Image of bulldog type breed with redness in its skin sitting on a beach

There are many causes of skin redness, irritation and itchiness but one thing they all have in common is an overreaction of the dog’s  immune system.  A large part of your dog’s immune system is based in the gut. In order to help heal your dog from allergic reactions it is vital to have a happy, healthy, functioning gut. 

Unfortunately, once symptoms such as itchiness and redness appear it is common practice for most vets to treat the symptom and not find the underlying cause. Often the solution is seen to be ‘prescription diet’ shampoos, antibiotics, steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs all of which have detrimental effects on the gut. Therefore all of these solutions, whilst a few may provide short term relief, will not help solve the problem long term.

For more longer term solutions it is worth considering the following: 

Environmen

We all live in a toxic environment and sometimes we fail to consider everyday actions that may well be harming our pets. Scented candles, plug-ins, laundry products and surface cleaners. Any spray cleaner you use in your dog’s environment will leave tiny particles of chemical dust on the surfaces that unfortunately end up on the floor at pet level for them to inhale. Steam cleaners are a brilliant way of reducing the need for chemical sprays and cleaners.

Chemical Treatments

Flea and worm treatments are not necessary on a routine basis and there is much evidence that they can cause neurological issues and even in some cases death.  

The effect of long term absorption in our dog’s and cats is not the only concern. Just google the effect of neonicotinoid insecticides on the environment. This type of drug is routinely used in chemical flea prevention. The EU has agreed a ban on its use for agriculture from 2019 but it is still widely used in most flea prevention chemicals for our pets.

We strongly advise using worm count test kits which are now widely available to determine if your dog has a problem rather than chemical dosing as a routine prevention.  Likewise, with chemical flea treatments, the routine placing of toxic pesticide onto your pet as a prevention is totally unnecessary. Just consider for a moment how long this chemical hangs around in your dog’s blood system if it manages to kill fleas on contact for up to 3 months. If fleas and ticks are a concern there are now plenty of herbal alternatives that are safe to use, highly effective and much better for our pet’s health.

Vaccinations

Animal medicine has made huge advances in the understanding and use of vaccines in our cats and dogs. Indeed, there are now guidelines on vaccination published by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)  for both cats and dogs. This is to ensure that vaccines are used in a way that is based on scientific medical advice not assumption or commercial interest.

Unfortunately, for the majority of owners, we have a situation where owners may receive conflicting advice from local vet practices as they struggle to adjust their habits and traditions built up over many years in line with new science. As a rule the WSAVA guidelines consider routine yearly vaccinations of core vaccines to be a thing of the past and that with optimal timing a dog can achieve potentially life long protection through one course of vaccinations as a puppy with titre testing being used to assess continued immunity.

Over vaccination has been linked to epilepsy, allergies, thyroid, kidney and autoimmune disease.  Titre testing is a small simple blood test that will establish the level of antibodies your pet has and give a clear answer as to whether your dog is protected or needs vaccinating.  Titre testing is becoming more widely available and it's always worth asking your local vet practice.  The more people that ask for this service the more likely the vet practice is to offer it.

‘Revaccinating an adult dog without first checking for antibodies, exposes the animal to unnecessary risk, and simply makes no sense’ Lise Hansen DVM MRCVS

Diet 

Sensitivities to food itself are relatively rare and when seen are often in either chicken or beef.  This can be for a number of reasons. Low quality chicken is often used in dried dog foods and if the dog is overexposed to this protein as a pup, they can begin to develop sensitivities toward the protein. Chicken and bovine serum are also used to grow viruses in the production of vaccines and therefore the body may regard chicken and beef protein as a threat that it needs to respond to.   If you feel you need to remove either chicken or beef from the diet our meals can be made without these proteins.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

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