Many pet owners know what it’s like to watch their furry friends suffer through allergy season. Prescription drugs come with a slew of side effects, but natural alternatives might not be enough on their own. A combined approach—also known as integrative medicine—may be what your pet needs to curb their discomfort.
Below are the most effective treatment options for pet allergies—both conventional and holistic—that work best when their healing properties are combined.
Herbs and herbal supplements
Pet owners are turning to herbal supplements for allergy relief because they’re an all-natural solution that, unlike many prescription allergy medications, won’t suppress the animal’s immune system. These supplements contain compounds that can soothe itchy skin and reduce respiratory-related allergy symptoms.
Dandelion has proven to reduce allergy symptoms from the inside out. This herb boosts liver function, which becomes especially crucial in allergic pets. The liver undergoes stress because it has to filter out the histamine that’s produced during allergic reactions. A healthy liver reduces your pet’s histamine levels and can alleviate their symptoms.
Topical treatments are also popular remedies for treating allergic pets. For example, the sap from aloe plants is commonly used to soothe red, itchy skin.
Micronutrients are a collection of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids that support hundreds of bodily functions. They can also reduce allergy symptoms in cats and dogs.
While your pet’s food contains a range of micronutrients, your furry friend might benefit from a little extra of certain ones. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, can help soothe itchy and inflamed skin by reducing bodily inflammation. Omega-3s are commonly found in the form of fish oil.
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and helps block the production of chemicals that trigger allergic reactions. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces the redness and swelling of skin rashes. A combination of vitamin A, zinc and selenium can banish itchiness and clear up rashes, as well.
Every time your pup goes outside, they’re exposed to allergens that get trapped in their fur. All the pollen and air pollution they encounter follows them back inside the house. That’s why pet owners should bathe their dogs on a regular basis with a plain, hypoallergenic shampoo. Bathing gets rid of the allergens in your dog’s fur, so they’re less likely to sneeze and scratch. You could even try an oatmeal colloid to soothe sensitive skin.
Whether you have a cat or dog, get into the habit of wiping their paws every time they come back inside the house. Paws track in all sorts of allergens like pollen and grass. To make matters worse, scratching a rash with contaminated paws can make allergy symptoms a whole lot worse! The fewer allergens your pet has on their paws, the less they’ll suffer from seasonal allergies.
You don’t have control over what dogs get into while they’re exploring the outdoors. What you can control, though, is the number of airborne allergens circulating in your home. Install air filters that are HEPA certified to cut down on how much dust and mold your pets breathe. This is especially important for pets with seasonal allergies, although installing new air filters should occur throughout the whole year.
Check the instructions that come with your air filter to see how often it needs to be replaced. Filters that sit in your home for too long can grow mold and make allergy symptoms worse.
For pets with severe allergies that interrupt their quality of life, holistic treatment is often more effective when used alongside conventional medication. Antihistamines and corticosteroids are among the most common prescription drugs for pet allergies. These medications get rid of itchiness and allow skin rashes to heal, which minimizes the risk of infection. However, pet owners should keep in mind that conventional medications may suppress the immune system and comes with a list of potential side effects.
Allergy shots are a safe and effective procedure that won’t negatively impact your pet’s immune system. Your vet may run some lab tests to determine which allergens trigger a reaction in your pet. The allergy shots inject trace amounts of those substances, so your pet’s immune response gradually becomes less severe. A vet will administer the shots at your local clinic.
How your furry companion overcomes their allergies is up to you. Under a vet’s guidance, owners can try several different treatment options until they find one that works best with their pet’s unique condition. If your pet requires conventional medications or immunotherapy, you can still support their health with a range of holistic treatments to keep them comfortable. Every animal experiences allergies differently, so it all comes down to the severity of your pet’s symptoms and what makes them itch.