As an animal healer I’ve treated hundreds of dogs over the past twenty four years. Some of which have been suffering from the most dreadful allergies which have affected their lives greatly. There are literally hundreds of things that a dog may be allergic to and we, as pet owners, cannot make assumptions as to what they are, even though it’s an easy thing for us to do. If we do make our own supposition when a skin allergy rears its head we can often wrongly make a diagnosis, or even take personal action and then wonder why ‘our cure’ isn’t working. It’s important to have a vet diagnose the issue and then the owner make the treatment steps based on medical fact.
There may be times when you provide a remedy to your dog by administering something you have bought over the counter, and for a couple of days this seems to do the trick. But there is another side to the coin which can be damaging. Without a proper diagnosis, the product bought over the counter can highly exacerbate the situation if your dog is allergic to any of the ingredients in the product you’ve purchased. This is because most are chemically based and contain very few natural ingredients that work in harmony with your dog.
I once treated a Jack Russell Terrier that had hardly any fur left after an over the counter cream was purchased over the internet. His skin was left very inflamed and paper thin after a secondary allergy had developed to the contents of the cream. The poor little soul was tormented by a wrongly thought out procedure, then as you would imagine, his only ‘respite’ was the usual scratching routine; result = one very poorly little dog in body and in mind.
As it transpired, the little fella made great progress after three AniScentia healing sessions with myself, after I showed his owner how to use and create ‘simples’ which are natural herbal remedies using one plant or herb base like calendula oil macerate or chamomile for skin rinses. After around a month or so he made a complete recovery and the growth rate of fur was astoundingly quick.
We’ve moved on greatly in the last couple of decades regarding pet care and made great leaps in understanding animal well-being, numerous old procedures and habits from the past are now outdated and archaic. When treating your dog it is always best to do your own research on what you feel is the best way forwards, even when veterinary medicine if offered. Often holistic remedies and veterinary treatment can work in synergy. There is lots of information out there so do question things and don’t always accept the first solution, but do act quickly if your dog is displaying any physical discomfort. Don’t allow a medical condition to become prolonged as it won’t take long for a small issue to become something that is unbearable for the dog and difficult to cure.
Some of us of from a certain age(!) can remember a time when good old Bruno dog would put up with anything, what I mean by that is, we used to give him left over dinner, and some Bruno’s even slept outside at night in a kennel, no dietary supplements whatsoever. Regular injections and boosters from his local Vet, a run around the block daily and Bruno was pretty much sorted. Phew, was it really that easy to look after Bruno in the old days!?
Nowadays we have become very much a sterile society, we have cleaning products and sprays galore that clean away left over cleaning products, the scent of a Norwegian Forest straight from a can, a plug-in aroma of lavender, implements that hang around light cords, scented powders to eradicate the presence of Bruno for that all important lounge carpet; all of the above are laden with hidden chemicals that affect our animals greatly, especially their skin.
Poor old Bruno has no choice but to cope with all of this as he can’t complain vocally. He’s breathing in the scent, placing his paws on the carpet powder, laying down on the floor, having a monthly bath in even more chemicals, so he’ll establish his protest in many other ways. Many dog shampoo contains a cocktail of chemicals and stabilisers and surfactants that, since I became a professional formulator, fill me with great concern.
Consequently Bruno starts sneezing, wheezing, feeling lethargic and itchy and doesn’t even want to go for walks. Dogs have an awful lot of external factors to cope with, we need to look seriously at reducing the amount of chemicals we allow in to the home.
You can do many things to enhance your dogs’ wellbeing. I’m a qualified aromatherapist, aromathologist and Master Herbalist, so I implement a few anti-inflammatory and skin supporting herbs in to my own dogs’ diet, along with essential and carrier oils in to her skin management regime. By doing this, I made a huge breakthrough in tackling her allergies.
I have given below a 100% natural recipe for a room freshener spritz that is safe to use around dogs and also bring a peaceful and calming affect to the home environment.
You will need:
100ml bottle with spray nozzle
A mixing jug
60ml of filtered water (not straight tap water)
33ml of distilled witch hazel
5ml of vodka
8 drops of Citrus Aurantium (Petitgrain) essential oil
4 drops of Vetiveria Zizanoides (Vetiver) essential oil
1. Pour all ingredients into a jug, starting with the largest fluid amounts and whisk thoroughly for around 30 seconds.
2. In a clean bottle place a funnel and pour in the whisked mixture
3. Place the spritzer nozzle on the bottle
4. Label with date and contents
If kept in a fridge this will last for up to six months. Do not spray directly onto the dog. This is a room freshening spray.
I graduated as a Master Herbalist I founded my dedicated animal wellness brand AniScentia in 2016, born out of love for Saskia and my personal experiences coping with canine allergies. My above experiences, along with twenty-four years of working with hundreds of animal clients, and lecturing in animal therapy, enhanced my understanding about just what it means to us to see our canine companions healthy and well and leading fulfilling lives.
Niki Senior – Master Herbalist & Founder & Formulator of The Norfolk Apothecary & AniScentia. www.thenorfolkapothecary.com & www.aniscentia.com Author of Animal Healing – Holistic Techniques by Llewellyn Worldwide.