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Allergies / Skin

Allergies / Skin

Pet supplements to help reduce skin allergies and irritations and to soothe itchy skin by controlling histamine response in dogs and cats.

Pet supplements to help reduce skin allergies and irritations and to soothe itchy skin by controlling histamine response in dogs and cats.

The immune system is a complex array of cells that are found throughout the body, designed to function in conjunction with one another to provide a fortified defense against unwanted invaders. The immune system also supports nutritional factors directed at facilitating normal, balanced immune function and is not intended to be suppressed or stimulated. In cases of dysfunction, as when allergies present, the immune system requires whole body systemic support.

Dogs and cats develop allergies just as humans do, and for the same reasons, however, animals overwhelmingly experience skin allergies. An allergic reaction occurs when your pet develops a hypersensitive response to a foreign substance or irritant and creates a histamine attack to ward off the invaders.

Food is usually one of the dominant reasons an animal will experience allergies. Other foreign substances may include flea saliva (often causing allergic reaction such as flea bite dermatitis), pollen (causing allergies in spring) or other environmental allergens (dryer sheets, carpet freshener), vaccinations (which can cause vaccinosis), insect bites and stings.  

Skin allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. Your pet may lick, bite, chew or scratch excessively in one or more areas, even to the point of removing coat, skin and opening sores and causing wounds. Your animal may rub its face with its paws or rub against furniture and you may notice hair loss on the legs, around the ears, eyes and mouth.

Allergies can also aggravate other conditions for an animal such as sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections, seborrhea, eczema, other dermal rashes and asthma. The combination of symptoms makes it difficult to identify the allergen trigger. Additionally, allergy-related symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, loss of appetite, itching, scratching, biting and other forms of distress may cause your pet much discomfort.  

There are various types of skin allergies that include:

Parasite allergies are caused by fleas, heartworm, insect bites and bee stings. 

Common symptoms may include an allergic skin reaction to flea saliva that causes flea bite dermatitis, scratching, itching, licking, biting, wounds, redness, swelling, rashes, hair loss (alopecia) which may appear in single or multiple areas of the body.

Food allergies

Dogs and cats can develop skin allergies to food ingredients frequently found in commercial pet foods. Common allergen triggers include corn, wheat, soy, meat-by-products, preservatives, colorants and other additives. If your pet’s food includes any of these ingredients, stop feeding it and upgrade the food to holistic food. .

Also, if you feed your dog or cat the same food for months or years, especially the same protein repeatedly, they are at risk of developing an allergy to the protein source. Food is one of the dominant reasons an animal will experience skin allergies.

Common symptoms of a food allergy include vomiting, diarrhea, frequent bowel movements, mucous in the stools, ear infections, skin feels hot to the touch, inflammation and dehydration

Atopic allergies: Dogs and cats experience atopic allergies by inhaling particles from grass, weed, pollen, mold, mildew, smoke, dust, dander, flowers or trees. Animals can also commonly react to detergents, carpet and rug fresheners, and household chemical cleaners. Where possible, use unscented, all-natural, organic products.

Common symptoms of an atopic allergy include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny eyes and nose, lung inflammation and swelling.

Contact allergies

Dogs and cats develop contact allergies when in the presence of substances such as a flea collar, vaccines, fabric, plastic, insecticide, pesticide, rubber, household cleaners and more.

Common symptoms include biting, scratching, itching, licking, redness, swelling, rashes, hair loss (alopecia) which may appear in single or multiple areas of the body, pollen (causing allergies in spring), vaccinations (which can cause vaccinosis), or other environmental allergens (diffusers, dryer sheets, carpet freshener).

Herbal Remedies: (listed in order of relevance as recommended by holistic vets)

Herbal remedies can be used to address short term and long term allergies, are gentle but effective and typically can be used without side effects. Some herbs function as adaptogens or “body readers” that identify the cause of dysfunction and work to correct it. Herbs also function as anti-inflammatory, immune booster, blood cleanser and body purifier to identify and limit histamine triggers that are associated with all types of allergies.

Life’s An Itch - (learn more) is used to promote optimal immune response, reduces all types of allergic (acute and chronic) reactions by stopping histamine response, reduces respiratory disorders, relieves wheezing, chest discomfort and sinus inflammation, soothes smooth muscles and tissues and alleviates respiratory congestion, including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, laryngitis, esophaghitis (GERD, reflux), rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, COPD; relieves viral and bacterial infections, hot spots, remedies skin allergies and irritations, soothes itchy skin and coat in dogs and cats, and works to cut recovery time and prevent recurring infection. 

I Feel Good –  (learn more) promotes healthy immune response, reduces all types of inflammation, provides dermal support and growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism, reduces the histamine trigger for contact allergies, seasonal and chronic allergens, pathogens, skin rashes, infections, hot spots, inflammation, swelling, hair loss, itching and geriatria (dull coat, lethargy), for all types of arthritis, including Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and symptoms associated with rheumatism, including pain, strains, injuries, muscle pain, swelling and lack of mobility; plus contains prebiotics and probiotics useful in balancing digestive health and function plus much more. 

All Shins & Grins – (learn more) supports the skin’s ability to withstand environmental toxin, antigen and microorganism exposure due to its Vitamin C and antioxidant content, promotes optimal immune responsepromotes strong teeth, bone, skin and coat, reduces allergic (acute and chronic) skin reactions and irritations, hot spots and soothes itchy skin and coat in dogs and cats, works to cut recovery time and prevent recurring infections and provides general mood support.

I Want Liquid Immunity -  (learn more) contains water-soluble plant bioflavonoids that function as potent antioxidants which help to normalize the release of histamine from mast cells, reducing the adverse effects of allergies, used for growth abnormalities such as tumors, cysts (often related to poor diet and excessive medication), promotes cellular health and reduces catabolic waste, and maintains health in organs, connective tissue and cells.

Other helpful suggestions: 

You can help reduce your pet’s discomfort by bathing with an all-natural, oatmeal bath or Epsom salts. (Please buy your pet’s shampoos from an independent retailer that carries truly all-natural shampoos, conditioners and detanglers, etc.) Big box stores will identify their products as “all-natural” but overwhelmingly contain ingredients that are damaging to your pet’s skin.

A recommended alternative to flea, tick and mosquito medications is the Shoo! Tag, which is non-chemical, water resistant and most important, not toxic.

Whatever the allergen trigger, it is important to understand that your dog or cat will try to reduce the pain and distress by biting, licking, scratching and chewing the affected area. If left untreated, inflammation, sores, wounds (such as hot spot) and infection can follow. 

Since food (diet) continues to be the primary allergen trigger, you can do a lot as a pet owner to slowly introduce a premium, holistic limited ingredient diet, which typically includes 2 primary ingredients. Feeding your animal a limited ingredient diet can help you to isolate and eliminate potential allergen triggers.

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis of an allergy is based on the symptoms presented. A holistic veterinarian will perform a thorough, physical examination, review your animal’s medical history, may perform a skin reaction test, an intradermal allergy tests and/or a blood test. 

If fleas are eliminated as an allergen source, it will likely be recommended that your pet begin an elimination diet for 10 weeks which includes limited protein sources that your animal has probably not eaten before, such as duck, venison, boar and potatoes. Once you introduce a limited diet, do not feed treats, table scraps, rawhide or medications that may reduce your ability to gauge an allergic skin reaction In time, your pet’s old diet may be reintroduced slowly. 

Keep in mind that it is very difficult to isolate skin allergens. Diet and natural supplements are the most important places to start, because they can directly limit or control the histamine (allergen) attack. 

Avoiding the allergens, treating the symptoms or desensitizing your pet can control skin allergies. Drugs such as steroids and antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms of itchiness and inflammation in pets, however, like any synthetic drug, are usually accompanied with side effects, whose long-term effects are unknown.

The drugs that are usually prescribed for animals have been developed for human use. The problem is that animals metabolize medications at approximately a 50% faster rate than humans, and the drugs can be damaging to the liver, kidneys and gall bladder. Use caution when administering synthetic medications for your pet.

Long-term steroid use is discouraged because these drugs work by suppressing the immune system. This means that over time your pet may be left vulnerable to infection, diabetes, and other conditions.

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