Psst Are you a brand, artist, shelter, or dog looking to get on Dogly?
Is your dog scratching almost non-stop? So many dogs are and it can happen for many reasons. It's frustrating for us as dog parents to see our dogs feeling miserable and be at a loss for how to make everything all right.
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:
Itchy Allergies in Dogs Guide 1: How to figure out why your dog is itching
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.
What you'll learn:
7 common questions & answers on understanding allergies
1) What is an allergy exactly?
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.
2) How do you know what type of “allergies” your dog is suffering from, or if it's even an allergy at all?
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).
3) Can a dog suffer from both food AND environmental allergies?
Unfortunately, yes. Research confirms about 30% tend to have both.
4) What is a food allergy exactly?
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.
5) What are environmental allergies and how do they differ from 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.
6) Do the foods we give our dogs impact any environmental allergies they may have?
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.)
7) What about contact allergies and how do they affect your dog's skin and beyond
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...
Itchy Allergies in Dogs Guide 2: How to spot misdiagnosed allergy issues
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.
In this guide, you'll learn:
8 often misdiagnosed issues every dog parent should know
1) Flea allergy dermatitis
It's a common - and frustrating - cause for nagging itchiness and skin infections.
- 3 things to watch for to confirm fleas and manage them and other insect bites
2) Yeast overgrowth
Yeast is another common "allergic reaction" issue and once it takes hold it can spread quickly.
- 5 things to watch for to catch yeast as early as possible
3) "Invisible" triggers in your dog's environment
So many things we barely notice in our everyday world can be potent triggers for our dogs' itchiness and inflammation.
- 4 things (+ more) to watch for to protect your dog
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.
5) Change in weather/climate
- Adjusting to too-dry or too-humid weather can create itchy skin issues.
6) Breed predisposition
- Which breeds and breed mixes can be predisposed to skin sensitivity.
7) Fungal & bacterial infections
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.
8) Nutrient deficiencies or excesses in your dog's diet
- Why balanced nutrition is essential for your dog's healthy immune system (and for everything you need to know on the right nutrition for your dog, jump over to Dogly's Basic Nutrition Channel)
Next up, everything you need to know about that important factor in allergic reactions - histamine...
Itchy Allergies in Dogs Guide 3: What you need to know about 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!
What you'll learn:
3 keys to histamine all parents of itchy dogs should know
1) How to visualize your dog's histamine level as a bucket & keep it in balance
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.
2) Nutrients and foods recommended to lower your dog's histamine and prevent allergy symptoms
Included are types of food and supplements that can keep histamine levels low.
3) Higher histamine foods to keep in mind
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...
Itchy Allergies in Dogs Guide 4: Get started with natural solutions for allergies
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.
What you'll learn in this guide:
1) Why treating allergies naturally matters
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.
2) A natural pet allergy management regimen - what to use & why
Including recommendations and recipes:
- Honey - local and raw
- Apple cider vinegar rinses - includes recipe for ACV + calendula rinse
- Quercetin - known as "nature's antihistamine"... includes which herb combination enhances quercetin's effects and where it can be found in foods (blueberries, kale, for example)
- OTC antihistamines (such as Benadryl) for immediate symptoms - check with your vet to make sure it's right for your individual dog and for proper dosage.
- Low-histamine foods - includes foods to avoid that are high in histamine or are "histamine-liberators"
3) Considerations (benefits and watch-outs) for doing an elimination diet
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...
Itchy Allergies in Dogs Guide 5: Get started with natural solutions for 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.
What you'll learn:
8 itchy dog issues & how to solve them naturally
1) Flea allergy dermatitis
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.)
2) Yeast overgrowth
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.
- Includes recipes for easy baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinses that knock out yeast and other triggers causing severe itching
3) Environmental toxins
- Includes what to keep an eye on to reduce toxins in your dog's life (and yours)
- Need-to-knows on meds - from flea & tick to heartworm
5) Change in weather/climate
- Includes recommendations for protecting and treating your pup's vulnerable paws and overall dry skin
6) Breed disposition
Allison discussed breed disposition earlier, and here she goes into types of breeds and supplements to consider like fish oils.
7) Bacterial and fungal infections
- Includes reminder of awareness of symptoms and when to consult your vet
8) Nutrient deficiencies or excesses
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.
Next up in the Allergies Channel on Dogly
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.