Pet Allergies. Yesterday we discussed causes of pet allergies and signs that you pet may be having an allergic reaction. Today, let’s look at what you can do to make your pet more comfortable if you believe your dog or cat has allergies. When a food allergy is suspected, an elimination diet is most effective to detect the offensive food. Hypoallergenic diets are indicated once the diagnosis is confirmed and are easily made at home; they are also available commercially.
- Hyposensitization is one of the best treatment options for allergies like pollen and mold that cannot be avoided. Hyposensitization involves giving injections of small amounts of the actual allergen. These allergy shots are dosed and given in increasing increments weekly or biweekly. The goal is to stimulate the body to become immune or less sensitive to the allergen.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- High doses of Vitamin C can help reduce itching and antibiotics may be indicated to treat secondary bacterial infections. Weekly bathing with hypoallergenic oatmeal-based shampoos and using leave-on after-shampoos moisturizers with aloe vera and alpha-keri or Dermalustre help decrease skin irritation and are in this veterinarians experience one of the most effective and least costly options for allergic pet owners. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements found in Salmon oil, along with the minerals Selenium and Zinc, the Antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E along with Bioflavanoids help to improve dry, flaky skin and hair coats. Consider all-natural, patented products like Paaws Pet Vitamins or VitaLife Pet Supplements, both of which contain all these vital nutrients and many more.
- Comprehensive, all-natural, balanced nutritional vitamin supplements, made in the USA, such as PAAWS andVitaLife that are designed for pets and cats, specifically based on their size and age help to boost overall immunity and have proven to reduce the incidence of allergic out breaks and itching by over 80 percent.
- For ongoing flea problems, monthly flea products such as Revolution, Advantage and Frontline available through your veterinarian and over the counter and are generally effective to prevent flea infestations.
Chlorpheniramine Maleate is a mild antihistamine available as a 4mg tablet that is both inexpensive and effective to help relieve itching in dogs and cats.
Environmental Allergen Control for Pets
Consider removing as many potential allergens from your pet’s environment and body as possible.
Distilled drinking water, available for example at Wal-Mart and K-mart for ~0.79 cents a gallon is just PURE water. It is helpful and far superior to bottled, tap and spring water. Distilled water contains no fluoride, which is another common pet allergen. Distilled drinking water also does not contain arsenic, cadmium, lead or mercury; all toxic chemicals found in FDA “allowable amounts” in tap, spring and bottled water. These chemicals are as harmful for pets as they are for people.
Pet food safety today presents pet owners and vets with a myriad of dilemmas. Aside from the offers high price tags, tainted food is being recalled by the FDA on a daily basis. Recent pet food issues involve bacterial contamination primarily with salmonella and/or E-coli, both of which can lead to explosive diarrhea that can be life threatening. Contamination also exists with toxic chemicals such as melamine and/or glutamic acid – both of which were cited in the 2007 Menu pet food recall. These two chemicals caused pets to initially suffer with acute kidney failure after which thousands died. It is relevant for dog and cat owners to understand that the same chemical, glutamic acid, was and is still approved by the FDA as a legally allowed pet food additive. Why you ask?…….to artificially raise the protein content of dog and cat food without adding any real protein at all!! This year, the Nutro pet food recall was responsible for causing epileptic seizures and pancreatitis in an undisclosed number of pets and several died. Many of the pets that managed to live through the pancreatitis later developed diabetes as a result.
The vast majority of pet food commercially available today unfortunately offers innocent pet owners big price tags loaded with “empty” label claims.
Today’s pet food marketing campaigns cost multimillions of dollars. Their new “natural” and “premium” pet diet names along with their fancy dog and cat food labels and colorful packaging look quite impressive. However, spending hard earned dollars to feed pets ”slaughter house floor scraps, inedible for human consumption” doesn’t make any sense at all to this veterinarian. What’s even worse is the recent surge of articles being spread all over the internet about “people foods toxic to pets.” This is simply more “marketing hype” developed by publicists hired by the pet food companies specifically geared to scare pet owners away from making home-made pet meals for their dogs or cats. Why? So the pet food manufacturers protect their bottom line…pet food sales and revenue! Pet owners now not only fear inadvertently adding a toxic ingredient to their pet’s meals, but, in addition, how can they be sure their pets home-made meals are “balanced”? As a result, loads of loving pet owners are educating themselves and many have found that home-made diets are not only safe and healthy, but are also economical. In addition, balancing your dog and/or cat’s home-made meal can be as easy as adding a natural, balanced vitamin supplement like Paaws or VitaLife!
Making carbohydrate or “grain free” home-made meals for those pet owners who feel that “carbs” aggravate pet allergies is also as easy as ABC! Half of your pets home-made allergy diet would consist of lean protein. Sources could include: chicken, turkey, beef, duck, venison, or fish such as salmon. The other half of your pet’s grain free anti-allergy diet would consist of fresh vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, green beans, string beans, spinach or carrots are all fine and may be available right in your own garden. Simply cook the ingredients any way you prefer: broiling, boiling, steaming, frying, baking, or grilling. Mix the lean protein and vegetables all together and cut into bite sized pieces. Finicky feline cat owners can puree the diet in a blender. Next, add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Why? Extra virgin olive oil enhances the smell and taste of your pet’s home-made meal and is a great natural source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Finally, remember pets like food that smells good. So season it up! The top three seasonings most dogs and cats enjoy are barbecue sauce, pasta sauce, or Tamari sauce. (Tamari sauce is the brown sauce Chinese carry out comes in. Most local grocery stores carry Low-Sodium Tamari sauce for about a dollar a bottle.)
For pet owners who are not against adding carbohydrates to their pets diet, choose long acting carbohydrates, Choices include any kind of rice, potatoes, pasta, macaroni, or oatmeal. Your pet’s diet would then consist of 1/3 lean protein, 1/3 long acting carbohydrates and 1/3 fresh vegetables. For example, a nice diet could be a fresh chicken breast (lean protein), a sweet potato (long acting carbohydrate), and green beans might be your choice for the vegetable.
Dr. Carol’s Tip: Avoid frozen and canned vegetables. Both are very high in sodium which most pets do not need. Fresh vegetables are a source of fiber. Fiber helps to keep the animal’s anal glands free of problems, provides energy, and adds bulk to your pet’s diet!