Allergies—in humans and in animals—occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to something in the body itself or in the environment. The immune system includes Th1 cells and Th2 cells; these cells must be in balance or the whole system is thrown off. For example, if Th2 becomes too prevalent, it will overproduce antibodies that attack things that are not normally considered threats. Th2 is intended to trigger attacks on bacteria, viruses, and pathogens; when it is overabundant, it starts to trigger attacks on its own body and on normal species-appropriate foods. Th1 and Th2 get out of balance when toxins build up in the body faster than the body can get rid of them. This imbalance weakens the immune system, and in this weakened state, it overreacts to what it perceives are foreign substances and releases histamines and antibodies normally used by the body to fight microbial invaders. Often, the triggers for this reaction (the foreign substances) are inappropriate foods (such as kibble), pollens, dust, mold spores, or grass (many of the same things that trigger our allergies!). Basically, the immune system perceives the foreign substance, even if it is just a tiny particle, as something to defend against. It then releases a flood of histamines and antibodies to attack the perceived threat.
- Upset stomach
- Hot spots
- Runny, red eyes
- Excessive licking or chewing, particularly on the sides, legs, paws, and/or belly
- Itchy, yeasty paws
- Ensure your dog is on a balanced, varied, species-appropriate raw diet.
- Provide them with clean, pure water (if you drink filtered water, give them filtered water too).
- Switch to using natural, non-toxic parasite control.
- Switch to using non-toxic cleaners in and around your house.
- Rebuild their immune system by providing probiotics (either a supplement or in whole food form, such as what’s found in green tripe), enzymes (either a supplement or in whole food form, such as what’s found in green tripe), immunomodulators (such as bovine colostrum), and essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids (such as whole, raw, frozen sardines and/or mackerel, or a high-quality fish or krill oil).
- If needed, use essential oils to help calm them and soothe their itchiness (I use Lavender essential oil from Young Living for my dog if he has an allergy flare-up: I rub 2-3 drops in my hands and massage the itchy area).
Keep a positive attitude: our dogs pick up on our emotions, and when we feel sad or frustrated or disappointed, it can depress their energy and their immune system and slow down their healing.