Hello All Pet family and friends! Here we are- allergy season again. It’s Rae and I am going to share ways to help your pets feel more comfortable during this time. I have been working at the Holistic Pet Nutrition Center again, helping out, and the most common question is how do I stop my dog’s itching? The environmental allergies have been at a peak lately, I know this by my own stuffy nose! So, as always, I was pleased to be able to offer some natural ways to help relieve the itching by boosting the immune system. Much of this applies to humans, too. I know that after learning so much about quercetin, I will be eating more apples, oranges and berries myself! So, I hope you enjoy learning what I have to share with you and here’s to no itchy dogs (or people!)
Let’s start with quercetin. Quercetin is commonly referred to as nature’s Benadryl because it is a natural antihistamine. Quercetin is a flavonoid and a flavonoid is a plant pigment that gives many plants, flowers and foods their colors. Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which might help reduce inflammation, kill cancer cells, control blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are the primary dietary sources of quercetin. They are found particularly in apples, citrus fruits, onions, broccoli, dark leafy greens, especially radicchio, cilantro, parsley, sage, tea, and red wine. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries are also high in quercetin and other flavonoids. Buckwheat tea also has a large amount of quercetin.
Bromelain is also known for antihistamine properties. It is an enzyme that inhibits histamine and it also makes quercetin more bioavailable in the body. Bromelain can be found naturally in pineapple, but not in high enough amounts to be used as medicine.
When it comes to our pets, we absolutely want to avoid grapes, onions and tea. NEVER give these to your pets. They are toxic to them and may be potentially deadly.
However, it is safe and easy to add it by giving berries, dark leafy green and especially apples.
Most dogs love apples as treats. Apples are also high in fiber, vitamin C and calcium. They are also low in calories. Always be sure to feed organic apples with the skin on. The skin holds the most quercetin content. For instance, a whole unpeeled apple contains nearly 9 mg of quercetin whereas a peeled apple only contains 1.5 mg. The apples with the highest quercetin content are Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala and Red Delicious. While feeding apples alone as a treat will not provide enough quercetin to cure the itching, they will help.
There are some safe dog supplements containing quercetin and bromelain. This is a nice alternative to try before starting with a prescription drug that taxes the dog’s liver.
The next natural remedy for allergy relief is, of course, raw goat’s milk and raw cow’s milk kefir (I bet you’re SHOCKED I am mentioning goat’s milk!) Another beneficial product I feel gets overlooked is Answers brand cow and goat cheese. It is a tasty way to offer the same benefits the milks provide. And if you have a picky eater or one with tummy issues, the cheese is a winner. All three work for digestive and allergy problems by fighting yeast, boosting the immune system and suppressing inflammatory responses related to allergies and asthma. You can use them together or alternate the products.
It is always important to know the cause of the allergies before you try to treat your pet. Always rule out food first. And avoid wheat, corn and soy, they are the top allergens that are creating a world of suffering for our pets, far beyond scratching.
Common environmental allergens are trees, grass and weed pollens, mold spores, dust and dust mites. Others may include cleaning products, insect bites, and insect control products.
Some ways to minimize your pet’s symptoms are to keep them inside when pollen counts are high. Place a shallow tub near the door to wash their paws in every time they come back in from outside. It can consist of any of the following: 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water; room temperature, freshly brewed green tea or Betadine solution. Take a towel and wipe off their paws after dipping them into the solution without rinsing them.
I hope this helps keep everyone from scratching. I promise the apple industry did not pay me to write this article! Take care, everyone.