What to do for a dog with flea allergies
It is possible to allergy test your dog. The gold standard for testing is generally going to a board certified veterinary dermatologist and having them act out intradermal skin testing on your dog. As you might imagine, the dog will need to go under anesthesia for this procedure. As you might also imagine, this is relatively expensive. There are beautiful simple allergy blood tests available now that are getting more dependable and precise. Every the allergy blood test involves is your dog giving a little blood and your veterinarian sending it off to a lab. It isn’t cheap either though, because with either intradermal skin testing or the blood tests, your ultimate goal is to own the lab formulate «allergy shots» (desensitization injections) specific for your individual animal.
Relief is on the way …
THE MAIN OFFENDERS = ALLERGENS
Dogs can own an allergic reaction to almost anything they come into contact with.
The most common allergens for dogs are: fleas, food, dust and dust mites, and «inhalant» allergens (pollen, grass, trees, mold spores, etc). Numerous allergic dogs, especially severely allergic dogs, are allergic to more than one of these.
It is ideal to determine what your dog is allergic to. This is generally not simple. Your dog’s «itch pattern» may assist a little to determine what he or she is allergic to. In general, dog’s with flea allergies scratch over their tail head, on their back. In general, dog’s with food allergies own itchy «ears and rears». Canine inhalant allergy sufferers tend to gnaw on their feet more that other areas.
Don’t determine what your dog is allergic to strictly by his or her itch pattern, but it’s a excellent starting put. For instance, if your pet has a really hard time only over his tail head, get rid of every flea on him. I stress, EVERY flea, because even one single flea bite can start the whole itch cycle every over on a dog that is allergic to them.
One of the most common medical complaints that we see in our office is dogs with skin infections, “hot spots”, or allergic dermatitis, also known as atopic (atopy) dermatitis.
Unlike people who react to allergens most commonly with nasal symptoms and/or hives, dogs react with skin and/or gastrointestinal problems.
This is because there are a higher proportion of mast cells, which release histamines and other vasoactive substances in the face of an allergic challenge, in the skin of dogs. These problems may range from poor jacket texture or hair length, to itching and chewing, to boiling spots and self-mutilation, gastrointestinal pain and discomfort, diarrhea, and flatulence. Allergies may also frolic a part in chronic ear infections. The most common causes of canine allergic dermatitis are flea allergy, food allergy, inhalant or contact allergy, and allergy to the normal bacterial flora and yeast organisms of the skin.
To make matters more hard to diagnose and treat, thyroid disease may add to the problem as well.
Canine atopic dermatitis (allergic dermatitis, canine atopy) is an inherited predisposition to develop allergic symptoms following repeated exposure to some otherwise harmless substance, an “allergen”. Most dogs start to show their allergic signs between 1 and 3 years of age. Due to the hereditary nature of the disease, several breeds, including Golden Retrievers, most terriers, Irish Setters, Lhasa Apsos, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, and Ancient English Sheep dogs are more commonly atopic, but numerous dogs, including mixed breed dogs can own atopic dermatitis.
Atopic animals will generally rub, lick, chew, bite, or scratch at their feet, flanks, ears, armpits, or groin, causing patchy or inconsistent hair loss and reddening and thickening of the skin. The skin itself may be dry and crusty or oily depending upon the dog. Dogs may also rub their face on the carpet; ear flaps may become red and boiling. Because the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce as a response to the allergy, they get bacterial and yeast (Malassezia ) infections of the ear.
In order to overcome these frustrating symptoms, your veterinarian’s approach needs to be thorough and systematic.
Shortcuts generally will not produce results and only add to owner frustration and canine discomfort.
Inhalant and Contact Allergies
Substances that can cause an allergic reaction in dogs are much the same as those that cause reactions in people including the pollens of grasses, trees and weeds, dust mites, and molds. A clue to diagnosing these allergies is to glance at the timing of the reaction. Does it happen year round? This may be mold or dust. If the reaction is seasonal, pollens may be the culprit.
Numerous people don’t suspect food allergies as the cause of their dog’s itching because their pet has been fed the same food every its life and has just recently started having symptoms.
However, animals can develop allergies to a substance over time, so this fact does not law out food allergies. Another common misconception is that dogs are only sensitive to poor quality food. If the dog is allergic to an ingredient, it doesn’t matter whether it is in premium food or the most inexpensive brand on the market. One advantage to premium foods is that some avoid common fillers that are often implicated in allergic reactions.
This type of reaction generally is not to the flea itself, but rather to proteins in its saliva. Interestingly enough, the dogs most prone to this problem are not dogs who are constantly flea ridden, but those who are exposed only occasionally!
A single bite can cause a reaction for five to seven days, so you don’t need a lot of fleas to own a miserable dog.
Bacterial hypersensitivity occurs when a dog’s immune system overreacts to the normal Staphylococcus (Staph) bacteria on its skin. It appears that bacterial hypersensitivity in the dog is more likely to happen if other conditions such as hypothyroidism, inhalant allergy, and/or flea allergy are concurrently present. Bacterial hypersensitivity is diagnosed through bacterial culture and examination of a biopsy sample.
Microscopically, there are certain unique changes in the blood vessels of the skin in bacterial hypersensitivity.
Allergy testing is the best diagnostic tool and the best road to treatment for dogs that are suffering from moderate and severe allergies. There are several diverse testing methods available. The most common is a blood test that checks for antigen induced antibodies in the dog’s blood. Intradermal skin testing may also be performed. In this method of testing, a little quantity of antigen is injected into a shaved portion of the dog’s skin. This is done in a specific pattern and order so that if the dog shows a little raised reaction, the offending antigen can be identified.
After a period of time (hours), the shaved area is examined to detect which antigens, if any, created a reaction. Allergy testing is performed to develop a specific therapy for the allergic animal.
Numerous medicated shampoos own compounds in them that are aimed at soothing injured skin and calming inflammation. In addition, frequent bathing (weekly to every other week) of the dog can remove allergens from the hair jacket, which may contribute to skin allergy flare-ups.
The medicated baths we recommend are those that actually contain antimicrobial and antifungal agents as well as ingredients that permit the skin to be bathed on a more frequent basis without drying it out. Application of a rinse afterwards also helps to prevent drying out of the skin and hair coat.
Antihistamines can be used with excellent safety in dogs. About one third of owners report success with antihistamines. These medications tend to own a variable effect between dogs. For some allergic dogs, antihistamines work extremely well in controlling symptoms of allergic skin disease. For other dogs, extremely little effect is seen. Therefore, a minimum of three diverse types of antihistamines should be tried before owners give up on this therapy.
Examples of antihistamines commonly used for dogs include Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Atarax, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Clemastine. However, antihistamines are considered to be worth trying in most cases since the side effects associated with antihistamines is low, and they are typically inexpensive medications.
Antibiotics and Antifungal Medications
Antibiotics are frequently needed to treat secondary skin infections. Anti-fungal medications are frequently needed to treat secondary yeast infections.
For dogs with this problem, a strict flea control regime must be maintained.
The best flea control options include the use of products such as Advantage, Revolution, Frontline, Comfortis, and Sentinel.
The Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acid supplements work by improving the overall health of the skin. These fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agents. They reportedly are helpful in 20% of allergic dogs. My own experience puts this figure a little higher. They are certainly worth a attempt because they are not harmful and own virtually no side effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils and omega-6 fatty acids are derived from plants containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). These supplements are diverse from those sold to produce a glossy jacket. Products that contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include Allergen Caps and Halo.
Allergies develop through exposure, so most hypoallergenic diets incorporate proteins and carbohydrates that your dog has never had before.
As mentioned previously, the quickest and best way to determine which foods your dog may or may not be allergic to is through diagnostic allergy testing. As dairy, beef, and wheat are responsible for 80% of food allergies in dogs, these items should be avoided. Novel protein sources used in hypoallergenic diets include venison, egg, duck, kangaroo, and types of fish not generally found in pet food. Carbohydrate sources include potatoes, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, and canned pumpkin.
Hydrolyzed protein diets are diets in which the protein source has been synthetically reduced to little fragments. The theory behind feeding a hydrolyzed protein source is that the proteins in the food should be little enough that the allergic dog’s immune system will not recognize the protein fragments and will not mount an immune response resulting in an allergy.
Most pets with food allergies reply well when switched to a store-bought hypoallergenic diet, but occasionally an animal suffers from such extreme allergies that a homemade diet is the only option.
In this case, the diet should be customized with the aid of a veterinarian.
Corticosteroids and Immunosuppressive Agents
Cortisone products such as prednisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone reduce itching by reducing inflammation. These medications are not without side effects, so they need to be used judiciously in treating skin allergies. Steroids should be considered only when the allergy season is short, the quantity of drug required is little, or to relieve a dog in extreme discomfort. Side effects can include increased thirst and appetite, increased need to urinate, and behavioral changes.
Long-term use can result in diabetes and decreased resistance to infection. In some dogs, endless term, low-dose alternate day therapy is the only management protocol that successfully controls the atopic pet. This protocol should be used only as a final resort after every other methods own been exhausted to avoid the potential long-term complications of the medication.
Cyclosporine (Atopica) is a medication, which seems to be fairly effective at reducing the inflammation associated with skin allergies and calming the immune system of the affected dog.
However, the pricing of cyclosporine may be prohibitive for larger breed dogs.
Allergy shots are extremely safe, and numerous people own grand success with them; however, they are extremely slow to work. It may be six to twelve months before improvement is seen. Once the allergens for the dog are identified, an appropriate immunotherapy is manufactured for that specific dog, and treatment can start.
After the offending antigens are identified, then a mixture of these antigens can be formulated into a hyposensitizing injection. Depending on the type of agents used, these injections will be given over a period of weeks to months until the dog or cat develops immunity to the agents. After initial protection, an occasional booster may own to be given.
If you know which substances your dog is allergic to, avoidance is the best method of control.
Even if you are desensitizing the dog with allergy shots, it is best to avoid the allergen altogether. Molds can be reduced by using a dehumidifier or placing activated charcoal on top of the exposed dirt in your home plants.
Dusts and pollens are best controlled by using an air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Air conditioning can also reduce circulating amounts of airborne allergens because windows are then kept closed.
Healthy skin and a normal hair jacket are the results of numerous factors, both external and internal. There are several glands in the body responsible for the production of hormones that are vital for the regulation of other body functions as well as a normal skin surface and hair jacket.
Hypothyroidism may result in poor skin and hair jacket, including hair loss or abnormal hair turnover, dull or brittle hair, altered pigmentation, and oily or dry skin. A blood test is a simplest and most direct way to tell if your dog is hypothyroid. Thyroid testing may include every or part of the following:
Baseline T4 Test or Entire T4 (TT4): This is the most common test. Dogs with a failure of the thyroid gland will own a lowered level of the T4 hormone. However, there are other conditions that can cause the T4 to decrease, so if this test comes back positive for hypothyroidism your vet should recommend an additional blood test, either the T3 Test or the Baseline TSH test.
Baseline TSH Test: Measures the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.
In combination with the T4 or T3 test, it provides a more finish picture of the hormonal activity of your dog’s thyroid gland.
Free T4 by RIA (radio immunoassay): The Free T4 test using RIA techniques does not appear to be more or less precise than the above TT4 test.
Free T4 by ED (equilibrium dialysis): This test may provide more precise data on the level of T4 hormone in your dog’s bloodstream.
Baseline T3 Test: In combination with the T4 or TSH test, these two blood tests can give a clearer picture of the hormone levels found in the bloodstream.
This test is not dependable when used alone.
The T3 Test should always be given in combination with one of the other blood tests.
TSH Response Test: In this test, the veterinarian takes an initial measurement of the thyroid hormones in your dog’s bloodstream and then injects Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) into the vein. After 6 hours, a blood sample is drawn and the level of T4 is checked. If your dog has hypothyroidism, the level of T4 will not increase even after the TSH is injected. This is an expensive test and is being used less often due to decreased production by the manufacturers.
Hypothyroidism is treated with a daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine).
Blood samples will need to be drawn periodically to assess the effectiveness of the dosage and make any adjustments necessary.
Successful management of the atopic, allergic dog is sometimes complicated and frustrating because multi-modal management is necessary in the majority of cases to control the allergic flare-ups. Proper diagnosis by a veterinarian and owner compliance and follow up care is essential to maximize the chances of curing or at least controlling the severely affected allergy patient.
How to treat dog allergies
Firstly, it is ideal to determine what your dog is allergic to.
The most common allergens for dogs are fleas, food, dust, dust mites and inhalant allergens such as pollen, grass, tress, mol and, spores. Secondly, you can treat you dog with antihistamines, special shampoos, fatty acid supplements, steroids, immunosuppressive drugs or natural remedies specially made to relieve allergies in dogs.
Many pet owners will tell that the most frustrating problem a pet can own is allergies. Allergies extremely rarely go away. That doesn’t mean that there is nothing that can be done for your furry family members — fairly the opposite really.
There are numerous options for animals with allergies.
A human’s allergic «organ», so to speak, is primarily their respiratory track. So when we own allergies, we generally cough, sneeze, own runny eyes, or trouble breathing if the allergic reaction is severe enough.
A dog’s allergic «organ» is primarily their skin, so they scratch or get hives or whelps if the allergic reaction is acute. Humans can own allergic issues with their skin and dogs can own allergic issues with their respiratory track. This article will focus on the most common manifestations of allergies in dogs = Skin problems.
Just love human allergies, there are varying degrees of severity. Some dogs just scratch a little more in the spring for a couple days, when the pollen gets bad, just love some people start just a little coughing and sneezing, but not even enough to pop an antihistamine.
Then some animals scratch incessantly year circular to the point where they cause life-threatening secondary skin infections.
Just love people, dogs can be allergic to just about anything. If you don’t discover any fleas or ticks and your dog still has itchy skin, you might be dealing with an allergy of some sort. Before you start any treatment, it’s best to check with your vet to law out what your dog might be allergic to. Food allergies, however, are one of the rarer allergies among dogs.
Finding the Culprit
Food allergies, while rare, do happen and elimination foods can prove necessary to discover out what ingredient(s) your dog is allergic to.
You can work with your vet to do novel or hydrolyzed protein food trials to assess for food allergies and to make certain you avoid the trigger protein but also that your dog is being served proper nutrition. Over the counter limited ingredient foods may not own the quality control to avoid cross-contamination of ingredients, so you and your vet may desire to select a limited antigen therapeutic food that is consistent with the needs of your furry companion.
FOOD MATTERS = HYPOALLERGENIC DIET
Work with your veterinarian to discover a truly hypoallergenic diet because numerous dog foods claim to be, but are not.
It is also significant to glance at the ingredients in the food(s) you own been feeding that the dog has not done well on and avoid certain ingredients — changing the protein source and avoiding corn and wheat are generally excellent places to start. A food trial with the hypoallergenic diet should final no less than 8 weeks! Absolutely nothing else, except water, should pass through your dog’s lips during the food trial (no treats, no people food, no sneaking the cat’s food, change to a heartworm preventative that is not a chewable treat, etc).
I had a patient that turned out to be exclusively food allergic, which is helpful of strange because love I mentioned earlier, allergic animal are generally allergic to multiple allergens.
So I suggested a really expensive and extremely excellent hypoallergenic diet. The dog didn’t improve at every over the eight week food trial. The owner and I were both ready to attempt something else when she told me that she didn’t ponder that this really mattered but her dog loved eating cat poop. She was wildly embarrassed (which she shouldn’t own been, especially with me, because it is extremely common). Cats own a extremely high protein requirement so their food is chock full of allergens, which makes cat poop beautiful darn allergenic!
When we finally outsmarted Jackson and figured out how to hold him out of the litter box, his skin improved dramatically.
Multiple food trials may be necessary to fully law out a food allergy. For example, you may own been feeding a chicken based diet and select to do your first food trial with lamb. Your dog could be allergic to both, necessitating a change to a diverse protein. Lamb isn’t really a excellent choice for a food trial (for a lot of reasons, but that’s a topic for another discussion) primarily because it is moderately allergenic.
Dermatologists generally recommend a really «novel» protein, love venison, duck, rabbit, salmon or bison.
So now what, after weeks of these feeding trials? Your dog needs some relief! And it’s ok (and generally necessary) to provide relief while you are doing your feeding trial, especially in the beginning. Hold in mind that the dog will generally improve with the symptomatic treatment, so don’t let that cause you to believe a certain food is working. Also remember that dogs are often allergic to multiple diverse allergens (fleas, food, dust mites, pollen, etc) so even if your dog is just somewhat improved, you will probably desire to continue with the hypoallergenic diet.
Fleas and Ticks
Once you notice your dog itching, check for fleas and ticks first.
These blood-dependent pests use dogs as hosts every the time, and can latch on anywhere. Ticks can go unnoticed for some time until they become fully engorged and large enough for you to spot and remove. Hold in mind these irritating insects can and do carry a variety of dangerous diseases, so it’s significant to check for them during tick season and any time your dog enters a potentially infested area (anywhere exterior, mind you).
Fleas are less dangerous but just as uncomfortable. Infestations of this helpful can cause severe itching and skin reactions, sometimes requiring veterinary care. Certain dogs can own allergic reactions to flea bites that cause extremely painful boiling spots, hair loss, swelling, and even infection.
Spotting them is sometimes easier than ticks if you check regularly, but in long-coated and dark-colored dogs you might need some additional assist. Brush through your dog’s jacket with a clean flea comb to be certain if you’re dealing with a flea occupation. Flea dirt can be spotted on your dog or in his most common resting areas such as beds and crates. If you give your dog a bath and notice a reddish brown color in the water, fleas are almost always the cause.
Checking your dog for fleas and ticks is not just a benefit to him, but it can also benefit you and your family.
Fleas especially can migrate hosts and infest your whole home. As much as you don’t desire your dog to be itchy, you don’t desire you or your family feeling the same effects. It can also be a excellent thought to check yourself or your children for fleas or ticks after an outdoor excursion for your own health, but also to avoid them spreading to your pup too.
The best treatment for fleas and ticks is prevention. Because these pests can be so uncomfortable–and dangerous–it’s recommended that flea and tick preventatives are used as frequently as your vet recommends.
Keeping these pests away is much easier than trying to clear up an infestation that already exists, and it’ll hold you and your dog more comfortable in the endless run. Be certain to check with your vet to make certain any medicated shampoos and preventatives are the correct dosage and are safe for him to get as well. There are numerous options available when choosing pest prevention–topical medication, flea and tick collars, sprays, as well as long-lasting shampoos. And if you do discover fleas and ticks on your pup, call your vet immediately for treatment recommendations and be certain to wash your dog’s bedding, as well.
DOG ALLERGIES TREATMENTS
Treating allergies can be frustrating for the owner, the veterinarian, and most of every for the poor dog.
It is significant for owners to realize (and for veterinarians to make certain they inform owners) that allergies don’t generally go away, we primarily treat the symptoms. It will seem love they go away because the animal will generally improve with treatment, but once treatment is stopped and the animal continues to come into contact with what it is allergic to, it will scratch again.
So what’s next? You own done a couple food trials, you are keeping every the fleas off, you own tried antihistamines, fatty acids and medicated shampoos and your dog is still miserable.
Most veterinarians will recommend a short course of steroids at this point. If the dog continues to dig at their skin and keeps it secondarily infected, the itch cycle won’t stop because the dog is now scratching at the secondary infection AND the underlying allergy.
Steroids (prednisone, prenisolone, hydrocortisone) work extremely nicely and quickly to provide relief, but don’t get too excited because steroids, love with people, own side effects (dog will drink more, urinate more, may own accidents in the home, increased appetite, may predispose to Diabetes, may predispose to Cushings disease).
Using the lowest possible dosage to provide relief is the objective. Work with your veterinarian to discover the perfect dosage for your dog.
Continuing antihistamines when you add the steroids is generally a excellent thought because the two work together to give the dog more than just an additive effect from the two medications. You can also wean the dog off of the steroids faster as a general law. Continuing the fatty acid supplements is also a excellent thought for the same reason.
NEW IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE DRUGS
Steroids work because they suppress the dog’s excessive immune response to allergens. Veterinary dermatologists own been searching for diverse drugs that calm below the dog’s immune response that don’t own as numerous side effects as steroids tend to.
Two relatively new drugs seem promising : Atopica (Cyclosporine) and Apoquel (Oclacitinib). They own drawbacks as well: they are much more expensive than steroids and Apoquel has been so favorite this year, it has been backordered. Enquire your veterinarian if these might be a excellent thought for your dog.
FATTY ACID SUPPLEMENTS
One final, relatively benign (meaning no genuine side effects), treatment option for dogs are fatty acid supplements. Pick one that is formulated for dogs as they own diverse fatty acid requirements than humans do, so it’s hard, if not impossible, to just pour some vegetable oil over their food and “get it right”.
You generally won’t notice anything too dramatic in the way of improvement, but it will help.
I had a client once that swore the liquid fatty acid supplement I started her dog on was making the dog’s skin much worse and, certain enough, I was looking at him and his skin was definitely worse. I was thinking we were going to own to attempt something stronger for him until she showed me how she really rubbed the liquid fatty acids into his skin twice a day!?! There are a few topical fatty acid preparations, but the majority, love the one I started her dog on, are supposed to be given ORALLY, so be certain to hear carefully and read labels carefully.
Special shampoos can assist soothe and heal certain skin conditions.
Work with your veterinarian to determine a shampoo that is correct for your dog because the incorrect shampoo can deplete significant fatty acids from the skin, making it dry and itchier than it was in the first put. If your dog has a secondary skin infection, a medicated shampoo will generally be a excellent choice. It is generally possible to determine if the skin infection is caused by bacteria vs. fungal (yeast) organisms, and thus making your choice for a shampoo more appropriate and ultimately more effective for your dog.
Most secondary skin infections own both bacterial and fungal components, so thankfully there are numerous excellent, strong shampoos with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Always follow the label on the bottle, but in general, soaping your dog up and letting the medicated shampoo sit for at least 10 minutes improves its efficacy. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed if the secondary skin infection is bad enough. Now is a excellent time to mention keeping hypoallergenic baby wipes near the door and wiping your pet’s feet when the pollen is really bad exterior. Some dermatologists support this and others tell that the pollen that you can see is generally not the offending organism but hey, it’s simple and free!
HOW TO TREAT MY DOG’S ALLERGIES NATURALLY — HOMEOPATHY
So maybe you are tired of treating your pet’s allergies traditionally: antihistamines don’t seem to work extremely well, steroids seem to own too numerous side effects, allergy testing with a dermatologist seems too expensive, etc. Now may be the time to attempt homeopathy.
Or starting with homeopathy and attempting to avoid the endless battle with allergies described above is also an excellent option. “Allergy Seasonal” or “Food Allergy” are excellent starting options if your dog has either of these. If your dog has a problem with inhalant allergens love pollen, grass, trees, mold spores, etc, consider trying “Atopic Dermatitis”.
Check out this testimonial that we recently received from someone who uses our “Allergy Seasonal” package:
«Finally, something that actually worked!
I would recommend this highly if your dog has allergies where the skin can become infected. Discuss the issues with HomeoAnimal rep and they will guide you to the proper formula based on your dog’s info. … Definitely worth it considering her allergy med was costing around $50 a month!!»
Still not ready for the large packages? These are excellent options as well, depending on your dog’s symptoms: Dust Mite Allergy (which is much more common than you might think), Itching, Anti-inflammatory, Alopecia (Hair loss), Ear Infection(Otitis), Fleas (bites), Flea (itching), Beautiful Jacket, Eczema (general term for skin inflammation and irritation), Seborrhea (two types = oily or greasy and dry or flaky), and Ticks & Fleas.
About the Author
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Antihistamines are a excellent put to start with treatment.
They own minimal side effects (will generally just cause drowsiness) and they assist block histamine release which is causing the itching. This sounds love they should work perfectly for allergic animals but they generally just provide a little relief for mild to moderate allergy sufferers. It will seem love they don’t assist the severely allergic animal at every, but since they own minimal side effects (and can work synergistically with other medications) it is generally suggested that an allergic animal stay on them even when adding stronger medications.
Be certain to work with your veterinarian to calculate the perfect dosage for your pet — dogs own a much higher dosage requirement when it comes to antihistamines.
For example, a 25 pound cocker spaniel will generally need one entire adult 25 mg Benadryl (diphenhydramine) up to three times a day. Underdosing may be one of the reasons antihistamines seem love they don’t work extremely well for pets. When one antihistamine seems to not be working extremely well, you can attempt switching to another one.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE THERAPIST
Denyse Lessard is a therapist in alternative medicine.
She is the creator of the company’s entire line of natural remedies.
She has an extensive educational background and has earned multiple degrees, including diplomas in Chinese medicine, Reflexology, Naturopathy & Iridology, and Homeopathy. She is also a member of the Association of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists of Quebec, and the Professional Union of Homeopaths of Quebec.
When working with her patients, Denyse believes in not only helping pets achieve optimum health, but keeping them in tip-top shape for their entire lives.
We invite you to study more about Denyse’s expertise in the alternative field.
Feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected]
One of the most mind-boggling choices dog and cat owners face is how to safely guard against fleas and ticks.
Those creepy crawlers aren’t just gross; they can transmit disease to both pets and people.
Pets need protection, but numerous of the solutions on store shelves are loaded with chemicals that could be risky to their health—and yours.
So what’s a responsible pet lover to do? The key is to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from allowing these harmful products to reach store shelves in the first put. Until the EPA does this, however, you can educate yourself about the risks and benefits of various treatment options, then bring that knowledge to the store. There are ways to hold every your family members, including the furry ones, safe from dangerous pests and the most toxic ingredients.
The perils of pest protection
Most conventional flea and tick products—including collars, topical treatments, sprays, and dusts—are registered as pesticides and regulated by the EPA.
(Those given orally, love pills, must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug istration.) But here’s the ugly truth: Numerous of the pesticides allowed for use on pets are linked to serious health issues in people, such as cancer and neurological and respiratory problems. Pets can also suffer: Skin irritation, neurological problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and even organ failure own been reported as a result of pet poisonings.
The government has faced criticism from NRDC and other watchdog groups about insufficient safety standards for these products.
Consumers, as well as some veterinarians, don’t know the whole tale, says NRDC senior scientist Miriam Rotkin-Ellman. “Many vets count on the EPA to make certain that the products on the market are safe if used correctly.” Unfortunately, the ingredients in these products are still fairly dangerous, and regular use can result in unsafe exposure, particularly for children and pregnant women.
For example, even low-level exposure to organophosphates and carbamates—two particularly dangerous families of pesticides found in some flea treatments as well as in agricultural and lawn products—have been linked to learning disabilities in children.
For this reason, most household uses of these pesticides own already been banned. Unfortunately, kids can still be exposed to them from their furry siblings’ flea collars or other products.
Going nontoxic. Fortunately for numerous families, fleas can be controlled without resorting to harmful chemicals. Always attempt the strategies under first before considering chemicals—safer chemicals—if additional protection is needed.
Here’s what you can do:
Groom your pets regularly. Common soap and water will kill adult fleas. In addition, comb your animal’s fur with a fine-tooth flea comb, and dunk any critters into a container of sudsy water.
Clean, clean, clean. Wash your pet’s bedding weekly in boiling, soapy water, and vacuum and wipe below pet-frequented surfaces often, including behind and underneath furniture and between sofa cushions. If you’re the victim of a flea infestation, Karyn Bischoff, a toxicologist at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, recommends doing this daily.
For severe cases, professional steam cleaning may be needed for your carpets.
Take preemptive steps in your yard and garden. It helps to put beneficial nematodes—worms that eat flea larvae—in the soil where your pet is likely to frolic. Discover them in garden supply stores or online.
Diatomaceous ground is a less toxic option for the home and yard, says Rotkin-Ellman, “but it can be really damaging if it is inhaled or gets into your or your pet’s eyes.” Use caution and protective gear, and use it only in areas where pets and kids won’t be exposed.
Glance for products marketed to control pests, and avoid the helpful used in swimming-pool systems.
Be wary of products marketed as “natural.” Sadly, there’s no magic nontoxic bullet to wipe out these pests. Natural products and herbal remedies should also be approached with caution. They may not work—and some aren’t safe, says Bischoff. Numerous of these contain peppermint, cinnamon, lemongrass, cedarwood, or rosemary oil. While these may be safer than some of the synthetic chemicals, they own also been linked to allergies in both pets and humans, and not much is known about how well they actually work. If you give these a attempt, monitor your pet and family closely for adverse reactions.
There are varying degrees of harm when it comes to these products and the chemicals they contain.
Work with your vet to craft a custom plan for your pet, and hold some basic guidelines in mind to spot safer products:
Ask about oral flea-prevention treatments. Pills with the athletic ingredients lufenuron, nitenpyram, or spinosad can be a better option, for both animals and humans, than treatments that leave residue on fur that might get on hands or furniture. But oral meds need to be prescribed by a vet and are considerably more expensive, so they may not be a realistic option for every pet owners.
Identify safer ingredients. If chemical products are necessary for additional flea or tick control, NRDC recommends s-methoprene or pyriproxyfen, which are less toxic ingredients—but read the labels carefully because some products use them with other, more harmful pesticides.
Avoid products that include synthetic neonicotinoids (like imidacloprid and dinotefuran), which are harmful to bees and may be toxic to the developing brain of young kids.
Be wary of flea collars. These products can contain some of the most dangerous insecticides, including tetrachlorvinphos, carbaryl, and propoxur. Some of the collars posing the greatest risk are already being phased out of production, and NRDC is suing the EPA to ban the relax.
Until that happens (and until older products are off store shelves entirely), either avoid collars altogether or be vigilant about searching labels for those specific athletic ingredients.
Use additional caution with tick products. When it comes to tick prevention—or combination flea-and-tick products—the news is even grimmer. Most products designed to repel these buggers include possible carcinogens and nervous-system toxins love fipronil, permethrin, pyrethrins, or imidacloprid.
“Our recommendation for ticks is to use the least toxic option available, at the lowest level, and only when you need it,” Rotkin-Ellman says. If you live in an area where ticks and Lyme disease are prevalent, you probably need protection—but talk to your vet about how much and how often. Pregnant women and young children should minimize their exposure.
Buy a species-specific product. Two common ingredients in flea-and-tick products, permethrin and pyrethrins, are extremely toxic to cats. Don’t put these ingredients on your dog, either, if you also own a cat that could snuggle up with or brush against it.
Choose the correct formula for your pet’s weight. An EPA investigation showed that little dogs (10 to 20 pounds) were most likely to own reactions such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures from topical treatments.
Dogs that are ancient, young, ill, or on meds are also at higher risk. (Flea and tick control can interfere with other medications, rendering them ineffective or even poisonous.) There are even breed-specific sensitivities, so a conversation with your vet is in order before you decide how to proceed.
Don’t rely on shampoos. Flea and tick shampoo may seem love a safer, more cost-effective option, but they often contain numerous of the same ingredients as topical treatments and can cause adverse reactions and allergies, Bischoff says.
Moreover, they’re not meant to take the put of preventive options. “You’d use a shampoo for an animal with an infestation and then, generally, follow up with a topical treatment,” she says. Read labels, and take the same precautions with shampoos as you would with spot-on or collar products.
Report health issues immediately. If you or your pet reacts to a pet product containing pesticides, call your local poison control middle, talk to your doctor, and, later, report it to the National Pesticide Information Middle at 800-858-7378.
With warmer weather creeping in, you might discover your dog itching more often.
There are numerous causes of a dog’s itchy skin, but each one should require that you law out other conditions before starting a specific treatment.
Nothing makes you more frustrated than seeing your pet uncomfortable, so soothing your dog’s itchy skin takes priority. The two main things that give a dog itchy skin are pests and allergies, both of which can be seasonal. Need assist diagnosing him? Schedule an exam with your veterinarian. Even if your dog’s itching seems minor, you’ll desire to make certain you’re on the correct track and using safe products to curb his discomfort.