Helping Your Dog Combat Allergies
Dogs with allergies don't usually sneeze or get runny noses like people do. (A few do, however.) Instead, they itch and scratch, chew, lick, and rub their feet, ears, belly, and any part of their body they can reach. Left untreated, the irritated skin becomes traumatized and damaged and subsequently infected.
- Topical remedies can provide short-term allergy relief, but don't address the problem. Shampoos and rinses and anti-itch sprays and soaks between baths can help make an itchy dog more comfortable.
- Cortisone and other steroids will make your dog feel better, but it's a quick fix that won't make allergies go away. They also have other potentially damaging side effects, so they should never be used long-term. In addition, they only treat the symptoms; the dog is still stuck with the allergy.
- Antihistamines can offer relief from certain inhalant allergies. And additives containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids often help because they block the inflammation that causes the itching.
- Desensitization by injection is a slow, expensive process, and although a large percentage of dogs improve, there's no guarantee it will work.
In addition to all of the preceding, a number of breeders and owners report success stories about using natural diets to conquer allergies. While such anecdotal evidence is not a substitute for long-term studies, it does provide one more recourse for the frustrated owner and his poor allergic dog.