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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Puddin's Allergy Battle

allergy Research

Puddin and I have read a couple of articles stating that "Itchy skin prompted the most visits of dogs to veterinarians in 2012" Puddin falls into that statistic; so we thought we'd share our battle to make Puddin more comfortable:

A. Pulled up the carpet and put down rubber flooring. For details, see Buh Bye Carpet!

B. Removed as many dies, perfumes, chemicals, etc.. out of her environment as possible
1) This includes not using them on her, on myself, the yard, the house, etc..
2) We don't let strangers cuddle her
3) Kept her away from cigarette smoke (note folks who smoke outdoors and return to indoors can carry particles/reside on their clothing)
4) Cleaned the house with only white vinegar and water
5) Washed clothes and bedding with perfume free, die free detergent.
Used minimal detergent and rinsed twice. Used hot water. Washed once  a week.

C. Encased sofa, mattresses and pillows in zippered, hypo allergenic encasements
(1). When we didn't see much improvement from the encasements, we elected to get rid of all unnecessary furniture

D. To the greatest extent possible, provided her with only human food and supplements
1) Because of the possibility of stricter care and labeling standards in human-grade products Always consult with your vet before giving or changing foods or supplements

D. Kept a log of her activities, her consumption, when she was most itchy, when she was least itchy,etc.. Then used that log to come to conclusions as to how to proceed

E. Found a quality meat (hopefully not from feed lots) that seemed to agree with her and stuck with it (Food elimination diet). Slowly added in other things and see how she reacts. See more on elimination diets below.  Always consult with a vet before embarking on a food elimination diet

F. Provided distilled drinking water and put bowls all over the house to encourage more drinking

G. Dehumidifiers . For details see  (note, work with your electrictian. Dehumidifiers might be an electrical hazard. Also note any recalls on dehumidifiers that have overheated.

H. Homeopathy, vitamins, anti-inflammatory food and supplements based on reading :
1) Complete Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr Pitcairn
2) Dr Karen Becker’s website
3) And several other websites and books Always consult with a vet before trying homeopathy, herbs, etc..
Other things to dry
  • Dust every day
  • Vacuum every day if you have carpet
  • Mop every day if you don't have carpet
  • Don't wear outside shoes inside the house
  • Brush or comb pet daily
  • Bathe pet often in perfume free, chemical free, dye free, sodium lauryl sulfate free shampoo
    • Note that for some dogs, being wet can make itching worse. For those dogs, fewer baths might be in order
  • Or rinse the dog off in distilled water; dry thoroughly
  • Or wipe the pet with a damp cloth often then make sure the feet are dry
  • Clean pets' feet whenever they come in from outside
  • If you have a yard, try to remove or be sure to stop planting anything that pollinates
  • Use St Augustine grass because it doesn't pollinate and/or use rocks or other landscaping that won't exacerbate allergies
  • Use air purifiers
  • Change filters in heating and air conditioning units at least once a week
  • Control fleas -
  • Dermatomes - do some research and discuss with your vet. Dogs can chew on themselves because of pain. Reference Dr Dan Kirby on his vet talk show - Sunday, 12/16/2012. 550 KTSA San Antonio
  • Dr Kirby also mentions that cold laser can help skin issues as well as pain issues
  • Ref: Dogs who pull on collars or who are choked by choke chains and the like can experience sensations in their feet that make them lick.  Quote from the article:
    • "Leash pulling impinges the nerves supplying the front legs.  This can lead to an abnormal sensation in the feet and dogs may start licking their feet.  These dogs are often misdiagnosed as allergic and all that needs to be done is to remove the collar and treat the neck injury.”"
  • More on choke chains here:
  • Use medical collars or other devices to keep dogs from injuring themselves.   See:
  • Keep dog occupied (mentally and physically) so he/she has fewer chances to scratch, lick, or chew
    • Long walks
    • trick training
    • food puzzles
    • etc..
  • Be sure that the itching isn't related to a more serious issue such as mange, ringworm, cushings, or other medical problem.
  • Research Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS). One article here:
  • Research thyroid issues since low thyroid can cause skin problems.
  • Research cooling and warming food in Chinese Medicine. Consult with a vet
  • Research and consider allergy testing - either blood draw, saliva, or skin prick - or all or some.  Before starting the desensitization serum, use the test results to see how many allergens you can reduce or eliminate - see more details here:
Also see the same article before giving your dog any medications: Pet Allergies - Before You Start Treatment

This article also includes links to other resources including some great books on pet care.

Also see Resources on pet health 

Check back for updates to this information: 

See my amazon checklist for allergy pets:

* a note on the food elimination diet.  You might want to consider planning for it now in case you and your vet later decide that is something you want to do. It involves picking a novel food and sticking with it for several weeks. The reason I say plan for it now is that if you feed your pet a huge variety of foods, you might not have a novel food to use later on.  So think of a couple of novel proteins that your pet has never had. Be sure they are easy to find and try not to feed those until you are ready for your food elimination diet.
As always, consult with your vet before planning and/or implementing. And do your own research as well.

Email questions or comments to Replies might be shared on this blog but names will be changed or left out.


  1. Dust every day, elimination diet, yeah.. but unless you heal the immune system your dog can develop new allergies or more severe at any time. Heal the immune system with a holistic vet and you don't need to worry about a huge list of do's and don't's for an allergy suffering dog because they won't have allergies anymore!

    1. Anonymous,
      Thank you so much for reading my article and for commenting. I completely agree that pet parents should read, research, and consult with a holistic vet.

      Personally, I'm a big fan of homeopathy and I have been reading quite a bit. Several of the books I have read say that there is a possibility that allergy issues can be resolved, but the process can take over a year. In the mean time, pet parents should try to reduce allergen to
      1) keep the pet comfortable and
      2) help speed the healing process.

      Also, by reducing allergens, pet parents might be able to avoid the use of harsh steroids. Several of the books I've read say that allergy issues are much harder to treat if symptoms have been suppressed.

      Thanks again

    2. From Don Hamilton's "Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs" :
      "...the continued allergic reaction may keep the dog from responding to treatment, so the allergens must be avoided as much as possible until the sensitivity can be diminished. If fleas are the problem, holistic flea control is essential; if food allergies are the present, these foods must be avoided until the allergy lessens through treatment."