Back in 2012 when I was researching the pet allergy market it was 1:7 dogs that suffered with the itch. Now in 2022 it's more like 1 in 3 dogs that are itchy dogs.
I suppose it is only fair being in the allergy market that personally I have had 2:3 dogs that are allergy dogs.
When we first launched Eezapet in 2014 I had a few severe allergy pet parents contact me and send in photos of how bad their dog's skin was and how we could help them. These dogs were the worst I had seen - welty, hairless and constantly itchy. At that stage I thought how can a dog get that bad - but fast track another 8 years and I fully understand. This is the story of Bhindi, the allergy dog that surpassed all others in severity. Learn my top 9 recommendations to having a happier, healthier allergy dog further down the blog.
Bhindi is our 10 year old greyhound/staffy cross. Most of her allergies started six months after being attacked. The start of her allergies can be linked back to stress (think of it as with humans who get eczema - stress plays a big part on the skin).
With Bhindi we started off with body rashes, then itchy paws, back to body rashes and then itchy ears - the ears are where we are today.
I've always been told that allergies get worse and worse as they age and in my case this is definitely true. It's been an interesting journey conducting her life-time line of significant events as this has formed a pattern (I often talk about the importance of keeping a daily diary as looking back can show you a pattern).
Don't Underestimate Stress
- When Bhindi was 2 years old she was attacked needing stitches in her front leg.
- Four to six months later she presented in her very first rash.
- Nine months later she became a reactive rover
Looking back on this now would show me that stress has been a major contributing factor to her itchy skin conditions.
We know in humans stress causes eczemas - organs absorb stress and holds on to them and of course the skin is the biggest organ hence we can have the biggest rashes and reactions.
I often talk about overloading allergens which cause the whole body to breakdown. This has been the case for Bhindi. For example one morning after breakfast her whole body blew up in an angry, red rash with hundreds of firey red spots all over her undercarriage.
You'd immediately think food allergy right?
But we know through testing that Bhindi did not have a food allergy. What we did know was that she was allergic to every plant though. This means in certain seasons her body can't cope and with the addition of something else the already weakened system overloads and collapses. The system is stressed and the itchy dog presents.
While all this was going on Bhindi started losing weight and changing shape quite dramatically. Thinking the worst we conducted blood tests - the results - everything was perfect! We also conducted faecal tests mainly for parasites - again everything was clear.
But we knew everything was far from perfect as her symptoms continued.
Getting her allergies under control has been the priority and one that has made me conduct much research. Treating Bhindi holistically along with homeopathy has been instrumental to her better health.
Plant Allergies & Pollens
Finding the cause of her allergies can be hard and we enlisted the help of Viv Harries using NAET. This testing uses kinesiology to compare strength and weakness of any muscle - also known as neuromuscular sensitivity testing and is an unobtrusive form of testing.
Through this testing Bhindi showed allergies to plants - all plants!
Then we have the pollens ( another part of her environmental allergies) which are soon to land and cause more problems for the allergy dog. As soon as the pine pollens land ( beg August) she is flaring up again - randomly - some days worse than others, some days good - it's hit and miss.
Often with Bhindi a rash will start on her underarms - or a little point between her groin and belly button. Eezapet works at keeping these rashes from spreading, eases the skin and stops the itching and it's great that we have this to pop on the skin whilst we look at further ways to support her organs internally.
The ears are a harder one to deal with because you can't see what's going on inside - you don't have many options for control and they can't go untreated.
Unfortunately our vets are at a loss on the cause and the treatment and have suggested a removal of the ear - an ear ablation. I am not comfortable with this being the solution and always feel that if a toxin needs to come out it will find any way possible.
Research & Recommendations
With all the research I've conducted to date and with the trialling of so many products - some worked, some didn't - I thought I would share with you what has been beneficial to Bhindi internally in supporting her organs, skin and her well-being.
Here are my top 9 recommendations:
- Bone Broths - highly nutritious and highly digestible. Soothes and calms the stomach. Great for plugging up holes in the gut when treating leaky gut conditions. (Did you know that in the process of making broths - a long slow cooking time - the protein chain is hydrolysed and breaks down - meaning if your dog has a beef allergy for example they can normally drink beef bone broth with no detriment.)
- Raw Food - It's meat - highly nutritious, correct stomach PH (1-2) allows hydrochloric acid to be produced that breaks down the food. No meat meals, no fillers in this diet. Learn more on meat diets here
- Fish Oil - the omegas are important to support coat and skin. We love Newflands sustainable line caught Hoki after seeing great results and so much so that we sell it as a beneficial Coat & Conditioning Pack.
- Bowen Therapy - masaage for the fascia - the connective membrane. Its a fascinating topic - Bhindi absolutely loves getting this treatment from Ange at Blue Healer Bowen and it definitely calms down our stressy dog.
- Homeopathic & Holistic care - Currently we are enlisting the help through Homeopathy and Holistic remedies as we have had further dire flare ups with her ears. Through holistic care we have nutraceutical herbal remedies - for gut healing, detoxing and inner support. With homeopathic care we are treating 'like with like' which in theory triggers the bodies natural defense.
- Pro & Pre Biotics - These are also important. Pre biotics feed probiotics so probiotics can do their thing. This is all about gut health and good microbiome. Fo us though we are still working with the professionals on this and don't have a recommendation as yet, but for us we are dealing with a severely compromised system.
- Bath Soaks - these have been invaluable in providing relief for Bhindi and at one point was the only thing keeping her skin on her body. If there is one key thing to do for your allergy dog it's the bath soak. It's so important it has it's own blog - A Bath Soak For Your Allergy Dog
- Titer tests - We conduct titer (or spelt titre) tests to check on antibodies for a particular condition ie we titer test for parvo to ensure she still has antibodies to protect her. That way she only has a vaccination when she needs it as opposed to being over-vaccinated and causing more stress on her system. Contact your vet for these tests.
- HTMA - Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis - the hair is tested to give insights and analysis of hair mineral levels and is a great snapshot of what is going on. The HTMA highlighted many areas of concern - heavy metals and an imbalance in nutrient levels and absorption. The results from this test is how we are addressing her ailments today.
Bhindi is a very different dog and is proving difficult to find and fix her internal problems completely. We know we are dealing with leaky gut but after years of destroying the gut lining it takes time to restore to inner health.
If you are at a loss as to the causes of your allergy dog then conducting an HTMA can show an invaluable snapshot. I also urge you to do the Bath Soaks in restoring their skin and reducing yeasts and bacterias.
Watch this space for more info as I continue on my eternal quest in finding the causes of the itchy dog. You'll have Eezapet for the skin to halt the spread, calm the skin and stop the itch which is great while finding the cause for your dog's itching. With all the papers I read gut health and gut microbiome is the most important step to having healthy happy dog.
Is your dog itchy? Do you know the cause? We have many blogs to help you - grasses, dustmites, hot spots and other allergens too - our whole blog collection can be found here