This is a long post, I apologize, but I like to share as much information on one page, so that it’s all there. It seems like everyone is looking for a very quick fix and just to have their dog pop-a-pill and help their pet get over whatever issue, allergy or symptoms they are having, but that’s not always the case nor is it always the resolution or answer.
I have found that after properly adjusting the foods that our pets are actually suppose to be eating and avoiding other foods that our pets should not be eating (regardless if it is said to be okay for them), often it’s just environmental issues such as seasonal elements, mostly even bug bites (that our pets start to scratch and create bigger issues from) as well as, something we are using around our pets surroundings (pesticides inside or on the grass), also improperly or over washing our pets skin (unbalancing the PH) and using too many medicines and chemicals after another, not allowing or giving our pets skin time to renew itself . Meanwhile, must keep them from getting to affected areas by having them wear e-collars and it is aggravating impatiently waiting for them to heal, but if not, it starts again.
I hope by sharing my experiences and what I have found to work could help others, on all timeframes or financial budgets. Please read through to the end, something might be here that could finally help you find solutions to help your pet and combat their issues (give you ideas and information for you to research), at the end I repeat the protocols.
My dogs have suffered with allergies on and off for years, I have one doggie that seems to suffer the most, she is a senior dog, but had only started to experience allergy symptoms between 7-8 yrs. old. It’s been several years trying to get a foothold on what really is causing these outbreaks and what to do, in order to help my fur-babies. I have experienced much, trying to manage and cope with their outbreaks and flare-ups.
It’s heartbreaking and aggravating having to watch your dog suffer, especially when you’re trying everything to figure out what it is, that’s causing it and you can’t figure it out. As well, it seems that I’m not the only one frustrated with trying to find solutions in helping my dogs. I’ve read a lot of forums, over the past couple years with many pet owners reaching out and trying to either get help, ask for help or consult each other about, what can help. Especially with dogs. I’ve noticed there’s been an over-whelming amount of pet owners coping with their pets having allergies (with their dogs, scratching, excessively licking itching and biting themselves and often leaving their skin raw), at least more than I ever could recall hearing about or had myself ever before coping with.
Through much research off and online, reading forums of pet owner groups, costly veterinarian bills, medicines, sprays, ointments, shampoos, supplements, food- eliminations, food varieties, powders and the help of holistic remedies (feeling the same as others “at wits end” on what to do) and why is this happening to my pet? Lovingly desperate, we we try and help our beloved pet. Yet, trying too many things and possibly overmedicating and using to all types of products and such can also unbalance the natural mantle of the skin, as well as make inside system full of built-up extra toxins that must be filtered through the pets system and out through the pores as well. It can all be an up-and-down roller coaster and exhausting when your pet has an issue with their health or skin.
Why should our pets be experiencing human type issues with allergies, skin conditions, suffering physically, mentally and emotionally with all of these? Some pet owners even will have allergy test run on their dogs or pets and the tests come back with results that the pet is allergic to so many things, different foods as well as environmental elements, said to cause havoc whether it’s grass, pollen, certain plants, dust mites, bug bites etc.. This becomes even more frustrating trying to figure out how to cope with finding the combination of the right foods and what to do when bringing your dog outside and back inside.
I found that bug-bites, fleas, animal or pet-sibling bites or scratches (from them playing with each other), may also play a large role in causing tiny irritations that go unnoticed or unseen ( inside fur) . The dog will scratch and irritate those to the point of a rash, infections or outbreaks . Yeastie build-up also tends to be a common issue and using a mixture of 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 water in cleaning the areas seems to help with this.
For many years in the past, my dogs were automatically put on flea, tick and heartworm medicines by my veterinarian, just as I found most dogs were. This most likely cut down on bites from the fleas causing these issues. Yet, even when they were on the flea, tick and heartworm medications and there were no fleas, the allergy symptoms could still appear and us-pet owners, become frustrated dealing with this. As well flea and heart-worm medicines can become toxic to many dogs, as the suggested for the weight of the dog is such a large variance (such as 40-60lbs) and that can be a big difference if you dogs weight is on the lesser poundage. However, using with the weight caution specific monthly flea and heart-worm medications can be essential in keeping your dogs skin from fleas, insects bites and other issues.
Once my dog was over 8yrs old, I was hesitant to keep giving her flea medications, but we became RV-ers, living fulltime out in different terrains and environments (lots of woods and beaches), with insects and bugs-a-plenty. I found ocean water can help soothe dogs irritations and kill fleas, (I would take a bucket to the beach and pour it on my dogs, as some dogs of are afraid or dislike the water and dogs don’t always know how to naturally swim. Regular table salt has been known to kill fleas (it dehydrates them), used on carpets and vacuumed up. Yet, salt of any kind even ocean water, can become to drying for your pets skin, so only use that occasionally and don’t t over do it. I found a product called Coat Defense (its safe for dogs, cats and horses), it is a sprinkle-rub-in-powder that helps repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and also heals the skin. It has been a very good product. I have also used products called Wondercide (spray-on) and Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) and also sprinkle rub-in powder that repels insects. If I notice an area on my pet that seems to be irritated the first thing I do is clean area gently and pat dry, (use just water and a very small amount of gentle soap), often I will use apple cider vinegar ( I like Braggs brand) and water mixture and then pat dry and then I’ll spray my specific aloe first soothing spray on the area. Keeping a watch that my dog is not re-irritating that area more by licking, biting or scratching it (so it will have a chance to heal).
It is proven that nutrition in humans is utmost important in fighting against illness and disease and so, I know it is a factor for our pets as well. In researching about the way dry kibble pet food is processed and some with horrible chemicals, many even have problems with mites, as they come in large quantities that sit there for a while and a lot of them are just not that fresh. As well the dry kibbles (canned dog-food too), could be lacking in the nutrition that dogs need; as commercial dog foods are convenient,but could just be filling our pets up, but not always giving them the nutritional needs dogs really should have. Plus, dogs (as in any pet), may be needing a certain vitamins or such to help with a deficiency. Many dog foods seem to have Ingredients such as : wheat, meat or meal by-products of (some kind), yeast, some various protein break downs and parts of chicken and other animal meats and fish, among various starches, carbs, fruits, sugars, soy, corn and other types of fillers and these seem to cause a lot of skin issues and digestive issues over time, since it’s not what dogs should be eating.
It all made sense, since the kibble dry dog foods, fillers, by-products, chemicals, wheat, corn, chicken, (carbs), certain grains, starchy vegetables and whatever else, in the dog or human foods that was given to my dogs in which may additionally contain carbs or starch (bread, bagels etc. and potatoes, dairy, fruits and sugars), seem to trigger and contribute to the build-up of yeast and allergies symptoms. Plus, where the commercial dog food is made; there could be other products that are manufactured out of that same factory your pet may have allergies to . As well, what is fed by the farmers that raise the animals used for protein in the pet foods, could be things that your dog may be allergic to. This can cause such confusion because the a product you could be feeding your pet may not be suitable and then you try another, but you still won’t get any better results. ( I had also read that changing your pets food every few years, as they may have become intolerant to it), but not sure if that could be true. Although a dog food with better ingredients would help.
I had tried everything traditional from all the advice of several veterinarians to other dog owners, but nothing was actually curing them. There was relief from the allergy symptoms (itching, scratching and sores), with some holistic remedies and other sufficient products and there are several different types of allergy shots that are given to dogs to help relieve the symptoms and they’re not all very safe to use, but many pet owners will end-up using any of them for their dogs, out of desperation. My vet used a shot called Cytopoint (a protein not a steroid) and a shot called Convenia (antibiotic) when things got to out of control and unmanageable (where it may have caused wounds or raw skin) , I would only use the Cytopoint shots when needed, usually every 3-6 months or even just once a year (managing in between), when and if there was flare-ups. Allergy shots such as Cytopoint, helps with managing the symptoms, yet, “it does not preventing the culprits that are triggering them”.
One must understand that when using allergy shots or allergy remedies, it can help and the symptoms will seem to be gone and your pet may be good and they may not need another allergy shot for months. This will all depend upon if not re-visiting an area that could have pesticides, grass or pollen and beginning of new allergy seasons or if pet is being feed something causing it or being bit by fleas or in contact with what triggers the flare-ups once again, as the culprit that is causing the allergy. Therefore, the protocol can be deceiving and frustrating, as you may have seen results and there can be flare-ups again. So, these factors above must be taken into account (I write down flare-ups on a calendar and all types of things to document, it helps me recall things).
If not using any protocols yet or in between trying to help manage your pets symptoms, it often takes a pet having to constantly wear an E-collar, even when using healing protocols, especially if you are not able to be around and keep them from getting to their irritated or healing skin. (I take the E-collar off ), when my dog would eat or go out on walk to go potty or when my pets go to sleep, but may be needed while they sleep so they won’t be getting to the affected areas).
I did have success with managing the symptoms and to help heal the rashes and breakouts with some Holistic remedies (all of what I used listed below on bottom, please read article, as it explains the how when and whys, in using them ). I also would pick up my dogs poop after they went, even if it was in our own backyard as the dogs run through the backyard, so not for them to get it on their paws and cause more bacteria and then bring it into the house on their paws (which will cause them to be excessively licking their dirty paws).
I clean off their paws, when they came in from the outside, (spray bottle of purified water and a clean rag), especially during pollen season or around a swampy area or a grassy area that may also have been sprayed with pesticides or when environmental allergies happened. If, whenever my dogs paws were bothering them or I noticed were pink-irritated or if being around elements that may irritate. I would clean their paws off, (rinse) with a spray bottle of purified water and my specific Aloe Vera product (proven to be healing in many instances). I dry off their paws with a clean rag, but if prone to yeastie paws, I used extra-watered down-Braggs ACV (if using ‘every day’ coming in from outside) or I also use the aloe vera spray product (I put half of the solution in another bottle and mix it with some purified water) and keep using as a spray to clean and wipe off for everyday. If and when needed I will use the full strength (Aloe Vera Spray), rub it in on any flareups in addition using it with soothing balm). I have also found bath-wipes by ‘arm and hammer’ for dogs (can wipe their bodies) to their paws, from when outside, coming inside.
These actions all did help with some of the issues in healing the paws. Yet, I still had to get to the root of the problem of the allergies and where it may be triggered from, was it their food? or something in the inside or outside environment? Their emotions, anxiety or stress? I just wanted to find out what it was that was causing it.
*I also feel that out of boredom, lack of exercise, being left alone for long hours and having anxieties, a dog could scratch and excessively licking themselves (as in self-soothing) from the emotions of the dog themselves, as this stress and anxieties could also be contributing in agitating the allergy symptoms. Also I believe that many pets do just groom themselves and that’s what pet do . Sometimes, I even feel as though my one dog just scratches themself out of habit (in between her allergy shots even if there’s nothing there and she has no irritation) and I just distract her and stop her from scratching. I do keep a watch on it so it doesn’t become to the point of chewing or licking and irrupting the skin (that could then cause infection and issues).
So, with a pet doing a succession of these things it can add up and look, as if they’re having a flare-up or allergies, but maybe then they just irrupt their skin and it begins a cycle needing healing, all over again. I often keep my pet wrapped-up cozy and covered, either with a light weight type of their own blankie during the warmer months or a warmer blankie during the cooler month’s (tucking it in around them), to deter them from getting at themselves. I always use a calm voice to get them to stop any obsessive habit of chewing or itching, talking sweetly, petting them, distracting them (giving them attention and softly talking and petting them) especially if I feel they are self-soothing themselves. They love all the attention!! As well to help boredom and just to cheer them up, I found ‘nature gnaw brand dog bones’ made from just one ingredient that are easy to digest (I use gardening sheers-the small pruners to cut in 1/2 the bones for my smaller dog). I also tried giving CBD chews or natural calming vitamins for dogs, which can help too.
At one point, after changing my dogs diet several times, with no actual success of ridding their allergies or skin issues. I decided to try an elimination diet of foods in my dogs diets, then added different foods back, I did finally came to a conclusion that chicken and wheat were culprits causing breakouts (others may find the same or different culprits). So, I was making an effort finding dog food, dog cookies and treats with no wheat or chicken (which is pretty difficult in itself). As, many pet foods will even say; beef or salmon as their main ingredient and no chicken or wheat, but if reading the ingredients, chicken, wheat, yeast or starch is in there, in some kind of form and that also goes for every dog cookie or dog treat out there. You may find an all-beef-sticks, as they have a large selection at many of the pet stores, but they’re very pricey. If I do get some, I use a garden plant-pruner cutting tool to cut them in half or so, to divide them up, to last more days.
The elimination diet supported my own suspicions that in order to clear up digestive issues, skin conditions, allergy symptoms and breakouts that the dogs were having; it was going to have to be cleared and healed not only in battling it from the outside of the dog (with the protocols), but also with combating it from the inside (as we-humans also do this to help ourselves), from inside the gut. Whereas, I had already seen and had success with healing the wounds on the outside with certain healing products. But now to heal the inside gut. I had eliminated chicken, wheat and most grains from my dogs diets and now I was going to additionally avoid giving them any starches, soy, yeast, carbs, grains, fruits, sugar, dairy and other fillers (boy are they going to miss those pieces of bagels I used to give them!) I also gave them probiotics after they eat their meals, as I tried this protocol to clear their gut and where, I felt all the issues may coincide.
**The main protocol: I only fed my dogs, all cooked animal proteins, beef (med to med rare) preferably steak-meat cut up and cooked lamb and cooked fish, salmon is a good one (fresh fish is always better than canned), but I keep on hand canned salmon, mackerel, sardines plain in water and occasionally give them cooked shrimp, but I only give cooked ground beef or pork-(very limited & sparingly). So, whatever meat protein, I knew they weren’t allergic to by trying each one individually and then added a little amount of some non-starchy veggies; such as chopped up carrots or green beans (for my picky eater doggie, I had to mix in the veggies and cover it with the meat or fish protein for my picky dog). I did this for 2 weeks faithfully and I saw good results (may need to do it much longer). I had to still be aware of any bug bites, as this causes flare-ups all over again (and living in an RV and camping out in woods there’s much opportunity for that).
After fully getting it under control and their skin had all cleared up, i kept doing this for a couple more weeks and they had not been excessively scratching, itching, licking or biting, I kept giving them the meat protein and occasionally a non-starch veggies and added a dog food that I found, called “Solid Gold” brand canned beef dog (trying this one, staying away from dry-food kibbles) and I adjusted the portions appropriately and i kept giving them the fresh cooked meats and fresh fish and rotating the cooked meats and fish and once in awhile with tuna fish, salmon or mackerel in the can and non-starchy veggies now used in smaller portions, as toppers to the canned dog food.
In the event that I did not have fresh made meats or fish to cook and add to my dogs food as toppers, I would always keep on hand, (Nulo brand freeze dried meat organs) to add to their canned solid gold dog food. Eventually, I gave (as a treat once in awhile), some Greek plain yogurt (just as a treat only now and then), but there’s only 1 brand I found around here that was safe enough called FAGE 2% Greek yogurt. I found that this one was okay to give to dogs, it has no sugar or sugar substitutes that are dangerous to dogs or bad stuff added. Once in awhile I would give blueberries and strawberries too (you can grind them up in a blender and then mix it into their foods if they won’t eat it alone. I also would mix tumeric herb powder and coconut oil. I make a paste and I would add it to their food once in awhile, but not everyday. Turmeric helps reduces inflammation and helps in healing and coconut oil (can be used on them as well) . I have also given supplement-vitamins of fish oil or a fatty acid such as omega-3 or omega-6 oil , they can also get these vitamins from feeding fresh or canned salmon, sardines or other canned fish.
I can say, after these protocols, it had been more manageable and my dogs had clear skin, shiny coats and were not excessively itching, scratching or licking at all (only to groom themselves or self-soothing when trying to calm themselves). Not that my dogs (or any pet) will ever not scratch, lick or itch themselves, they do. As my dogs themselves are subjected to insects and such many times, as we do a lot of outside living. So, I notice little areas here and there that could have been a reaction to a bug bite and was irritated by my dogs scratching, but I quickly clean the area and use whichever protocol needed to help soothe and heal it and it goes away. “I can’t say that my dogs will ever totally be without an irritation or skin upset ever again. I just think, I will need to learn to manage it with a proper protocol and that is not constantly frustrating or aggravating to either my pet or myself”
Anyway, I realized once I knew what foods now to feed them and to just stay away from things dog just shouldn’t eat, regardless of what is offered or advertised and out on the shelves for us all to buy or online to buy. Our dogs ancestors may have been wolves, but our pets are domesticated and it gets a little trickier because their systems, emotions, environments, owners behaviors and surroundings can be all vary and all have specific needs, and they are not the same as a wild dog outside.. For each dog may have different grooming needs, sensitivities, triggers in allergies and the owners availability of funds and time.
***I had come to the conclusion, that the elimination diet did help me figure out what foods my dogs were having issues with, but I also think dogs, just should not be eating things that dogs, just should not be eating regardless (whether the social media internet, google, veterinarian or others say it’s “safe for dogs to eat”). As, I find some of those things “safe for dogs to eat” as in potatoes, cheese, yogurt, certain fruits etc..to be only given may be, as a treat once in awhile. I also realize that some dogs can develop seasonal allergies and could be more sensitive to certain environmental things then other dogs and other dogs like to groom themselves more than others and it may appear that they are reacting from allergies, but could be just cleaning themselves. Most often they have gotten a bug bite or an irritation from some thing but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an allergy it may go away within a day or week or so, but it may call for the dog to have some kind of healing salve, gentle remedy or something on it, using an E collar so they can’t get to it as it heals.
Also discovering that, there are seasonal blooms in certain months, different areas and variety of household or laundry cleaners, chemicals, dust and other environmental things that may trigger allergies again, even if you had their food allergies under control..A protocol of more natural cleansers, holistic remedies and careful observing of your pet as to when they seem to start itching or licking, will have to be used and efforts made to avoid all of those things that trigger the allergy symptoms. My one doggie, she is sensitive to pollen season, grass (swampy wet kind) and pesticides on the grass. I would make sure to also clean out AC vents, as pollen, dust mites and dander are allergens known to stick and get trapped in them as well.
It’s not one fix or one thing that fixes all, but it’s been much better for my dogs and it has cleared up the constant issues they were having. Remember when using holistic remedies, (even sometimes with traditional methods), it’s not always going to be a quick fix, as it takes time to see results and you have to use holistic remedies a couple times a day to ensure the consistency for healing.
***Here’s the Protocols; that I saw successful results with.****
1. “Braggs” brand of apple cider vinegar (it seems to have extra healing properties) must be DILUTED with equal parts of warm water and I put the mixture in a spray bottle and rub it into the affected area (you can also make enough mixture up to use as a whole body skin and fur rinse, just apply, rub it in, then rinse and towel pat dry) or you can apply with square cosmetic cotton pads where needed. I also use the mixture put into a spray bottle and can spray it on areas on their skin, in tops of inner earS and such (if their skin or outbreak is very raw or bleeding, wait a day or two) and use a skin soothing balm, aloe-vera, vitamin E oil, until it calms down. Use an E-collar in the meantime. This way your pet does not get to it and irritate area even more and gives a chance for skin to heal. This solution (along with using the e-collar), seems to really work well on yeast skin, outbreaks, paws and yeastie-ear issues. The Apple cider vinegar (must be diluted with water) as it could have a burning or stinging effect, but diluted as a cleanser for the skin it can balance the pH of the skin, so it help to heal the skin (be careful around eyes, if needing to use in that area, use q-tips on precise area) and in cleaning the ears, (there is a proper way to do so, I saw a youtube video of this fella showing how to), the dogs ear canals are “L”-shaped, I use cotton cosmetic squares pads and apply solution (not too saturated), but enough to clean down inside, using a new cotton pad until clean. Remembering to comfort your pet as you apply any types of medicines or healing products. After using any skin protocols and the outbreaks start to heal, I will often put vitamin e oil and massage that into the drying scab or dry skin and that helps to relive that and heal, to also help grow hair back.
2.“Skin Soother” is a balm in a tin, by natural dog company and it works really well for rashes and other skin issues. I’ve used it on their paws in between their paws , carefully around eyes and I’ve used it on different rashes on their bodies it’s been very healing.. They have a Facebook page as well and they have other products as well and they are not only for their paws and noses!! For flea and mosquito control I use Coat Defense, it is a powder that you just sprinkle a little at a time on your pet (a little goes a long way) and rub into their fur and skin, it works real well, I only have to apply it once in awhile or whenever I know my dogs are going to be out where they will be outside for awhile and mosquitoes and flying bugs may bother them. Coat Defense Company also makes a Paste for the skin issues (as with ANY PRODUCT used, I always take a clean utensil to remove product from container) and with this “paste product” it is tricky to use, I add a little water to it before well for some skin irritations, but it has to be applied thin and removed with a clean warm water towel or rag gently after it drys as it creates a hard substance and must use with caution. I only use this paste product to calm down an area and then after it dries, I just promptly remove it with the warm water towel or rag gently. I also keep on hand Muricin ointment 2% (it is an antibiotic ointment for dogs (and humans).
3. I use specific Aloe Vera products (one is a spray called aloe-first vet formula, another is the aloe gelly, the aloe moisturizing lotion and the aloe juice drink called Aloe Vera gel-juice), these products I have been using myself and for my pets since the 80’s, it’s the only Aloe Vera product that has been successful in help with healing my pets with many ailments (including my own, my friends and family’s), over the years. I had given these products to anyone that needed it. I am a fulltime RV-er now on the road, it is not as easy to do that anymore, so I made a link to purchase and get products mailed out. If interested in them; the link to website and to get a discount as well is ; https://myhealingaloevera.flp.com
4. Clearing the gut and regeneration of new cells, I think this worked so well, by avoiding any chicken (and any other meat protein your dog may be allergic to), wheat, starches, soy, yeast, carbs, grains, fruits, sugar and dairy. I also gave them probiotics after they eat their meals (I found treats by authority with DHA and probiotics in it, but there are other good ones) doing this faithfully for at least at least 2 weeks or longer until you see results. Once you see successful results, start incorporating dog food (I use solid gold brand, beef canned trying this one), I mix the fresh cooked (not over-cooked) meat protein (preferably steak pieces or fish (and keep portions correct for size of animal) and the non-starchy vegetables (optional), that I would mix in and I continued to give a probiotic treat after their meals. As a treat only once in a while, I gave them some yogurt (now and then), the brand I found is called FAGE 2% plain Greek yogurt, I found that was okay to give them, as it has no sugar, dangerous sugar substitute or bad stuff added. In the event that I did not have fresh made meats or fish bought to add to my dogs food, I would always keep on hand, (Nulo brand freeze dried meat organs) to add to their canned solid gold dog food . After keeping our pet on an eliminating diet and see good results, you can add foods as I did, you will then make a note of what was given, in case of any new flare-ups. So you’ll know if it’s something to avoid. If I could just feed my dog (and knew exactly the amount of what ) fresh cooked proteins, veggies and such that they could eat daily and the appropriate vitamins, minerals needed, I would do that and not even give them any commercially made food at all. As the few weeks I had done just that, they seemed to be the most cleared from any skin issues. So, I may re-investigate that notion in the near future!!
Yet, once removing, not using or cutting out, all the things that seemed to be giving them outbreaks, keeping their meals stricter and no human snacks-sharing, that dogs could eat (because of those sad eyes begging), having them eat only what dogs should be eating, it can became more manageable. I noticed much improvement from limiting taking my dogs in lawn-grassy, swampy, moldy, yeast or pollen possible areas . My one doggie has to still wear her e-collar (now and then) when I have to leave her if she is having a flareups that needs tending to and I’m not there to watch her or if she gets a bug bite or has anxieties . She also likes to groom herself a bit. I will use an E-collar, but take it off if I take her outside for a walk and to rub her to sleep at night. If she happens to get what may be a bug bite and if I see her staring to gnaw or she has an occasional flare-up, I use my protocols of healing balms, aloe Vera and remedies of such and the E-collar is back on, just in case to keep her from getting to any area they may need to heal.
It took me awhile to figure out the things that were causing my dogs flare-ups and to find solutions in coping and managing my dogs allergy issues. In using successful protocols, food & treats that my dogs could eat and not cause issues and learning to be aware of other possible things that could be causing them to have flare-ups or trigger allergies symptoms, it’s been much better!
I pray this information will help others.
Please let me know what you have tried and what has helped your pet.
Feel free to ask me a question as well, if you have a question about any of the protocols, products or how to use them, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
C .Star. V