Petwell Supply Blog
How to Manage Your Pet's Allergies
Seasonal allergy sufferers are preparing for their least favorite time of year, which is right around the corner. You might not know that this holds true for some pets as well! Like humans, dogs and cats can are susceptible to seasonal allergies, which can manifest in ways that could easily go unnoticed. Here are the most common signs that your dog or cat may have allergies along with some all-natural remedies that will help you keep your pet’s allergies under control all season long:
Allergies in dogs can cats typically manifest in 2 ways: through the skin and through the respiratory system. It is more common for allergy symptoms to show up in your pet’s skin, but occasionally some pets also suffer from respiratory symptoms. In any case, keep an eye out for these signs that your pet may be suffering from allergies:
• Excessive itching/biting at skin
• Hair loss, including bald patches
• Hot spots
• Red, inflamed skin
• Red, inflamed, or cracking paw pads
• Runny nose/sneezing
• Watery or crusty eyes
• Eye redness
If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect your dog or cat has allergies, be sure to pay attention to patterns that may help you narrow down the cause. For instance, does your dog seem to scratch only when she is outside in the grass? Or does your cat only sneeze when he is lying by an open window? Keeping an eye on these patterns can also help you determine whether your pet’s issue might be more serious. Respiratory issues are very common in cats, for example, and some allergy symptoms are like those of feline upper respiratory infections (URI) or the feline Herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1).
Luckily, there are plenty of all-natural supplements that can help you manage your pet’s allergies:
Colostrum: Otherwise known as “mother’s milk,” colostrum contains proteins that aid with your pet’s immune function, making it great to slow down your pet’s allergic reactions to the seasonal environment.
Fish Oil: Fish oil contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that will greatly benefit your pet with seasonal skin and coat issues.
Milk Thistle: While milk thistle is most commonly used for liver support, it can also provide extra support for pets with allergies by flushing out those seasonal toxins.
Herbsmith Clear Allerqi: This herbal supplement helps maintain normal histamine levels and supports detoxification of environmental toxins all while reducing phlegm and cooling itchy and inflamed skin.
Bee Pollen: Bee pollen is a superfood most commonly known for providing extra nutrients and proteins for overall health but giving your pet small doses of bee pollen can help them build resistance to pollen allergens over time.
Other great remedies include Earth Animal’s Allergy & Skin Drops, Pet Wellbeing’s Itch Support Drops, Wondercide’s Skin Tonic, and more, which can be found both in store and online.
- Vanessa Rances
DIY Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats
Your pup is sure to love this frosty treat made of fresh blueberries, banana, and goat's milk yogurt.
What You'll Need:
- 1 banana
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup plain goat's yogurt
- Silicone tray
- Mash 1 banana
- Add blueberries
- Add yogurt
- Mix well
- Fill silicone tray
- Freeze for 3 to 6 hours
- Vanessa Rances
How Aromatherapy Can Benefit Your Dog
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using of essential oils, carrier oils, and hydrosols for holistic, therapeutic healing. It can greatly benefit humans and dogs physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Essential oils, which are aromatic oils derived from plant materials, are most commonly used in aromatherapy practices for dogs. Diffusing them is the easiest and most effective way to treat your dog right in the comfort of his own home.
Aromatherapy can benefit dogs in many ways, but it is an especially beneficial treatment for dogs with anxiety or fear-based issues. This includes, but is not limited to separation anxiety, hyperactivity, anxious chewing, noise phobias, shyness/hiding, trembling, and nervous biting/nipping. Because dogs have such powerful noses, aromatherapy is meant to ground them in an environment where calming oils are present in the air. Therefore, aromatherapy is best started when your dog does not feel threatened. This way, your dog will begin to associate these scents with comfort and safety.
There are many types of essential oils, each with different properties, so they can be used either by themselves or in combination depending on what best suits your dog’s needs. Here are some examples of commonly used essential oils and what they are used for:
- Roman chamomile: anxiety, fear, trembling, disturbed sleep
- Geranium: anxiety, fear, hormonal support, PTSD
- Ginger: nausea/motion sickness, increase confidence
- Jasmine: anxiety, trauma/abuse, PTSD
- Lavender: anxiety, fear, trembling, hyperactive, physical or emotional trauma, disturbed sleep, jumpy/spooky, hypersensitive to touch/sound
- Sweet orange: increase confidence
- Patchouli: grounding, hyperactive, sensitive to touch, trauma/abuse
- Rose: emotional wounds, trauma/abuse, lack of vitality and joy, sadness, fear-aggression, PTSD
- Tangerine: increase confidence/focus, hyperactive energy, repetitive negative behavior, separation anxiety
- Ylang-ylang: anxiety, body trembling, hypersensitive to touch, trauma/abuse, jumpy/spooky, increase confidence (especially in males), fear-aggression
So, for example, if your dog struggles with separation anxiety you can diffuse this calming recipe while you are away from your dog:
Contact your vet or aromatherapist before using essential oils, to be sure that they are a safe and healthy treatment for your pet. Here are some important tips to remember when using essential oils for or around your pets:
- DO NOT use diffusers near cats, as they lack the enzymes required to break down individual components that are in essential oils. If a cat’s metabolic system is disrupted, it can lead to severe liver and kidney problems.
- DO NOT use diffusers near birds, fish, reptiles/amphibians, and small mammals like ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, etc.
- If you think your pet is having a negative reaction to essential oils, discontinue use and seek veterinary care if necessary.
- All pets are different! Not every essential oil will work with your pet. It is possible that they may be more sensitive to one essential oil over another.
- DO NOT apply essential oils directly to your pet’s nose, eyes, ears, and genital areas.
- ALWAYS dilute essential oils when applied topically to your pet.
- DO NOT give essential oils internally to your pet.
- NOT all essential oils are safe for pets. If you are unsure whether an essential oil is safe to use, consult your vet or aromatherapist. (Read the Pet Poison Hotline’s analysis of dangerous essential oils for pets)
- Be sure your diffuser is placed in a very well-ventilated area.
- DO NOT trap your pet in a room with a diffuser; be sure they can freely enter and exit the room.
- DO NOT place a diffuser directly in your pet’s crate.
- DO NOT use your diffuser constantly; ideally, you should let it run every 5-10 minutes every 4 hours or less.
- Less is more! Always start with lesser amounts of new essential oils to avoid overstimulation. if you feel that a certain amount of an essential oil has been working well for your pet, there is no need to add more.
- Vanessa Rances
Stay Away From These Pet Food Ingredients
When choosing food for your pet, it’s very important to take ingredients into consideration. Unfortunately, pet food nutrition labels are often confusing and overwhelming, especially when ingredients are unrecognizable. Here’s a helpful guide to reading pet food ingredient labels and why some ingredients may be dangerous for your pet:
Feed-Grade vs. Human-Grade:
You want to avoid giving your pet feed-grade foods if possible. Feed-grade is a term used to describe foods that contain meat and bone meal by-products, which have the risk of coming from dead or diseased animals. Feed-grade ingredients also often contain rendered animal fats from tissues and organs. Because animals in the wild tend to eat most parts of their prey, rendered parts may be considered biologically appropriate ingredients, but once they are cooked at high temperatures, they lose most of their nutritional value. Also, dry pet foods that contain rendered animal fats are more susceptible to growing salmonella or mold if moisture enters a bag.
On the other hand, human-grade pet foods are the best foods you can give to your pet. Simply put, human-grade pet foods contain ingredients that are suitable for human consumption. Most pet foods do not specify that they are human-grade, but you can determine this by reading the ingredients on the label. Some examples of human-grade ingredients include single-meat proteins like “chicken” or “beef,” fruits and vegetables like “apples” and “sweet potatoes,” and others like “bone broth” or “rice.”
Chemicals and Preservatives:
A lot of pet foods contains tons of artificial preservatives that are linked to health problems like cancer and tumors, skin irritation, and blood disorders. Here are some commonly found preservatives that you should avoid:
• Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
• Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
• Tert-butyl Hydroquinone (TBHQ)
• Propyl Gallate
• Potassium Sorbate
These chemicals are also often found in products like pesticides, synthetic rubbers, and resins.
Natural preservatives commonly come from or are forms of Vitamin E and Vitamin C. On the ingredients label, they’re known as “Mixed tocopherols” and “Ascorbates.” Natural preservatives do not improve a pet food’s shelf life as greatly as artificial preservatives do, but they are much cleaner and safer.
Artificial food dyes generally offer no nutritional value to pet foods and most commonly cause allergic reactions. They have even been linked to carcinogens and tumors. They are easily identifiable by color names and numbers like “Blue 2,” “Red 40,” and “Yellow 5,” to name a few.
If you find a healthy pet food that appears to be dyed, check the ingredients label for brightly colored or juicy fruits and vegetables like blueberries, beets, spinach, and carrots, all of which are totally safe for your pet to eat.
If your pet consumes an excess of artificial sweeteners, they may be at risk for obesity and diabetes. Avoid sweeteners like “corn syrup,” “fructose/sucrose,” and “caramel.” You’ll find these more often in dog foods than cat foods, because cats’ tongues do not have taste receptors for sweets, but some cat foods may still contain artificial sweeteners, a possible leading cause for diabetes in cats.
Commonly used natural sweeteners that are okay for pets to consume in moderation are honey and molasses. Sweet fruits like apples, blueberries, mangoes, and watermelons are also safe sweet treats for pets, also in moderation.
Aside from the above ingredients, there are still more commonly found ingredients that look questionable, but are actually safe “Enteroccus Faecium” and any type of “fermentation” product are just fancy names for probiotics. The essential mineral, copper, is found in a lot of pet foods, but generally in very small amounts. “Thiamene Mononitrate” and “Pyridoxine Hydrochloride” are forms of Vitamin B.
Check out our other blog posts on how to choose the right food and treats for your pet’s needs, as well as our dog foods and cat foods, sold both in store and online.
- Vanessa Rances