Picture of dog with skin irritation around eye

Allergies are becoming  the number one health problem in dogs and cats today. There are many reasons why this may be the case such as:

Too frequent vaccinations leading to an overburdened immune system

The feeding of highly processed diets 

Inappropriate breeding

Neutering

Any or all of these may contribute to the epidemic of allergies our dogs and cats face today.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is where the immune system is out of balance and over reacts to substances that would otherwise cause no harm.

Types of allergy

  • Ear/nose/throat - redness and sneezing
  • Asthma
  • Skin - itchy skin, ear infections, hotspots, sore paws
  • Bowel - seen in  diarrhoea or IBS 

Tummy and skin allergies are the most common allergies found in dogs.

Are allergies inherited?

There is no concrete evidence that allergies are inherited however there seems to be a higher predisposition to a weakened immune system if both parents themselves suffer from allergies. This is why certain breeds of dog suffer more allergies than other breeds.

Treatments for allergy

Dogs and cats do not respond well to antihistamines like humans do.  Therefore allergies are often treated with stronger drugs that in themselves can cause serious health implications long term.  The medication is often purely symptomatic treatment by suppressing the immune system rather than providing an absolute cure.

Holistic treatments such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture or homoeopathy can often help to rebalance the immune system and are worth exploring.

How diet can help

Of course one major way you can help support the immune system is through diet. The connection between diet and good health is well established in humans and is becoming more established in pets. A natural raw diet supports optimum health.  Optimum health ensures the gut is functioning perfectly.  Skin and gut issues are worsened if the digestion is not performing as it should be. Leaky gut is a common cause of immune response.  A healthy gut can help reduce allergies and intolerances dramatically. 

A raw diet will help your dog (and cat) live a longer, healthier life.  Most health issues can be improved if not eliminated by switching to a raw diet. We make several starter boxes to lead you through the transition.  

Often dogs that have previously been allergic to chicken for example, switch to a raw diet and find that they are able to tolerate it, especially if the chicken is free-range or organic.

However, if a food allergy is suspected, an exclusion diet can help pinpoint the cause. In this instance a ‘novel’ protein is chosen and fed for up to 8 weeks exclusively.  A novel protein is a protein that the dog/cat has not been exposed to previously.   It is worth remembering that everything else should be removed from the diet (including treats) and that the diet should not be maintained permanently.

Environmental causes

All too often environmental causes can be overlooked.  Dog and cat owners spend many hours worrying over aspects of their pet's diet without first considering any environmental elements that may not help the situation.

Air fresheners, cleaners, detergents, fragrances, shampoos and lotions all need to be totally removed from the pet's environment. Even so called ‘natural’ ones. This in many cases can be enough to make a significant difference to the comfort of your pet.  

Update 2023:

We are now able to supply Organic Nettle leaves  (Urtica dioica).  Nettle has be proven as one of the best natural remedies for allergic and inflammatory responses.   (Rosechek at al 2009)  Definitely worth trying before resorting to chemical intervention.

These leaves can be sprinkled into your dog's dinner, or made into a tea and poured over food or biscuits.   Just pour boiling water over the leaves and allow to cool.  Strain or blitz. 

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