Honey, Herbs, and Other Natural Ways to Treat Skin Allergies in Your Dog
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.
I have found this product to be effective for secondary yeast infections that cause itching.
- Get rid of any flea infestation without using chemicals.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Questions & Answers
My thirteen-year-old beagle won't stop licking his tummy. I've tried the cone, spray, and leave it command, but as soon as we're not looking, he licks the same spot. What should I do?
Lick granulomas are a psychological problem that occurs with allergies, but are much more common on the front legs and feet. I would take your Beagle to his regular vet to examine the spot since at his age it can be pre-cancerous. If it is not, he may need to be on long-term antibiotic therapy. You can also try rubbing the spot with coconut oil three or four times a day. (If he licks it off it is not going to hurt.) Vitamin E might also have positive effects; so you can rub a capsule on the spot once daily. (Again, licking it off is not a problem. A lot of the creams and other meds prescribed for a lick wound should not be licked off.)