Spring is upon us and flowers, trees, and grasses will be exploding into bloom over the coming weeks and with that glorious bursting of life comes…Allergy Season. Throwing open the windows and romping outside is the perfect way for our pets to easily pick up and inhale airborne substances whether in your home, backyard, or anywhere else your dog or cat hangs out. Stirring up all that airborne debris often leads to itchy, uncomfortable allergy symptoms.
As pet owners, it's hard to watch our pets suffer from allergies. Symptoms of environmental allergies may include:
- Hives or red inflamed skin
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
- Itchy ears or chronic ear infections
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Constant licking
- Paw biting
- Poor coat quality
- Obsessive licking
- Hot spots
Luckily there are holistic ways to give your cat or dog relief from these uncomfortable symptoms. There are a number options that can provide relief from allergy symptoms, so let's take a look...
Colostrum is the first milk produced by mammals after giving birth. It plays a vital role in developing the newborn’s immune system and digestive tract. It is rich in antibodies and growth factors, including a component called proline-rich polypeptide (PRP) that help boost the immune system. Research shows PRP helps improve allergy symptom relief by changing the way the immune system responds to allergens. PRP can inhibit immune cells that ramp up allergic reactions. It can also help create immune cells (helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells) that suppress and switch off the immune response. PRP is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce histamine that triggers allergic reactions.
Bovine colostrum also supplies your dog with antibodies to common allergens. That’s because cows develop antibodies to pollen, fleas and other allergens they’re exposed to. The cows then pass these antibodies to their calves helping them to not develop allergies to these substances. So when giving your pet colostrum, those antibodies can tell his immune system that these common substances aren’t a threat. This can help provide the allergy relief that your pet needs. Colostrum works especially well with environmental allergies and seasonal allergies.
Omega 3 & Whole Fish
Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient that can help reduce inflammation in the body. These healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and improve skin and coat health, which can help alleviate some of the symptoms of allergies. Omega 3s are found in fish and marine oils, so adding a high-quality fish oil supplement is an easy way to increase their intake of these beneficial fatty acids. If opting for a fish oil supplement be sure it also includes vitamin E to help offset free radicals. While adding a fish oil supplement to your pet’s diet can be beneficial, feeding them whole, fresh fish can provide even more benefits. Whole fish is a natural source of Omega 3s and other essential nutrients, in a synergy that nature has already perfected. The high levels of protein, nutrients, and essential fatty acids found in whole fish can also help to promote healthy skin and coat, which can reduce itching and irritation.
Quercetin is called Nature’s Benadryl because it can turn off histamine production. It is a powerful antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables like apples, grapes, and broccoli. Quercetin helps to reduce inflammation and has antihistamine properties, which helps to reduce allergy symptoms. Histamines are chemicals in your body that cause allergic reactions.
Research has shown that quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines. We love using Four Leaf Rover’s Red Rover for quercetin. This whole food powder is packed with freeze dried berries and quercetin rich apple skins. It is super easy to add to your pet’s meals and is packed with antioxidants.
Mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to support the immune system. For pets with allergies, certain mushrooms like Reishi and Cordyceps can help reduce inflammation, improve respiratory function, and support the liver and kidneys. Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, compounds that enhance the immune system's response to allergies.
Probiotics are live bacteria that help to support healthy gut function. The gut plays a significant role in the immune system, and it has been shown that a healthy gut can help reduce allergy symptoms in pets. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that can help promote healthy gut flora. We recommend probiotic supplements specially formulated with cats & dogs in mind.
Tinctures are liquid extracts made from herbs that can help to support the body’s natural functions. There are many different herbs that can be used to alleviate allergy symptoms in pets, including dandelion root, goldenrod, nettle and burdock. These herbal tinctures are powerful natural remedies that can help detox organs, soothe skin irritation, relieve itching, and reduce inflammation. Tinctures can be added to your pet's food or water, or you can give them directly in their mouth depending on product dosing instructions.
Feeding a Fresh Diet
Feeding your pet a fresh, whole food diet can have numerous benefits for their overall health, including reducing allergy symptoms. Fresh, unprocessed foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation. You can make your pet's meals at home or choose a high-quality pre-made raw or gently cooked food. The more processed a food - the higher the histamine level. Opt for fresh foods and serve them as soon as they are defrosted to ensure low histamine levels.
Make Changes at Home
If your pet suffers from allergies, consider making some changes at home to reduce allergen exposure. Some things you can try are:
- Remove Pollen/dust/mold: After spending time outside your pet picks up lots of tiny debris like pollen and spores and deposits them on bedding, floors, and furniture as well as inhaling and ingesting them by licking their coat and feet. Actively wiping your pet down with a damp cloth after they romp around outside and giving them a good brushing removes allergy triggering particles from your pet’s body.
- Vacuum & Dust Often: Regularly removing allergens through regular house cleaning promotes a healthier environment for everyone in the house.
- Remove/Reduce Chemicals: When the body is experiencing inflammation and histamine reactions household chemicals can exacerbate symptoms and, sometimes, they are also the cause of reactions! Your pet come into contact with so many surfaces. The products you use to clean your home and laundry can often contain chemicals and fragrances that irritate the skin and respiratory system. Switching to safer more natural products can greatly impact your pet’s overall health.
Pet allergies are a common problem that can cause discomfort and distress for both pets and their owners. Choosing to incorporate some of the supplements we mentioned can help to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms and improve their overall health and wellness.
If you would like more help in figuring out which options are best for your dog or cat the staff at Pet Grocer™ are happy to help.
**Always consult with your veterinarian before adding any new supplements or remedies to your pet's diet.**