicits a reaction, which is factored into what she needs to avoid.
3. Supplement with coconut oil.
If you haven’t heard, coconut oil is causing a revolution for us all. Fed regularly to pets, it can have some amazing benefits. It can clear up skin conditions like eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis and itchy skin. It aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis. It strengths the immune system, increases metabolic function and improves bone health.
Why not try introducing it to your dog’s diet?
Try starting by giving your dog 1 teaspoon/day of coconut oil in food and working your way up to 2 tablespoons/day. For any dry skin or skin issues, simply apply on the skin as needed.
4. Apply apple cider vinegar.
It’s been a trusted natural remedy for pets, animals and people alike for centuries. Apple cider vinegar’s mildly acidic character and the nutrients it contains are great for the skin, naturally antibacterial, mildly antibiotic and can improve a dog’s overall health when added to her food or water.
Just be careful when applying if your dog’s skin is extra raw and inflamed. Most of the time, you’ll want to be sure to dilute with equal amounts of water. You can apply by rubbing it into her fur or mixing in a sprayer and spraying affected patches of skin wherever necessary. You can also add up to a tablespoon to your dog’s water or food each day to treat skin allergies and ailments from the inside. Again, start with a lower dose and gradually increase to what is effective for your dog.
5. Switch to a natural shampoo.
There are many shampoos on the market with simple ingredients. We recommend making your own!
Homemade oatmeal shampoo:
1 cup – Oatmeal
1 cup – Baking Soda
20 drops – Essential Oils (optional – lavender and tea tree seem to be popular)
1 Tbs – Honey
1 1/2 cups – Water
- Grind up the oatmeal in food processor.
- Put the oatmeal, baking soda, and oils into a cup that can hold 3 cups water.
- Slowly begin adding in the water while stirring. It will start to thicken.
- Once you have added in all the water, add the honey and give it another good stir.
First test the shampoo on a small patch of affected skin. Bathe your dog as often as necessary to give her comfort from irritation. Use tepid bathwater and bathe her indoors. You can rinse with cool water that contains a small amount of calendula tea, apple cider vinegar or Epsom salts.
Alleviating allergies in dogs can be challenging and like for us humans, the type of allergy and severity of the symptoms are different for every dog. Paying very close attention to your dog’s habits and diet is key if you want to stop the irritation for good. Good luck!