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How to Treat Your Pet's Allergies

Friday, May 11, 2012

When it's allergy season for you, it's also allergy season for your pets. Your pets can be allergic to pollen, dust, mold, certain foods -- even fleas or dander from other animals.

When your pets suffer from allergies, they can experience excessive itching or licking, particularly of the paws or the anus. They may even experience coughing, sneezing or runny eyes.

Your pets don't have to suffer through the season. There are many home remedies and medications that can help alleviate your pet's allergies and relieve symptoms. Here are a few you can try:

Soothing Baths

Many pet shampoos are formulated to soothe itchy skin and relieve allergy symptoms. Oatmeal shampoo is particularly helpful for relieving itch and reducing inflammation. If you don't want to buy the special blend, you can simply add a cup of oatmeal (uncooked) to your dog's bath water. Let the shampoo or the mix rest on your dog's skin for at least 10 minutes.

Simply washing your pet regularly can also help to relieve allergy symptoms by keeping the coat clear of allergens. Any pet shampoo can do the job!

Photo Credit: beckeranimalhospital.com

Hair Cuts

Long hair helps to trap dander, pollens, and other allergens close to the skin. It is also harder to keep clean. Trim hair regularly for easier maintenance and to keep skin clear of potential allergens.

Keeping hair trimmed also makes it easier to keep out fleas, which can cause an allergic reaction themselves or can break the skin with their bites, leaving it more vulnerable to other allergens.

Healthy Diet

Many commercially available pet foods are full of potential allergens, including wheat, corn, and additives. If you notice that your pet is experiencing allergies, determine if food is the culprit by trying an elimination diet. Choose a different brand of pet food that is free of known allergens and that is all natural and does not contain chemicals or additives. If your pet’s allergies clear up, diet was likely the cause.

Even if the food you buy is not the cause of the allergies, switching to a healthier brand of pet food may still help relieve the symptoms of other allergies. Foods that are rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin C, healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids, and bioflavanoids can all help to relieve allergy symptoms.

Topical Treatments

Many of the same over-the-counter treatments that can work for you can work for your pet (though you may have to purchase a salve that’s made especially for your pet). Anti-inflammatory creams, ointments, and witch hazel can all provide relief. Antihistamines like 
Benadryl can also combat an allergic reaction.

Talk to your vet to find out the proper dosage of these treatments for your pet, or to find out if you need to buy a similar product that is specially designed with your pet’s needs in mind.

Photo Credit: habitatboise.com

Holistic Treatment

Acupressure and Chinese herbs can offer your pet relief from allergies and a number of other illnesses. You can learn the acupressure points yourself to offer your pet some relief at home, or you can find a practitioner that specializes in providing care for pets. Chinese herbs can be ordered online, or you can find a practitioner with training in treating pets to create a special blend suited for your pet’s particular needs.

Of course, your vet can likely prescribe some medication to treat your pet’s allergies and to provide relief for symptoms like itchy, burning skin. If you can’t in to see your vet right away, or you’d like to offer your pet some non-medicated relief, these treatments may help. Try offering your pet soothing baths, experiment with diet, and offer holistic treatment. Soon your pet will stop itching and start loving the outdoors again!

Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves doctoral degree programs and sociology phd programs.

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