Zoey has been having a terrible time with allergies lately. She wants to bite at her paws non-stop. I tried wrapping them, but we all know how long something like that lasts before Houdini-dog finds a way to remove it. I also tried wiping her paws whenever she came in from outside, but that didn’t seem to give her any relief. Our only choice was to make a visit to the vet to make sure we find a way to cure her itchy skin.
Why Do Dogs Have Allergies?
Dogs commonly have an allergic reaction to their food, treats, or environment. The vet explained to us that almost every dog in Florida has allergies, unfortunately. And her paws aren’t bothering her because of the direct contact they’re making with anything on the ground like fertilizer, bugs, or any toxins. Instead, dogs’ paws have millions of receptors that serve the same purpose that humans’ noses do. When we have allergies, we are aware of it because of how itchy, scratchy, and bothersome our nose feels to us. The same thing happens to our dogs when they have allergies, except they have those feelings in their paws.
Zoey’s paws have a reddish pink stain from biting at them. I thought this was possibly blood from breaking the skin, but the vet explained it is the discoloration from the bacteria in her mouth. Similar to the discoloration you see around the mouth of white or light colored dogs’ mouths and eyes.
Make Sure It’s Not Your Dog’s Food Causing An Allergic Reaction First
Common ingredients in dog food that cause allergic reactions for dogs include:
- Chicken Eggs
I feed Zoey Darwin’s Raw Food and chose to purchase Chicken, Turkey, and Beef so she has a variety of tastes. The vet advised that turkey is the best meat to feed a dog that is experiencing allergies because it is not known to cause any itching. Since dogs have been known to have allergies to beef and chicken, I’m going to strictly feed her the raw turkey/vegetable medley from Darwin’s and see if this naturally eases her allergies without medication. If the itching stops, I know that she’s not allergic to the turkey or vegetables.
At this point you can begin the elimination diet to test your dog’s food allergy. Slowly add one ingredient to her food at a time and observe her behavior to see if she has an allergy to it. This method will help determine which foods she has an allergy to so you can eliminate them from her diet.
If the itching continues no matter what food you feed her, we know that she is possibly having seasonal allergies from her environment.
Does Your Dog Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?
If a change in diet doesn’t help your dog’s allergies, then it is most likely a seasonal allergy from the environment. Like my vet said, almost every dog in Florida has seasonal allergy problems.
My vet recommended a Zyrtec prescription for Zoey if her allergies don’t improve from the change in diet. Zyrtec prescribed by your veterinarian is an acceptable method for improving your dog’s quality of life. While I would love to have Zoey living a medication-free, natural lifestyle… it’s not always practical to avoid medications. If Zyrtec will make her feel better, of course I’m more than happy to give her the relief she so desperately needs. Zyrtec can take a couple weeks to help because it takes awhile to get into your dog’s system. So if immediate relief is important, a steroid can be combined with the Zyrtec to give your dog relief sooner.
Treats Should Not Be Given Without Careful Consideration
My vet explained to me that treats commonly cause allergic reactions, too. He advised that Zoey should only have sweet potato for treats. Luckily, we are used to making our own homemade sweet potato dog treats, so this will be the easy part! Dehydrated sweet potato dog treats are really easy to make. The dogs love them as much or more than any other treats, and I can rest confidently knowing that Zoey won’t have an allergic reaction to them.
Does your dog suffer from allergies? Do you have any tried and true methods for improving them?