Hello All Pet family, Rae here. October is National Pet Wellness Month. I decided to write about the topic I talk about more than anything else- pet allergies. Most allergies end up being food related. I cannot tell you how many people seek out my help in solving their pet’s allergy problems. This month alone is record breaking, and I am here to tell you it is usually very simple.
Just to be sure everyone is aware- I am NOT a veterinarian. I am the first to send a pet for help if I think it is warranted. This is not written to be disrespectful to vets or to discredit them. I admire and trust my own vet. But conventional veterinary medicine and nutrition are just not fully in alignment yet. And it is unfortunate because our pets are suffering. It is difficult to hear these sad stories all day long. Yet it is exceptionally rewarding to teach people that there are other ways. And nothing beats getting to see these pets living a healthier life, and actually enjoy mealtime.
In fact, I stopped working inside the Holistic Pet Nutrition Center almost two years ago. I have been back behind the counter for a month now, and I am THRILLED to see how many of the dogs that were seniors when I left are still going strong today. It is not uncommon for me to hear about happy 17-year-old dogs daily. Some still visit the store and some are even All Pet family! I also want to note that I am realistic and understand that there are cases when medications are necessary. However, when it comes to simple cases of allergies, I will always recommend starting with nutrition first. It is usually the cure.
I am a certified pet food specialist and staunch believer in trying natural remedies before pharmaceuticals and chemicals myself. That is how I was raised. I remember apple cider vinegar being a staple in my great-grandmother’s and grandmother’s homes my entire life. I laugh when I hear it referred to as the new cure-all! I can actually remember a life before household chemicals took over every room and nobody had allergies.
Working to figure out and fix a pet’s allergy issues usually comes with some initial cost that people are skeptical of at first. You may also be putting your faith in strangers; with products and information you are completely unfamiliar with. I get it. I was the same way in the beginning.
If you step into changing your pet's diet with an open mind, patience and vigilance, it is possible to FIX the problem instead of suppressing their immune response with drugs to stop the itching, while it silently taxes their delicate organs. You must have thick skin. Your vet will likely disagree with nearly everything a holistic pet food store will recommend and teach you.
Some may even try to scare you by giving you reading material about a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or “DCM”. DCM was discovered in 1987 when many cats being fed Hill's Science Diet died from taurine deficiency. In the past few years, grain-free foods have been blamed for causing DCM. There are still no definitive test studies proving this. And many factors can go into this. Dogs predisposed to this condition, as all dogs, should be fed protein rich diets where high quality meat is the primary ingredient, to rule out food as a factor. Click here for detailed information on DCM and feeding recommendations I found to be accurate.
While I haven't met one dog or cat that developed DCM from eating a HIGH-QUALITY grain-free diet, I have seen more of them develop cancer and diabetes than I can even comprehend. Those are the conditions pet owners should be most concerned with.
Most grain inclusive commercial pet foods contain inflammatories such as the "evil three"- corn, wheat and soy. Corn is full of sugar and almost always GMO. Avoid foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. Not every dog needs a grain-free diet, but cats do. And I cannot say it enough, NO CORN, WHEAT or SOY!
The next thing that is miraculous but does not get conventional vet recognition is... you guessed it- raw goat's milk! In my opinion, this and raw cow's milk, kefir, are essential in any allergy issue and/or food transition. The milk is a natural antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and detoxifier. It is a pro- and prebiotic and soothes the GI tract, making for an easier food transition. It absorbs into the system in 20 minutes, making it fast-acting. It also kills yeast and pets love the taste. Those of us who use it ALWAYS tell our friends about it. I believe in both so strongly I made them the bases for all of the treats we make for the Rollaway Dog Cafe. Here is a link to why goat’s milk is so special from the experts.
If you have an idea of what may be causing the allergy, that is helpful. For example, if you know that chicken causes your pet to itch, we begin with an elimination diet, removing all chicken from the diet, coupled with Answers goat's milk and kefir. And lots of patience and vigilance.
As for food, it’s very important to get a food that is made in USA, with ingredients that are sourced in the USA from reputable sources. If you choose to feed a dry food, there are some very good, safe brands that aren’t that much more expensive than the grocery store brands. Many brands, like Answers Pet Food, offer frequent buyer programs and rewards to help defray the cost. Your local holistic pet food store will be able to assist you in choosing a food that is appropriate for your dog and your budget.
I would recommend a protein that your pet hasn't eaten before such as turkey, pork, duck, rabbit or whitefish. Contrary to popular belief, if your dog has a chicken sensitivity it doesn't mean he is allergic to all poultry. Turkey is usually a good option. The above-mentioned proteins are what is known as cooling proteins. When a dog has skin issues or some sort of inflammation, we want to use a cooling protein rather than a warming protein to help calm the system. Pork is actually my top choice, for allergy pets and for my own pets. I’ve seen pets do really well overcoming allergies starting with pork. Feeding a single protein narrows down sensitivity risks.
While I realize raw is not for every human pet parent, it is the most biologically appropriate diet for our pets. It is a fast and effective way to solve allergy issues. It is also the best weight loss feeding option. And it has no carbs, making it a go-to diet for pets with cancer.
I feed raw to my cat and dogs. It is what brought Brody back from the brink of death. Not only did he recover, but he also lived another happy, energetic 8 1/2 years. After seeing those results in him, I was convinced that was how I would always feed my pets. But I do not judge anyone's feeding choices. I have been fortunate to have access to raw feeding options, making it easier for me. There are also many options that make feeding raw easy. You do not have to make your own pet food. There are reputable companies that make balanced blends. It is important your pet gets the proper ratio of organ, bone and muscle meat. Alternatives to a raw diet are to feed 50% meals raw and the other 50% dry. (do not mix the two- feed them at separate mealtimes to avoid risk of stomach upset) Even adding goat's milk or kefir is adding raw to your pets' diet and providing vital moisture.
You want to transition your pet to new food over the course of a week, coupled with the goatmilk. The goatmilk will help make the transition easier as it is also a digestive aid because of the pre-and probiotics. Introduce the new food at about 10% of the meal, and gradually increase it and decrease the old food. When it comes to transitioning to raw from kibble, freeze-dried raw comes in handy. It can be added to kibble with less risk of stomach upset, and most pets love it. Once transitioned, you may use any form of raw- freeze-dried, frozen or air-dried.
Anytime your pet may have a bout with an upset stomach, always reach for the goatmilk to cure it fast. Dogs and cats can also be placed on a goatmilk fast for up to seven days when there are cases of severe stomach issues or allergies and we are trying to detox them. They get all goat's milk for their meals. It cleans out their gut and resets the flora, so they are no longer having GI distress. This is helpful for recently adopted pets or puppies that have just gone through a lot of change and may have nervous stomachs or diarrhea. I have done the fasts with my own animals and it has always worked. It typically works in 24 hours. 7 days is for extreme cases.
Patience is a virtue when you’re transitioning a pet due to allergies. This could take 30 - 90 days before they're completely healed and on track. The biggest mistake I see is people giving up too soon. You just have to stay the course and have faith that it’s doing its job. You will know instantly if your pet were to have a sensitivity to pork or whatever cooling protein you choose. If that is the case, give more goatmilk and try another cooling protein. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find something.
Vigilance is important. Your pet should not get anything besides the food and milk. He can have treats, but they must be just the protein that he is eating, and they must be sourced from the USA. So, if you choose pork you need to choose pork treats. My recommendation is any freeze-dried pork treat. Or again a freeze-dried version of whatever cooling protein you are feeding him. Freeze dried treats contain nothing but meat, which is important in our limited ingredient, elimination diet. Avoid grocery store treats or treats from neighbors or the bank. When I did this with my own pets, I would carry "approved" treats so Brody's friends could still give him one. It didn't take long for our neighbors to start buying him his special treats, and giving their own dogs better ones, too!
Topically, for red, irritated areas on the body and paws: This next part may sound crazy, but it works every time and people are amazed when it does! You want to take some of the milk at room temperature, put it on a cotton ball and thoroughly soak it into the paws and any other spots that are red or infected. This will heal them faster than anything else. Do you this at least once a day, twice daily if you can. And it will probably clear up within a week.
In addition to using the milk topically, there is a really good line of products made by a company called Skout’s Honor. I would suggest this line for shampoo. They also have a variety of products for ear cleaning, a probiotic spray that helps tame allergies in the same manner as the milk. Do not use oatmeal-based shampoos as oatmeal can be an allergen and inflammatory.
Suspect it could also be environmental allergies? The milk will help tremendously during times of environmental or seasonal allergies. You can increase the dosage if you find that spring or fall sets them off. You may also rinse his paws in a 50/50 wash of apple cider vinegar and water every time he comes in, if it is something outside causing the allergy. You may also steep green tea, let it cool, and use that as a paw wash. It is chock full of antioxidants.
Bovine colostrum is very effective in stopping allergy itching and immune boosting. There are some yeast protocols available. Ask your local holistic pet food store for assistance.
Well, there are my "secrets" for you. Now go fix your pet's allergies! Good luck and let us know your results!