The weather continues to get warmer, the flowers are in bloom and we all know what that means: Allergies. Allergies are the result of overexposure to something that is normally harmless (grass, grains, pollen, etc.). The immune system overreacts and will cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. More often than not, the symptoms will manifest on your dog’s skin or coat. There are 5 main types of allergies that dogs can suffer from:
- Food Allergies are caused by a gradually developed intolerance to certain substances. Many food allergies are the result of a poor diet fed over a long period of time. Common food allergies are to corn, soy, wheat, dairy, and some protein sources such as chicken or beef. Symptoms include digestive upset (vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation) and skin irritation (hot spots, hair loss, or constant itching).
- Bacterial Allergies are usually secondary to some other problem, such as a parasitic infection or hormonal imbalance. These types of problems are not very common in healthy dogs. As scavengers, dog are biologically designed to eat food with a high bacteria count and process it efficiently. Only immune compromised dogs are likely to suffer from a parasitic infection such as salmonella or e. coli. Symptoms can include red, blotchy, irritated skin, blisters or pus pockets, and hair loss.
- Contact Allergies occur when a dog comes into physical contact with an allergen, such as plants or chemicals. The symptoms are similar to that of bacterial allergies, as well as tick allergies, which is why it can be hard to figure out the source the reaction. When a dog’s skin gets irritated, it can be hard to tell if he ate something, touched something, or got bit by something. Luckily, contact allergies tend to be an easy fix. There are special shampoos available that can help out here. Also, some natural Omega-3 oils, like the ones found in BARF World’s E-Omega Coat oil can help too.
- Flea Allergies are the fourth type of allergy, and they operate in a similar fashion to the schoolyard bully. You know the one I mean…the one who pulled your hair and shoved you in the mud in 4th grade. Bullies only target people who will not stand up for themselves. Likewise, fleas only target dogs with weakened immune systems.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes suck blood from your dog, and their saliva is what causes the allergic reaction. Symptoms include skin redness and irritation, which may lead your pet to start chewing. While antibiotics are effective at treating the symptoms, a raw diet and probiotics are going to be the most effective treatment for the root problem. Therefore, the best combination for flea and tick prevention is the BARF Diet patties and E-BARF Plus powder supplement with added probiotics.
- Atopic allergies are typically caused by fleas, but chemical and airborne pathogens can cause this type of allergy as well. From the Greek word for “out of place” atopy refers to a predisposition to a developed hypersensitivity to a specific stimulus. While this can be hereditary, a reaction cannot occur without exposure to the specific agent. Itching, face rubbing, hair loss, biting, pustules (pimple-like lesions), and papules (small red bumps) can occur as a result of an atopic allergy.
So now that we understand what the various allergies are and what can trigger them, I want to leave you with some ways to help reduce the impact of this year’s allergy season in your pets:
- Keep household cleaning products and other toxic chemicals out of the reach of your pets.
- If you are in an area with poison oak, poison ivy, or any other toxic plants, please keep your dog on a leash.
- If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, see a vet immediately.
- Make sure your dog’s immune system is running at full speed by feeding your pet a healthy and balanced raw diet, like BARF World’s complete and balanced BARF Diet patties and nuggets.
Until next time, happy BARFing.
Evan Price is a Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc. He is a true dog lover at heart with a particular interest in Daschunds. Evan is also an avid sports enthusiast and bridge player. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet weekly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.