Relieving the agony for dogs with flea allergy dermatitis
Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common form of seasonal itching in dogs. It is also one of the most common reasons that people take their pets to the vet.
If your dog is suffering from an acute attack of flea allergy dermatitis, with secondary bacterial or yeast infections you must make an appointment to see your vet immediately. Depending on the cause and severity of the dermatitis he or she will more than likely treat your dog by prescribing one or more of the following:
- Antibiotics for bacterial infections
- Steroids for the relief of inflammation
- Anti fungal medications for yeast infections
However, the only long term treatment for flea allergy dermatitis is total flea control and not allowing one single flea to come in contact with your dog or its environment.
Natural defensive strategies for treating dogs with flea allergy dermatitis
Allergies in dogs are no different to human allergies, and pet owners with dogs that suffer from flea allergy dermatitis are always going to have to stay on top of the three main triggers, which cause allergies in the first place:
- Poor immune systems
- Getting rid of fleas on pets
- Getting rid of fleas in and around their dog's environment.
Poor immune systems - Inner defenses
Fleas, like other parasites, target dogs with unhealthy immune systems, and puppies which have undeveloped immune systems. Therefore, the first line of defense for dogs that suffer from flea allergy dermatitis is to optimise their health and immunity.
As with humans, a good diet forms the build blocks of good health for dogs. Many holistic vets are of the opinion that the best diet for our canine friends is a biologically appropriate raw food diet, sometimes referred to as the barf diet.
I feed my dogs with human grade raw meat and freshly steamed veggies, followed by a small soft brisket bone or chicken's neck to clean their teeth. As a snack in between meals, I give them raw carrot or slices of apple (I always removed the core and seeds from apples because they are poisonous to dogs).
If you are receptive to giving you dog raw carrots or apples, take great care that you never mix them with meat protein, because this combination of food is known to cause bloat. Bloat is very often a fatal condition in dogs.
If you would like to put your dog on a raw diet but are not quite sure how to go about it, then watch Mark from "Unleashed in Calgary" in the following video. Mark explains how to prepare the essential ingredients which your dog needs to maintain a healthy and sustainable raw food diet.
In conjunction with Mark's video I suggest you should read two recent articles I wrote on:
- The merits and dangers of feeding raw bones to dogs, from a personal view point I only agree with feeding dogs soft raw bones (e.g. chicken necks and brisket bones) and not raw beef rib bones
- People foods that dogs should never eat
However, not everyone is comfortable with or can manage to feed their pet a raw diet. If you fall into this category, remember it is important to feed your dog with the very best quality diet you can. This means feeding top quality commercial pet foods that contain mostly high quality meat protein and definitely no:
- Meat or grain by-products
- Chemicals or preservatives
- Refined carbohydrates, e.g. corn or wheat
- Ingredients from foreign countries, e.g. China
- Other artificial additives and or cheap fillers.
I can recommend Only Natural Pet's food and treats range for dogs with allergies, and you can browse and shop on line by Clicking here.
Getting rid of fleas on your dog
Many topical sprays, shampoos and pills claim to repel or kill fleas, but the down side is, that many of them contain chemicals and pesticides which have serious toxic side effects.
Its more than likely, that you may have bought some of these products for your dog. You may even be one of the increasing number of pet owners who have seen their pets have one or more of the following reactions within a short time of being given medication.
- Twitching, convulsions and seizures.
- Burnt and scared skin.
- Fevers and high temperatures.
- Excessive salivation.
- Poor appetite.
Please go to Consumer alert for more information on this subject.
I use an amazing new product called the Only Natural Pet flea and tick tag for my dogs, which repels fleas based on a concept of energy fields. It sounds very "out there", but they work really well for many pets and are far and away the easiest and safest way to keep fleas my your dogs.
Since there is no product currently on the market that can control or repel fleas 100%, and I live in an area that is flea time all the year round, I take what I call the "layers" approach with Molly and Rosie. Once activated the tag gives 95% protection. I use a powder indoors in the girls' bedding and a quick spray just before we go walking.
The analogy I use to explain my "layers" concept is that when it's cold we layer up by using beanies, scarves and gloves and when its hot we layer down by removing stuff!
Get rid of fleas in your dog's environment
I can't stress enough using what I call the preemptive strike! By this I mean, if you have dogs that suffer from flea allergy dermatitis don't sit around waiting until you see fleas on them before treating them, and the environment they live in.
This is particularly applicable if you live in an area with a predictable flea season; in which case you must begin the treatment a month before Spring starts. If you live where flea season is every season, get going now, and start treating your home and surrounds on a regular basis.
Treating the environment is essential if you want to win the war against fleas, because "most of the flea population in your immediate environment lives and develops in your house and yard, not on your pet".