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That's why we brought our Dogly Advocates/certified canine nutritionists together to create these five guides in the Allergies Channel dedicated to giving you the step-by-step information and recommendations to fix your dog's itch - from finding the root cause to putting solutions to work for your dog.
Here's a quick look each guide below - you can jump into any of them from here if you want to get started right away:
Guide 1: How to figure out why your dog is itching
Guide 2: How to spot misdiagnosed allergy issues
Guide 3: What you need to know about histamine
Guide 4: Get started with natural solutions for allergies
Guide 5: Get started with natural solutions for itchy skin
Are you trying to find answers to help your itchy dog? You're not alone! Questions about their dog's itching and compulsive scratching are a remarkably common thread among pet parents desperately looking for solutions to help their dogs. And for a dog, itchy skin can be miserable and maddening.
That's why certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Allison Shalla created this guide to help you understand all the questions and answers you need to get to the underlying cause of your dog's allergic reactions so you can help your dog be comfortable again.
The simple physiological answer: a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system to a particular trigger substance. Allison explains what you need to know to figure out what that means to your individual dog.
True allergies are the body's hypersensitivity to an everyday substance—whether a food or something environmental like pollen or mold. Histamines are released which create the allergic reactions and the symptoms we see in our dogs.
Included in this guide are the eight main symptoms that indicate your dog has an "allergy" (sometimes a sensitivity presents similar symptoms).
Unfortunately, yes. Research confirms about 30% tend to have both.
Allison takes you through the details of food allergies, including the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance or sensitivity (+ the fact that 90% of issues are sensitivities/intolerances rather than true food allergies).
You'll find out where symptoms start (the GI tract), the four common causes of GI issues that aren't actually allergies, and why you want to rotate your dog's food for more variety in the protein source. Also included: seven common signs of true food allergies.
Environmental allergens often come in through your dog's paws so they usually present as skin conditions from itchy skin to hair loss to hot spots. They're also often seasonal (various pollens, for example) but some of the common offenders like dust mites are year round.
In this guide, you'll see the top 10 skin-related environmental allergy symptoms to watch for as well as a couple pro tips on why younger dogs tend to be more affected by environmental allergies.
Yes, certain foods can exacerbate environmental allergies. Allison shares an example in this guide of her own dog's seasonal allergies amping up after being fed some high-histamine foods. The two factors multiplied her pup's immune response. (You can learn all the specifics on histamine and high-histamine foods in the next guide in this series.)
In this guide, you'll see what to watch for and what you can eliminate from your dog's supplies and surroundings to avoid direct contact with these toxins and allergens.
Now for how to recognize eight common issues misdiagnosed as allergies...
Several inflammatory problems can lead you to think they're allergies, so before you begin to head down a mismatched treatment path, it helps to know what these issues are and how to read them.
Canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Allison Shalla takes you through an essential checklist of underlying causes in this guide that are often misdiagnosed.
It's a common - and frustrating - cause for nagging itchiness and skin infections.
Yeast is another common "allergic reaction" issue and once it takes hold it can spread quickly.
So many things we barely notice in our everyday world can be potent triggers for our dogs' itchiness and inflammation.
Preventive flea & tick medications can cause various adverse reactions, many that look like skin allergies or skin-related allergic reactions such as loss of fur and irritated, inflamed skin. Flavored meds and other unnoticed ingredients in medications can also cause reactions.
When you suspect an infection, you'll want to consult your vet for confirmation and, in the case of a bacterial infection, an appropriate antibiotics protocol.
Next up, everything you need to know about that important factor in allergic reactions - histamine...
Most of us are familiar with anti-histamines from our own human experience. But what about histamine? And why is histamine important especially for dog parents of itchy dogs?
That's why this guide was created by certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Savannah Welna. We tend to think of histamine as what makes us sneeze or itch but there's more to know for the sake of keeping histamine in balance and our dogs comfortable and healthy!
You'll see how histamines actually work in the immune system and what triggers them to respond to allergens at a level resulting in what we know as troublesome allergy symptoms.
Included are types of food and supplements that can keep histamine levels low.
This guide includes four types of foods that could put your dog's histamine at overflow levels.
Bonus tips: you'll learn why raw food diets and probiotics can help keep histamines in balance and allergy symptoms under control.
Now after learning about root causes of allergies, let's get going on natural solutions...
Are you wondering if you can manage - even prevent - your dog's allergies naturally?
The answer is yes, you can, and in this guide you'll learn how. Certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Allison Shalla takes you step by step through the why and how of helping your dog overcome allergies and sensitivities to feel truly well.
This guide discusses the benefits of addressing the underlying cause of allergies vs the impact of suppressing symptoms. Plus side effects and questions about steroids and other meds short/long-term you'll want to research and discuss with your vet before use.
Including recommendations and recipes:
Allison takes you through a detailed five-step plan for an elimination diet - if you decide to go that route.
Bonus for everyone in this guide: a list of the most common likely food triggers to be sure to know.
Now for more on natural solutions, focusing on your dog's itchy skin...
In this guide, we dive into natural solutions alongside certified canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Allison Shalla once again for all those many other things behind your dog's excessive scratching - from flea bites to yeast infections.
First, prevention tips - always easier than fixing a full-blown problem but especially true when it comes to fleas and a dog itching from flea bites.
When fleas are already giving your dog inflamed, irritated skin and multiplying in your home - Allison shares a step-by-step protocol for cleaning and treating your home, your dog, and ways to use natural products and tools (like a simple flea comb used religiously) to methodically rid your dog and home of fleas.
(You'll find additional useful information focusing on this too common, frustrating subject in Dogly's Fleas & Ticks Channel.)
In this guide, you'll learn how to use a simple four-step plan to overcome yeast overgrowth whether it's a secondary skin condition from another underlying cause or directly caused by overly warm, moist skin not cleaned and dried thoroughly.
Allison discussed breed disposition earlier, and here she goes into types of breeds and supplements to consider like fish oils.
You'll learn that nutrient imbalance often shows in your dog's coat - plus which vitamins are likely to be out of balance and what to do about it.
Now that you've learned natural solutions for itchy skin, you can ask any questions in our Community discussion in the Allergies Channel or start any of the other step-by-step guides in Seasonal Allergies, Environmental Allergies, and Food Allergies.
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.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this website and community is based on the research, expertise, and views of each respective author. Information here is not intended to replace your one-on-one relationship with your veterinarian, but as a sharing of information and knowledge to help arm dog parents to make more informed choices. We encourage you to make health care decisions based on your research and in partnership with your vet. In cases of distress, medical issues, or emergency, always consult your veterinarian.