5 Tips to Support Your Seasonally Itchy Dog

For some dogs, their sensitivities can be year-round.  In this instance we are considering their exposure to environmental toxins, the food they eat and how their immune system matured and subsequently functions.  For other dogs there is a direct correlation with the time of year.  Whilst the sun is shining and anything feels possible for us humans, it can be a miserable time for our seasonally itchy dogs.

Many dogs have a sensitivity to grass sap and keeping them off the freshly mown lawn for a couple of days can help keep pesky irritation at bay, but some allergies are a little more complicated.

As always, we are available to help you manage any chronic irritation suffered by your dog, but we thought we would give you some of our top tips that can come in handy when managing your seasonally itchy dog.

If you would like to understand more of the mechanism of an allergy or sensitivity, then check out the wealth of information in our other blogs:

Why Do Allergies in Dogs Develop?

Does My Dog Need an Allergy Test?

Your Pet’s Immune System

Why Allergies and Itching Have Become Such an Epidemic

Now, on to our top tips:

1)  Support the Gut!

As you will know if you read our articles on the immune system and the lymphatic system, in the gut you will find GALT, or gut-associated lymphoid tissue.

The digestive tract is heavily laden with lymphocytes, macrophages and other cells that participate in immune responses.  An allergy, in essence is an immune response gone bad, so we need to support immune function and that includes the part of the immune system found in the gut.  In addition, in a poor functioning digestive system, rogue particles can end up leaking through the barriers. This can be in cases of periodontal disease (bacteria getting into the blood stream from plaque formation) and damage in the tight junctions in the intestinal tract.  When this happens, the immune response is called to the area of the rogue particle to get rid of it.  These systemic responses can lead to hypersensitivity, leaving the immune system a little too eager to do its job on a body wide level.

It is therefore essential to support the barriers in the mouth; ensuring good dental hygiene but also to support the barrier of the gut.

Look to lovely gut healing ingredients such as Slippery Elm, De-Glycerised Licorice, Glutamine and N-Acetyl Glucosamine.

7 Steps to Optimal Gut Health for Pets

2) Consider the overuse of pharmaceutical flea and worm treatments!

Whilst there is sometimes a place for the use of pharmaceutical products in high burdens of parasites, we would always advocate the use of wormcount kits to establish any burden of worms before treatment and also the use of flea repellent products over any spot-on or tablet flea treatment.  The overuse of certain pharmaceutical products can place an unusual burden on many pathways in the dog’s body, compromising optimal function.

It also pays to consider how often you vaccinate your pet.

Vaccinosis: Damage Vaccinations Can Cause Your Pet

Does My Pet Need to Detox?

Natural Flea and Worming Treatments

3) Limit Stress!

Mast cells have a key role in allergic response; when they detect a substance that isn’t liked by the body, they release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream.  Histamine makes the blood vessels expand and the surrounding skin itchy and swollen.  This is known as degranulation and what’s super interesting is that stress can result in degranulation too!  This may explain the red face you feel as you are getting stressed, or if you break out in hives when you’re facing a particularly stressful time in work.

If you are working to tackle allergies in your dog, then it is important to remove as many stress triggers as possible, for your dog, but also you.

There is this idea of co-regulation of species, that dogs can pick up when we are stressed and we’ll admit, there is nothing more stressful than seeing our dogs suffer and feeling that we aren’t getting anywhere with fixing it!

It can pay to establish our own levels of stress when we are managing a poorly pooch.

Check out our perceived stress scale in the following blog to help you understand your own stress levels.

5 Tips For Dealing with a Fussy Eater

4) Rinse your dog, but not wash!

If you suspect your dog may have sensitivities to certain grasses or pollen, rinse their paws, undercarriage, and chest after walks.  You can also wipe their muzzle, ears, and face with a damp microfibre cloth when you get home too.

But avoid over-shampooing your dog.

Whilst you may opt for non-toxic products, washing can skew the microbiome found on the skin of your dog and this provides a first line of defence for the immune response.  The skin has its own community of microbes that can engulf and destroy pesky ones before they have chance to cause problems; frequent bathing can alter this community.

So, rinse your dog to remove potential irritants, but keep the shampoo for special occasions, like fox poo events.

Your Puppy’s Microbiome

5) Essential Fatty Acids Are Just That!

Allergies and sensitivities are an immune response and inflammation is the hallmark of an immune response.

Inflammation is a necessary process in the body, but we need just enough to solve the problem at hand.  We have compounds necessary to kick start the inflammatory response, and we have compounds that reign it back in again.  What we often find is that there are more compounds around to perpetuate inflammation, and not enough to reign it back in!

Therefore, it can help to fill up on foods to regulate the inflammatory response.  Omega-3 is a fatty acid that has regularly been linked inflammation regulation.  In turn it is often associated with reduced perception of pain and irritation too.

Omega-3 is found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sprats, and sardines.  Fresh or tinned are a great addition to the diet, opt for those in water though with no added salt.

You will find some content in beef and lamb too – if you opt for grass fed of course.

There are many omega-3 supplements available too, just be mindful that as the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids are increased in the diet, the need for Vitamin E also increases.

With some dogs, we can manage seasonal allergies well, with some simple lifestyle changes like:

  • Walking early morning or late evening
  • Rinsing after walks
  • Regularly vacuuming with a HEPA filter
  • Regularly washing their bed (just on a hot wash in the washing machine)

But, if you are struggling to get a handle on your dog’s irritation, check out our services to see how we can help.

Thanks for reading,

MPN Team ‍

Keep up to date

Subscribe to our newsletter for recipes, DIY products, health solutions and more.

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

Customer Reviews

Related articles