Many people suffer from allergies, but few realize that our pets can have allergies too. We at Healthy Pet Products get questions about pets’ allergies almost every day.
Most allergies stem from either food or the environment. Classic signs of food allergies in pets are excessive scratching, paw licking, face rubbing and biting at the base of the tail. When customers come to us with pets that show these symptoms, the first issue we advise them to address is diet.
If a pet has a food allergy, it is most likely the result of the protein or grains found in their food. Typically, we start off by recommending a diet with more “novel” protein and “grain free” food. We recommend avoiding beef and chicken because these are the two most common protein allergens.
The top grain allergens are wheat, corn and soy. While none of the foods that we carry at Healthy Pet Products contain wheat, corn or soy, we also have kibble that is completely void of all grains. They have potatoes or tapioca as the binding agent.
Our last recommendation is feeding a raw or dehydrated raw diet, which will eliminate carbohydrates from your pet’s diet completely, thus eliminating most of the allergens found in kibble type products. If you’re considering a raw diet for your pet, we’d love to give you more information.
Once you select a food, which is just the first step, we recommend sticking with that diet for eight weeks in order to have a true food trial. Remember that treats are also part of a pet’s diet, so you should look for treats with ingredients that are similar to those in their food.
Understand that symptoms can actually get worse before getting better. This is because your pet will need to detoxify before seeing any major health improvements.
After your pet has been on the new food for a week or two, we recommend supplementing their diet with fish oil. Adding fish oil to the daily diet provides the pet with additional Omega 3 fatty acids. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory and will help boost the immune system and help the pet’s overall health.
After your pet has been on the fish oil for about a week, the next step is to introduce probiotics. Probiotics allow for an increase in “good bacteria” in the digestive tract. Because 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract, we want to boost the cells in the tract so that your pet can better handle the allergen. Medications such as antibiotics, prednisone or steroids affect the “flora” or balance of the digestive tract, thus causing a drop in the pet’s overall immune system, which in turn increases the pet’s reaction to the allergen.
We focus on boosting the immune system to combat environmental allergies too. We can’t always make environmental allergens go away, but we can get your pet’s immune system in top working condition to better handle the allergies. Typical symptoms of environmental allergies are similar to food allergies, plus red, irritated eyes and runny noses. We may recommend a food change depending on what type of food the pet is currently eating. Fish oil and probiotics are also beneficial with environmental situations as well.
In the end, our goal is to help you eliminate the problem, not just treat the symptoms. Our customers typically see immediate improvements, but not all of them and certainty not right away. The key is to understand that through this step by step approach to fighting allergies, we can find the right food for your pet so that you can lead a healthy, allergy-free life together!
Healthy Pet Products is located at 9600 Perry Highway in McCandless. Visit http://healthypetproducts.net/.