By Ness Bird, Nutrition Adviser at Arden Grange
Arden Grange is a family run, Sussex-based business who this year celebrate their 25th anniversary. Ness Bird, Nutrition advisor at Arden Grange answers our questions about their crucial sensitivities in pets and what to look out for at this time of year…
How can you tell if your dog has sensitivities or allergies?
Pet allergies are on the rise, and this is especially true for dogs. The causes for dietary allergies or environmental allergies are well documented, for example higher levels of C02 cause an increase in pollen which, in turn, can trigger allergies.
For dogs, these sensitivities manifest in many ways such as dry, itchy skin, recurring ear infections or diarrhoea. To some level this can be managed by minimising exposure, but with the addition of a supportive diet, that also boosts immunity, symptoms can be effectively controlled.
If you think your dog has a sensitivity, make sure you consult with your vet and it might be worth considering a different diet.
What are the most common causes of sensitivities and allergies in dogs at this time of year?
Although environmental allergies can be a year-round problem, animals can suffer from hay fever-like symptoms (just like us), which are more common during the summer months when pollens are reaching higher levels.
Limiting exposure to pollen is difficult because dogs need to be walked outdoor. Intradermal skin testing is expensive, but it can be an extremely useful diagnostic tool since particular types of pollen that are problematic to the individual can be identified. If you know which trees and grasses are annoying your dog’s immune system, it can sometimes be possible to alter walking routes to avoid these plants.
Try to avoid walking at very humid times of the day, if possible. Protective boots may be an idea if your dog’s feet become irritated when walking in particular areas. Nibbling at the feet can be symptomatic of atopy*, so your dog may have sore feet even if he/she is not walking on something that’s directly affecting him/her such as chemicals used to spray crops or insecticides used on grass. Salt and grit on the roads in winter can exacerbate this, so it’s important to be careful at all times of the year
In the warmer weather there are more flying insects about. Reactions to insect bites and stings can be very severe if your dog has an allergy to the enzymes released by the insect. External parasite control is therefore especially important for animals who are allergic to flea or tick saliva, but be sure to use safe, species appropriate products.
How can pet owners reduce those allergies or sensitivities?
Our dogs do a lot of sniffing, so it’s no surprise that certain things can get up their noses and cause them problems. They are also smaller than adult humans, so what might be mildly bothersome to us such as a high pollen count on a summer’s day could be a lot more irritating to an atopic pet. So, a diet that supports the immune system can be very beneficial.
What should a pet owner consider when choosing a diet for a sensitive pet?
The food we choose for our dogs can make a big difference to their overall health and wellbeing. For dogs with sensitivities, it’s important to look for foods that don’t contain common allergens such as wheat/ gluten, beef, dairy and soya for example, as these can be a trigger for digestive issues, itchy skin or other problems.
Consider foods that are palatable and easily digested. It’s also worth looking out for additional ingredients that support a healthy immune system. For example, our Sensitive Range is made with fresh ocean white fish and potato, which is gentle for sensitive dogs and naturally rich in Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, while the supplementary Superfood Blend supports the immune system.
* Atopy describes an adverse immune reaction to one or more environmental allergen/s
Arden Grange recently launched a new advertising campaign – ‘Home of the Range’, which signals a new phase in the history of this trusted British brand.
To find out more about the Arden Grange range visit www.ardengrange.com