What Can I Give My Dog for Allergies?

When your dog is constantly scratching and just cannot settle, it is upsetting for both you and them. But did you know that allergies are one of the most common reasons for dogs to find themselves needing a visit to the vet? One of the challenges of allergies is working out what is causing them and then finding an effective way of reducing the symptoms. Before you start asking yourself “what can I give my dog for allergies?” it is important to understand what they might be allergic to. Always consult your vet and ask questions so you understand what is going on with your pet.

Types of Allergies in Dogs

There are four different types of allergies which might be causing your dog to suffer:

Seasonal

Seasonal allergies occur when your dog is allergic to things like pollen, grasses, mold and insects. These are usually associated with skin allergies, but they might also affect the respiratory system.

Food Allergies

It’s thought that over 24 different ingredients are lurking in your dog’s food, which could be causing a reaction. Even if they have been on the same food for years, an allergy can develop, so do not exclude it from the list of possibilities just because it has not caused a problem in the past.

Respiratory Allergies

These are not as common in dogs as they are in people, but when they do happen, they cause itchy red eyes, a runny nose, and coughing or sneezing. Cleaning products, smoke and dust can be
key triggers.

Acute Allergies

Life-threatening allergies that cause your dog to go into shock need immediate veterinary treatment. Symptoms might include difficulty in breathing and losing control of their bladder and bowels. Common causes include insect bites and stings, medications and certain food.

Helping Your Dog Deal With Allergies

Seeking advice from your veterinarian should always be your first point of call, especially within an acute allergy. However, you might also be able to provide your dog with some comfort with the following suggestions for medications, supplements and itch relief products.

Medications

Benadryl and Zyrtec are all antihistamines that can help relieve allergy symptoms in dogs. These are both products that you can buy from your pharmacist without needing a prescription. They are usually considered to be a safe option, but they can make some dogs feel very drowsy, and on occasion, have the opposite effect of causing hyperactivity. If you go for another brand, make sure that it contains an antihistamine and no other ingredients as some, such as decongestants, cause problems for your dog.

Supplements

Although supplements may not stop the allergic reaction, many owners find that they make the symptoms more manageable:

  • Omega fatty acids. These are well known for their ability to decrease allergy-based inflammations. For some dogs the effect is so dramatic that they have been able to significantly reduce the number of steroids that they had to take previously. Excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids include fish oil and green-lipped mussel.
  • Probiotics. These are live bacteria that promote gastrointestinal health. While they will not directly stop your dog from itching, if your dog has a good population of healthy bacteria in their gut, it can help reduce the impact of allergies.
  • Quercetin. This is what is caused a bioflavonoid. These act as antioxidants, which then result in fewer allergic reactions. It’s also thought that they reduce inflammation, so it is no wonder that they are often known as “nature’s Benadryl”.

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Anti-Itch Solutions

There are many natural itch relief solutions made with products that you might already have around the home:

  • Oatmeal paste. Typically, this is made from ground oats and warm water can be spread onto the hot spots on your dog’s skin.
  • Coconut oil. This can be used in a cold or solid form and can be wiped onto the skin. Then, massage it in for a calming effect.
  • A chamomile and herbal tea soak. This can be made by letting the tea bags steep for three minutes in warm water. Then, pour the cooled solution onto your dog’s skin.

Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

There is not a strict definition of what hypoallergenic dog food is, nor is there a list of ingredients that are excluded or included. What they do provide, however, are restricted ingredients and avoidance of those which are well known to cause allergic reactions.

An elimination diet is often recommended for dogs with allergies. To do this, you only feed a restricted number of foods to your dog and then see if the symptoms reduce. Usually, these diets are made from ingredients that are not often included in dog foods, so this could mean duck, pork, bison, kangaroo, or turkey.

If your dog is then symptom-free, you can slowly add in another food type and see if your dog is still okay. Step by step, you will be able to work out which foods they can eat without problems, and which ones cause a reaction.

If you are looking for a recommendation for a hypoallergic dog food, these three are our favourites. However, be sure to always speak with your vet about any concerns you may have.

Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula

This range of foods has several varieties which include a single source of protein, including kangaroo, goat, venison and lamb. These limited ingredient foods have no corn, wheat, chicken, or gluten included. Both wet and dry foods are available and there are treats made with the same single protein to make sure that your dog doesn’t miss out on anything.

Jiminy’s

If you are looking for a brand-new source of protein that your dog has not had before, then this might be the answer. That’s because Jiminy’s contains cricket powder rather than one of the more conventional meats.

Did you know that crickets contain three times more protein than beef, twice as much iron as spinach, and all the essential amino acids? Plus, there is 10% more vitamin B12 than salmon, and they pack in the perfect omega 6:3 ratio. Both dry foods and treats are available.

PureVita

Purevita is another brand that offers both dry and wet food varieties, which could be good choices if your dog has allergies. This company split their foods into grain-inclusive and grain-free options, and with corn and wheat often being the allergy-causing ingredient, this provides some great options for your dog. Their range includes duck and green lentils, turkey and sweet potato, and pork and peas.

Final Notes

Allergies can be distressing for your dog and worrisome for you. Chat with your vet about medication, food and supplement options to quickly get symptoms under control, and ensure your dog is itch-free.