Dealing with Your Pet’s Allergies Holistically
By Sue Ann Seccia-Harnden, RMT, Owner Fifth Dimension Healing Energy, LLC, Clinton, NJ
I recently had an “aha” moment about how important the immune system is in the “allergy” picture when it comes to our pets. In the past 6 months both of my cats had what appeared to be markedly different episodes of illness that required veterinary care. When I look back, they really both stemmed from poor immune system function that caused very different symptoms in each cat based on their particular body’s weakness.
Symptoms that the immune system and elimination systems need attention come in the form of food allergies, skin rashes, dry flaky skin, oily fur, overly smelly feces or urine, dark waxy itchy buildup in the ears, anal gland impaction problems, and respiratory issues such as sneezing and wheezing, runny or stuffed noses, coughing. When the body’s normal pathways of getting rid of toxins or by-products of the digestion process get over-taxed, it will try to find another path to get this overload out of the body. Vaccinations can also cause short and long term issues for the immune system and cause symptoms to occur.
A good first step is a thorough check-up by a holistic veterinarian to address your pet’s overall health and rule out any other concerns. You can also treat the symptoms with herbals or homeopathic remedies to alleviate discomfort, as well as energy balancing and clearing treatments such as Reiki, JMT, Acupuncture, Massage, and Chiropractic to help re-align the body’s systems for optimal performance and wellness in self-regulating its normal functions.
But you also need to improve, and in some cases, re-build the immune system function, through good nutrition. This may require a specialized veterinary nutritional consult for your animal. Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in NJ offers this service in our area. If you are trying to do this on your own, check out a resource such as Dr. Pitcairn’s Natural Guide for Dogs and Cats, which has great nutritional information, natural pet food recipes, and a guide to common ailments and holistic approaches to addressing them. I’ve had great success using the information in this and other books in making my own cat food recipes.
Some of the key elements in the diet to consider are: the protein source (fish, meat, fowl, etc.), sources for vitamins & minerals and fiber (such as fresh vegetables, fruits, supplements), probiotics, sources of good fats/oils for Essential Fatty Acids, and digestive enzymes. The processing that most canned or kibble food goes through robs it of some of its key nutritional value, so even if you are using high quality pet food, you may need to supplement it. I love using organic Bone Broth as a frequent addition to any recipe for a good immune system boost. Whatever you do, go “low and slow” in making switches gradually so as not to shock your pet’s system.
You may also have to go through a staged process of an “elimination diet” to identify offending foods and substances or environmental factors that are challenging to your pet. This includes household cleaners, laundry products, scented candles, houseplants, and anything else in your pet’s environment that is potential toxic and allergy-causing for them.
While this process is time-consuming, it is well worth it in the end as a stronger, better immune system will result in a happier, healthier pet with better life quality. As you get ready to do some Spring cleaning, take a inventory of your pet’s daily symptoms, and their environment. See what adjustments may be needed to reduce or eliminate allergic triggers for your pet. Consider dietary needs for your pet’s age and breed and see if they may benefit from some dietary changes. Your powers of observation and knowing your pet will best guide you to see what is working or needs further change.
You can reach Sue Ann at (908) 730-0658, or SueAnn@FifthDimensionHealingEnergy.net
This article appears in the March 2017 edition of Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey