How to Combat Spring Allergies

Spring has sprung in the southern hemisphere, one of my favourite times of the year when nature comes to life! With all the great benefits of longer days and warmer weather also come allergies. For dogs and cats, especially here in Tauranga, New Zealand we have pollen, sometimes so thick that it leaves a yellow film on parked cars and on puddles.

This time of year we often have dogs and cats (and humans too!) coming in to see us at Holistic Vets with symptoms such as persistent sneezing, watery eyes and sometimes coughing too. Sometimes these symptoms can be confused with infections like cat flu or even something stuck in a pets’ throat so if your pet is off colour, it’s best to get them vet checked. Generally the animals are otherwise bright and eating well and so giving their immune systems a boost often helps to make a difference. But if they are particularly badly affected then we may dose them with anti-inflammatories or anti-histamines.

From a Holistic perspective, the presence of an allergy response and symptoms indicates that the immune system is under strain.  Looking at the bigger picture and using strategies to help support an animals’ immune system can help to make a big difference in helping to prevent symptoms or at least help to manage them.

Stress of any kind will impair the body’s immune system from functioning optimally and also limit an animal’s general vitality. Limiting stress by avoiding stressful situations such as overcrowding or adverse weather conditions and making use of remedies such as Emergency Essence or Rescue Remedy will go a long way to supporting the immune system indirectly.

To allow for the body’s inherent healing wisdom to function optimally and do what it does best (heal!), there are three main tiers from which it draws its resources. Firstly nutrition, providing the good fuel, secondly the healing mechanism must be running smoothly, and thirdly the presence of toxins will act as “spokes in the wheel” of healing. An analogy would be running a car; you may put in all the best fuel but if the engine is faulty or it is clogged up with waste then it won’t run smoothly or go at all.

As always, good nutrition with a balanced diet with fresh or pre frozen raw meat, that is free of chemicals and preservatives as well as high in optimal amounts of nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids (from flax oil or good quality fish oil supplements) and anti-oxidants can make a huge difference to the body’s ability to naturally combat infection.

Extra nutrients such as Vitamin C (100 – 300 mg per 5 kg of animal once or twice a day) and Grapeseed extract are superb anti-oxidants helping to boost the body’s defences as well as mop up damage caused by free radicals (which cause cell damage) and thereby allow the body’s resources to be freed up to support healing and maintain health.

Dogs are especially prone to skin allergies during spring and summer that can be set off by pollens too but there are a number of other complicating factors and I’ll outline them for you in another blog post, so check back soon!