PETS AND ALLERGIES: By Stacey J Nelson Ph.D.aka “Tweedlesmom”.
More and more dogs, cats, and exotic birds are developing allergies these days. Could the environment, food, or vaccines, be the cause? Additionally, toxic fumes and chemicals appear to be permeating our environment, and just like humans, your “furkids” immune system and skin can be just as sensitive. Many dogs, cats, and exotic birds can have an adverse reaction to pollen, grass, trees, fertilizers, insecticide, new medications, vaccines, and can become anxious, pull out pieces of fur and feathers, develop skin, ear and eye infections, skin rashes, and or hives as a result.
If your dog starts biting their paws or other parts of their body, is itching their skin, scratching their stomach and their legs, has teary eyes or rubs their eyes, sneezes a lot, has labored breathing, has a strong odor of gas after their mealtime, has chronic ear infections and develops a dark dirtlike substance I call “shmutz” in their ears, they might be affected by Candida or yeast, or a condition called Malassezia pachdermatis, otitis externa, food allergy dermatitis, or atopic dermatitis, (inhalant allergies).
When you see these symptoms, or smell an unusual odor in your furbaby’s ears, you might want to consult with a Veterinary Dermatologist. I encourage you to not ignore the above symptoms, there is always a chance if your pet has a severe enough allergic reaction to something, your pet can develop anaphylactic shock, which can potentially lead to cardiac arrest and death, if not treated in time by your veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital.
Please do not ignore or deny the symptoms your “furkid” is displaying. Also, don’t forget, when walking your dog, notice the area where you walk them, they could develop a reaction to some substance or plant in that area, if your furkid starts displaying the symptoms described. Some furkids have extreme allergic reactions and are a candidate for allergy injections, cortisone, or other anti-histamine medication, just like humans. A good practice to follow is cleaning your dog’s ears with a quality ear cleanser and cotton squares, every few days so that there is less buildup of debris.
Some dogs and cats are gluten intolerant just like humans, and intolerant to specific proteins, like beef, chicken, lamb, pork, seafood, wheat, soy, corn, various starches and grains like barley, brewers yeast, preservatives and additives like glycerine, and have difficulty digesting certain protein. Artificial dyes and colors, can also cause an allergic reaction in your pets. Six years ago I was unaware that changing my dog’s food would resolve her chronic ear infections, well low and behold, after many office visits to our regular vet, trying numerous medications, and several expensive office visits to a veterinary dermatologist, we changed her food and her chronic ear infections stopped.
We discovered my yellow Labrador Retriever Miss Tweedle – “Surry’s Talk of the Town is Tweedle” had food allergies, and changing her kibble to grain free salmon, containing no salt, helped cure her ear infections and skin problems. I was so inspired I started researching the formulas of various foods and pet treats on the market and after the Toxic Pet Food Recalls, I developed www.tweedlepetproducts.com – a gourmet natural and organic gluten-free , raw, dehydrated, and freshly baked pet treat company for pets sensitive to common food allergies, and their pet parents. We use ingredients produced and grown in the USA.
A switch in your “furkids” food might resolve the problem of allergies. Before you spend oodles of money on allergy testing, do a process of elimination of specific foods, and brand-names, and see what happens. Remember always read labels of whatever you purchase for your “furkid”. What you spend in high quality pet food and treats, eliminating the ingredients your pet may be allergic to, will save you more money in the end from paying for expensive office visits with your veterinarian and specialists.
I would be interested in hearing your story, and are invited to make comments, at the end of this column. Who knows, we might be able to develop a support group for pet parents to discuss health and other issues about their pets, if there is enough interest.
Best wishes as always,
Stacey J Nelson Ph.D.