Allergies – Part 3

A Holistic Approach to Dogs with Allergies, Part 3

If your dog has been itchy and scratching for more than one season (a year or less), it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to find out if there’s an allergy problem and how to best address it. The longer allergies continue, the harder it is on your dog. Constant biting and scratching can cause infections and once the skin degrades, the condition can worsen and result in bacterial and yeast infections. Left untreated, staph infections can also develop.

A dog’s skin can absorb inhalants, grasses, and nearly everything in the environment and you will need to take steps as soon as possible to address this problem. Several of the steps you can take include: washing your dog weekly with a vet recommended shampoo; wiping your dog’s feet off with a damp cloth after she goes outside; eliminating sources of contamination like smoke, dust mites, and other issues by vacuuming at least weekly; changing your home air filters regularly; covering dog beds with an anti-allergy cover after washing and making sure the covers are washed in hot water once a week. Although it is impossible to eliminate all sources of pathogens, your efforts can help reduce them and your holistic vet will help you make a checklist to follow. Although only 10% of all dog allergies are diet related, if your dog is showing signs of possible allergies, try a cooling diet of turkey, fish, and special animal protein dog food. Cool foods balance the central nervous system and calm them. Feed gluten free. While the most common food allergies are to chicken, beef, pork, wheat, and corn, your holistic vet will work with you on the best diet for your dog’s situation.

In the case of a food or an environmental allergy, your vet will be able to recommend a vet who specializes in dermatology. “If it is a food allergy, we look for the root cause by taking your dog through an elimination diet. We take a thorough history, so we understand what foods need to be eliminated. While food allergies are forever; environmental allergies are often seasonal. With environmental allergies, which usually affect the skin, we do a skin prick test or ELISA (blood test) to determine what tree, dust mite, molds, etc. your dog is allergic to”, says Dr. Suzanne Cayatte DMV, Diplomate of ACVD, a partner specialist with GRRMF. Your holistic vet will work closely with the dermatologist and your conventional vet to assure your dog is getting the best overall care.  Of course, when it comes to diet, you must be very compliant and feed your dog only the allowed foods!

To find an ACVD certified dermatologist, go to: www.

By Janet Sturman and Dr. Greg Todd DVM, CVA

Thank you to: Dr. Suzanne M. Cayatte, DVM, DACVD partner vet and specialist in dermatology at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center (TBVS) in Largo, FL.

Dr. Greg Todd DVM, CVA partner vet and holistic veterinary expert from Animal Hospital of Dunedin, FL

Dr. Constance DiNatale, DVM, holistic partner vet from Veterinary Acupuncture & Complementary Therapy Clinic, in Winter Park, FL


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