Allergies are one of the most common and least understood health problems with dogs and cats. Itching, scratching, foot biting, hot spots … allergies are stressful and frustrating for pets and pet parents! Sometimes, the symptoms are so debilitating that we even consider letting pets go to stop their suffering! We often jump to blaming food as the culprit and try to treat the affected skin area while quickly rushing out to switch the food we are feeding, starting a vicious cycle (believe me, you will be back in 6 months doing all over again) … The truth is only 10% of reactions we see are true food allergies. While food may be a factor, the underlying cause may be in your pet’s gut. Gut issues, left unchecked, can develop into symptoms that resemble allergies.
FUN FACT: Since we are talking about allergies, did you know that most people with pet allergies have less or no reactions to pets that are fed raw food!
Our mission is to help you stop this cycle - this means helping your pet with their current allergy symptoms and solving the underlying health issues to prevent future flare-ups. If your pet has sever allergies, we highly recommend that you work with a holistic veterinarian that can help you every step of the way and trouble-shoot in case you are stuck or something is not working the way you expected. If you don't have access to a holistic vet, then you can also try our Nutritional Consulting Services.
OK, let's get started!!!
STEP 1: Before you start, read our ALLERGY BLOG so you understand the difference between allergies and intolerances and can establish a baseline for what's going on with your pet.
STEP 2: If you are not already feeding your pet fresh food, START TODAY! Even if the allregy is not to food, a highly processed diet can contribute to the devleopment of allergies and will not support your pets immune system and body adequately to manage it. For many pet parents, just switching food does the trick NOT because their pet is allergic to food but because their immune system is not getting the right resources from the current food to cope! Let's use an analogy. Imagine you are at the office, you skipped lunch (or had a microwave dinner) and then a whole pile of work lands on your desk. Image this happens a few weeks in a row ... you are hangry, you are stressed, maybe you haven't slept well. Your co-worker asks to borrow a stapler and you snap at them and now every small thing sets you off into a rage! What's happening here is when our system is under stress and short on resources (food, sleep) - it tends to overreact to normal things. The immune system is the same - if it doesn't have the resrouces to do its job or is stressed, it will overreact to everything including normal foods. And the results show up in all kinds of ways - as digestive issues, as allergies, and much more.
STEP 3: Make sure you are supporting the gut army! Yes, I am talking about PROBIOTICS! That means giving your pet a VARIETY of probitoic supplements over a period of time. The bacteria in the gut are the first line of defence for the immune system and if they are not spread thin it's game over (insert favorite football or hockey analogy here)! The gut has hundreds of strains - most products on the market have up to 20 strains so give a variety of products to ensure that diverse microflora continues to flourish. Some of our favorites are ADORED BEAST Probiotics (Love Bugs, Gut Soothe, Healthy Gut, and Fido Flora) and Olie Naturals New Beginnings (unique live liquid probiotics, which are also great for Dental Health).
And don't forget PREBIOTICS such as veggies, berries, and other foods that have indigestible fiber! They may not have any nutritional value for your pet, but they are essential for keeping that gut bacteria well fed and healthy!
STEP 4: Research the best natural products available in your area to help soothe your pets skin and manage other symptoms. See below for some great articles and tips.
Unfortunately, with allergies and intolerances, there is no one-size fits all solution. So some trial and error may be required, but don't give up - the solution is out there for you and your furry baby!
Articles About Allergies in Pets
- Why Your Pet's Allergies Are Getting Worse by Dr. Karen Becker
- Histamine, Allergies, Hives: 2 Preventative Steps for Dogs, Cats, Horses & You! by Julie Ann Lee, DCH
Studies About Allergies in Pets
- Diet At Young Age and Canine Allergy Disease by Dr. Bjorkman, DVM (University of Helsinki) - this is an amazing study that shows a clear quantitive connection between feeding your dog raw food from a young age and reduction in development of allergies.
- Raw Meat Based Diet Produces a Healthy Canine Gut - this study shows clear findings that a raw meat based diet influences the canine gut to produce a healthy gut and bowel microbiome.
- Dogs with Allergies Have 5 Times Less Microbiome Diversity Than Healthy Dogs - the link between a healthy gut and healthy immune funtion is very real.
Other TIDBITS about Allergies in Pets
- What about hypo-allergenic diets (vet prescribed)? Aren't these suppose to help? Yes and no. Yes, they temporarily may relieve the sysmptoms because the diet contains novelty ingredients that your pet hasn't been exposed to yet. So you may see a temporary relief period. But I would be willing to bet money that that this is a bandaid solution and will not last. The root of the problem is that you are still feeding highly processed food that is damaging to the gut bacteria and does not provide the right nutritional resources to the immune system! Would you believe your doctor if he told you to address your own allergies this way? Of course not.
- Science tells us that fresh food and boosting antioxidants can significantly improve allergies.