Neal: Hey, everybody it's Neal from Growlies, hiding in the back today because I get too distracted out front. I've asked for a little privacy so that I can just get this video done real quick. Sundays are getting busier and busier and it's a great thing to see. It's just hard to do these videos and I might have to figure out another way or time to do them. Today I wanted to talk about seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are really common. We're seeing them more and more this earlier this year because of course we're having a very mild February. I thought it was very topical to do some seasonal allergy talk today.

Often, seasonal allergies usually come through in our dogs and cats as skin irritation, inflammation. The cycle begins with itchiness and then ends up with inflamed skin, then they scratch and then that causes more itchiness, which causes more inflammation, which then causes potentially bacterial infections or yeasty paws or yeasty skin or armpits all red or ears. The inflammation can come up anywhere on their largest organ, the skin.

The thing about that is that often what that cycle ends up is you have a dog who's, let's say, a two with seasonal allergies between May and August or May and September when the grasses are out or when the pollens are out or for a short period of time, a couple of months when all of the pollens are out and the trees are doing their thing, but then the next year, instead of being May to September it's now April to October.

Then the third or fourth year of their life, or fifth year of their life, you're looking at instead of April to October you're looking for just a dog who's got inflammation and itchiness year-round, and so it gets worse and worse progressively. When stuff like that is happening, and it's not just actual seasonal allergies which are temporary and only happen in summer or only happen in spring or only happen when the thing they're allergic to is out, pollen is pretty common, actually, for that one. I did make notes this time because it's a complex topic. What that points to when it's gotten worse and worse over the years is more leaky gut.

The leaky gut is what also is known as dysbiosis. Some of the things we need to consider when looking at leaky gut and dysbiosis are the things that cause the inflammation or hyperactive immune systems. Vaccines would be one. If you have an adult dog and he's had all of his puppy shots, stop regularly vaccinating. I'm not saying that vaccines are bad, vaccines are good but I'm talking about responsible vaccination. When you get a request to consider vaccination, ask for a titer.

A titer is an inexpensive way to test and see whether or not those animals still have the antibodies present against whatever it is the vaccine is for, for instance, rabies, and so you can see that they're still immune to rabies and they no longer-- they don't require a vaccine which would inflame their immune system even further, and so by reducing how often we're vaccinating we can reduce the inflammation in a pet. The other thing is stop with the flea treatments. Flea treatments often mimic side effects of allergies and cause irritation, redness, all sorts of problems in skin.

They're a pesticide on your pet that stays in your pet for months at a time and so removing and stopping those pesticides, those flea treatments, is highly recommended in a pet who's showing these kinds of symptoms. Also reduce any drugs as much as possible. I understand that some drugs you have to use and you can't not use them, but talk to your vet about reducing them as much as possible. We're trying to get them away from as many of those kinds of things as possible to help their system just heal. We have to first address the gut though, we have to address that leaky gut.

Even one round of antibiotics can cause some damage to that mucosal layer and cause dysbiosis or leaky gut. Let's not overuse antibiotics, let's use them when they're necessary. They're powerful, fantastic drugs that we do require occasionally, but let's not overuse them, let's not give them for everything. There is a test at Texas A&M University that you can search for online about gut dysbiosis in dogs. You can contact, if you're in a terrible situation, that University, that organization, Texas A&M University for the gut dysbiosis test for dogs. I don't know what's involved in that but I know it's there and it's available should your vet and you decide that that's something you want to do.

Triggers are also high-carbohydrate foods. We want to reduce the number of carbohydrates or starchy foods like grains and lentils and peas and tapioca and potatoes and things of that nature from their diet. Reduce the amount of those things, because ultimately those things are adding to the inflammation. They're not anti-inflammatory, they're inflammation-causing. They're high-carbohydrate, high-glycemic index, so on and so forth. By reducing those starchy foods, we're also reducing the amount of food supply for the yeast that often follow this kind of inflammation.

Those yeasty bacterial infections, you can reduce the amount of food supply that's available to those yeast by reducing the amount of sugars in the diet, and starch is sugar, so when we feed a starchy diet, the starchy diet causes inflammation, the inflammation feeds the yeast, the yeast overgrow. Also, no chicken. We've removed chicken because it's not only, in Chinese herbal medicine, considered a hot food, and some of our customers follow that kind of thinking, but it's also terribly raised to go to market in seven weeks, and so its omega-3 to omega-6 ratios are quite inflammatory.

Add in stuff like coconut oil or omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids from krill oil or salmon oil or sardine oil. I like the smaller fishes better. The krill is pretty darn good. Those kinds of things are the kinds of things we're looking for. Also, allergies can be-- Well, allergies are an exaggerated immune response and so that's why I want to come back to don't do those flea treatments anymore because that immune response is stimulated by flea treatments. It's stimulated by vaccines and over-vaccination. Let's reduce that. Also, wash your pet. It's called irrigation therapy by some people but, ultimately, it's not fancy, just wash your pet down.