One of the most common and frustrating ailments to both pets and their owners is allergic dermatitis, also known as atopy.  Do you have a pet that licks or chews incessantly, and scratches until it develops oozing sores?  Does your pet have chronic ear infections, vomiting, or diarrhea?  If so, these may be signs that your pet is allergic to something in its environment.  Allergies are the body’s natural defense mechanism of working overtime against substances that are usually harmless, which can be natural or artificial, organic or inorganic, and can occur in the home, the environment, or in food.  Allergens can be inhaled, ingested, absorbed, or transmitted by contact.

Pet Allergy Sources

While the symptoms may start out as seasonal in the beginning, they usually progress to year round.  Some of the sources of pet allergies include diet, immune system deficiencies, over vaccinating and environmental stress.  Dogs and cats can be tortured by allergic dermatitis by suffering from extremely sensitive skin, itching and inflammation, obsessive licking, and hair loss.  As time goes on, and the condition worsens, animals may develop chronic bacterial infections, lesions, and red bumps on the skin.  While there is no actual cure for atopic dermatitis, there are many natural treatments both topical and internal that can help manage the symptoms.

Natural Treatments

To naturally treat atopic dermatitis, pet owners may want to focus on the diet of their pet.  Dietary items that may exacerbate allergies, and therefore should be avoided, include by-products, chemicals, soy based fillers, and impurities. If a food allergy is thought to be the cause of allergic dermatitis, the protein source should be changed, and a wheat free, gluten-free, yeast-free or soy-free diet is recommended.  Supplements can also be slowly added to your pet’s diet.  These supplements include adding vitamins, such as A, C, and E, the mineral selenium, omega-3 fatty acids from fish or krill oil, digestive enzymes, herbs, essential oils and calcium montmorillonite (bentonite) clay. Before adding supplements to your pets diet, please consult your holistic veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate amount of supplements to administer.  If you believe that your pet’s allergies may be caused by their food, you may want to gradually switch to a quality, natural diet, since animals often become sensitive to the foods that they eat the most often. In addition to doing things such as changing diet, and adding supplements, topical herbal treatments, such as calendula may help to relieve painful skin eruptions.  An external treatment of bathing with a natural aloe, and colloidal oatmeal shampoo is the most popular treatment of atopy for dogs.  The addition of calcium montmorillinate clay also helps to sooth itchy skin, and offers anti-microbial properties.

Instead of opting for conventional veterinary care, such as antihistamines, steroids and allergy shots, pet owners should consider seeking holistic veterinary care that focuses on increasing pet health, so that conventional drugs will not be needed. Managing your pet’s allergies requires more than simply curing the symptom of their itching skin. It also requires a pet owner to be observant, diligent and proactive.  Acupuncture may be another option that is used to boost adrenal glands, and restore the energy flow in your pet’s body.  Pet health care is an ongoing process, and a healthy body is the best defense against environmental stresses.  Holistic therapies are a good alternative to traditional veterinary care that can eliminate the use of conventional drugs.

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