One of the main reasons why dogs end up at the vet’s office is because they suffer with persistent allergies. When pet parents and veterinarians are at a loss for what could be causing these allergies, they often resort to using medications like corticosteroids that reduce inflammation, discomfort, and itchiness. But this isn’t a long-term cure for the problem, especially since some medications can cause other, more serious, health conditions in the long run, so they definitely shouldn’t be used over long periods of time.
To get rid of canine allergies for good, you should take a more holistic approach to your pooch’s health. Once you know what could be the culprit behind your dog’s discomfort, you can then attack the problem at its source.
Potential Causes of Canine Allergies
First, check your dog’s fur and skin for any signs of parasites, such as mites or fleas, which could be causing discomfort, pain, hair loss, redness, inflammation, and itchiness. If you see evidence that these parasites have attacked your dog, there are many remedies available through your vet to combat the problem quickly and effectively.
If external parasites aren’t the problem, you have to dig deeper. Have your dog’s vet run a blood test to check for internal parasites or bacterial infections that can lead to symptoms that are similar to allergic reactions.
Next, check the dog’s environment. Are you using any new products around the home, such as chemical-based cleaning products that might contain harsh ingredients? Have you sprayed artificial fragrances into the environment? Have you changed the material in your dog’s bedding? Just like people, dogs can be allergic to just about anything in the environment, especially if it’s artificial.
And, finally, look at what you’re feeding your dog. Believe it or not, many of the commercial dog foods available are loaded with allergenic ingredients that can cause everything from ear infections to itchy skin that leads to hair loss and sores.
Avoiding Allergenic Ingredients in Dog Food
When all else fails and your vet can’t seem to find anything systemically wrong with your dog, it’s time to change his diet. Take a look at the ingredients list. If you see any dairy or grain-based ingredients, such as corn, wheat, and soy, it’s time to switch to a higher quality natural dog food that doesn’t contain any grains and has good sources of animal protein.
Keep in mind, too, that feeding your dog the same food every day can lead to allergies to specific protein sources. So if you’re feeding turkey every day, for example, your dog could eventually become allergic to turkey. There’s a reason they say “variety is the spice of life,” and it’s no different when it comes to your dog’s diet, so find a brand or two of high quality, grain-free, species-appropriate food and mix up the protein sources every day.
Once you’ve eliminated poor quality ingredients—particularly grains—and you’ve made sure to provide a good mix of animal proteins, from poultry to beef, you should notice that your dog’s allergies subside. However, you may need to go a step further and speak with a holistic vet or pet nutritionist to incorporate special supplements or even raw food to help heal your dog’s body and keep it on track if he continues to suffer even after the diet change.