Itchy Pets: Cathy's tips!

Ditch the itch for good!

As a pet owner you may think the biggest danger to your pets are lurking outside the home, but what if we told you that intense itching caused by home triggers can lead to open sores and infection? Pet consultant, Cathy Samuel tells us how to spot a skin allergy plus identify the triggers that set off an allergic reaction and how to minimise discomfort for your animals starting today!

Top household culprits that set of an allergic reaction and itching for your pet

1. Firstly, know how to identify the signs that your pet has an allergy
Did you know that different pets react in different ways when they are allergic? Although any breed may suffer with allergies, the following breeds are high risk: Terriers, Setters,Retrievers, and flat-faced breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston terriers. Inhalant allergy is the most common kind of allergy in cats - caused by particles in the air such as pollen from flowers, grass and weeds, as well as mould, mildew and dust.  
Cathy says: "Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems sees every day substances as dangerous allergens and 'over reacts'. Pets who are allergic will suffer when these usually harmless substances are inhaled, ingested or make contact with an animal's skin. I always notice the itching first on my dog Silky, and try to stop it before the tell-tale signs like scabbing, open sores and hair loss on the coat appear as by that stage we are in full-blown allergy mode! Your animal may also have a runny nose, snoring (from a swollen throat), sneezing or upset stomach. At the very first sign of itching, I would recommend a dose of Allergy Itch Ease Granules, a homeopathic remedy that works like a bomb to address that intense need to itch and scratch, giving very fast relief."


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2. Know the 4 types of allergies that pets may have
Your pets may suffer with some or all of the following allergies: Flea allergies, Food allergies, Airborne allergies (atopy), Contact allergies.
Cathy says: "It may be difficult to identify the allergy at first… and it really can become a game of elimination. The most common allergy I see is flea bite allergy - so I would suggest you start there. Dogs and cats are allergic to the flea saliva and all it takes is ONE flea to spark an allergic reaction and countless vet bills.


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3. Flea allergy 
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in dogs cats. An animal with flea allergy will have a severe reaction to a single flea - they will often bite and break the skin and even remove large patches of their own hair leaving them open to infection. 
Cathy says: "Treatment of flea allergy starts with strict flea control and you must remember that fleas can be very difficult to kill. With modern flea medications and a natural remedy like Immunity and Liver (a natural remedy used to counteract the effects of conventional flea programs), you can rid your home of fleas. Remember that the fleas on your dog are only 5% of the fleas in the environment, so I also wash all bedding, carpets and pet toys - anything that Holly and Silky come into contact with - always use natural detergent! I find the best plan of attack is to give my animals a few pinches of Allergy itch Ease granules (to address the constant need to scratch) but also the AllergiClear Pets remedy - which is given daily to help stabilise the allergic reaction and act as a natural antihistamine without the dangerous effects of cortisone drugs. I always finish off by cleaning any open wounds with a pet specific natural antiseptic, and then applying a soothing natural cream."


HAVE A QUESTION about your pet?
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4. Food Allergy 
Pets are not born with food allergies, and sometimes they develop allergies to a food they have eaten for many years. Food allergy can strike at any age and usually develop to the protein component of the food. 
Cathy says: "You may want to speak to your vet about a diet trial. During this time a home-made natural hypoallergenic diet (such as Vondis or Dogg-o-bone raw food) is fed exclusively for 8 to 12 weeks. Your pet must ONLY eat the prescribed food (no table food, scraps, treats which may contain processed elements and additives). If the allergy lessens your veterinarian will advise you on how to proceed. You can also add a natural remedy to support the digestive system during this food switch, such as Digestive Support Capsules. I give them to both Holly and Silky as part of their daily routine and their digestive troubles are much better. I would also suggest giving your pets a supplement to provide beneficial anti-inflammatory properties and improve the quality of their skin and coat, like Skin and Coat Tonic which helped Holly to grow back some fur."


HAVE A QUESTION about your pet?
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5. Airborne (atopy) Allergy 
Allergies to particles your pet inhales is called atopy. They can include tree pollens, grass pollens, weed pollens, molds, mildew and house dust mites. Some are seasonal, while molds, mildew and house dust mites are year-round problems. 
Cathy says: "If your pet is allergic to pollen, he should be kept inside with the windows closed when pollen counts are high or the grass is being mowed. You can also use air filters in the home to also help remove many airborne allergens. When it's very windy, keep pets indoors and wipe them off with a damp cloth when they come inside or brush them before they enter the house so that any pollen particles fall off. Cleanse their eyes with the natural Eye-Heal solution remedy which will help a great deal to soothe eyes and remove small debris."


HAVE A QUESTION about your pet?
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6. Contact Allergy
This is the least common type of allergy and is caused by something your pet comes in contact with, such as a particular carpet, bedding (especially wool), or certain detergents and chemicals used in the home. He could also be allergic to contact with grass or fynbos.
Cathy says: "If your animal is allergic to such substances, you will likely see skin irritation and itching at the points of contact (elbows, bottom of the feet, belly, etc). Treatment involves identifying and removing the item causing the allergic reaction. Silky used to run her stomach on a particular front door mat, which just made her rashes worse, so we replaced it with a plastic non bristle kind." 


HAVE A QUESTION about your pet?
Email Feelgood Pets FREE of charge for advice, click here.

Dogg-O-Bone raw pet food and Vondi's special sensitive skin foods are avalaible at our store: Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake, Cape Town. 021 797 0193.

There are numerous holistic treatments for allergies, some of which are explored in this book: The Allergy Solution for Dogs - which offers a responsible, balanced approach combining the best of conventional and natural medicine for dogs as he shows what works, and what doesn't, when dealing with canine allergies, worth a read if you are serious about stopping your pet's allergy. There is also a handy e-book called No Chemicals Required - written by an aptly named Homoeopath and Animal Homoeopath, Beverly Barkway giving you the benefit of her years of experience and a common sense approach that guarantees Happy Dogs - naturally.

 

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