In this article, we discuss the topic of allergies as it relates to our pets: investigating the allergy response, what we can do to help our paw pals and how functional mushrooms may enhance their immunity.
While reading this article, please note that not all mushrooms are safe for dogs to ingest, and some that are designated safe may still have interactions with certain other medications your pet may be on. Before purchasing mushroom supplements, consult your veterinarian.
Spring and Environmental Pet Allergies
We and our pets are heading into Spring and the topic of seasonal allergies is sprouting once more. As with a number of previous years, conversations are diving further into natural remedies and holistic treatments, and we are hearing a lot about supplements such as honey, medicinal mushrooms, omegas and more to alleviate environmental allergies.
Today, we want to focus on the buzz around medicinal mushrooms for dogs and cats and shed some light on their use for our pets.
Functional Mushroom Varieties Which Help Allergies
Studies show that certain mushroom varieties have helped the body’s allergic response and associated symptoms:
- Lion’s Mane
- Turkey Tail
These mushrooms have two main functions specific to assisting the allergic response in our pets:
- Reduction of histamine
- Support of natural immune response
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Medicinal Mushrooms Varieties Reduce Histamine in Allergic Reactions
An allergic reaction happens when your pet’s body recognizes a perceived threat, then sends a message to “mast cells” to create chemicals known as histamines to usher the threat out of your body.
It’s this ushering process that causes the symptoms we know our furry friend is experiencing: itching, irritated skin and more.
While that all sounds like a pretty brilliant body process, with some unfortunate side effects, there is good news still:
Reishi mushrooms contain ganoderic acid, which actually suppresses the release of histamines. This means that these mushrooms can promote normal inflammatory response signals and perhaps prevent an allergy.
Certain Functional Mushrooms Support Immune Response
One of the fascinating characteristics of certain medicinal mushrooms for dogs and cats, such as Reishi, Agarikon and Turkey Tail, is their ability to support the immune system–whether that be by calming an overactive immune system or boosting an underactive one (more on these “adaptogenic” properties later).
As we know, a healthy immune system is crucial to our pets’ overall well being, but it’s also important in allergic response. This is because the immune system is quite involved in allergic reactions.
In fact, WebMD defines an allergic reaction as when the “immune system overreacts to substances, called allergens, that are usually not harmful.”
Mushrooms alleviate your pet’s allergic response by activating immune system cells such as neutrophils, basophils and macrophages.
Naturally high in levels of polysaccharides known as beta-glucans, such mushrooms reduce Immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies which are known for the unfavorable symptoms.
In addition, Reishi is one of multiple mushrooms known as adaptogens: substances that help systems of the body find their balance. Reishi’s adaptogenic properties have been shown to help balance the immune system specifically.
This means that if your pet’s immune system is acting too strongly or not strongly enough, either way, the Reishi medicinal mushroom will aid in bringing it to homeostasis.
Important Things To Do When Your Dog or Cat Has Allergies
There are many helpful options to review if your pet is experiencing allergies, and while medicinal mushrooms may be an effective route, it is in your paw baby’s best interest to consider some important primary ones:
- Speak with your veterinarian about what may be the root cause of your pet’s allergy, and what you can do to alleviate it.
- Be open to changing your pet’s diet. While this might be inconvenient for you, your pet is going through an allergic response and an anti-inflammatory diet with less grains and carbs can help him or her feel more comfortable.
- Consider environmental factors. If you have a feeling your buddy is affected by something outside, make sure you are taking the small but powerful act of giving his or her paws and belly a wipe-down with water or witch hazel upon their return inside so you don’t have a slew of irritants coming back into the house.
For more information regarding pet allergies or the use of medicinal mushrooms for dogs and cats, contact your veterinarian. You may also review our sources, below.
Sources on mushrooms for allergies:
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