Dog Allergies with Dogtopia’s Environmental Biologist Lorraine Rhoads

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

we are live let’s wait for some people
to tune in great hello everyone we’re Dogtopia my name’s Tony and we’re here
with our environmental biologist – Dogtopia expert this is Lorraine Rhodes
and with the start of spring we figured what better time to discuss doggie
allergies so we’ll let people join but did you know that dogs also get
allergies same as humans as the weather begins to warm all across the country we
thought it would be important to discuss doggie allergies we have lots of props
and plants to discuss with you so Lorraine kick it off yes it’s
interesting because dogs can actually be allergic to the very same pollen and
other allergens as humans but their symptoms can look different and can
often be harder to spot for us we usually come down to the sneezing the
coughing I know lately my eyes have been really itchy and watery
um which of course makes everything kind of messy and feel uncomfortable so
people develop rashes if they have sensitive skin so dogs don’t actually
have the same upper respiratory system and sinus cavities that we have so what
our symptoms might look like are gonna be different when it comes to a dog so
usually they’re allergy symptoms are primarily seen and noticed in their skin
oh they’re like itchy oh absolutely itchy itchy it’s no fun so the warm spring air is
bringing pollen and trees and shrubs and flowers as you can see because we are
here even though it looks like we’re at the beach the beach spring break the beach,
we’ve brought in a bunch of flowers and pots here so that you can see some we’re
gonna talk about things that are that cause allergies and then I have some
other examples of things that are better to plant in your garden as well okay so that’s
what’s happening right now is starting to warm up across the country and we’re
starting to see those pollen counts go up oftentimes on your weather report the
news can kind of let you know when those allergy days are at their worst so it’s
good to pay attention to that so dogs primarily get allergies and have itchy
skin around their eyes their nose and their ears often you’ll see
them on their footpads you know that they get that little red rusty kind of
their hair is starting to get rusty that’s from licking and that’s really
showing you that they’re suffering from some allergies they can also be itchy on
their rear end too and that could be from
scooting in environmental allergies as well so mild symptoms and I’m sure a lot
of you have experience with this I know a lot of dogs suffer just like people
suffer from environmental allergies so mild symptoms are gonna look like itchy
back at the base of their tail you know where they just kind of do that moaning
groaning like scratch my back in that special magic spot I will caution you
that that spot is also a favorite of fleas so I think it’s really important
to just also make sure that your flea mindful yeah
it’s harder with dark coat breeds to make sure that they don’t have fleas and
so I always recommend making sure your dog is completely covered with
preventative flea and tick medication that’s really important helps with
allergies too so you’ll see that increased scratching sometimes their
ears just get inflamed and itchy itchy and you see that head shaking more and
more they can get itchy watery eyes just like humans sometimes that’s harder to
notice but it’s definitely possible and you can see increased sneezing
that’s that’s sort of what the mild symptoms are if the allergies are left
untreated or kind of not noticed they can develop into more some moderate to
severe symptoms so more than just a tick okay and that can look like a spot where
they’ve just begun to get licked it and kind of like a hot spot where it develops and it gets scabbier and wet and moist it can often have a not pleasant odor or smell to that spot they can begin showing on their paws and like I was mentioning
before it can stay start to stain their the hair into like a rusty
color and that can really be an indication of more serious allergies
snoring at night that that’s actually an allergy symptom yeah because what’s
happening is their sort of upper respiratory is all getting inflamed so
if your dogs not typically a snoring dog and you’re all of a sudden noticing
and it’s also kind of spring allergy season it’s happening with other
symptoms as well I would definitely consider that part of the allergy
symptoms okay I’m constantly licking and that’s kind of interesting because that
can make you up in the night licking vomiting and diarrhea are more commonly
associated with food allergies so we can talk about that I’m mainly I’m focusing
on environmental allergies today but I’ll touch on some food things later
so if untreated those areas that are causing inflammation for your pup can
lead to secondary bacterial infections and it even opens up the skin to be
vulnerable to like a yeast infection too which can be so hard to treat really really
uncomfortable so those are some symptoms to look for if your pup is having those
symptoms it’s time to consider allergies for sure okay good to know
alright so we all know that like spring is when everyone is outside planting
gardens or just enjoying their backyard are there certain plants that you
recommend we avoid if the dog does have allergies yes absolutely
so one of the things I really want to focus on first of the grasses because
most of us have grass in our environment one of the more common ones is this Bermuda grass. Bermuda grass is planted all across the u.s. it’s a
hardy lawn grass and they have a little bit of an example here of what it looks
like it can be kind of fallen in and grow quite a few inches tall
most of us cut it before and keep it mode short before it grows the flower
part the flowers where the pollen comes from this is called the inflorescence
and I’ve got a little example here where you can see what that flower head looks
like and get a little closer so you can see just what that pollen is going to
look like most of the time the pollen floats through the air and can be almost
invisible microscopic so it can be just present in the environment floating
through the air causing lots of allergies which is no fun so it’s
important to potentially cut your grass before that flower head develops Bermuda
is one of those so unfortunately it’s not a wonderful
one for allergies it’s possible to move on to that we it’s not a wonderful
one for allergies it’s it’s possible to go to your nursery and ask your
professionals there for a hybrid species okay they are hybridizing grass species
to make them a little more allergy friendly so I recommend making sure you
cut that Bermuda before it develops that pollen okay okay so next I want to talk
about this one and you can see um in the contrast of my t-shirt did the Fox tail
shape that this grass creates these are called Fox tails this does not the
actual common name of this particular are really common throughout North
America so there’s lots of species that are really common throughout the North
America so there’s lots of species that do this so it has a Medusa head or
tangled head that’s another type of grass that makes this kind of top so Fox
tails when they these little seed heads just pop right off and fall so walking
your dog outside the environment means sharp they stick into the paws or their
coat absolutely into the cause in sharp they stick into the cones or their
coat absolutely into the cause in what that that one looks like so what
happens when that Fox tail gets on the with that that one looks like so what
happens when that Fox tail gets on the coat of your pup is that it goes only
one direction and that’s further and out of every part or place possible from
a dog we’re talking all the way deep down into the middle ear down the ear
canal they’ve pulled them out of digestive systems and in between toe
pads they’ve also created ulcers so it’s really important to check
your dog’s fur for fox tails they’re all over our desks here they’re just falling
off so you can imagine how easy this is over our desks here they’re just falling
off so you can imagine how easy this is to just pick up on your dog’s coat and
really cause trouble from the very beginning these really lead to a lot of
infections now I don’t mention this because I think it causes allergies in
the same way grasses I couldn’t resist talking about those important ones to discuss okay
so moving on we have the bottle brush those important plants to discuss okay
so moving on we have the bottle brush plant and I’ve got that one right here
in this lane of vision so bottle brush is on the list of things that can cause
allergies and it kind of doesn’t look like it’s gonna be that much of a
problem until you get up close to this hardware this guy has got all kinds
of pollens on the top of this, yes so hardware um this guy has got all kinds
of pollens on the console says yes so just how tiny those pollen seeds are
and what happens is the needle-like part of that bottle brush is also quite
irritating and sharp it’s funny how of that bottle brush is also quite
irritating and sharp that’s funny how into the coats and cause quite a bit of
irritation so this is not one of my favorite plants to have in a dog
friendly home environment yeah so and of course we have all kinds of things in
bloom right now the maple trees the Juniper ,Elm, Mulberry I know in some places you’re not even allowed to plant mulberry
unless it’s not going to make seeds because it can be such a terrible allergen
we’re out here in the southwest and it’s there can be such a terrible allergen
we’re out here in the southwest and it’s actually considered an invasive species
so it’s not recommended to plant those oak and pecan trees are all blooming
right now so those definitely increase now it smells so heavenly in here I
wish you could all smell how nice it smells here because we have some members
of the lily family we’ve got the mosey here because we have some members
of the lily family we’ve got the mean it smells pretty heavenly but yeah I mean but none
of the plants in the Easter and sorry none of the plants and the lily family are
actually safe for dogs they’re none of the plants and the lily family
actually see four dogs they’re particularly toxic for cats okay but
they are an allergen to dogs as well and none of those should really be
accessible to your pup they are quite dangerous so I don’t recommend anything from the lily family good to know so I’m gonna have to leave
these in the office because we’re not really gonna have these open to the dogs so of course
there are other things to consider mold spores I do not have an example for mold spores I didn’t bring any yes thank you for that yes so mold and dust definitely cause allergies that’s something that’s really
prevalent in a lot of environments hopefully not so much mold spores but
definitely dust dander and feathers dander is just the extra skin cells that
gets left off of people and pets and then feathers cigarette smoke causes
allergies a lot of dogs go through the same similar symptoms of second hand
smoke yep they can get bronchitis and they can get inflammation of the lungs
and they’re considered allergic to it so we also have food allergies and food
allergies are like I was mentioning earlier not really at the main focus for
today but I wanted to mention that it can sort of what’s tricky is that it can
be a combination of food allergies and environmental allergies that can also be
making your path miserable okay that’s no fun
so if you suspect food allergies definitely work with your veterinarian
because you probably need to be working on an elimination diet okay just like a
human yeah so a couple other things to mention that cause allergies can also be
prescription medications it’s rare but it can happen
fleas know I mentioned that earlier fleas can definitely cause itchiness
and it’s really interesting it only takes a few bites of the flea and it can
create a reaction that lasts for a couple weeks so making sure prevention
definitely prevention is the key and other things like cleaning products in
your home or shampoos and grooming products could also be a culprit so if
you’re your pup is experiencing these type of symptoms I think it’s very important
to just kind of go through the list and see what might be causing this okay
that’s a lot I know it is a long list of allergies are there plants but you
recommend I know we went over the list that you do not recommend are there plants that you do recommend there are there are some plans that are better
okay there’s probably nothing that’s really perfect out there because most of
the plants out there are not necessarily safe for consumption there are a few out
there so what I’d like to recommend and show you our better for allergies
but not necessarily recommended in terms of low toxicity you’re right you know if
you’ve got a dog who’s really digging up your gardening eating things be mindful
that that’s probably not a good idea so what I’ll do is I’ll just take a look at this
yeah we’ve got some Dahlia Dahlia has got a really beautiful flower and it
does not create the same kind of inflorescence and pollen as some other
flowers and marigolds, marigolds kind of have a spunkier smell but they just
last just such a nice hardy flower and can really do well in the garden without
causing allergies I’m in the jungle everyone hiding toni so and I’ve got
some bamboo there’s lots of different ways to use bamboo inside and outside
they are even there’s a bamboo column that is a good thing to plant it as well
and then I’ll just mention a few other things here we’ve got an ornamental
grass this orange from an ornamental grass is actually really
interesting because it blooms a beautiful purple inflorescence
but it makes more of like a different type of flower than you’d expect and it’s
it’s actually on the list of more allergen friendly plants to plant in the
garden so I kind of like this one so checking in with your gardener and
saying you know I really want to make sure I’m cutting down the allergies in my
environment what do you recommend I think it’s definitely a good way to
start inside and I guess even outside you can plant bromeliads bromeliads are
this beautiful they almost look like pineapple plants oh yeah that have different shades of red all the way through those are beautiful those are pretty good to
plant it as well succulents easy yep and catnip
dogs can eat catnip okay and of course catnip is a nice member of the mint
family it kind of acts like a weed in some places so be careful where you
plant it that you like it but I do think that catnip is a good one okay this
is so helpful and if your dog does suffer allergies are there any ways that
you recommend to help them or to treat them obviously to avoid certain plants
but anything else absolutely yeah okay so first take a trip to the vet it’s
important that you get some veterinarian advice because if this is a food allergy
or if it’s an environmental allergy they’re going to help you address that
first steps first your vet will perform an examination it may determine the best
course including medication or special baths they might need you know if
those first steps don’t work and don’t kind of give you the relief yeah then it’ll probably be time to see a veterinarian dermatologist and that
might result in the prick test and you’re probably familiar with what that
looks like in humans where they prick a few different allergens into the skin
and then you can see almost immediately what is gonna be the most
reactive okay so that is a good thing to do if necessary but we’ll start with the
first things first and just a quick note again about the food allergies the only
way to truly diagnose the food allergy is to do that elimination diet like I
was mentioning earlier your veterinarian will feed just basically a strict
protein one or two ingredients at a time for about 12 weeks and that can be hard
because during that time it’s incredibly important to make sure that your pup’s
not getting any side scraps or sneaky little treats or finding his way into the
trash it’s like hands on deck with the elimination diet it’s totally true
even flavored medication could have an ingredient in there that they’re allergic to
the goal is to remove all those sources of allergy and allow the symptoms to
kind of fade away go away then they start adding one or two items back into
that ingredient list to see what caused you a reaction if anything so okay
that’s that’s going to be that process also
helpful information thank you so my dog loves to play outside but he
does get itchy do I need to keep him inside this season that doesn’t really
seem fair it’s not fair so what you it’s recommended to watch
those weather reports for high allergy days okay and if you can avoid walks
during those days or especially windy days yeah it’s just kicking up in the
air I think that’ll be a good way to prevent a lot of environmental allergies
so staying inside and keeping the windows closed during window days sorry
windy days is a good way to avoid some of that after play time outside I
think maybe I’m try getting like a warm wash rag or even having them step
through a little foot bath okay and rinsing off washing off the feet and the paws as
best as possible after playing on the grass that way they’re not tracking in
the allergens into your home it’ll also help keep their bedding cleaner and
it’ll just be a better way because then they’re not just scratching and licking and
tracking it all over especially if they suffer yeah so another thing to do like
I mentioned is to keep your lawn mowed and making sure your grass doesn’t develop
those seed heads okay the seed heads are going to be where most of the pollen
comes from from our from our grasses there aren’t other species of grass that
will that take a longer time before that develops there are other things
like rye grass and fescue rye can be a source of allergen but the interesting
thing about rye grass is it doesn’t produce that pollen until it’s older
in the taller stage of the plant so you might be able to weigh how
often you can get your yard trimmed and that kind of things all right if you want to
plant that so bathing when this is something you should check with a vet
but bathing your pup regularly will help remove the allergens from their coat and their paws like I mentioned I think every 1 to 2 weeks is probably okay depending
on what your vet recommends there are some really great shampoos out there
that not only are medicated to help relieve the itch but also moisturizing
for the skin and coat okay so that will continue to help
keep that skin healthier not getting dried out but a again check with your
vet because some breeds don’t do well with frequent bathing right
but sometimes the medication medicated shampoos are a good way okay there’s one
called relief I like relief it’s a shampoo that
contains medications to relieve itching I mentioned and it also
contains that colloidal oatmeal that’s basically oatmeal that’s been suspended
in solution so that it can be easily absorbed into the skin I’ve always
wanted to know what that was. So it’s helpful because that really is a nicer
way for that skin to be able to absorb it more effectively okay but definitely
follow the directions because some of those directions say leave on the coat
for five to ten minutes and I’m sitting here thinking about I don’t know a dog
that would do that for five to ten minutes with the shampoo
while they’re shaking and drenching you with suds but it’s important to let that medicated
shampoo do its job and really get down to the skin keeping it clean so try for
five minutes I suppose, ten if you can get a away with it practice your massage technique and just keep them calm and it’s for their good so fresh and clean skin and coat makes a good one this one has omega fatty acids which I think is really good to soothe and
hydrate but it doesn’t have that medicated product in it so kind of check
and see what you need there’s another one from nudie they make a
dermatological solution line and this one’s called medicated oatmeal dog
shampoo anti itch maximum strength formula with lidocaine and colloidal oatmeal
I think that one’s a really good one but again check with your vet we will be
posting all of this on our blog so if you missed the names of those shampoos
don’t worry and we’ll be posting it to our blog at in the
next day or so so stay tuned okay so we talked about keeping your pups flea free so
a few more things that we can keep doing to help them to relieve
the itch yeah that’s the goal keep them itch free so we talked about
being flea free there’s topical medications and
now there’s some a bunch of really effective oral medications for fleas and ticks which I think are really nice too and then there’s also flea shampoos so
keeping your dog flea free means there’s products like frontline and k9 Advantix
and peristyle revolution Vectra the oral medications like Bravecto, Nex guard, simparica, Trifexis those are all really helpful as well make sure if you are
going to use a flea shampoo that it contains pur reframes of Prometheans
those are really going to be that’s kind of the active ingredient that makes the
flea shampoo effective at killing the the live adults and then the next step
is to make sure that you follow the directions on flea medications if you do
have fleas because sometimes those eggs will hatch again couple weeks later
and you have to get through the whole cycle do it one more time making sure
that you catch the whole life cycle of the flea that’s very important what
else do you recommend for helping your dog allergies just like in humans I
think it’s important to keep your home as clean as possible yes there’s varying
degrees at how good we are at that but vacuuming regularly and remembering if
you have a vacuum that requires a bag to change that bag as well it’s important
vacuuming regularly including your fabrics like curtains and rugs and
things that you don’t often always think about your vents also changing your air
filter yeah making sure your air conditioning unit your air circulation
system at home is clean and free of dust and things like mold that’s going to be
a bigger issue in some places the country in the warmer months okay you
can also increase the fatty acids in your pup’s diet like offering more of
the fish oil supplements and the omega-3s omega-6s that will not
necessarily cure or completely remove allergy symptoms and your dogs but it
will help this the quality of the skin and coat remain more moisturized okay
reduce inflamation okay exactly can you give a dog benadryl yes so
lastly I think kind of as a last resort medications for allergies
definitely will help treat the symptoms they don’t treat the environmental
contamination so you can help your dog feel more comfortable with medications
but if we’re not addressing what’s causing the allergy it’s kind of gonna
be an ongoing battle yes so medications like Benadryl do
works sometimes they’re only helpful for a small percentage of dogs check
with your veterinarian always always usually a safe dosage is around one
milligram per pound okay it’s important if you do buy benadryl
over-the-counter the the drug name is diphenhydramine and nowadays you can get
benadryl a combination with other medications like cough suppressant
some of those benadryl have other drugs in them so it’s really important if
you’re going to give your dog any kind of Benadryl first check with your vet
and then make sure that that’s the only drug you’re giving them not another
combination or cough suppressant or kind of things so diphenhydramine only only
yeah so and you know you can do steroids if it’s super severe
the veterinarian will probably do some type of cortisone cortisol those those
are just more challenging and need to be researched for more serious cases
because they can have long-term lasting effects and you pull out those big guns
early you don’t have anywhere else to go okay so it’s incredibly important just
to work with your vet but adjusting some of the things in your home that can
then can reduce the allergens in the environment I think it’s a good place to
start yes well thank you yes my pleasure I
hope it’s helpful and please let me know if you have any questions you can check
to see if anyone has any questions so it doesn’t look like it we did a great job
of covering lots of things lets see go on and on and on and keep talking mmm
hi David George how do we recognize allergies in food verses something that is
airborne ah that’s tricky I agree with you hi so food allergies can have similar
symptoms I would expect to see food allergies to be somewhat digestive and
nature seems like upset stomach vomiting, diarrhea, loose stool that
kind of thing but it can result in itchy paws as well so it might be a
combination and it’s possible that your pups actually suffering from both and
then both of those things will have to be addressed so it’ll be a matter of
going through a good exam with your veterinarian and kind of saying you know
here’s what I’m feeding here’s what our homes like here’s what we’re exposed to
when we go out on a walk and just kind of going through those things and seeing
what can be done to eliminate it then it might be seasonal if the seasonal
allergies are increasing for all of us right now they’re also for their dog so
it’s possible you can just treat for seasonal allergies awesome thank you for
that great question yes anyone else have any questions before we sign off for
today as a reminder we will be posting all of this super helpful information to
our blog at look for the dog blog sign and we’ll go over all of the
medications or like the helpful tips on the plants to plant the plants not to
plant and then just reminders for your home like vacuuming wiping the paws all
that good stuff so thank you everyone for tuning in and we hope your allergies
aren’t terrible with this helpful information Thanks everyone. Bye

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