By Leslie Kessinger, Co-owner Three Dog Bakery

It is common these days to assume that the allergies you are seeing in your dog come from food, but we often forget that dogs experience environmental allergies as well. When people come to us with dogs presenting as allergic, we like to start by asking when they notice the symptoms. Does your dog chew his paws when he comes in from outside? Does your dog roll in the grass? Do the symptoms get worse in spring and summer? If the answer to questions like these is yes, we might be looking at environmental allergies.

Environmental allergies in dogs tend to present themselves in two ways: with skin inflammation or with watery eyes and sneezing. Less common, you could see upset stomach or breathing difficulty. Skin inflammation could look like red, irritated paws, rashes, hives, hair loss, inflamed ears, or itching. You could also see red eyes, watery, goopy eyes or nasal discharge and sneezing.

There are several simple adjustments that you can make to start the process of diagnosing your dog’s allergies and to manage them:

1)Try giving your dog a benadryl or zyrtec for 7 days and monitor his symptoms. These antihistamines are safe for dogs and your veterinarian can help you decide the proper dosage. Often, these antihistamines will help minimize allergy symptoms in dogs with environmental allergies, but don’t always benefit dogs experiencing food allergies. If the benadryl relieves some symptoms, it generally points to environmental allergies and continued use during more “allergic” months of the year may help manage symptoms.

2) Wipe your dog’s paws, belly, and face down with a hypoallergenic wipe (like our Earthbath Hypoallergenic Wipes for Dogs) when he comes in from the outdoors. This removes pollen and dander from the environment from your dog’s skin and can reduce his exposure to allergens. If your dog has runny eyes or nasal discharge, Earthbath also makes gentle wipes that you can use.

3) Don’t fully bathe your dog too often! While it is beneficial for dog’s skin and fur to be clear of allergens, bathing too often can dry out the skin and worsen the feeling of itchy skin.

4) Ears require their own special treatment. You may notice in allergy dogs that there is discharge, stinky smell, and redness. We recommend our Wondercide ear treatment that uses essential oils to clean the ear of discharge and wax, treat any possible bacterial or fungal infection, and soothe inflammation.

5) Itchy spots or rashes that develop slowly over time that the dog won’t leave alone can lead to open wounds and hair loss. We recommend using a natural, topical product that soothes the itch and hydrates the skin. Our Wondercide Skin Tonic spray and oil use all-natural essential oils and neem oil to soothe inflammation, reduce itching, and moisturize the skin to promote healing. Typically you will see significant improvement of skin inflammation within a week of using this product regularly. We also have a medicated shampoo and treatment with colloidal oatmeal called Tropiclean OxyMed that is a great product for all-over itching and discomfort.

6) For hives or welts that develop quickly as an instant reaction to an allergen, it is safe to use a topical hydrocortisone cream on the skin. Be mindful that the dog should not ingest this product, so you will need to monitor him and make sure he doesn’t lick the area. If the hives continue to worsen after using hydrocortisone, you should seek veterinarian assistance to prevent a larger systemic reaction.

7) Boost your dog’s immune system! A strong immune system can also be a great way to naturally stimulate your dog’s ability to heal himself. Like people, poor diet, age, lack of exercise, and increased exposure to environmental toxins take their toll on your dog’s immune system. The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against allergies – it attacks organisms and substances that the body identifies as toxins. When your dog’s immune system is healthy, it becomes better at dealing with the constant assault of toxins (allergens). Our Super Snouts Mushroom Complex used freeze-dried mushrooms high in antioxidants that fight free radicals (the main contributor to damage in the body). It’s a powder that can easily be added to food or mixed into peanut butter and used to fill a toy at play time. Raw goat’s milk from Primal contains a natural antihistamine, a vitamin that fights yeast build up in the ears and paws, probiotics that heal the gut and added turmeric and cinnamon that reduce inflammation in the body. Best of all – dogs love the taste so its an easy way to boost the health benefits of their diet! Herbsmith AllerQi is an herbal supplement that acts as an all-natural benadryl. It boosts the immune system, quiets systemic reactions, and stabilizes an allergic body. It comes in capsule and powder form, so you can choose the easiest method for giving it to your dog.

8) Every now and then, a dog will be so overloaded by allergens that these gentler methods may not work. If your dog is experiencing a massive systemic reaction, you should seek medical attention from your veterinarian. The medicine will give your dog’s immune system a break which allows natural methods to work better at preventing a massive reaction moving forward.

Three Dog Bakery in Franklin and Mt. Juliet is committed to making premium, natural treats with high-quality meats, fruits, and vegetables. They select only wholesome ingredients to ensure dogs have balanced diets and wagging tails.Three Dog Bakery has two locations in Middle Tennessee: 1556 W McEwen Dr #112, Franklin, TN 37067 & 1982 Providence Pkwy #102, Mt Juliet, TN 37122.

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