Allergies in Dogs

When our dogs have allergies, we tend to go to our vets for the solution. But here are some of the problems with traditional ways to treat allergies. 

  • Drugs don’t work
  • Allergy Diets – What to be Careful of

Why Conventional Drugs work and why they Don’t Work

Allergy symptoms happen when your dog’s immune system misfires. This causes your dog to react to things in his food or environment that are normally safe.

The drugs vets give suppress important parts of your dog’s immune system. This might reduce your dog’s reaction to allergens, but it disables his immune system. This means cancer cells, viruses and bacteria can grow unchecked in your dog. There’s no functional immune system to find and destroy harmful invaders.

So, the benefit of your dog’s allergy drugs comes at a very high cost to your dog. It’s a price you don’t want to pay.

You also don’t take care of the allergy. You are just suppressing it and pushing it deeper into the body. So, you either need to keep increasing the drugs or if you take them off of the drug, the allergy is worse then when you started. 

What are the Problems with Allergy Diets?

If your dog needs relief from his allergies, your vet will probably recommend expensive prescription dog foods. But according to pet food formulator Meg Smart DVM PhD, these diets contain a lot of harmful ingredients that can make your dog’s allergies worse.

One of these harmful ingredients is hydrolyzed protein. The process needed to make these hydrolyzed proteins is the problem as it creates monosodium glutamate (MSG) and MSG can cause brain damage. According to Dr Smart, hydrolyzed proteins have not been effective in fighting allergies in clinical trials and have even caused more skin problems.

There is a hydrolyzed food by Square Pet, which we carry, and they informed me they do not process their food the same way and it does not have MSG. 

Most allergy or hypoallergenic dog foods are also full of starch or just dry foods in general. Starch aggravates allergy symptoms. Finally, most prescription dog foods your vet recommends contain low quality oils that become rancid. And they contain fillers like powdered cellulose which is basically sawdust.

This is why a good quality, raw balanced diet is the best. I like both Answers Pet food and Small Batch as they are humanely raised and grass fed. Answers I like just a little more as they ferment their food so you get prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes that aide in digestion and help build the immune system. 

So, if you want to actually fix your dog’s allergies long term without the harmful side effects, there are some natural options for allergy relief for dogs. You may need to provide a combination of supplements or change them up to find what works best for your dog. 

# 1 Colostrum

Colostrum is naturally found in mother’s first milk. It plays a vital role in developing the newborn’s immune system and digestive tract. But colostrum can help adult animals too (and for more than just allergies). Colostrum contains a component called proline-rich polypeptide (PRP).

Research shows PRP helps improve allergy symptoms. It does this by changing the way the immune system responds to allergens. PRP can inhibit immune cells that ramp up allergic reactions. It can also help create immune cells (helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells) that suppress and switch off the immune response. PRP is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce histamine that triggers allergic reactions.

Bovine colostrum also supplies your dog with antibodies to common allergens. That’s because cows develop antibodies to pollen, fleas and other allergens they’re exposed to. The cows then pass these antibodies to their calves. The calves won’t develop allergies to these substances. So, when you give your dog colostrum, those antibodies can tell his immune system that these common substances aren’t a threat. This can help provide the allergy relief that your dog needs.

Colostrum works especially well with environmental allergies and seasonal allergies.

How Much Colostrum Do Dogs Need?

Colostrum comes in either powdered or capsule form. It’s most effective when given on an empty stomach, but you can also put it in a little yogurt or broth.

Use it daily for a month to start, then give as needed if your dog’s allergy symptoms resolve, in these amounts 1/8 tsp powdered colostrum per 25 pounds of body weight, twice a day

# 2 Mushrooms

Not only are mushrooms good for dogs with cancer they also help dogs with all types of dog allergies. And researchers are investigating that link. Mushrooms contain a substance called beta-glucan.

Beta-glucan is a fiber that’s found in the cell walls of certain substances, especially mushrooms. Beta glucan is also found in many types of seaweed, algae, some cereals (grains) and yeast. However, only beta-glucans from certain mushrooms have immune-modulating properties.

Beta-glucans change the immune response in allergies by binding to specific immune cells. This modifies their response and prevents the inflammation, autoimmunity and allergic reactions they can cause. Beta-glucans can also activate immune cells called macrophages. Macrophages target, trap and remove foreign substances that don’t belong in the body—like viruses and cancer cells.

So, when you give your dog beta glucan, his immune cells will become more active and more powerful. This can help relieve your dog’s allergies without the harmful side effects of allergy medication.

How To Give Your Dog Mushrooms

The first thing you should know is that you shouldn’t give your dog raw mushrooms. Make sure that you cook them or you can dehydrate them.

You also want to remember not all mushrooms contain beta-glucans. The mushrooms with the highest content are:

  • Reishi (Ganaderma lucidum)
  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
  • Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
  • Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
  • Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Medium-sized dogs should get about 400 to 500 mg of mushrooms, once or twice a day.

If you’re buying medicinal mushrooms for dogs, be sure your mushroom has a certificate of analysis with a beta-glucan content of at least 30%. And make sure the mushroom product doesn’t have a high starch content so you know the beta-glucans are from mushrooms, not cheap cereals and grains. 

# 3 Quercetin

Quercetin is a phytonutrient found in fruits and vegetables. It’s an antioxidant and it also antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.

Quercetin is called Nature’s Benadryl because it can turn off histamine production. Histamines are chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Research has shown that quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines. Quercetin is in foods like broccoli and apples. But it’s best to give your dog quercetin in a supplement, so you get the concentrated benefits.

How Much Quercetin For Dogs With Allergies?

For a convenient way to give your dog some allergy relief, try a quercetin supplement. Quercetin supplements come in pill, powder or capsule form. They often contain bromelain, which is an enzyme that makes quercetin more effective.

Quercetin is best given on an empty stomach. The recommended dose is 8 mg for every pound of your dog’s weight.

  • For a 20 lb dog, give 160 mg
  • For a 50 lb dog, give 400 mg

# 4 Nettles

Nettles can help manage your dog’s allergies.

In their book, Herbs for Pets, Gregory Tilford and Mary Wulff explain that nettles contain histamines. The histamines work in a small dose. Think “like cures like” the plant stimulates the body to protect itself from allergens. Nettles also contain quercetin, which boosts nettles’ anti-allergy effects.

How Much Nettles Should Dogs Get?

If they’re growing nearby, you can pick nettles yourself but wear good gloves because they sting!

You can dry the herbs, or make nettle leaf tea. Or, as herbalist Rita Hogan recommends, sauté fresh nettles in a pan with MCT oil until tender, then add to your dog’s food. You can also use a pre-made nettle tincture. Give 2 drops per 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight per day.

Dr Jodie Gruenstern also likes to use cooled nettle leaf tea topically for itchy skin or even as a rinse for itchy eyes.

# 5 Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great allergy relief option for dogs. It’s cheap and can work wonders! It calms itchy, inflamed skin.

Here are 2 recipes you can make at home:

Baking Soda Paste

Mix 1 Tbsp of baking soda with a little water to make a paste. Place it on itchy, reddened areas and leave it on for a few hours before washing it off.

This is very useful if your dog has itchy feet: place it between the toes or on top of the feet. If it falls off onto your carpet, it won’t do any harm – just vacuum it up.

Baking Soda Spray

Mix 1 Tbsp baking soda with 8 oz water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray your dog’s skin as necessary. Shake the mixture each time before using.

# 6 Probiotics

Probiotics can be a way to help with your dog’s allergies. Probiotics are living bacteria that colonize in your dog’s gut. They’re little factories that can absorb nutrients like calcium, magnesium and iron. They protect your dog from viruses, bad bacteria and fungi. They enable better digestion and nutrient absorption and help produce B vitamins.

So how do probiotics help with your dog’s allergies? Nearly 90% of your dog’s immune system is in his gut. The good (probiotic) bacteria can help reduce bad bacteria in your dog’s gut. In turn, this can help reduce inflammation and autoimmune responses.

While research is still ongoing, there have been a number of studies done showing probiotics reduced allergy symptoms and, in some cases, removed them. 

When you choose a probiotic, you may want to look for soil-based probiotics. Soil based probiotics are more resilient than standard probiotics. This means they’re more likely to survive the trip through your dog’s gut so you only need 1 to 5 billion CFUs (colony forming units).

If using a Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium product, you want to make sure that the probiotics have More than one strain of bacteria and at least 30 billion CFUs.

I like the Answers fermented goat’s milk or Kiefer. They both offer different probiotics so it is great to rotate. The goa’s milk has a natural antihistamine and the Kiefer is great to use if your dog has yeast. This is also a food based probiotic with nutrition that has not been destroyed so the body does well with it.

Also, you’ll want to give prebiotics, which make probiotics more effective. Prebiotics are indigestible fiber that feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut including the probiotic bacteria.

#7 Omega-3s

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are good for you and your dog the “good fats.” In particular, there are some omega-3s that are great to help relieve your dog’s allergies.

Certain omega-3s can help calm your dog’s inflammatory reaction. This includes eicosatetraenoic Acid (ETA), eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), and stearidonic Acid (SDA). Their anti-inflammatory properties decrease allergy symptoms like itching and scratching.

How To Give Your Dog Omega-3s

You can find ETA, EPA and SDA omega-3s in:

  • Hempseed Oil (SDA)
  • Ahiflower Oil (SDA)
  • Green Lipped Mussel Oil (ETA and EPA)
  • Answers Fish Stock (ETA and EPA)
  • Adding the right omega-3s to your dog’s food may give your dog some relief from his allergies. You can find SDA, EPA, and ETA omega-3s in supplement form. Just make sure to use the right ones.
  • Keep in mind that most dog foods are high in Omega 6’s which cause inflammation in the body so it is good to offset with Omega 3’s.

#8 Vabactra+ Immune Support

A supplement that assists in immune support. Promotes the body’s innate resistance to pathogens. A healthy microbiome essential for balanced immunity. Fights fee radicals. Supports a healthy inflammatory response and healthy yeast balance. 

Allergies Are Treatable!

If your dog suffers from allergies, pick 2 or 3 remedies to start with. You might just find you can skip the elimination diets, blood tests and harmful side effects.

Natural solutions work without harming your dog’s immune system. Why not try them today and give your dog natural allergy relief!


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