Each month CDT will feature a “good health” column by Winnie’s preferred veterinarian, Dr. Annette Richmond, DVM, CVA, CCRP
One of the most common problems that our dogs deal with is itchy skin. Between food allergies, fleas, and environmental allergies, many dogs face a life full of different medications and shampoos. Anti-histamines and steroids can help in the short term, but high doses or long term use will cause more harm than good. Luckily there are many natural remedies that can ease the discomfort of our canines.
The first step is to change to a wholesome diet made of real meat and vegetables and that is void of grains which can cause inflammation. High quality moist foods and frozen raw meals are most desired as these mimic the canine’s true diet.
There are many oral and topical remedies including herbs, vitamins, homeopathy, shampoos, and essential oils that have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. The following list includes many of the ingredients that are used frequently for allergic pets – consult a veterinarian for doses, as this will determine the best results.
Fish oils rich in omega-3s: these are more easily assimilated in the body than oils coming from plant derived forms.
Antioxidant: Vitamins A, C, E, Selenium, and Grape seed extract are all important for maintaining healthy skin cells.
Herbs: Astragalus, Hawthorn, Nettle Extract, Rehmannia, and Burdock all improve circulation and reduce dampness from skin which reduces inflammation.
Plant derivatives: Quercetin and MSM are both anti-inflammatory. Aloe vera topically on affected areas has strong soothing properties.
Essential Oils of Lavender and Tea Tree: both are strong cleansers with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Lavender is known for its soothing and healing abilities.
Essential oils to repel and kill fleas and ticks: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Cedar, and Geraniol (repels mosquitoes).
Essential oils are extremely effective when used properly, however, use cautiously as they are very potent.
If the itching still doesn’t stop, always look at more flea control. Fleas are everywhere in the environment in this climate and they are not always on the dog! Persistent itchers may benefit from food and environmental allergy testing to find out what is really affecting them. However, in most cases with the correct combination of diet change, supplements, and topical treatments, your beloved itchy canine can lead a much more comfortable life.
From dog tails to dog noses there are many parts of our furry friends that need a health boost during their days in Carmel – whether they are on vacation or living here. My favorite health topic is nutrition, as this is the most important factor to keeping our pets thriving to their fullest. Mainstream pet foods are in general not wholesome diets. They are also not similar to what their ancestors lived on. General pet foods have been designed for the ease of the owner – being packaged in bags that can stay on the shelf a long time. However, along with that comes the fact that the formulation can’t be true to what their body really requires. It’s not possible to get the correct ratio of protein to carbohydrates in a dry food. Dogs thrive on more moist foods like their ancestors – think of their prey, a whole rabbit or deer. The body of an animal, like that of a human, is mainly water. So, the ideal meal is a formulation of the following: muscle meat, organ meat, ground up raw bones, and some vegetables. And not to mention eating it raw!
One easy way to incorporate this type of food is to purchase a prepared frozen raw meal for your beloved pooch – or even formulate one at home with a little guidance. Certain frozen raw food meals already have the correct proportions of everything a dog needs and therefore make feeding easy. Thawing out the food the night before may be a new activity, but soon becomes routine. The other benefit of these pure foods is the lack of ingredients that often cause problems for dogs. For example you will not be feeding grains, meat byproducts, preservatives and chemicals that you can’t pronounce.
Not only will you be feeding what their body is designed to eat, but this diet is in general leaner and overweight pets can lose weight. It is also likely that some chronic health problems may resolve, e.g. itchy skin, runny eyes, ear infections, or digestive issues. Improve your dog’s diet and improve their overall health!
Dr. Annette Richmond DVM, CVA, CCRP
About Dr. Richmond
Annette Richmond graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997.
She became a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society which is a world recognized certification program. Dr. Richmond has been integrating acupuncture for dogs and cats into her practice since 1999, and has continued the study of natural medicine, Eastern and Western herbology, homeopathy, flower essences, healthful diets, and nutraceutical support. She incorporates all of these into her natural medicine clinic to treat most common ailments. The clinic also includes a canine and feline physical rehabilitation component helping pets with many disorders, for example before and after orthopedic and neurologic surgery, spinal disorders, arthritis, hip dysplasia and much more. Dr. Richmond completed the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Program through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in 2009.
www.naturalveterinarytherapy.com PH: 831-655-0501
26135 Carmel Rancho Blvd. E-103 Carmel, CA 93923