Pet health solutions for digestive and skin allergy flare-ups

There are ways you can help your pet at home

During today’s difficult economic times, many vet clinics are receiving numerous phone calls each day from animal guardians looking for at-home suggestions for treating simple acute problems, as opposed to paying for costly veterinary exams and workups. In the earlier article about pet owner misconceptions, I reviewed some statistics and a few medical examples of how certain conditions can often resolve on their own, or with just supportive care at home. Two of the most common areas of phone inquiries revolve around acute digestive upset in their pets or skin/ear allergy flare-ups.

In both of these broad conditions, one of the most important things I’ll often tell clients is to fast their pets for 24 to 48 hours, offering fresh water several times daily and/or chicken or vegetable broth. That is unless the pet is a diabetic or has some other chronic disease like cancer, where consultation with their pet should be done first before fasting. However, often fasting a pet like this and then reintroducing a bland, cooked, lean white meat turkey and sweet potato or rice diet after a 48-hour fast will often calm the digestive or skin symptoms. In addition, over-the-counter Pepcid AC or Famotidine (at a dose of 1/2 mg per pound) once daily can often help settle a sour stomach or vomiting pet.

If a pet is suffering from diarrhea, short term use of Imodium or Lomotil can sooth an irritable bowel, along with use of slippery elm from the health food store. An excellent probiotic such as Fast Balance by Vetriscience also can quickly calm either diarrhea or vomiting symptoms in either dogs or cats. For the common hairball vomiting problem in cats, Laxatone or Petromalt Hairball Remedy can help soothe an acute flare-up of vomiting.

As for skin or ear allergy problems, including allergic hot spots and focal areas of intense itching and dermatitis, this can often be soothed by topical sprays, creams or oils. Some products I recommend include the all natural Be Soothed, Dermaguard, or Genesis spray. During allergy season itching, shampooing every few days with a product like Aloe Vera and Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner can help alleviate skin symptoms. Excel Hydrocortisone Shampoo can also be very effective. Oral treatment with antihistamines like Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or Chlorphenirimine will also help to ease itching symptoms in many cases. I’ve seen the wonderful product Zymox Otic HC work miracles in those pets with acutely inflamed ears.  Of course if symptoms intensify or worsen, or if you are ever in doubt, a veterinary exam and consultation is always best.

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  1. How much benedryl should I give my dog. She weighs 70 lbs.
    I bought Banophen 25mg tablets. I give her 1 1/2 tablets. Is that enough for her. I dont give it to her everyday only if I feel small bumps under her skin if she itches. She doesn’t scratch but once in a while. I also use the benedryl on long drives in the drive when traveling to calm her. She has gotten car sick in my miata but not our big one ton truck. I am retired and have no SS income. Not old enough yet just living on husbands so far. Cant afford to go to the Vets so I want to home treat her if I can. June-Ella

  2. My 75 lb lab also takes benedryl and we were told by our vet to give him 2 of he 25 mg tabs in the morning and 2 more at night. We use a generic one that costs about 2.00 at our local Walmart for 100 of the tablets. Please do call a local vet and see what they suggest as most will get back to you or have a tech do so to make sure not too excessive for her.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 13, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Excellent suggestion.

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