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Honey, Herbs, and Other Natural Ways to Treat Skin Allergies in Your Dog

Updated on September 29, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr Mark is a small animal veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.

Lots of things cause itching, and lots of things help.
Lots of things cause itching, and lots of things help.

A lot of the dogs that come into our veterinary clinics each day are suffering from allergies, with itchy skin, swollen ears, puffy paws, missing hair, and sometimes even diarrhea. Traditional treatments with steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics are sometimes not enough. Steroids have side effects; antihistamines don’t work in a lot of dogs; and antibiotics are not always needed or effective.

In holistic veterinary medicine, allergies are considered only a symptom of a greater problem, not the actual disease. Symptoms like itchy skin and allergies to flea bites are caused by poor quality food, over vaccination, and continual exposure to toxins in the environment. There are various internal and external herbal therapies but they are not a cure; only improving the dog's overall condition will make her better.

Excessive itching can start at any age.
Excessive itching can start at any age. | Source

Alternative Treatments

  1. Get rid of any flea infestation without using chemicals.
  2. Rinse your dog in apple cider vinegar to provide some relief against itching. As explained in the other article, this needs to be an organic apple cider vinegar.
  3. Give a teaspoon of raw honey every day. (This is the approximate dose for a medium sized dog, so a large dog might need a little more.) This has to be local raw honey or it will not do any good so it is of no use just buying it from the supermarket. (Try a local health food store or a farmers market.) The honey has local pollens in it and may desensitize your dog to allergy season.
  4. Provide a herbal remedy. These are a few that might work but there are others.
  • Echinacea: this herb improves the function of the immune system.
  • Licorice root: according to some sources licorice root acts like a corticosteroid and will provide some relief without damaging the immune system like steroids.
  • Nettle: This herb may act as an antibiotic.

No good doses are available for dogs.

Allergic dogs sometimes need to wear collars so that their skin has some relief from chewing.
Allergic dogs sometimes need to wear collars so that their skin has some relief from chewing. | Source
Grizzly Salmon Oil All-Natural Dog Food Supplement in Pump-Bottle Dispenser, 32 Ounces
Grizzly Salmon Oil All-Natural Dog Food Supplement in Pump-Bottle Dispenser, 32 Ounces

This is a fish oil with good results for dogs with a fatty acid deficit. This may not be the solution to your dog's problems but it almost always improves the coat condition and may lead to less itching.

 

More Alternatives

  1. Improve the diet and add omega fatty acids. If you are not sure what is causing your dogs allergies you can try to eliminate allergens in her food that may be causing problems, products like wheat and corn. Try a natural diet and remove the grains and other carbohydrates the dog is probably allergic to. Leftovers and natural raw foods are healthier than the floor sweepings used to produce commercial dog foods and are less likely to cause allergies.
  2. If your dog is inside most of the time, do everything you can to eliminate the allergens in the environment by vacuuming every day (to reduce dust mites and dust mite dirt) and using an air filter. If your dog chews on her feet a lot you can try washing her pads after a walk and reducing the allergens she is bringing in to the home.
  3. You can also try bathing your dog in oatmeal shampoo. If your dog is allergic to anything in the environment bathing may help keep her skin clean of allergens. If her skin is inflamed some products will help relieve her discomfort. Buy a product or make your own by adding oat straw to water.

Dogs with allergies will lose hair.
Dogs with allergies will lose hair. | Source

Allergy treatment by holistic veterinarians focuses on improving the immune system. Most of the herbal treatments that improve the immune system are not dangerous but they are expensive. If you can find a veterinarian willing to work in alternative treatment for your dog it would be worth your while to do so. If none of these therapies provide your dog with relief, a holistic veterinarian may be able to make other suggestions.

Just remember how uncomfortable your dog is, and find some relief, fast!

Comments

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    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

      Dr.Mark,

      Ah. The vet told me this year the pollen is so bad that whenever Bella comes back in to use baby wipes or a damp washcloth and wipe her face and paws. Bella don't care for it, but kind of accepts it, like it helps. Weeds are horrible too. I will be out attacking them and I get eaten up, so it has to have the same effect on the dogs.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      No, she did say but if her vet is giving allergy injections then in is atopy, or inhalant allergies (like pollens, dust mites,etc).

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

      Dr. Mark,

      LOL. It would be dreadful not to be able to start the day with coffee!

      I may have missed something - did Glimmer ever say what the allergies were? I had to change Bella's diet. No soy, corn or wheat.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      That is how I am with my morning coffee!!!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

      Dr. Mark,

      Thanks for adding that avon link.

      I have been getting the Grizzly product on ebay. The dogs love it. Once I forgot when I was in a rush and especially Bella stopped me cold. She gave me the oddest look! So I knew I forgot something and it was the fish oil. LOL.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi wetnose, I put that link to your Avon skin so soft on one of my hubs since it probably helps, and, even if it does not, it helps moisturize the skin. Certainly could not say the same thing about the bleach!

      Im glad to hear the salmon oil is helping Bella. Are you buying the Grizzly product or something at your grocery store?

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

      Dr.Mark,

      I am following you and Glimmer Twin Fan. You are right. When Bella was on steroids, it was one for 3 or 4 days, then every other day. the Salmon Oil really helps. When her allergies act up now, it is not as bad since her diet change and the salmon oil. She heals faster.

      That is what I found to work. It is all trial and error. That bleach thing scares me though. Avon skin so soft diluted works. Spray it on after a bath. And I use baby shampoo now.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I would try the organic apple cider vinegar before bleach, but they probably both would tend to dry out the skin. Ingestion, too, like you point out.

      Have you put your dog on the salmon oil? Try it for about a month and then wean him off the steroids and see if he can do without. If this does not work you can start them again, but for his health this is a safer option.

      I am sorry to harp on the steroids but if you choose to continue that therapy you should also just give a tablet every other day, not every day.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Hi DrMark - Just checking in from your other hub. I have heard of the vinegar treatment and should give it a try. I have also recently heard that a very strong dilution of bleach in water helps, although I am quite hesitant to try that. I am wary that my dog will ingest some of the solution. Unfortunately my dogs' skin allergies are a constant problem.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the information. I have a dog with allergies right now.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I appreciate your comment, Billie. Finding a natural cure is not as easy as just getting a shot of steroids, but the result will be a lot better for Scooter in the long run. Leave me a message here if I can be of any help to you guys.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 3 years ago from Newport Beach

      Absolutely MARVELOUS hubs, Dr. Mark. THANK YOU! I love my little Scooter so much; he's the best dog I've ever had; he keeps me calm and heals my soul. Unfortunately, I can't afford expensive vet visits and your remedies seem even safer and more holistic. Can't express my appreciation because you're adding quality to the life of a little love of mine.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I am really sorry to hear that. I know it does not help to hear it but 14 is a great lifespan for a Rottie.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Dr Mark but he has already passed. I had his mother until she was 13 and he was 14. He even had surgeries for tumors but Hooch was one of the greatest dogs ever and always did stay a little heavy but he was my boy. I had to bring him home from the vets office early after surgery because he wouldn't eat or go out. I still use his pic though Thanks again

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks so much for the comment, and the link.

      Another suggestion, and please don't take it the wrong way, but from looking at that picture of your Rottie in the question I think you should read "Your fat dog will die sooner". Rottweilers are not prone to obesity (like Labradors) but sometimes it takes some work to keep them thin. Giant dogs tend to live shorter lives and it is important to keep them as healthy as possible in the time they have with us.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 4 years ago from Florida

      This hub is awesome and so useful for me in so many ways. I am so glad you answered a question I had and am going to post a link from another question of mine to this hub. My dogs have allergies big time and I buy raw honey from a local maker (live in the boonies) all the time. I have tried different foods etc etc etc Thank you so much

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Yep, I saw it and answered you there. Will keep you updated on the honey, kind regards!

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Great let me know if it works for you. Did you see my question about the "leave it" command on the second dog hub you published?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Thank you Dr Mark, another user kindly directed me to your hub. My vets have no clue how to stop hot spots in the summer and I refuse to give steroids for an itch and antibiotics for hot spots as I think it is not necessary and harmful. I will give the raw honey a try (and I may use it myself too as I have heard a lot of good things about it)! I am lucky to have some Amish people that sell it nearby. Voted up and useful!

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      There are a lot of the extracts for sale on the web but they are all pretty expensive so I think the homemade tea would be a better option.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      This is so interesting. I will have to try the honey. That is something I didn't know. I'm all for giving the licorice root a try, sure has to be better than the steroid shot. Echinacea also. Are these the actual plants you are talking about or the tea?

      Perhaps Bella's allergies won't be such a horrible challenge anymore to us.

      Enjoyed watching another dog bath video. I didn't know the medicated shampoo should be put on first. Interesting.

      Thanks for the great hub.

    • DoItForHer 4 years ago

      Waffy doesn't have allergies, but I use oatmeal shampoo to bathe her every two or three weeks and it works great. Does not seem harsh in the least bit.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      The only allergy I know of with my Min. Schnauzer if the flea allergy. Not inhaled allergens. Thanks for the explanation of the oat straw.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      One of those alternative therapies that almost all conventional vets use now is fatty acid supplements. I think pet owners being more aware of things is a good direction for vets to go.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 4 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hi DrMark,

      I found your hub useful and interesting. I never thought of suggesting local honey to help dogs with skin problems. I sold honey at my feed and grain store, produced by two hobbyist-apiarists. Both producers only filtered the honey once and didn't cut it with anything. It was as pure as it gets. My customers reported some relief when they put it in their tea or oatmeal.

      I also agree with your assertion that poor quality food exacerbates the problem. Even though my data are anecdotal, it's undeniable that dogs' skin improved significantly when I got the customer to switch from a grain-based to a meat-based food. They also had to stop treating with pizza crust, pasta bagels, toast, English muffins, breakfast cereals, etc. In my experience, grains and dogs often don't mix. I, too, will be hubbing on dry skin in the coming weeks, but from a more conventional perspective. When it publishes, I hope you'll have a chance to read it. I'll welcome your thoughts.

      More and more conventional veterinarians are incorporating alternative modalities into their practices and I find that interesting to observe. I can't prove it, but it seems that pet owners are actually pushing the vets in that direction. Interesting stuff!

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Mary. The oat straw is only for those persons who grow and have access to fresh oat. I think the oatmeal shampoo with aloe is even better.

      The raw honey option seems interesting. Does your dog have atopy (inhalant allergies) or just allergies to fleas? I used to see a lot of Min Schnauzers with inhalant allergies in the midwest.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Would you please explain what "oat straw" is? I've used oatmeal shampoo on my Schnauzer. She's an itchy dog! She is terribly allergic to flea bites, so I have to use Advantix II on her. I don't like chemicals, but it's all I have found that keeps the fleas off.

      You mentioned honey....I did a Hub on Hay Fever and allergies, and one thing I found in researching that was to take locally grown honey.

      Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.

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