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Allergy remedies--home treatments to help your itchy frog!

Ceely is one of a number of our severely allergic dogs.  Here she's enjoying a medicated bath.

Budgie is another girl who came to us with a serious secondary infection.  You can still see the scars on her forehead.

homepagecharmingitchy.jpgCharming is one of many Frenchies surrendered to us every year because their owners are overwhelmed by the care they need to manage their dogs' itchiness.  You can see poor Charming's feet are hairless and swollen

homepagesmoochieitchies.jpgSmoochie's allergies were under control when he lived in Florida, but a move to Seattle made him so uncomfortable his owners opted to surrender him in hopes that he'd find a place less irritating for him.

Many, many of our rescue Frenchies are surrendered when their owners come to the end of their ropes trying to get their Frenchies' allergies and itchiness under control. There are a number of things you can try that may produce results from meh to "he's CURED!" and they are easy and not terribly expensive. But they do require that you pay attention, be consistent, and catch itchies early before your dog's skin has a chance to develop a secondary infection.

Naturally, you'll want to talk to your vet about using any of these, but our foster parents and volunteers have reported varying degrees of success with these approaches:

1. Grain-free foods. Grain-free is more expensive, but even one visit to the vet can cost upwards of a couple of hundred dollars with medication, so it could work out to be about the same cost in the end. We have volunteers who consult this website to find the foods that are highest-ranked in terms of least additives, best protein sources, etc. 

2. Over the counter allergy treatments can help your dog get some relief from the itchiness of an allergic response and help diminish the likelihood that he'll scratch himself raw and get a staph or secondary skin infection. Check with your vet for dosages of children's Benedryl, for example.

3. Some of our volunteers swear by regular medicated baths, and they like a couple of brand-name products: Micro-Tek Medicated Pet Shampoo and Zymox Medicated Shampoo. These products can be purchased online at many pet product sites and Amazon. Depending on your dog's itchiness, you may shampoo twice a month, once a week, or two or more times a week. Talk to you vet about shampooing frequency.

4. If you have a lawn or garden area where your dogs wander, don't use chemical fertilizers out there. Organic is the way to go if you have sensitive dogs.

5. After a walk to the park or through the neighborhood, take a hypo-allergenic baby wipe and give your frogdog a little wipe down: face, armpits, tummy, and feet. Get those powdery allergens and lawn chemicals off before she can lick herself or there is a reaction. This is not a substitute for the foot soak remedy below--it's in addition. Depending on how sensitive your dog is, consider asking friends and family members to leave their shoes at the door so outside chemicals don't get tracked through the house.

6. If you have carpets, only use an eco-friendly professional service for cleanings. Don't use chemical carpet cleaners or powders. If you want to freshen carpets, use plain baking soda and vacuum, but don't use those scented carpet fresheners. Vacuum frequently.

7. Wash toys frequently (plastic ones can go in the dishwasher, fabric ones in the machine). Wash bedding frequently (daily for very pitifully itchy dogs, weekly for sensitive dogs) in something like Dreft. Don't use fabric softener, but you can use a cup of white vinegar in an additional rinse cycle.

8. For dogs who are incessant foot-lickers, you can try povidone iodine foot soaks. Or you can try a foot soak with apple cider vinegar (ACV); use one cup ACV to 1-2 cups warm water and soak for 5 minutes.

You may find that just wiping your dog after a walk does wonders for her itchiness, or it may be that you'll need to try a multi-pronged approach to addressing your dog's allergies. Some dogs are much more symptomatic at certain times of the year; others have severe reactions to ant or flea bites. We know of someone who can't allow her dog to go outside without careful supervision and an epi-pen in hand because her dog is so allergic to ant bites. Always check with your vet about dosages for over the counter remedies. Good luck! We know how frustrating and worrying it can be when your dog is in the throes of an allergic reaction. We hope our readers can get some relief for their dogs with these remedies.

On his worst days, Tarzan wears a shirt to keep pollen off his skin and gets a couple of doses of Benedryl to keep the reaction at bay.

Zayla's back was red and raw from secondary infections related to flea-bite allergies.  She's looking much better, thanks to getting weekly baths, regular flea treatments, and a specialty food to boot, just in case she's also sensitive to grains.