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Environmental toxins and allergens are all around us, some in our control and some not. But there is so much we can do to significantly reduce their presence in our and our dogs' lives.
In three step-by-step guides here in the Allergies Channel, Dogly Nutrition and Wellness Advocates (who are certified canine nutritionists and herbalists) take you through exactly what you can do - and why it matters - to build and protect your dog's health from environmental allergies.
Here's a quick look at each guide below - you can jump into any of them from here if you want to get started right away:
Environmental Allergies in Dogs Guide 1: How to manage environmental allergies with food
Is your dog itchy and endlessly licking his or her paws?
Dog parents often assume itchy skin or paw licking might be caused by a food allergy - although not always the case. Even if your dog's symptoms are actually the result of environmental allergens, you can still find answers in food choices to help get a hold on your dog's allergies.
In this guide, you'll learn 3 very easy ways to manage your dog's allergies with diet even when you're dealing with environmental allergy symptoms. Certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Savannah Welna takes you through the nutritional facts of what's happening in your dog's body, and specifically the immune system, when exposed to allergens and how you can use food to avert allergic reactions.
First, what are histamines?
Most of us are familiar with antihistamines, but Savannah explains the central role of histamines in helping create the allergic reactions and symptoms we recognize. They're the "bouncers" of the immune system - on call to remove anything your dog's immune system perceives to be a foreign substance.
Your dog's histamine "bucket"
Picture your dog as having a histamine "bucket" - within that amount, the histamines go about business as usual getting rid of allergens, etc. Once the amount overflows, histamines trigger the allergic reactions that you see as your dog's allergy symptoms.
So for allergy-prone dogs (allergies of any kind), we want to use food when we can to keep your dog's histamine at the proper levels.
What you'll learn:
1) Watch out for high-histamine foods
In this guide, Savannah shares which foods to be aware of when and what you can add to your dog's bowl instead. Included are examples of frequently used, otherwise healthful foods that tend to be high in histamine.
2) Use lower-histamine and DAO-promoting foods
You'll learn six categories of foods that are lower in histamine, and in some cases (like sweet potato) also break down histamines already in the digestive system. You'll find out what DAO is, how it breaks down histamines, and which foods (ginger, for example) and vitamins support DAO.
3) Keep food raw or frozen to lower histamine
Cooked food which is in the fridge for a prolonged period of time increases in histamines, while raw, frozen, or just-cooked food does not. Savannah shares tips on how to store and serve your dog's food no matter what type of diet you're feeding.
Next up, how to become more aware of where everyday toxins exist and what you can do about them...
Environmental Allergies in Dogs Guide 2: How to be aware of environmental toxins
So many things that surround and touch your dog can lead to allergies. How do you avoid them or at least reduce your dog's exposure? And where do you start?
In this guide, you'll learn how - beginning with simple things that are right in front of you and within your control, long before you need to think about allergy shots or allergy testing.
Certified nutritionist/herbalist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Brittney Evans teaches you how to bring "conscious awareness" to everyday things that can make a signifiant, positive impact for your dog's allergies.
In this guide, you'll learn:
3 questions to ask yourself & simple, actionable answers
1) Are dust mites (possibly the most wide-spread of common allergens triggering allergies in dogs) a presence in my home?
The answer is yes. Unless you live in the desert, you've got dust mites living with you - and your dog. In this guide, Brittney shares what you need to know about them, what deters them, specific steps you can take to keep them at a minimum, and why you and your dog will breathe easier and be less prone to allergic reactions like itchy skin, teary eyes, and runny noses by addressing the unseen but ubiquitous dust mites.
2) Are the candles I'm burning affecting my dog's breathing?
Most of us dog parents love our candles. In this guide, you'll find out which types of candles you want to stay away from and which to be sure you're using to avoid an allergic response and respiratory problems for your dog.
3) Am I cleaning my home and introducing toxins & environmental allergens at the same time?
Most likely, yes. In this guide, you'll learn natural cleaning alternatives you can switch to that are effective and won't put you and your dog at risk. Included is a recipe for a lemon/vinegar cleaner that's safe as well as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal - and smells great!
Meanwhile, how to keep your dog clean while you're at it...
As for keeping your itchy dog clean, you'll learn how to not over-bathe your dog's skin and avoid common dog allergy symptoms like skin irritation by adding simple soaks for your dog's paws while limiting full-body bathing sessions.
Included are Brittney's recommendations for homemade rinses and paw soaks and natural (chemical-free) shampoo.
Now for getting rid of environmental toxins surrounding your dog every day...
Environmental Allergies in Dogs Guide 3: How to eliminate environmental toxins
All of us as dog parents frequently hear warnings for the more obvious toxic things like xylitol (in nasty, discarded chewing gum on sidewalks), but what about those everyday toxins that sneak into our lives with less notice?
In this guide, you'll learn five simple changes you can make to easily replace toxins with other options to keep your dog healthy and eliminate allergy triggers.
Certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Wellness Advocate Allison Shalla shares her top five tips for a cleaner, healthier life with your dog - and why making these changes matters.
In this guide, you'll learn:
5 simple changes to get rid of everyday toxins
1) Go green and clean your dog's bowl.
Find out which materials are best for avoiding toxins and bacteria. Plus an easy way to use apple cider vinegar to keep your dog's bowl clean and bacteria-free daily.
2) Choose and clean toys carefully.
See which materials you want to look for and which to avoid in toys. Included is how to use baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water to get rid of dirt and bacteria on hard-surface toys.
3) Clean laundry and household items - WITHOUT chemicals.
So many, if not all, common household cleaners and laundry detergents are full of suspicious chemicals no one can pronounce. Allison shares her favorite natural alternatives to clean all those things your dog's paws, eyes, noses, mouths, and skin come in contact with every day (think floors, dog beds, our bed linens...everything!).
4) Keep your home's air smelling fresh -- AND free of harmful toxins
How can we have fresh, non-doggy-smelling air without breathing in toxins? You'll learn what to look for, what to avoid, and why it's so important for dogs with their super-sensitive noses. (Includes essential oils as well as candles, sprays...)
5) Lawn and garden products - beware, everywhere
Chemicals that kill weeds, insects, and plant diseases include either herbicides or pesticides that are severely toxic. Exponentially so for our dogs who walk on them with shoe-less paws and breathe them in with every sniff... then ingest them when they lick their paws or spread them when they carry them into our homes.
You'll learn more on why that matters - short-term for issues like allergies and long-term for serious diseases. Plus how to avoid these lawn/garden toxins and which natural alternatives you can use instead.
Check out the Allergies Channel on Dogly
Environmental allergies are just part of the allergy advice and guidance in the Allergies Channel, where you'll find how to manage everything from food allergies to seasonal allergies to secondary skin infections like flea allergy dermatitis.
Continue on in the Allergies Channel to all the step-by-step guides from our canine nutritionists/herbalists for more on how to understand and treat allergies in dogs - and keep your dog truly well.
If you have any questions about allergies, you can also ask them in the Allergies Channel in the Community discussion. Or, if you ever need more personalized help, we would be happy to help you find the right Dogly Nutrition or Wellness Advocate to help you and your dog.