A puffy, scratchy-looking pup. A cat with watery eyes. Their symptoms might seem like a crazy coincidence, but your pets are actually just as likely to suffer from allergies as you are.
Allergies affect our pets in much the same way as they affect us—just with different symptoms. We get itchy eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion. Pets get itchy, scabbed skin, runny eyes and diarrhea.
The cause of allergies in pets can be difficult to pin-point. Foods, household products and environmental factors can all cause allergy symptoms in pets.
When it comes to diagnosis, the best option is to take your pet to the veterinarian. They'll be able to help you determine what's causing your pet's symptoms—and how best to treat them!
Allergy medicine for dogs and cats
The root cause of allergies is an overactive immune system. Your pet’s body begins to attack a harmless substance such as grass or pollen, creating inflammation and allergy symptoms.
Many conventional treatments for allergies can be damaging to your pet. They don’t treat the root cause of allergies and can make symptoms worse in the long-run. Steroids and anti-allergy drugs work by suppressing immune function, leaving your pet vulnerable to disease. In addition, these medications often only treat symptoms for a short time. Allergy medications destroy good gut bacteria which help regulate immunity and prevent food allergies from developing.
Pet foods for allergies are low quality and contain allergens like MSG (monosodium glutamate) that make allergy symptoms worse by triggering inflammation and lowering nutrient levels in the body.
Common allergy symptoms
- Sneezing, coughing
- Itchy skin, eyes, ears
- Recurring ear infections
Home remedies for allergies
One of the first things to look at when you're trying to figure out if your pet has skin allergies is their food.
Common allergens include grains like corn, wheat, and rice.
Chicken, beef, eggs, and dairy are often the cause of skin allergies and irritation as well. In general, home-made or raw meals tend be the best options for pets with chronic allergies. To be 100% sure of what is causing your pet’s allergies your vet can perform allergy testing.
Healing the gut
In a healthy body, immune cells prevent allergens from entering the body. Irritation to the intestinal lining allow allergens to pass through and provoke an allergic response.
Supplementing with probiotics can help reduce irritation, thus preventing allergic reactions and healing the gut.
Regulating immune response
Some of the best herbs for supporting the immune system include astragalus and echinacea.
They work to reduce inflammation, which helps to calm the digestive system, and they also support the body in responding appropriately to allergens. This helps to reduce itching and other symptoms associated with allergies.
Managing allergy symptoms
Managing allergy symptoms in our pets can be a full-time job, but it doesn't have to be. There are a few things you can do to make your life easier, and your pet's life more comfortable.
The first thing you'll want to do is remove the allergens that are affecting your pet. A holistic or integrative vet will be able to pin point with an allergy test what foods or chemicals are irritating your pet, but that can be expensive. You can do this at home for less money by doing an elimination diet for your pet. Start with different protein sources and try to limit grains as they are harder to break down.
As an elimination diet will take longer than allergy testing you can use some of the home remedies listed above to reduce allergy symptoms and skin irritation during this process.
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