Allergic skin

Itchy skin is usually first and most common symptom of allergies. In allergies, the body has an oversensitive reaction towards “ harmless” agent. In allergy the immune system over reacts and begins allergic inflammation targeted to clean the foreign agent from the body. Since this reaction is unnecessary, it only harms the body’s healthy tissue. The allergic inflammation is characterized by swollen, warmth, redness and with time hardening and thickening of the skin. The self grooming of pets worsens the inflammation. Constant itching causes scratching and rubbing, which creates skin damages and can lead into severe secondary infections (consequence of the primary problem).

Causative agent in allergy can be insects, chemicals, food, sun light and many others. Investigate with the veterinarian to identify what your animal is allergic to. Primary target is to exclude and avoid allergy causing products and compounds. The typical symptomatic areas in dogs are paws, stomach, ears and groins. Symptomatic areas in cats are ears, face, in between toes, writs, ankles, arm pits and groin. Onset of allergy is usually during the early years of the animal. Without treatment allergy gets worse. Allergic skin is often sensitive, which should be considered in the skin care of these animals. Extra mechanical and chemical stress should be avoided.

When treating a dog, horse or cat allergy, the animal’s allergy must be taken into account in all care. With regard to allergic skin, care products such as hair, washing and detangling must be as skin-friendly as possible. Typical problematic ingredients in animal care products are harsh detergents, e.g. sulfate-based, many preservatives, effective compounds and stabilizers. In SOLHEDS Derma products, chemical irritation to the skin is minimized. Here you can find instructions for skin-friendly washing of an allergic dog, cat or horse and here on grooming. Information on product safety of animal care products can be found here.

Many natural products can also cause an allergic reaction. Extra care is needed  when treating allergic skin. The risk of a hypersensitivity reaction increases if the raw material used in the product is not pure and/or its concentration is high.  The concentration of the harmful ingredients of this raw material can become too high and override the effect of the good effective ingredients making it unsafe to use. For example, the risk of resin products is the high natural resin content, which is a very common cause of allergies. Pitch oil and tar are carcinogenic products (cancer-causing) because of the PAH compounds they contain. Common health-promoting natural substances contain both good active substances and harmful skin-irritating, even dangerous substances. It is worth choosing natural products from a manufacturer who  has professional knowledge and experience in these raw materials and understands what they are marketing. You can read more about product safety here.

Veterinarian is the best person to analyse the comprehensive clinical situation and define the right treatment.

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Solheds natural products in the aid of management of the allergic skin

Treatment of the allergic skin (e.g. summer eczema)

The primary treatment in allergy is avoidance of the causative agents. As this is not always possible, immune therapy could provide solution. In immune therapy the allergic animal is desensitized to the causative agent of allergy. Immune therapy is not routinely easily available for all animals,in some cases immune therapy is available for dogs. Since in allergic eczema the symptomatic organ is skin, it is vital to provide good skin care. Good skin care includes keeping the skin clean and mainting moisture balance by applying lotions and reducing the skin’s allergic , inflammatory reaction. The most effective medication for the allergic inflammation is glucocorticosteroids. Glucocorticosteroids, in common language cortisone, is an anti-inflammatory compound. It suppresses the allergic reaction. It is available as topical ointments and in systemic medication. Both formats have severe side effects. However, cortisone is an excellent medication when properly controlled by a veterinarian and currently the only medication in acute allergic skin reactions.

Allergic skin reactions are treated both with systemic and local medications. Therapies based on cortisone and fatty acids have become fairly standardized treatment . The efficacy of antihistamines is not explicitly evidenced scientifically. However, many veterinarians have noted their efficacy on some animals. The efficacy of antihistamine treatment on the symptomatic animal needs to be evident before increasing or changing antihistamine treatment to avoid side effects or overdosage. Homeopathic remedies have also provided help in treating some animals . In addition to systemic therapies, skin also requires topical treatment as systematic therapy alone is not sufficient . Good treatment practice for pets is shampoo therapy. The purpose of the washing is to wash off the allergens/causative agents of the skin, decreasing microbial load on the skin and to soothe and treat the skin. For repeating washes of allergic skin water is often sufficient. This way you can spare the skin from extra stress of chemicals and washing agents. The therapy also includes topically given ointments and lotions, which treat and sooth the skin. Thick and greasy products should also be avoided as they accumulate dirt on the allergic skin.



Allergic skin is prone to secondary infections and cuts and crazes from scratching and rubbing of the itchy skin. These skin infections are treated as per instructions for infected and inflamed skin and cuts and crazes as per instructions for cuts and crazes. It is impossible to rid the allergic symptoms on the animal if it is constantly exposed to the causative agent. For example a horse with summer eczema has symptoms as long as it is exposed to insects and a dog allergic to wheat  has symptoms as long as it is exposed to diet consisting wheat. Holistic care of the animal consists of reducing allergic reactions/symptoms and careful and regular care of the animal.


Typical problems in care of an allergic animal are:
• Care is too irregular
• Anti inflammatory products are not part of the care regime
• Care does not reach the skin effectively enough
• Basic hygine of the animal is poor
• All symptomatic areas are not treated