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Allergies have become all too common affliction for our canine family members. Simply put, an allergy is an over-reaction or heightened sensitivity of the immune system to a substance.
When a dog is exhibiting an allergic reaction to a particular substance, the substance is called an “allergen.” Though there are many ways in which a dog can exhibit an allergic response to an allergen, there are only five types of allergies. The most common for dogs is the flea bite allergen and the other four allergens are inhalant (also called “atopy,” pronounced “at-ta-pee”), contact, food, and bacterial.
Dogs that react to atopy allergens tend to suffer during the spring and autumn when tree, grass, and weed pollens are most prevalent. Allergic reactions to inhalant allergens are characterized by red, itchy, possibly swollen eyes, nasal congestion and discharge, sneezing, snoring, and respiratory restriction. The usual initial method of dealing with allergens is to eliminate the offending irritant. Needless to say, it would be impossible to eliminate spring and fall in most locations.
Environmental or Ingested Allergies
A dog contending with flea bite, contact, food, and bacterial allergies may exhibit a host of responses including constantly itchy skin, loss of hair, rashes, scabbed skin, open sores, paw chewing, skin licking, digestive disorders, diarrhea, and vomiting. The trick is to isolate the environmental or ingested allergen and not have your dog exposed to it.
An Integrative Approach to Allergic Reactions
The first line of defense is a consultation with your holistic veterinarian. S/he may be able to identify the offending irritant(s) and offer recommendations to mitigate your dog’s reaction.
From a conventional western medicine and a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, allergies are a breakdown in the immune system. That is, the body is not able to cope with a particular allergen because the immune system is not functioning properly and is over-reacting to the foreign substance. Adding support to your dog's immune system seems like a logical way of helping him.
Above is the acupressure session you can offer your dog to help build his immune system so his body can fend-off possible allergens.