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How to Handle Your Dog's Allergies

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It can be tremendously overwhelming trying to pinpoint an allergy in your pet. You may notice constant itching, red skin, bouts of nausea and diarrhea, reoccurring ear, eye or skin infections or lack of appetite. Even with a few of these present, it’s safe to say some type of allergy is likely the cause of discomfort for your pet.

Allergies can be both seasonal and food-related. Unfortunately, symptoms aren’t mutually exclusive, which makes it hard to tell what you’re battling. Both outdoor and food-related allergies can display in the same manner.

Seasonal, outdoor allergies can cause red, itchy skin and eyes, hives and ear, eye and skin infections. Food-related allergies can cause all those same symptoms, but fall heavily onto digestive troubles. These symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and digestive irregularity. Symptoms are not limited to this, and can present in a different manner from dog to dog.

Because of the vast array of triggers, it’s best to start out by process of elimination. Since you can’t eliminate daily walks outside (hah!) start with food. Grains and chicken are the two most common triggers. Switch to a grain-free formula with an obscure protein like duck, bison, lamb, whitefish or salmon. **I’ll also note that rotation feeding (switching out what protein you feed every few bags) can help reduce the risk of food allergies down the line! Read more about rotation feeding here**. Also, make sure to eliminate human-food handouts during this period of time. If you switch to a chicken-free, grain-free formula, but still let your pup chow down on your Chicken Alfredo Pasta leftovers, your efforts won’t amount to much.

(I should also mention that if your dog is already grain and chicken free, simply try to change their protein. If they’re not doing well on poultry, try fish. If beef isn’t working, try bison or lamb. If you’ve tried all of the above, we encourage switching to potato and gluten free. Zignature is the standard for allergy-neutral foods, offering all grain-free, potato-free and gluten-free formulas!)

While making the transition, supplement with pure pumpkin to ease any digestive upset that can occur. Pure pumpkin is high in fiber, low in fat and rich in beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamins A and C. A few tablespoons (dependent on your dog’s size, of course) in each meal will help regulate bowel movements and stabilize the digestive system while transitioning foods.

Give your dog a solid week on the new food to determine any digestive or skin changes. Changing to a grain-free formula should clear your allergy-ridden dog from yeast buildup, digestive irregularity, lack of energy and skin troubles. Over the course of a couple of weeks, symptoms should improve.

While changing your dog’s diet will help build up their immune system and strengthen their gastrointestinal tract, it can’t protect them from seasonal, outdoor allergies. This is where a probiotic comes into play. We recommend (tried & true!) Geneflora ProBiotic.

Geneflora is designed to strengthen the immune system, control yeast and candida, improve digestion and reduce inflammation of the skin. Geneflora contains the bacteria Bacillus Coagulans, which is a healthy bacteria that can survive within the stomach and intestines to correct imbalances. It also contains Fiber Acacia that feeds healthy bacteria and regulates bowel movements, and enzymes that reduce inflammation. (Genflora can be used for dogs AND cats)!

The combination of a high-quality, grain-free food and a probiotic should be the answer to most of your pet's allergy symptoms. It's important to continue this trend from puppy to adulthood. For additional supplements, allergy relief treats and grain-free food options, check out our site!

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