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Natural Solutions for Dogs with Allergies

by Jeanie Marie Kraft, M.S., LicAc

Just like people, dogs suffer from allergies too. This article is for all dog owners in search of natural remedies for their sneezing, itching, snorting dogs.

Allergies may be triggered by envir-onmental factors such as pollen, dust, mold and pollutants in the air or home. Lawn and garden pesticides and chem-icals, and cedar wood chips are often forgotten culprits in causing an allergic reaction. Other allergies may be caused by food sensitivities. The most common foods that cause allergic reactions in dogs are wheat, corn, soy, dairy and eggs. Fleas and dust mites can also cause symptoms.

Tips for Dogs with Allergies:

*Feed him only foods that are free of wheat, corn or soy.

*Use glass or stainless steel water and food bowls to prevent mold growth.

*Use environmentally friendly cleaning products in your home.

*Use environmentally safe and natural pesticides in your yard.

*Try giving him the supplement Quercetin.

*Consider a round of acupuncture with Chinese herbal formulas

*Use an air filter in your home.

*Wash bedding on a regular basis with natural detergents.

Foods That Can Make Fido Itch!

You are what you eat applies to dogs as well as humans. Many dogs suf-fer from food allergies. The top five cul-prits are wheat, corn, soy, eggs and dairy. Some dogs may also be allergic to chicken. Symptoms can vary. Most dogs will show some sign of itching or skin irritation. Others may vomit or have dia-rrhea. Store bought foods may also con-tain MSG, animal by-products, dyes and other harmful ingredients.

When choosing a food for your dog read the ingredients. Make sure it is free from all wheat, corn, soy and animal by-products. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients, research it before making a purchase. Since the food recall scare high quality pet foods are easier to find. This article is not intended to promote or advertise any specific brands, however there are several natural and safe dog foods to choose from such as (but not limited to): Solid Gold, California Nat-urals, Halo, Wellness, Blue, Innova, Art-emis and Evo. If your dog is allergic to egg or chicken make sure the brand you pick does not contain it.

Wheat and wheat gluten cause many other problems in dogs besides allergies. It can exacerbate arthritic pain and cause intestinal disorders. It also adds unwanted weight gain. Flour is also a form of wheat, and whole wheat contains wheat gluten. I recommend to all my dog patients’ owners to keep their dogs off all wheat products. Unfortun-ately many dog treats contain wheat. The dog food brands mentioned above also make wheat free treats.


The Pawsitive Bioflavonoid

Quercetin is a wonderful supple-ment for dogs, cats or humans suffering from allergies or asthma. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid (or flavonoid), which is a type pigment found in almost all herbs, fruits, and vegetables. It is also an anti-oxidant. a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory supplement

Research has shown that Quercetin’s antihistamine action may help to relieve allergy symptoms and asthma symptoms. Quercetin helps treat allergies by blocking the secretion of histamine in the body. Histamine is what causes inflammation and swelling. The symptoms of a histamine reaction can be stuffy nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, itchy or red skin, runny eyes and more. The anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce pain from disorders such as arthritis.

Quercetin supplements are also available in concentrated powders and tablet or capsule form. It is often packaged with bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapple), another substance that has been found useful for treatment of allergies and inflammation, which is thought to increase the absorption of Quercetin.

Choose a brand that contains bromelain in capsules, which makes it easy to break one apart and sprinkle on your dog’s food.

Supplement Dosages: Do the Math

When you purchase nutritional supplements for your dog, you may only be able to find human versions of the products. That’s okay, but be careful about using recommended dosages. Dosage information for most supplements is based on the needs of an average person of about 125 pounds in weight. To calculate your dog’s needs, consult with your pet health practitioner, or do the math yourself:

Divide your dog’s weight by 125. For example: 40/125 = .32. Multiply the recommended dosage by this number: For example: 3 tablets, twice per day. 3 X .32 = .96.

Rounding the final number a bit, the dosage of this supplement for a 40 lb. dog would be 1 tablet, 2x per day.

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Allergies

Acupuncture is only one element of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Other TCM modalities incorporated into most treatments are laser acupuncture, infrared heat, moxabustion, and a form of Chinese massage known as Tui Na.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the immune system is regulated by Wei Qi (Pronounced "way chee"- defensive Chi). Qi is the life force in the body and Wei Qi is the first line of defense from an "attack" on our immune system. Acupuncture helps to boost Wei Qi, thus boosting the immune system. It helps relieve the symptoms of allergies and helps to calm the patient.

Acupuncture can help boost the immune system to fend off allergies. In my acupuncture practice, I have found that it takes a combination of herbs and/or supplements, a change in diet and a round of acupuncture sessions for best results. It also takes patience! Herbs and supplements may take two weeks to take full effect in the body. Since acupuncture treat-ments have a cumulative effect, 5-6 consecutive treatments are recommended.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a licensed acupuncturist or veterinarian if your dog suffers from chronic or acute health problems.

Jeanie Marie Kraft, M.S., L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in Salem, Massachusetts with a private practice treating dogs with Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a former faculty member of the Canadian College of Oriental Medicine, has published two books on Chinese herbal medicine, and several articles on Oriental Medicine. She has been treating dogs with acupuncture since 1995. Learn more at www.FourPawsAcupuncture.com  

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