Whole Dog Journal's Blog March 7, 2014

Otto’s Allergies: RIGHT on Time

Posted at 04:21PM - Comments: (12)

So, last year, I wrote a blog post discussing the fact that maintaining (and saving) a calendar each year, loaded with notes about my dogs’ health and behavior, helped me identify and “diagnose” (if you will) Otto’s springtime allergies. That post (whole-dog-journal.com/blog/-20737-1.html) was published on April 5, 2012, but I had written it a week before... and I was referring to the weeks prior, when I had noticed that Otto was licking and chewing himself. Once I consciously noticed this, I first looked for fleas; I couldn’t find a single one, on Otto or any other animal in the house. Then I started paying attentionto the sound and sight of Otto chewing himself (as opposed to distractedly saying to him, without even looking away from my computer screen, “Hey, knock it off!” and continuing to work) – and I quickly realized that he was pretty much itchy all day. When he wasn’t licking or chewing himself, he lay down and looked chastened and miserable, rather than restful.

So, it took roughly three weeks for me to pay enough attention to my poor itchy dog to start treating his springtime allergies, and managing his environment to reduce his exposure to what I believe are the agents to which he is allergic. Namely, pollen.

I said, in that blog last spring, “Thank goodness for online calendars: I’m setting up an alarm for March 1, 2014: ‘Consider Otto’s spring allergies.’”

I set that alarm, and it sent me an email on March 1. But guess what? I had seen it on my calendar the week prior, and it prompted me to pay attention, to observe Otto and see whether he would start licking or chewing. And just like clockwork: he did. But this time, I was ready with the Benadryl, and all the other allergy-management tools at my disposal: I’m keeping him inside more; no more long snoozes on the (pollen-covered) deck out in the sun. I washed all the dog beds, and because this is a bit of a chore, I covered them with old sheets that I can wash every other day or so. I’m bathing him weekly, and wiping his coat with a damp cloth several times a day. And this has meant that I catch him licking or chewing his forearm or paws just once or twice a day, instead of once or twice every hour.

The weather over the past week has been rainy and overcast here, but everything is blooming anyway: the nectarine and apricot trees in my yard, as well as the hundreds of acres of peaches and nectarines and almonds a few miles down the road. Lots of grasses and other native groundcover, clover and mustard, are blooming here, too. I don’t know which springtime plants’ pollen causes all the trouble, just that it happens every year at this time, and that all my pollen-management tools really help my poor itchy dog – so much so that he doesn’t develop painful, weepy hotspots, or require veterinary attention.

What is your dog allergic to? If you keep track of (and review) his symptoms on a calendar every year, you can probably figure it out, too!

Comments (11)

To 376NYC or anyone else who has tried the Professional Formulas products: I've ordered the dust and grass formulas. My dog is about 40 pounds. Would the dosage be the same? Thanks!

Posted by: 143ANC | June 11, 2014 2:57 PM    Report this comment

To 376NYC or anyone else who has tried the Professional Formulas products: I've ordered the dust and grass formulas. My dog is about 40 pounds. Would the dosage be the same? Thanks!

Posted by: 143ANC | June 11, 2014 2:57 PM    Report this comment

Hi
Vets too quickly prescribe 'drugs'. Allergies are down to either not producing antihistamines / over producing them or a compromised immune system.
My dog's immune system was compromised after her 'booster' vaccines were given and coincided with her being 3 years old wen typically allergies may start to show.
I took following steps:
1. Placed my dog on BARF (Biologically Approved Raw Food) diet to include raw bones as these contain Live Enzymes that assist immune system and digestive system and help the Spleen keep blood free of toxins.

I chose to prepare it myself but you HAVE TO READ UP carefully as you can get it wrong - so - in the end I went for 'Natural Instinct' ready made raw food.

I then created a spray containing drops of pure essential lavender oil (calming, healing, anti-inflammatory, draws out toxins) which after bathing dog (every two weeks not 'every day') in 'Tropiclean' Dog Shampoo - I spray on her.

Se gets 1/2 teaspoon on refined food grade coconut every other day on food (Anti fungal / Anti viral / Antimicrobal as well as Calms digestive allergies and also conditions coat and skin).

These cured the issue 95%.

The remaining 5% is if she eats a lot of something she is allergic too or is out in pollen for hours and her red rash starts to appear before we get home... and she licks / scratches a bit ... I then give her the only antihistamine approved for dogs 'Piriton' .. either half or one (she is 17kg). Two days and two tablets later its all gone :-)

Before discovering these things - she was on predisone (very veryyyy bad) as it kills immunity and causes liver /kidney damage. I noticed her rib cage swelling on this steroid and it was not fat. X-rayed her and her spleen was twice the size it should be - so please CONSIDER NATURAL REMEDIES before accepting drugs into your dogs delicate system.

The only thing

Posted by: Woofs | March 27, 2014 9:20 AM    Report this comment

Our lab is also experiencing skin infections starting early March (vet says pyoderma while it looks like ringworm to me) which the vet suggests is due to the snow cover disappearing and the pollens and grasses emerging. This is consistent with your blog. Our vet mentioned a new Pfizer drug Apoquel just approved by FDA for dog allergies. As with other new meds, I am suspicious. I found a blog which suggests that while the short term response to this drug is remarkable and with little side effects, there may be longer term possibilities that the drug can suppress the immune system. [If you google search on "Apoquel Alert" you may find the blog I am referring to.]

We had such a hard fight with the skin problems last year until it cleared up in December (I thought it was due to applying Lotrimin for ringworm but perhaps more likely it was the arrival of snow), trying Vet-prescribed anti-biotics as well as more natural treatments like Seacure, Jake's canine remedy spray, and Redi-care spray therapy, that I am worried. I will start wiping his feet when we come in and hope that helps. (FYI he is also on grain-free food, though I will be more careful with treats, yogurt, Rainbow Oil, and Missing Link and gets bathed once a week.)

Posted by: CT_Dog_Lover | March 26, 2014 11:21 AM    Report this comment

I actually had the same problems, and so about 9 years ago I created the first in a series of sprayable, natural remedies for dry itchy paws and inflammation from allergies. I'd be glad to send any of my offerings for you to try out and perhaps review if you'd like. I don't want to seem like I'm trying to sell here so let me know if you're interested and I'll send the info along. Wags!

Posted by: naturalpaws | March 25, 2014 9:52 AM    Report this comment

Hello , my sheltie Jewel has been diagnosed with severe allergies to 3 types of dust and storage mites. She has had devastating chronic ear infection that has resulted in scarring. We are currently waiting for her allergy serum to arrive. She is on reactin and antibiotics till then. She is on a quality limited ingredient diet w added salmon oil supplement. Can anyone recommend any supplements that may help her?

Posted by: Denise Bradley | March 19, 2014 11:46 AM    Report this comment

Hello , my sheltie Jewel has been diagnosed with severe allergies to 3 types of dust and storage mites. She has had devastating chronic ear infection that has resulted in scarring. We are currently waiting for her allergy serum to arrive. She is on reactin and antibiotics till then. She is on a quality limited ingredient diet w added salmon oil supplement. Can anyone recommend any supplements that may help her?

Posted by: Denise Bradley | March 19, 2014 11:45 AM    Report this comment

Thanks, Nancy ! This was a timely article for my household too , although being in a different country and timezone, we don't actually have those true signs of Spring just yet. But we've had a mild day here and there when it feels not so far off ! So I'm gearing up for my dog's seasonal allergies ahead too, because after a few years, as you said, I know they do come on like clockwork for the dogs (and people ! ) who're affected. And like you, I now know to be alert and pro-active.
I personally never find natural and safe recommendations offensive & I'll research the Professional Formulas Allersode products mentioned above by another reader , because I've had excellent results over the years with homeopathic items, for myself and for the animals. So I send a Thank You to 376NYC for sharing what made a difference for your dog ! I love learning about something different and exploring more to see if it seems worthwhile or affordable for my household. It always makes me feel reassured and empowered to recognize that a combo of simple things I can do at home will be useful. As a result, I am always learning & usually have a variety of approaches which are safe and possibly very beneficial to try out , with the goal of easing my Parsons Russell Terrier through the pollen season with less itch/ shedding .
I'm looking forward to more sharing by others who have dogs with similar issues.

Posted by: lynn sapp | March 11, 2014 1:36 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for the article. I'll keep an eye on my dog. The apricot in my yard just started blooming too...
It's a shame your magazine attracts all these snake oil vendors in the comments.

Posted by: Max Rockbin | March 11, 2014 11:30 AM    Report this comment

My dog has a gluten intolerance. I am embarrassed to say that it took far too long to recognize it, but the symptoms were so gradual. It started with chronic ear infections, my DVM said that it was probably a food allergy, but I would probably never find the source. It was then that I started home cooking my dogs meals. Over a couple of years it increased to include anal skootching, and then it was intensive paw biting and finally with hotspots from her biting herself. It took about 8 months in a softcone before I realized that her treats, which were store bought included grains...I am embarrassed by how long it took to diagnose...since I made all of her food, I overlooked the fact that it was still a food allergy. She has been grain free for 14 months now, and am happy to report that all is well....but even a crumb of gluten will bring on an outbreak...we visited a cat-owning friend a few months ago, and just a few morsels of kibble stolen from the cat resulted in an outbreak. I am very happy to be on the other side of this allergy.

Posted by: Miranda | March 10, 2014 5:54 PM    Report this comment

Things like Benadryl do not address the allergies they simply suppress them temporarily. I have successfully treated my dogs environmental allergies with homeopathic drops that cost $14 a bottle. They're made by Professional Formulas and can be bought at pureformulas.com. One is Grass & Weed Mix and the other is Northeast Allersode (for trees). If you search Professional Formulas Allersode all the regions will come up and you can select your region. Dosage is one dropper full at bedtime and if giving more than one rotate nightly between them until all bottles are empty. He has had blood allergy tests and they all went to negative after these drops. As my boy also had dust mite and other indoor allergies he also got Household Dust & Mold Mix and I have two BlueAir air purifiers.

Posted by: 376NYC | March 10, 2014 5:17 PM    Report this comment

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