The most common complaint dog owners have when visiting their veterinarian are skin and ear issues. When exposed to an irritant, a dogs system reacts with skin and ear issues. As humans we typically react with nasal issues. Symptoms can include: itching, scratching, chewing, front paw licking, hot spots, shaking of the head, crusting, scaling, paw irritation, yeast growth in ears or pads, ear wax, ear rubbing, hair loss and scratching or rubbing the face.
If your dog has allergies there can be a few different sources.
Seasonal: mold, spores, dust mites, ragweed and pollen can all affect a dog and cause an allergic reaction. If this is the case with your dog, Benadryl can be a good way to keep the symptoms under control. Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect seasonal allergies and be sure to use the appropriate dosage for a dog.
Fleas: flea saliva can be very irritating to a dog that is allergic. Often you will see a dog go into a scratching and chewing frenzy when trying to deal with the reaction from a flea bite. Dogs will chew themselves raw trying to find comfort from flea saliva, its common to see dogs with bald spots on the tail and the general hind area as a result of flea allergies. There are many good products on the market today to help combat flea allergies from topical ointments, sprays, medicated shampoos, dips and even home defoggers.
Food: If your dog is experiencing year-round allergies it’s quite possible that it’s caused by an ingredient in his or her food. It is fairly common to see dogs with some degree of allergic sensitivity to commercial dog food. The brand or quality of a given dog food may have no bearing in the allergic reaction that your dog experiences. The cause would more likely be a specific ingredient or a combination of ingredients. Commercial dog food contains soy products, grains, gluten, corn, preservatives, colorings and either a meat or meat by-product. Most of these ingredients alone could cause an allergic reaction, but all together it is a lot for a canine’s system to handle. It becomes very difficult trying to pin point a specific ingredient that may be affecting your dog. There are too many substances and additives in commercial dog food that a dog was never meant to eat and are not appropriate for their physiology.
The best way to overcome food allergies is to put your dog on a diet that is more in line with the canine physiology. Homemade prepared meals ensure that you know exactly what is in your dog’s food. It’s the only way to be in total control and provide optimal nutrition and well-being. Dogs require diets that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It’s best to start them off slow, gradually weaning them off their current food by reducing the amount they eat while increasing the amount of prepared cooked food over about a period of 10 days. Once your dog is 100% on a homemade diet, keep the ingredients that you use to a low number, maybe only 3. If your dog has no issues with those ingredients you can start to add some more nutritious items, but do so one at a time and give your dog a few days to make sure that the newest ingredient is ok with their systems. You should start to use a good vitamin and mineral supplement. Do a little homework and be aware of the foods your dog cannot eat. Grapes, raisins, avocado, onions, garlic, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, macadamia nuts and mushrooms can all be toxic and poisonous. Find some homemade dog food recipes and dog food recipes for allergies and start out slowly.
A homemade diet provides the best nutrition available and can be easy and economical to prepare. Your dog will love the variety and be a much healthier and happier canine.