Every year around the end of September, Sully starts to have a seasonal skin allergy. We don’t know exactly what plant causes it, but for a good 2-3 weeks, my boy has a rash over most of his body.
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of research, trial and error experiments, and conducted many conversations with people that are in the “know”, to try and ascertain the best way to provide my guy with some comfort without pumping him full of antihistamines and/or other unnatural “stuff”.
What kind of allergy?
Before getting into my recommendations, we have to make sure that the allergy we are dealing with is actually environmental. The main issue we are looking to avoid is attributing a food allergy to the environment.
I can hear you now, “My girl doesn’t have any food allergies”. That may be true now but a dog can develop a food allergy, seemingly at random, at any point in her life! The easiest way to pinpoint the nature of an allergy is to have a test performed by your veterinarian. While it may seem like a frivolous expense at first, avoiding the monetary cost of trial and error efforts will save you in the long run.
These fall into two major categories: Relief and Suppression. Relieving the symptoms is probably much more important, in my opinion, than suppressing them. Mostly because suppression involves using antihistamines which, while perfectly safe for dogs, still rank on my “I’d rather not give them to my dog’s if I don’t absolutely have to” list.
This is the big suppression method in our household. I made a couple of calculators that I use to make sure I give the exact amount that is recommended. One here, and one(with other medicines as well) here
Keep in mind that the active ingredient in Benadryl usually causes drowsiness and/or lethargy, which is another reason I don’t like giving it to our dogs unless we have to, so don’t be alarmed if your pup turns into a lazy couch potato after you dose him.
This is where the magic happens! Sully’s skin can get pretty gnarly when this allergy season really gets going. He makes it much worse because he constantly wants to lick and scratch. Awhile back, I started to put a few inches of warm water at the bottom of the back, 1/3 cup of Coconut oil, and, using my hands, I would gently rub the water/oil combo into his coat and skin.
This works wonders for providing my guy some relief. The oil has anti-inflammatory properties and calms his skin so that he doesn’t constantly chew, scratch, and lick. It also has anti-microbial and anti-histamine properties that help keep any infections at bay and the overall reaction in check.
I can’t recommend this stuff enough. I also put a couple of teaspoons in his food around this time of year to give him a little extra boost. The only downside to Coconut oil is that the other dogs will pester Sully relentlessly after the bath trying to lick it off of him!
I wanted to write this post so I could sing the praises of coconut oil in treating any kind of minor skin irration. I’ve tried various different solutions for Sully’s allergies but coco oil is the only one that has made a noticeable difference, other than OTC medications like Benadryl. Plus, it’s natural, which is a huge bonus in my book. After a couple of baths with the water/oil mixture, my boys skin looks soooo much better.