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One helpful tool to reduce allergies is to avoid exposure in the first place. In avoiding the great outdoors by staying inside, in “air conditioned” air addition of filters can greatly reduce allergen particles by trapping them before they enter or as they blow through your air system. These types of furnace filters for forced air systems – furnaces/air conditioners combos, are available at most hardware stores. But sometimes you not able to add a filter to the system heating and cooling in your space or may need more filtering if the duct have allot of dust build up. Then individual air duct filters can be helpful and addition house air filter can remove more particles, especially electrostatic filters trap more dust, molds, pollen and mites.
Here is a link to choose custom filters of all types with information on when and how to use them.https://www.permatron.com/register-vent-filters.
Another helpful website if you or your pet suffers from airborne allergies to mold, pollen, house dust or the HD mite is https://www.allergybegone.com/airfiltration.html.
In 2010 the Environmental working group (EWG) was allowed by the Federal government, to publish and continued to make information available to the public; information about drinking water contamination. This data is available by towns or city. you can look up your town or city at tapwater link.
Here is an excellent website to look up Pollen counts for where you live. Pollen Lookup The information is from actual samples and predictions are made base on combines weather forecasts. This is the most accurate site readily available to the public.
How I use it.
- I keep track on a simple calendar by marking a red X on the days when my allergy symptoms are acting up. I do the same with my pets.
- Then I look up the pollen(s) that is(are) high during the weeks of year that my symptoms are flared up.
- Treatment or avoidance depends on what I or my pets is reacting too. Examples:
- Tree pollen allergies that cross react with some foods.
Common in allergies to Birch trees are allergies to apples and carrots, symptoms of mouth burning when eating foods are reported. This is called oral allergy syndrome. Some people may be allergic to one food, and others with many different fruits and vegetables. In the case of OAS, individuals react to different foods based on what type of seasonal allergies they are affected by. So I re-look up which foods to avoid. I avoid gardening under the one birch tree in the yard when it is pollinating and avoid woods and parks in early spring. See related posts about OAS.
- Grass when pollen for dogs and cats this is common. Prevent common habit by Pets of “rolling in the grass” or “eating the grass”. Wipe down their feet and fur with a very wet microfiber cloth followed by a dry one. Be sure to get deep between the toes, where sweat glands are located and more debris will stick to skin and hair. Still dogs and cats love the smell of grass so we often have to add some treatment to decrease itching if grass pollen is one of their allergies. There are many, many options so consult with your local Vet for help with treatment.
- Late summer/ fall bloomers like ragweed, golden rod, yarrows etc. These plants produce a large amount of light weight pollen that is spreads easily on the wind, so everyone who is allergic is effected for miles, making avoidance impractical. The “Nettie Pot” treatment method which uses a saline/herbal lavage to physical remove the days accumulation of particles, does work for some people when used correctly. This is difficult to do to pets, who nasopharynx anatomy is different and lack of cooperation. So again some treatment to decrease allergy symptoms is often needed for the fall season. Herbal anti-inflammatories, that reduce the body’s triggering mechanism that release histamines, can be helpful when started 4 to 6 months before the expected season of allergies. At a minimum herbal can decrease the dose or duration of pharmaceuticals needed to control the symptoms of a flareup.
Good luck to everyone who struggles with allergies, in themselves or family members furry or human. Allergic disease is very frustrating and gets more intense with each passing year.
As the global weather become moister, warmer, and windier we can expect more intense allergy seasons.
I have been promising to post an allergy diet that you can make at home.
One comment about allergies to food. I have been seeing cases of digestive upset for over 15 years as a Alternative Vet. specialist and I have found that only 10% of dogs are allergic to food. More often, “less than ideal” diets that promotte GI upset are a much more common cause, including many of the dog foods advertized for food or GI problems. More on this later.
Here is the diet with instructions:
This is a balanced and complete diet that dog can eat life long. It is important to make the recipe according to measurements, each and every time. Research has shown that most homemade diets are not balanced diets, one reason is lack of measuring the ingredients. Dog are often fed the same or similar diets all their lives. They eat a controlled diet and most dogs don’t forage for extra nutrients. Plus most treats for dogs are high in sugars. Which means the balance of minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates must be correct in the diet you make for your dog.
So measure, measure, measure!
Hypoallergenic Diet for Canines
based on Small Animal Clinical Nutrition by Lon Lewis et., Hills
diet prepared by Dr Cynthia Smith DVM, MS, DACT
4 oz cooked lamb
1 cup cooked brown or white rice (½ cup dry rice in 1 cup water)
1 tbsp Vegetable oil ( olive, sunflower, etc)
1200 mg calcium
1 Dog daily vitamin (based on weight of dog)
300 mg of fish oil (how many tsp depends on brand of fish oil).
In a sauce pan, add enough water to have ½” water covering the bottom of the pan. Add the meat and heat to a simmer and cook until there is no pink color when meat is cut apart. Takes longer time to cook compared to a fast fry or grill. Add enough water, while cooking, to keep moist consistency.
Once meat is finished, mix in the cooked rice and calcium powder or tablets (will dissolve).
After mixture has cooled to room temperature add the fish oil and vitamins and any prescribed herbs.
600 calories in finished recipe. This will feed a 20 lb dog for one day.
How many calories in each cup of food. Measure how many cups in the finished recipe. Next divide 600 cal/ cups of food = Calories per cup of food.
Always measure the finished recipe because the volume will be different each time you make it, depending on how much water is in the meat and added during cooking.
How to figure out how calories to feed your dog. (This is a quick formula that gives a working estimate.) Multiply the weight of your dog X factor from chart. The factor can be adjusted up or down based on activity level of dog and special calorie needs. See your veterinary nutritionist for situations of dogs who do physical work, undergo rapid weight loss, pregnancy, puppies, surgery or burns.
Factor # Size of dog Fish oil in mgs
*(Notice that as the dog get bigger the factor get smaller)
40 -35 10-15 lbs 300 -350 mg
35 – 30 20-45 lbs 500 – 700 mg
30 – 25 50-85 lbs 800 – 1000 mg
20 90 + lbs 1000 – 2000 mg
For example a 20 lbs dog needs, the dogs wt 20 x 30 (factor for the dogs size) = 600 calories/day. Here is a fill in the blanks formula dogs wt x dogs factor = calories/day.
How many cups of homemade food do I feed my dog?
Fill in the blanks: Dog needs calories of food/day. The food you made has ____calories in each cup.
Divide calories per day / calories in each cup of food = cups of food each day.
Divide into two to three servings.
Homemade pet food will keep in frig. for 3-4 days. Freeze larger batches of food into 3- 4 day portions.
Add warm water right before serving to increase volume, smell and flavor.
Analysis: 600 calories in total recipe
Water 65 %
Protein 12 %
Fat 8 %
Carbohydrates 15 %
1200 calorie batch:
8 oz of meat, 2 cups rice, 2 tbsp oil, 2400 mg calcium, and 2 x the vitamins and fish oil .
2400 calorie batch:
16 oz of meat, 4 cups rice, 4 tbsp oil, 4800 mg calcium, and 4 x the vitamins and fish oil .
Tips: Dog vitamins I recommend – Vetriscience, Pet Naturals of Vermont, Pet Tabs. Beware of counterfit vitamins, check out any internet source.
Buy the fish oil from a veterinarian. The prescription brands are so much more concentrated in omega 3 that you save money in the long run. Also the contaminants from fish (mercury and chemicals) are removed through cold distillation.
Buy Calcium carbonate powder for dog food from ,Iherb.com. use coupon code MIT990 for $10 off first order. This is a good online company that sell reliable, tested natural products. Check out the “links ” on their site for excellent info.
A health subject has to contain overwhelming and convincing scientific evidence for a national society of doctors to agree and take action. The only action a group of Doctors can take is; publish a position paper, in an attempt to get the word out to other doctors. Which means; one, that a group of specialist doctors agree to certain facts. Second, the doctors wish to inform other doctors about the facts. Thirdly, the health concerns are so important that the whole group will put their opinion on the line. Because putting your voice behind a subject like health dangers of GMO foods can result in lawsuit from the big companies who sell the seeds. Here is their paper.
Why do I as a Veterinarian care? Well, before these foods were allowed into the human food supply, they were feed to animals for about 10 years. The rate of food allergies, GI diseases, and cancer have almost doubled. The science that implicates GMO foods, as part of the problem, is convincing. However, the FDA is not allowed to act on the information because “the problems only happen in animals, not people”. Read the link for the details.
My personal experience, I started to have asthma-like attacks to restaurant foods that contained “modified food starch”, which is made from corn. Corn was the first GMO food to be used in our country to prevent the attack of the corn borer worm. The genes added either, a bacterium that kills the Gut of the worm, or a pesticide molecule into the corn’s proteins. Either way, the new corn resists attack by the corn borer worm, but the pollen released by the corn, kills Monarch butterfly caterpillars too. I have become allergic to some part of this new corn. Corn products are in everything foods, thickeners in soup, gravies, stuffing, salad dressing and most breads, crackers and snack s even makeup. A year later, I reacted to Corn syrup. Corn syrup is a hidden many foods to get consumers to eat just a little more. It goes by many names, dextrose, fructose, maltodextrose, fructodextrose, glycerines and on and on.
GMO foods- means Genetically Modified organisims.
Below is the best website I have found dedicated to good science on the long term effects of GMO foods and the environment and health effects. No spin just science.
Not to be confused with an industry website called GMO.com with a nice green logo. They say that they are stating the facts only. However, numerous important misstatements of the facts make this website just an industry marking tool. The companies who sponsor this website are the major makers of GMO products, including: BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Remember these names.
Great podcast from Veterinary Nutrition specialists. Covers all the important information owners need to know to make intelligent choices about dogs and pet foods.
I recommend one food company at this time; Drfostersmith.com These recommendation will change over time because the pet food industry is not well regulated and the successful companies are often bought by one of the “Big Two”, multinational food companies, They are Mars and Proctor & Gamble, who are owned by even bigger, multinational, Tobacco Companies.
Here is a link to the Wiki page of OAS
These same principles apply even more in our pets with multiple allergies. Pets have more histamine & inflammatory molecules stored in their skin. So, no matter what the source of the allergen, the first sign of an allergy flare up is itching & increased ear wax. Pets who are allergic to fleas, ticks or mites can develop oral allergy symptoms to these pests because they accidentally ingest them while grooming. Probably one of the many causes of eosinophilic mouth ulcers in cats.
More info; about people at Tree pollen allergy reacts with some foods.
Common Cross reactions:
Allergies to a specific pollen are usually associated with OAS reactions to other certain foods. For instance, an allergy to ragweed is associated with OAS reactions to banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, and cucumber. This does not mean that all sufferers of an allergy to ragweed will experience adverse effects from all or even any of these foods. Reactions may be associated with one type of food, with new reactions to other foods developing later. However, reaction to one or more foods in any given category does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to all foods in that group.
- Alder pollen: almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, peaches, pears, parsley, strawberry, raspberry
- Birch pollen: almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, carrots, celery, cherries, chicory, coriander, fennel, fig, hazel nuts, kiwifruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, strawberries, wheat; Potential: walnuts
- Grass pollen: fig, melons, tomatoes, oranges
- Mugwort pollen : carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, peppers, sunflower
- Ragweed pollen : banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, green pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea
- Possible cross-reactions (to any of the above): berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc), citrus (oranges, lemons, etc), grapes, mango, figs, peanut, pineapple, pomegranates, watermelon
How does one cope! Knowing what you are allergic to helps because you can avoid the foods that go hand in hand with pollen allergies. Thorough cooking to breakdown the proteins in food into smaller bits can eliminate the allergic reaction. (Yes, fruit vegies and grains all have proteins or polypeptides) Cooking in water works the best to preserve the good elements in fruits and vegies, such as: poaching, stewing, baking in water until the food is really mushy like babyfood. Indian cuisine is well know for this method of cooking where any vegie becomes part of the sauce. Breaking down foods in acids like lemon, lime or vinegar can also work if allowed to marinate for hours to overnight.
This is an excellent articles on how insect bites lead to allergies in pets.
Scientists also know that the flea, tick, & mite- type insects can transfer proteins in their saliva that are identical to proteins in beef and Pork. This is how a single allergy to biting insects can develop into a allergy reaction to food. Called Tick-food cross reaction allergy.
So what can be done to prevent food -insect cross reaction allergy? Thorough cooking (at minimum 30 minutes at low boil in water until the meat falls to pieces) is usually enough to breakdown the proteins. Commercial foods and treats are usually not cooked long enough to breakdown the proteins so many hypoallergenic foods fail. In humans this phenomenon is called “tick-food allergy cross reaction”, and cross reactions can also happen with many pollens called pollen-food cross reaction or Oral Allergy Syndrome.
This explains why homemade pet-foods, and a few of the freeze- dried, pressure treated pet-foods can extremely helpful to reduce allergy symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory supplements have also been shown to be very effective. High quality, fish oil with omega 3 fats being the best of all these products. This is the one time I recommend buying fish oil from your local vet. The prescription form of fish- omega 3 FA are filtered, concentrated which removes water, unneeded non-omega 3 fats and both heavy metals like mercury and other chemical contaminates. I have done numerous price comparisons, based on the effective dose of Fish-Omega FA (mgs) and found that the cost per pet is the same as over-the-counter brands.
Most veterinarians can/will sell these products without an appointment because of overwhelming science that shows how high quality fish oil prevents most diseases including teeth & gum disease.
Note to remember: Flax seed or borage oil are not effective in dogs nor cats. Carnivores lack the liver enzymes that convert vegetable Omega 3 fats into a form our bodies use to suppress inflammation. You are just getting expensive poop. These seeds or oils are added in tiny amounts to pet foods and treats to sell more product to health aware consumers.