Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Dog Allergies Treatment

Even when you have an understanding of the mechanism, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and best ways to prevent/avoid allergies including dog allergies, the aspect of their treatment can sometimes seem rather enigmatic. The reality is that for reasons not fully understood, the way individuals respond to a given treatment varies on an individual basis. Patients with seemingly similar circumstances e.g. age, gender , geo-location, health condition, race, socio-economic factors etc. can have very different responses to the same therapy. Therefore, treatment, whether conventional or natural, should ideally be tailored to the specific individual’s needs, starting with the mildest form available that is capable of producing optimal medical benefit i.e. controlling the condition with least side-effects.

Dealing With Dog Allergies Effectively

A  three-stage approach can be applied to dealing with allergies in an effective manner:

Dealing With Dog Allergies Effectively

Determining the type of allergy and the source of the allergen (allergy cause) e.g. elimination diet, skin or blood tests. Also, it is important to rule out other factors e.g. glandular and hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism.
Eliminating, or at least minimizing, exposure to the troublesome allergen through effective environmental control/management e.g. use of HEPA filters, bathing dog frequently.
Whether treatment involves conventional medicine, natural medicine or a combination of both, it can be broken down into 3 main components, namely:

Antimicrobial Treatment i.e. tackling secondary infections associated with allergies.

The following chart is a general guide to the terminology associated with antimicrobial treatment:

ANTIMICROBIAL – Definitions and Related Terminology
Antimicrobial Effective against microbes by inhibiting reproduction/growth or destroying them.
Microbe Microscopic organism synonymous with the term microorganism.
Microbicide Destroys microbes e.g. wood tar.
Microbiostatic Inhibit microbial reproduction/growth e.g. Silicone quaternary ammonium salt.
Types of Microbes
Antibacterial Effective against bacteria by inhibiting reproduction/growth or destroying them e.g. Tetracyclines.
Antifungal Effective against fungi by inhibiting reproduction/growth or destroying them e.g. Omoconazole.
Antiparasitic Effective against parasites by inhibiting reproduction/growth or destroying them. Includes:
Antiamoebics e.g. Ornidazole.
Anticestodes e.g. Niclosamide.
Antinematodes e.g. Piperazine.
Antiprotozoals e.g. Furazolidone.
Antitrematodes e.g. Praziquantel.
Antiviral Effective against viruses by inhibiting reproduction/growth or destroying them e.g. Aciclovir.
Related Terms
Antibiotic Destroys microbes in body e.g. Cephalosporins.
Antimicrobial Pesticides Includes disinfectants, sanitizers and sterilizers.
Antiseptic Destroys microbes on living tissue e.g. Alcohol.
Biocide Destroys all life forms including microbes e.g. Hypochlorous acid.
Disinfectant Destroys microbes on non-living object but not necessarily spores e.g. Peracetic acid.
Chemical Antimicrobial Includes Pharmaceutical Antimicrobial + Non-Pharmaceutical Antimicrobial + Ozone, but not those classified as Physical Antimicrobial.
Physical Antimicrobial Heat, radiation and materials e.g. antimicrobial plastics and nanomaterials (Seil & Webster 2012, Aruguete 2013).
Pharmaceutical Antimicrobial Includes antimicrobial antibacterial/antifungal/antiparasitic/antiviral.
Non-Pharmaceutical Antimicrobial Numerous chemicals and naturally occurring substances (e.g. citric acid, copper, essential oils and certain plants), as well as Antimicrobial Pesticides.
Ozone Powerful oxidant for sanitizing/disinfecting air, water and surface-borne microbes.
Sanitizer Cleans and reduces microbial load e.g. Sodium hypochlorite.
Sterilizer Destroys all life forms including spores (Sporicide) e.g. Ionizing radiation.


With regards to dog allergies and antimicrobial treatment, it is the following 2 components that are most commonly cited:

Symptomatic Treatment i.e. tackling allergy symptoms.

  • Treating symptoms to improve both physical and mental well-being e.g. antihistamines, medicated shampoos/baths, analgesics (pain relief), corticosteroids, as well as natural alternatives containing ingredients such as aloe vera or oat meal.
  • It is important to remember that treating the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause may provide a short-term solution but long-term, it can cause more problems than it solves e.g. suppressing the immune system can lead to infections developing.
  • Please note that there may be some unavoidable overlap between the sections on prevention and treatment because both avoidance measures and treatments form a holistic approach in achieving a successful outcome. For example, in the case of allergies in dogs, flea prevention is inextricably tied to flea treatment. Moreover, if a dog has a food allergy the concept of an elimination diet can be viewed as overlapping both prevention and treatment. A food allergy sufferer will need to maintain a diet that avoids (prevention) the problematic allergen throughout their life, and rather than simply masking the problem by using medicines to tackle the food allergy symptoms, the primary long-term ‘treatment’ is through avoidance.

Immunotherapy i.e. treat by modifying natural allergy state.

In the context of allergies, we are interested in suppression immunotherapies i.e. those that reduce or suppress the immune response and thereby reduce sensitivity to allergens. This involves 2 aspects:

  • Allergen Immunotherapy. Allergy shots are immune modulating injections that aim to reduce hypersensitivity (hyposensitization) to an allergen. The practice is also termed desensitization. Homeopathy ( e.g. Ullman and Frass 2010) and acupuncture (e.g. Xue et al. 2007) or acupressure are considered by various advocates of these practices as examples of natural allergy treatment and alternatives to conventional desensitization. However, skeptics cite various studies that cast doubt as to the efficacy of such treatments especially with regard to homeopathy e.g. ASCIA 2007.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs. With regard to allergies, immune modulating medications reduce the immune response to an allergen. Ciclosporine (a.k.a. cyclosporine) is an example of one class of immunosuppressive drugs that act on immunophilins (type of protein that bind with immunosuppressant drugs). Licorice represents but one of many natural alternatives that have been shown to suppress the immune system e.g. Colić et al . 2002

Allergy Treatments:
Conventional vs. Natural and Self-Help vs. Professional

This section of the site will examine treatments for dog allergies and look at both conventional medicine as well as those described as home remedies, natural remedies and medicines, or more systematically as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Within these areas, treatment can be derived through self-help or via professional assistance. Self-help refers to when the allergy sufferer attempts to treat their symptoms by buying over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products from a pharmacy and/or by using self-administered natural remedies and treatments. Professional treatment relates to seeking advice and treatment from a practitioner in either:

Conventional medicine – synonymous with Western medicine, allopathic medicine, biomedicine or orthodox medicine.

  • Conventional medicine is regulated by laws to safeguard the health and well-being of the patient by ensuring that standards or codes of practice are met.
  • Although training and certification vary between countries, medical practitioners and health professionals will have undertaken formal recognized qualifications and be registered and monitored on an ongoing basis by their national medical authority. For example, Doctors who practice in the U.K. are registered by the General Medical Council (GMC) whilst nurses and midwives register through the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Statutory professional regulation such as this allows patients to check the current registration status of a professional (active, cautioned, suspended or banned from practice) e.g. UK Nursing and Midwifery register.
  • Drugs and treatments used will have been scientifically assessed for their efficacy/side effects and will be strictly regulated e.g. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) – synonymous with Eastern medicine although in reality it is far broader in scope. Examples of terms typically associated with this category include natural medicines/products/remedies/treatments as well as dietary supplements and integrative medicine.

  • CAM disciplines range from the ancient to the modern and include those that can be dated:
    – Back millennia e.g. traditional Chinese medicine,
    – Many centuries old e.g. traditional Tibetan medicine,
    – Just over a century old e.g. modern naturopathy,
    – From the last few decades to the present e.g. modern biofeedback and brainwave entertainment/synchronization.
  • It represents various loosely categorized health and medicinal-related systems, practices, products and treatments that are perceived to be outside the remit of conventional medicine.
  • In general, CAM is self-regulated because in most countries there is no statutory professional regulation of its practitioners. Different forms of CAM may have their own professional associations and/or voluntary registers which set their own standards of qualifications and codes of practice. For example, only two forms of CAM in the U.K, osteopathy and chiropractic, are currently regulated in a similar manner to conventional medicine practitioners i.e. subject to statutory professional regulation.
  • It should be remembered however, that in the case of CAM, regulation is there to protect the patient’s safety and does not imply that the treatment itself has been proven to be scientifically effective. Therefore, anyone considering CAM should always apply due diligence with regard to both the practitioner and the drugs or treatments they use.

Although often viewed as distinct entities (each with their pros/cons and advocates/antagonists), the reality is that for as long as the age of science has existed, there has been an ongoing process of incorporating the best aspects of CAM into conventional medicine. The merging process of complementary medicine and therapies (that have been evaluated by scientific enquiry and proven to have genuine medical worth) with conventional medicine is a trend that is set to continue into the future.

The following will explore both conventional and natural treatments for allergies and in particular dog allergies: 

Dog Allergies Treatment

  Conventional Allergy Treatment
Conventional  Allergy Treatment This section will look at drugs and medications of a pharmaceutical nature associated with conventional medicine that are used to treat people allergic to dogs as well as allergies in dogs. It will cover the main forms of treatments such as antihistamines, decongestants and allergy shots (immunotherapy) and discuss their modus operandi as well as various issues associated with their usage.
  Natural Allergy Treatment
Natural Allergy Treatment Due to the diverse, dynamic and often controversial nature of natural treatments, the opening guide, ‘Understanding Natural Treatments’, will aim to give an overview of the topic including defining, categorizing and discussing the pros and cons of using them. Specific treatments and therapies will then be covered in the appropriate sections related to people allergic to dogs and allergies in dogs.

Note: The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute or replacement for advice, diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. Further clarification can be found in our Terms, Disclaimers & Disclosures located at the bottom of the site.

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