Even Your Dog Thinks Seasonal Allergies Are The Worst. Here's How to Help
As soon as seasonal allergies roll around, we all start searching for remedies—anything to stop the sniffles and itchy eyes. It doesn't matter how healthy you are or how often you meditate, allergies test anyone's patience... Our pups included! The difference is, our four-legged friends can't tell us when they're suffering, so it's important to pay attention to the signs and do what we can to help minimize their symptoms—such as starting them on a protective diet like Instinct Raw.
The 411 on canine seasonal allergies.
According to the CDC, seasonal allergies affect approximately 24.4 million people in the United States. And while dogs are just as susceptible to environmentally triggered allergies as we are, their symptoms often go unnoticed or are mistaken for something else. Canine atopic dermatitis—aka environmental allergies in dogs—is caused by an allergic reaction to one or more substances in the environment. Whether or not our furry friends are prone to atopic dermatitis depends on an interaction between genetics, epigenetics, immune system, and environmental factors, such as diet.
For example, recent studies have shown that the mother's diet during lactation has an effect on the development of allergies in her pups down the road. Additionally, research published in 2020 found that feeding puppies a raw diet, such as Instinct Raw, tended to be associated with a decreased chance of developing allergies in adulthood. On the other hand, puppies fed kibble in the first one to two months of age were 182% more likely to suffer from environmental allergies compared to puppies fed raw.
A raw food diet is as simple as it gets; just think real ingredients. It incorporates natural, whole-food items like real meat, fruits, and veggies. The nutrients are kept intact because the food is never cooked, never heated, and the ingredients are never compromised in any way—100% raw and 100% delicious to dogs.
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Spotting the signs.
But how do you know if your beloved BFF is suffering from seasonal allergies? This is the tricky part because as much as we wish our pups could tell us exactly what they're thinking, we have to learn to read their cues. The most common symptoms to look out for include:
- Excessive scratching
- Ear infections
- Hot spots
- Greasy or flaky skin
- Hair loss
- Excessive chewing on the paws
Now, for all of you extra paranoid pet parents out there (*ahem, present*), there's no need to jump the next time your pup lifts a paw to his ear. Instead, take a minute to assess the situation. Is it just the occasional harmless itch, or have you noticed an overwhelming amount of scratching recently? Is he chewing his paw so intently that it's hard to get his attention? Imagine what it feels like to have poison oak all over your body... No matter how much calendula oil you put on, the itch is real! So take note of the frequency and intensity of your doggo's discomfort, and keep an eye out for any skin irritation.
Managing your pup's symptoms.
Similar to humans, there is no cure for canine environmental allergies. However, there are some things we can do to help relieve our pooch's discomfort. Recognizing the symptoms and discussing concerns with your vet is the first step. Incorporating an antihistamine into your pet's daily regimen may be suggested, but it's important to consult with your veterinarian first to determine the safest medications and dosages.
Transitioning to a raw food diet.
Making efforts to strengthen your dog's immune system with a high-quality raw diet may help to build up their natural defenses against allergens and provide benefits for overall well-being. The microbes in the raw food work to stimulate and educate the immune system so that your dog is protected from developing allergies down the road. Making this transition as early as possible is key, as dogs tend to develop allergies around 1 to 3 years old.
But don't worry, this doesn't mean chopping up raw meat and veggies multiple times a day. Instinct Raw makes the raw diet easy with complete and balanced food that is minimally processed, protein-packed, and never cooked to preserve the integrity of every ingredient. Instead of high heat, Instinct uses Cold Pressure technology (aka High-Pressure Processing, or HPP) to ensure that their raw food formulas are safe and free from bacteria.
They take the extra step to keep their canine customers healthy and happy—with a strong commitment to the safety and quality of their food. In fact, Instinct is the only raw pet food company in North America to achieve an "excellent" Safe Quality Food (SQF) food-safety rating and an SQF-quality certification. Their recipes are made with real, responsibly sourced ingredients like cage-free chicken, grass-fed beef and lamb, apples, blueberries, apple cider vinegar, and more. If you thought your pup got excited about mealtime before, just wait until you put down a bowl of Instinct Raw Frozen Bites... Game. Changer.
Other solutions for symptom management
If your doggo jumps for joy at the sound of "bath time," you're lucky. If not, get those treats ready because frequent baths can help to remove allergens on their coat and soothe the skin. Make sure to use pet-friendly shampoos only, as the pH level in human shampoos can cause additional irritation. Also search for products with calming ingredients, such as oatmeal, aloe, coconut oil, and manuka honey.
Depending on the severity of your dog's symptoms, you may also want to try reducing allergen exposure from the get-go. This might be the toughest option, but limiting time spent outdoors on high-pollen days may help to keep symptoms at bay.
Their health is our happiness.
Seasonal allergies are the pits, but what's even worse is the idea that our furry loved ones may be suffering in silence. Getting ahead of it by choosing Instinct Raw for your new pup from day one may decrease the chances of developing allergies altogether. But if the symptoms are already there, identifying them and doing what you can to decrease their discomfort and promote optimum immune functioning will lead to a happier, healthier pupper—and a more at-ease pet parent. Our dogs deserve to enjoy the outdoors without the itchy aftermath!
Ryan Brady is a Content Freelancer at mindbodygreen. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts from Yale University and is currently finishing her M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology, with concentration in Spirituality and Mind-Body Practice, at Columbia University.
Ryan is passionate about holistic health, fitness, and spiritually-centered living. She loves using her knowledge and personal experience to help others improve their well-being. When she’s not working or studying, Ryan can be found traveling to new places, snuggling her dog, or experimenting with gluten free, vegan baking.