Holistic Solutions to Constant Scratching!

Is your dog in constant itching agony — Scratching endlessly?

I thought my dog’s recent constant scratching and itching must have been fleas. But, I was confused because I routinely use preventative flea products and yet she kept scratching and itching.

 I decided it was time to do a little investigative work and find her some itch relief before she gnawed off all her fur and skin!

 I learned that while the constant itch could be fleas, mites, parasites or mange, in many of these cases it is actually allergies!

Just as many of us experience allergies and develop symptoms, usually respiratory related, our pets with allergies often develop skin issues.

Conventional veterinary treatment for allergies typically involves treatment with cortisone, antibiotics, allergy shots, antihistamines, shampoos and topical treatments. All of these can be very helpful and give them immediate relief. But many of our pets have much more chronic problems and the symptoms return as soon as the medicines wear off. This is where holistic options can be especially valuable. This primarily involves the use of a hypoallergenic diet and supplements to deal with the pet’s underlying condition.

Here’s some information I found very helpful – maybe you will as well…

1) Allergies are cumulative and can be both environmental and food related. In other words, a pet may have both food and environmental allergies but the symptoms only become noticeable during certain times of the year. This doesn’t mean your pet doesn’t have allergic reactions all the time. It just means that the situation builds up similar to a balloon that fills up with air until it pops. In your pet’s case, it may mean that all of a sudden your pet has hot spots or starts chewing on its paws or rear end during the hot summer months but most likely has underlying issues all year round.

2) Many of the time, pets have BOTH food and environmental allergies. There is no one medication or supplement that will cure your pet’s symptoms. Skin problems are tough and require a comprehensive effort. Using the following protocol for your pet can be helpful:

  •  Topical treatment in the form of therapeutic baths (available from your veterinarian) and natural sprays (If your pet is      allergic to grass, try washing paws after going outside)
  • Special hypoallergenic diet—Keep the following ingredients out of your pet’s diet. There is no “one” allergy diet that      works for everyone. Each pet is different. You will need to try a few diets and/or learn how to prepare a homemade diet.

 Common Allergens in Pet Food:
-Gluten (found in wheat, barley, spelt and other grains)
-Milk Products
-Casein (found in cheese)
-Beef (problem for some dogs)
-Chicken (problem for some cats and dogs)
-Peanut Butter (big allergen!)

  • Air purifier—an air purifier can greatly help with environmental allergies. Try to get one that either has a hepa filter or ozone purifier.

3) Use supplements to help your pet cope with allergy season. You could consider Omega 3s from fish and flax oil, bioflavanoids such as quercetin, digestive enzymes, effective probiotics and most definitely something to boost the immune system (specifically a product that contains Active Hexose Correlated compound [AHCC]).

4) There is usually no “quick fix”. While medications such as prednisone, antibiotics and antihistamines can provide short-term relief a comprehensive holistic protocol can help heal your pet for the long-term.

I do suggest before starting any holistic protocol, pay a visit to your veterinarian — the issues could be a sign of a different underlying problem.

Finally, for me and mine a combination of both conventional and holistic approaches worked best to relieve my dog’s allergy and skin problems.

Please feel free to comment and share your experiences and suggestions!

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