How to help your dog survive summer allergies

Holly Mash, vet and author of The Holistic Dog – a complete guide to natural health care, explains how to help your dog survive summer allergies…

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Many pets suffer from allergies in the summer months, causing them to be very uncomfortable with itching, scratching and even skin and ear infections. Typical triggers for summer allergies in pets include fleas, as well as grass and tree pollens.

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One of the first steps in managing allergies is to reduce the pet’s exposure to the allergen (trigger). As fleas are such a common trigger rigorous flea control measures are crucial and involve using at least two methods of treatment, for example a spot-on and an environmental spray.

For dogs that have allergies to factors in the environment make sure that you walk them in places where they will be less likely to come into contact with the particular trees or plants to which they are sensitive. It’s also a sensible precaution to wipe your dog’s paws and tummy with a damp cloth when you get home after every walk; this helps remove possible allergens from their coat.

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The most important dietary supplement for maintaining a healthy, shiny, itch free skin and coat are the essential fatty acids (EFA’s). These are the building blocks of the skin, and also have anti-inflammatory action to relieve itching. The most important EFA for allergies are the omega-3’s found in fish oils as well as seeds such as flax and borage.

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