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  • Dr. Katie Woodley

Itchy Pets, Nutrition and Acupuncture

Updated: Jun 14

Have you ever wondered if there was more you could do for your itchy pet? Maybe they are on cytopoint or apoquel, and you may have read this when researching if your pet should be on these drugs long-term (directly from the drug company website):


IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION Do not use APOQUEL® (oclacitinib tablet) in dogs less than 12 months of age or those with serious infections. APOQUEL may increase the chances of developing serious infections, and may cause existing parasitic skin infestations or pre-existing cancers to get worse. APOQUEL has not been tested in dogs receiving some medications including some commonly used to treat skin conditions such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine. Do not use in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs. Most common side effects are vomiting and diarrhea. APOQUEL has been used safely with many common medications including parasiticides, antibiotics and vaccines.

Ok, so I'm not all about inducing fear, but my goal is always to educate. There is a time and place for conventional medicine, especially if your pet is tearing itself up from itching and creating skin infections. However, we can integrate holistic medicine such as herbs, real food nutrition and acupuncture to resolve the underlying imbalance that your pet has so the allergy goes away and STAYS away.


I love treating allergies with herbal medicine, appropriate nutrition and acupuncture. By approaching a pet from a Chinese medicine perspective, we are looking for the connection and where the imbalance is rather than just treating a symptom.


We can ask why is this occurring and how do we fix it! This is the game changer for your pet.


Many of the pet foods contain poor quality ingredients, fillers, artificial colorings and many more "ingredients" that should not be there. It's no wonder that pets are developing more allergies, inflammation and ultimately cancer.


What can you do to help your pet's to help with their itchiness?


First, take a look at the food you are feeding them. If they are on a dry food diet, then start adding in vegetables into their diet. Kibble tends to be a higher carbohydrate food and can have cheap proteins and fillers present, which can create food sensitivities in your pet. Feeding more real food, even just 3 times a week, will reduce your pet's risk of cancer by 90%!

There are many more quality brands out there in the pet food industry, but there are also a lot of pet foods that are not quality. Many of the bigger companies like Mars and others are buying the pet food companies. However, just because you want to avoid them doesn't mean you should just go and support the smaller, local companies. You need to ensure that those foods are balanced with the right ratios of vitamins and minerals that will optimize your pet's health, not diminish it.


Some of the fruits and veggies that are powerhouses at reducing inflammation in the body include: leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, vibrantly colored veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, button mushrooms, brussel sprouts, blueberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Whenever you can, try to feed organic to reduce the levels of pesticides that may be present. If you can't afford organic food for everything, make sure you follow the dirty dozen rule. You want to make sure if you are purchasing these vegetables that they are organic, because these are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides. Remember to NOT feed grapes, hot peppers, or feed the pits of peaches or nectarines to your pet!

Some of the supplements that can help your pet by reducing histamine and inflammation in their body include quercetin, omega-3 oils, and curcumin. Quercetin has been called nature's benadryl, and can be used in place of benadryl. Supplements can take longer to work in the body compared to synthetic drugs, which is why we recommend an overlap if you are using conventional drugs with supplements, before taking your pet completely off of something. Make sure you go to our previous blog post to learn how these supplements can be beneficial for your pet if they are suffering with allergies.

By using real food as nutrition and feeding "like the rainbow", the many phytonutrients that are present in these vegetables will help your pet's body heal, reduce inflammation and provide the nutrients they need to stay healthy.


Acupuncture is a topic we covered in a previous blog post, and can be very beneficial alongside herbs and whole food nutrition for pets with allergies. We can use acupuncture to calm down an overreactive immune system and reduce inflammation. By modulating the immune system and removing foods that cause inflammation, we can FIX the root cause. What this means is that your pet doesn't have to keep going into the vet clinic for more drugs that only treat symptoms. You will be happier along with your pet - a win-win for everyone!


What are you waiting for? Help your pet now with one or all of the above lifestyle and treatment options. Send us a message or give us a call TODAY to schedule an appointment.

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*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

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