Dog Allergy Relief – OTC & DIY Remedies That Actually Work

By Michael Tarran

August 21, 2021

allergy, allergy relief, dog allergy relief
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Most pet parents are familiar with their dog's basic health requirements. Still, the most prevalent health obstacle seems to be allergies.

A majority of dogs will develop allergies at least once in their lifetime.

You should also know that each case is unique, and the degree of "danger" - as in, severity and other associated risks - differs from one breed to another. Regardless of whether the dog's allergic reaction symptoms are mild or extreme, they need to be addressed.

Sometimes, standard treatments do not work as well as they should. When the medication you're used to fails to fulfill its purpose, you need a backup plan for dog allergy relief.

Bearing in mind that not every dog breed reacts well to the initially prescribed medication, I will take this opportunity to provide you with some safe medicine and home remedies you can give to your dog.

A Look At The Root Of Dog Allergies

Before I go into detail and start listing all these different treatments and medications for your dog's allergic reactions, we should discuss the root of the problem.

Can all dogs develop an allergic reaction?

Yes. This problem can affect any dog breed, age, or mix.

The only difference is that some breeds are more susceptible to developing an allergic reaction than others.

The allergens that your dog inhales or ingests can trigger an unwanted immune response. After a large amount of allergens has accumulated in your dog's body, it begins to secrete histamine - the chemical that causes discomfort in dogs in response to the allergens.

If you’ve been wondering what dog allergy looks like, I’ve dealt with this topic in detail. You can read more about it here.

When it comes to the root of this problem, unfortunately, there is not just one.

Your dog could be allergic to:

  • Dog food, in which case, food allergy, accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, is to blame
  • Insects, and more specifically, insect bites, a cause of flea allergy
  • Dust mites that can be the cause of atopic dermatitis
  • Airborne allergens in your household

You need to take everything into consideration.

Allergies in dogs will generally show up as a skin condition, and the crucial thing here is to notice the symptoms while they have not yet grown into severe clinical signs or a secondary skin infection.

Note: Poor skin in dogs is the first indicator that something's wrong. If your dog's skin is dry or there are signs of skin infections, contact your vet immediately.

Dog Allergy Symptoms: From Mild To Extreme

The symptoms that affected dogs can develop will vary. While some are severe and noticeable, others are hard to spot at first glance.

In front of you is a list of the most common dog allergy symptoms. I split them into mild and extreme for maximum convenience.

Pay close attention to each one - and compare them with your dog's current appearance and behavior.

Mild Symptoms Of Allergies

  • Skin problems (dry skin, itchy skin, inflamed skin, and secondary skin infections)
  • Constant scratching
  • Excessive licking
  • Hair loss (a considerable lack of hair on one part of the body or a thin coat)
  • Rashes (a result of canine atopic dermatitis)
  • Runny eyes

Extreme Symptoms (Clinical Signs) Of Allergies

  • Constant vomiting after eating
  • Diarrhea
  • Loud coughing
  • Swelling (and other gastrointestinal signs)
  • Hives
  • Sneezing

Are Hives Fatal?

When I mention hives, the first thing that came to your mind probably wasn't related to your dog's symptoms.

But why am I singling out this symptom of allergies in dogs?

Hives in dogs are not that common - but they are still dangerous. These are skin rashes characterized by redness and so-called hot spots. What makes them uncommon and hard to notice is that they can appear - and disappear - quickly.

The most common triggers are pet food, insect bites, and flea saliva. However, additional exposure to the sun, possibly harmful chemicals, medicated shampoos - and even stress - can worsen your dog's condition.

In 99% of cases, hives are not fatal.

That 1% of death cases occur when a severe allergic reaction - anaphylactic response - is not treated, thus damaging the respiratory tracts.

The surest way to avoid these problems would be dog allergy testing - intradermal skin testing, to be precise.

Don't wait for mild symptoms of allergies to turn into extreme; as soon as you notice that something is wrong with your dog's appearance and behavior, call your vet!

A timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial here.

OTC Medication: Safe Choices You Can Buy

a dog looking at a pill

Some people have more confidence in the medication their vets have prescribed, which is more than understandable. This type of treatment is both highly effective and easily available.

However, over-the-counter medication has proven to be successful in treating skin lesions, fungal infections and reducing the symptoms caused by airborne allergens.

Here are some commonly purchased OTC dog allergy medications:

Antidiarrheal Drugs

Since diarrhea is a very common symptom in most dog diseases, today's veterinary medicine offers a wide selection of safe and natural antidiarrheal drugs that you can give to your dog.

Here's a couple of safe choices you can rely on:

Imodium

Imodium is an antidiarrheal drug that is given to your dog to slow down the passage of food through the body. Certain breeds have a problem with digesting food too fast, and this medicine can help a lot.

It's generally not considered a long-term treatment for food allergy, and you should be careful when it comes to dosage. An overdose of this medication can adversely affect your dog's bowel movements.

Pepto-Bismol

You might've heard of this medicine before. That's because it was originally intended for human use - but over time, it has adapted to the needs of dogs, as well.

Pepto-Bismol helps cure diarrhea, heartburn problems, and similar gastrointestinal symptoms.

Before giving a dose to your dog, you should contact your veterinarian and check how much your dog is allowed to take in based on their body weight.

Pepcid-AC

Pepcid-AC is another antidiarrheal drug that can help your dog. However, slightly different rules apply to this medicine:

If your dog is currently pregnant or nursing, Pepcid-AC is not a good idea.

Can You Buy Antidiarrheal Drugs Online?

Today, you can find almost everything you need on the Internet, even dog medication. Although most veterinarians will not recommend that you rely on the meds you find online, people still consider this an effective alternative.

If you decide to look for dog allergy medicine online, you will come across some of the following options:

  • Probiotics for dogs
  • Food supplements
  • Oral gels

In addition to supposedly helping your dog to cure diarrhea, these choices are supposed to boost your pup's immune system with antioxidants and contain enzymes that improve digestion.

My take on this is not a positive one, though.

I would rather visit a pet shop and get a trustworthy recommendation from an expert.

There's too much at stake when shopping online, especially for something like medication for an allergic dog.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has two purposes:

Cleaning superficial flesh and inducing vomiting in emergencies.

If your dog suffers from allergic dermatitis, one of the veterinarian's recommendations is to use hydrogen peroxide to clean the superficial flesh that remains after an allergic reaction. You will recognize this by the dry, cracked, and scaly skin.

On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide can also be used to induce vomiting in emergencies.

That involves situations in which your dog has ingested something toxic - food, household chemicals, or toxic plants, for example.

Caution: In case of vomiting, hydrogen peroxide can very easily harm your dog. Before taking any measures, consult with your vet!

Steroid Sprays

Steroid sprays or nasal sprays are a widespread choice in treating allergies. Sometimes they're used as an alternative substitute for allergy shots.

These sprays are characterized by the fact that they contain much fewer strong ingredients that you can find in allergy shots. That's very useful in treating flea allergies and skin allergies in general.

The downside is that it can take longer for the treated area to heal.

Artificial Tears

Have you noticed that your pup is constantly blinking and that it squirts its eyes every time you look? If so, this might mean that its eyes are dry - or that there is dust in them that interferes with their vision.

In this case, buying artificial tears can help in treating a dog's allergies.

Note that dry eyes are most often the result of environmental allergens, such as pollen.

Natural Dog Allergy Relief: DIY & Home Remedies

A lot of people will turn to DIY home remedies when treating their dog's atopic dermatitis - and here's why:

Most of these remedies can commonly be found in - and around - the home.

Let's list down the most popular options.

Mushrooms

The composition of mushrooms has mainly been used to treat types of cancer. However, veterinarians have recently come across a shocking discovery:

Mushrooms contain beta-glucan, which helps in treating allergies.

More precisely, this substance contributes to the creation of cells that defend your dog's immune system from developing certain allergies. As an example, giving mushrooms to your dog has helped cure flea allergy dermatitis and stabilize their body weight.

Remember, though:

It would be best to never give your dog any raw mushrooms; cook them well or dehydrate them instead.

Here are certain types of mushrooms that are recommended:

  • Reishi
  • Shiitake
  • Cordyceps
  • Turkey Tail
  • Maitake

If you're buying medicinal mushrooms, make sure that they have a certificate that proves they contain at least 30% of beta-glucan.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a very common choice for many pet owners. This substance is generally used if your dog suffers from allergic skin disease since it works by soothing the skin of the affected dog.

Still, with some allergies, baking soda is not such a good idea. If your pup has acute allergic reactions, it would be a good idea to consult a vet first.

Aloe Leaf

Aloe leaf has more than one purpose. In addition to the plant serving as a decoration in most people's homes, it can also be used as allergy relief for your dog.

How so?

It's pretty straightforward:

All you have to do is break off one leaf, slice it in half, and take the gel out of it. While doing this, avoid the yellow goo on the side.

Gently apply the gel to your dog's itchy skin and wait for it to absorb. Be careful not to overdo it, as this can damage your dog’s coat or, worse yet, cause them to lick the excess gel.

Many believe that aloe leaf also promotes healthy skin in addition to helping with your dog's itching and calming inflammation.

The results should be visible after a few days.

Omega-3 Acids

Food allergies can be tricky to diagnose - and can, at times, lead straight to the emergency veterinary hospital, especially when dogs consume too much of the offending ingredient.

Like many other experts, vets recommend that foods rich in Omega-3 acids should be included in your dog's diet.

Why does this matter?

Because these vitamin-based foods can significantly strengthen your dog's immune system, save them from true food allergies, and calm the inflammatory reaction.

Even if your pup doesn't have any food allergies right now, you should choose the food with care - and make sure that it includes the following ingredients:

  • Fish, flax seeds (oil or whole seeds)
  • Supplements with vitamin E in them
  • Spinach
  • Salmon

It's vital not to overdo it with these ingredients - but make sure to include them in your dog's meals.

Nettles

You’ve probably read about how nettle tea is good for your health. Surprisingly enough, this herb can also be used to treat allergies in your dog.

Before you pick nettles, make sure you have your gloves on, though.

After you've picked the leaves, dry them, and place them on areas where your dog's itching is the worst. More and more people claim that nettles helped with their dog's skin conditions.

Nettle can also be helpful against flea bites and hot spots.

Can You Prevent Dog Allergic Reactions?

I'm sure most people would love to skip the part about treating allergies - but that's only possible if they know how to prevent dog allergic reactions before they occur.

The truth is that this is almost impossible - but you can still take some precautions that will reduce the chances of your pup developing symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Here's what you can do:

  • Bathe and groom your dog regularly.
  • Don't skip vet appointments and do occasional blood tests (besides allergy testing).
  • Make sure that their diet is full of vitamins.
  • Watch out for digestive problems when introducing new foods.
  • Make sure the space in which they spend time isn't filled with foreign substances or environmental allergens.
  • Do not leave your dog in a room with air conditioning for too long.
  • Clean the dog toys, chews, and leashes regularly.
  • Check for fleas, especially if you notice frequent scratching or there's a risk of flea allergy dermatitis.

Dog Allergy Relief - Summing Up

It is time to conclude this discussion about dog allergy relief. By the time you reached this conclusion, you've learned about not only effective alternatives to treating your dog's symptoms but a couple of valuable facts related to dog allergies in general, too.

It is true that people resort to veterinarian's prescriptions and mostly rely on medication that you can buy at the pharmacy. There are a couple of good medications that are bound to help your dog, but you need to be careful when using them.

Also, while some people believe that medicines for canine allergic dermatitis can be obtained online, it might not be such a good idea - and I wouldn't advise you to use them before consulting a veterinarian.

Many homemade remedies have been proven to be successful in treating allergy symptoms.

These ingredients include mushrooms, aloe leaves, baking soda - and the best part's that they can be found in your home.

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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