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Holistic Solutions for your Dog’s Allergies


For years, Nancy struggled with the health of her beloved rescue dog, Stanley. Stanley, a Golden retriever, suffered from a number of severe allergies causing him to scratch the sides of his body until they were raw. Stanley also developed weepy lesions on his skin causing his coat to stink and feel gooey to the touch.

Nancy attempted to treat his allergies with a number of different remedies. She went to a traditional veterinarian and was given steroids to treat the constant itching. The pharmaceuticals caused Stanley to develop polyuria/polydipsia (PU/PD), which is characterized by the passage of large volumes of urine and excessive thirst. The PU/PD led to frequent “accidents.” Nancy also tried using numerous topical medicines, but found little relief for her suffering dog.

After two frustrating years, a friend of Nancy’s suggested that she explore some holistic options to relieve Stanley’s allergies. Nancy followed the advice and visited Christine Bessent, D.V.M. Dr. Bessent recommended a formula of Chinese herbs called Herbsmith Clear Allergies and acupuncture. This herbal formula is specifically designed to treat dogs’ severe allergies. Nancy found this remedy to be very effective with none of the negative side effects that she encountered with traditional pharmaceutical treatments. Nancy is now happy to report that Stanley’s allergies have been under control for over a year. She is approaching the upcoming allergy season without the anxiety that she had in previous years.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
There are many pharmaceutical options on the market that promise quick results, but the ensuing side effects can be worse than the allergic condition they are intended to treat. Dr. Bessent, founder of Herbsmith, Inc., says there is an alternative way to address problems like these. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a more natural, holistic approach to veterinary care, has proven to be successful for thousands of years.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that allergies, like all medical conditions, are symptoms of an underlying disharmony within the body,” Dr. Bessent says. “To effectively treat the problem, you must first address the underlying disharmony that is causing the allergy to occur.”

An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to an allergen (from a food, an inhalant or contact). These allergens cause the body’s defenses to overreact, which leads to the overheating of a dog’s body. Some of the associated symptoms include itchy and reddened skin, panting, and restlessness. TCM states that the combination of warm (the heat of allergies) and cool (the dog’s body temperature) often creates a condition of “wind” within the body, which is what often causes fiercely itchy skin. Another way that allergies can affect a dog’s body is through the accumulation of phlegm. All of these symptoms (heat, phlegm, and wind) stem from an imbalance in the dog’s liver, referred to as “Liver Qi stagnation.” According to TCM, the liver is the organ responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is the body’s overall life-force. The liver acts as a “pump” to produce the smooth flow of energy throughout the entire body. When that pump “overheats” as a result of an allergic reaction, the vital fluids within the body evaporate and phlegm starts to accumulate. The accumulation of phlegm causes the dog’s coat to give off a foul odor and become greasy or gooey.

Any imbalance within the body can be explained using the model of “yin and yang”, which is at the base of all TCM theory. Yin and yang both exist within the body at all times. “Yin” represents the concepts of cooling, fluids, quietness, and passive behavior. “Yang” represents the concepts of heat, inflammation, outward energy, and aggressive behavior. A healthy animal will have a perfect balance between the two forces. According to TCM, any imbalance of the two is regarded as a disease. From this perspective, allergies are commonly seen as an excess of yang (heat) in the body causing the allergic hypersensitivity. Dr. Bessent compares the body of an allergic dog to a boiling pot of water. “In order to stop the boiling of the water, you can either turn down the heat or add more water to the pot.” Herbsmith Clear Allergies contains cooling herbs that bring down the yang (or heat) within the body and yin tonifying herbs that increase the fluids of the body overall, bringing the dog’s body back to a balanced state.

Herbs used in TCM focus on a holistic way of treating diseases. In the case of canine allergies, they work to bring down the heat within the body, thus reducing inflammation of the skin and accumulation of phlegm. Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals, the herbs address the root cause of the allergy while still relieving the associated symptoms.

Types of Allergies
The two most common allergies found among dogs are to foods and inhalants. Each of these allergy types affects a dog differently, but they can be addressed using the same theories. There are some very simple steps that can be taken to decrease the severity of your dog’s reaction.

When someone suspects that his or her dog has food allergies, the most important step is identifying the food or foods that are causing the reaction. It order to do so, the allergic dog should be reverted to a very bland diet such as a single source protein diet, grain free or other hypoallergenic diets that have minimized their ingredient base, offer quality natural ingredients, do not include corn, wheat, by-products or artificial colors or preservatives. After all signs of past reactions have ceased, foods that the dog had eaten previously should be slowly reincorporated into the dog’s diet, one by one. Allergic reactions can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to appear, so if the dog is showing no signs of an allergic reaction after one week of eating a particular food, an additional food should be reintroduced. During this process, if the dog starts to show signs of a reaction (such as diarrhea, vomiting, gurgly stomach, or skin irritations), the most recently incorporated food is revealed as the allergen (or one of the allergens). That food should be permanently eliminated from the dog’s diet. If someone is seeking an easier way to diagnose your dog’s allergies, allergens can be detected through specific allergy blood testing.

Another type of allergy common among dogs occurs as a result of environmental or inhaled allergens. These allergies occur when dogs breathe in particles such as mold, dust mites, dander, and pollens of grasses and trees which can result in painful, itchy skin irritations. “We could inhale the same pollens and not have any reaction, but allergic dogs have a propensity to develop hypersensitivity causing their whole bodies to become inflamed,” Dr. Bessent says. “This disharmony is a result of too much heat and inflammation.”

Western medicine looks solely at physical allergy symptoms such as itching, scratching and lesions, whereas TCM also recognizes the less obvious symptoms such as restlessness, irritability and panting. All of these signs indicate an allergic reaction, which reveals the underlying issue of Liver Qi stagnation. In addition to using herbs, Liver Qi stagnation can be treated using traditional Chinese approaches like acupuncture and food therapy.

Food therapy, when combined with other approaches, can be a very effective way to treat allergies in dogs. Chinese medical theory states that food is like a medicine. The old adage that “you are what you eat” applies here. Food is classified as having various properties such as cooling, warming, etc. Allergic dogs should eat cooling foods such as fish, duck and rabbit. The cooling foods help to bring down the inflammation throughout the body. Foods like venison and lamb are considered the warmest of proteins and, to an allergic dog, would greatly increase the heat in the body and the allergic reaction. The following are a few examples of cooling foods:
Yin, Tonic, Duck, Celery, Fish, String beans, Rabbit, Apple, Whitefish, Banana, Cod, Pear, Barley, Flax seed oil, Brown rice, Yogurt, Broccoli.

Incorporating cooling foods into an allergic dog’s diet may help to resolve the underlying disharmony that is causing the reaction.

A Holistic Approach

When people see their dogs begin to itch generally their response has been to visit a veterinarian who would typically advise the owner to put the dog on antihistamines and corticosteroids. This approach, however,  may not be the best for the animal in the long run. “Corticosteroids work great the first year by bringing down the itching,” Dr. Bessent says. “The dog feels great and only has to take a small amount. However, steroids damage the liver over time.”

The consequences of using corticosteroids can accumulate relatively quickly. During the next allergy season the dog often has more extensive allergies and the symptoms are more extreme. Instead of allergies starting in August and September when ragweed is at its height, the allergies start in July and extend into late October. The itching increases and the dog develops more lesions. To quell the symptoms, the dog is given more steroids and antihistamines, and the cycle of symptom suppression continues. In addition, the long-term use of traditional pharmaceuticals causes damage to the liver, creating an even greater imbalance within the body. After years of treatment, the dog is typically allergic to just about everything. Allergies often continue into the dead of winter and can extend through the entire year.

Chinese herbs address the problem from a holistic point of view. In the early stages, the dog will respond quickly to the herbs. However, when the liver is damaged over the course of several years with steroids, it becomes more difficult to resolve the underlying disharmony. At that point, herbs can certainly be used to resolve the issue, but the treatment typically takes more time.

Dr. Bessent started Herbsmith as a way to bring her years of experience formulating veterinary herbal blends to a larger group of pet owners. Her product line includes remedies for various different ailments in canines and equines. Herbsmith Clear Allergies offers a combination of herbs with cooling and yin-tonifying properties to decrease inflammation and restore balance in the dog’s Qi without damaging the liver.

The most important idea to remember about Chinese herbal blends is that they do not just treat the symptoms of allergies. They address the root imbalance, making for a happier, healthier dog.

“It’s really about the underlying disharmony,” Bessent says, “And when you resolve that, the symptoms of the allergies go away.”

Herbsmith Clear Allergies helps to clear your dog’s allergies, without the side effects caused by pharmaceuticals, and assists in restoring balance to your dog’s system



Latin name: Taraxacum officinale (Asteraceane family)


Known best in North America as a weed that pops up in freshly cut lawns, dandelion grows wild in most of the world and is cultivated as an herb in China, France, and Germany. Young leaves are picked in the spring for tonic salads. In the early summer, before the plant blooms, leaves are harvested for the manufacture of medicinal teas, and tinctures. The roots of two-year-old plants are dug in the fall, when they have their greatest concentration of the complex carbohydrate inulin, for use in tablets and tinctures.


Dandelion leaves are a powerful diuretic. The roots act as a blood purifier that helps both the kidneys and the liver to remove toxins and poisons from the blood. The roots have been used for centuries to treat jaundice. Dandelion also acts as a mild laxative and improves appetite and digestion. It is useful for eczema-like skin problems, boils, and abscesses, and is believed to help prevent age spots and breast cancer.

Benefits of dandelion for specific health conditions include the following:  

• Anemia.  Dandelion contains high levels of potassium, is a rich source of iron and vitamins, and, ounce for ounce, contains more carotene than carrots. Herbalists have used dandelion for generations to treat anemia due to deficiencies of folic acid, iron, and vitamin B12.

• Bladder infection and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  Unlike many conventional diuretics, which cause a loss of potassium, dandelion leaves are rich in potassium. Using the herb as a diuretic results in a net gain of this vital mineral. Because of its diuretic effect, dandelion helps to relieve fluid retention in premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and counteract urine retention in bladder infections. By increasing potassium levels, dandelion aids in alleviating muscle spasms and nighttime leg cramps.

• Constipation, hemorrhoids, and indigestion.   German research has shown that dandelion root is a mild bitter, or appetite stimulant. Bitters of all types activate a reflex that increases the secretion of digestive juices by the lining of the stomach. Dandelion root has a significant cleansing effect on the liver by stimulating the production of bile, which ultimately results in increased transport of a variety of potentially noxious compounds to the stool. Increasing the release of bile also relieves constipation without causing diarrhea and stops spasms of the bile duct. Dandelion should be avoided, however, if you have gallstones, since increasing the flow of bile could increase pressure against the stones.

• Irritable bowel syndrome (IRS).   Bulgarian studies of a five-herb combination including dandelion found that more than 95 percent of IBS sufferers were pain-free after fifteen days of treatment. This herbal combination also improved regularity.

• Liver problems and gallstones.    The bitter principles in dandelion increase bile production and bile flow in the liver. This makes it useful for people with sluggish liver function due to alcohol abuse or poor diet. It is restorative to the liver and helps reduce the risk of developing gallstones, but you should avoid it if you already have gallstones.

• Osteoporosis.   Dandelion is a rich source of boron, which helps to raise estrogen levels in the blood, and in turn helps preserve bone. It is also a rich source of calcium and a fair source of silicon, which some studies suggest helps strengthen bone.

• Overweight.   European herbalists frequently prescribe dandelion tinctures as a weight-loss aid. Dandelion reduces water weight through its diuretic effect. It may also help the liver regulate blood sugars to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), frequently an immediate cause of binge eating. Also, the increase in bile flow stimulated by dandelion helps to improve fat metabolism in the body. In one laboratory study, animals that were given daily doses of dandelion extract for a month lost up to 30 percent of their body mass.


If you have gallstones or biliary tract obstructions, you should avoid this herb. Dandelion should not be used as a substitute for pharmaceutical diuretics for hypertension. If you are taking diuretic drugs, insulin, or medications that reduce blood-sugar levels, you should use dandelion only under a physician's supervision. People with known allergies to related plants, such as chamomile and yarrow, should use dandelion with caution.

Dandelion also should be avoided during antibiotic treatment, especially treatment with ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ofloxacin (Floxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and enoxacin (Penetrex), since it may keep concentrations of these antibiotics from peaking in the bloodstream, diminishing their ability to fight infection.


DGP-Dog Gone Pain

DGP - Dog Gone Pain  is a natural herbal supplement that revitalizes older dogs both physically and mentally. It supports joint function and enhances mobility and demeanor. Your dog can still enjoy life! Bring out the puppy in your dog with Dog-Gone Pain.

Aches and pains reduce your dog's enjoyment of life and our enjoyment of their company. Running, walking, getting into the car or just rising to greet you become painful ordeals. Dog Gone Pain helps your dog become the same carefree and playful member of the family he or she used to be‚ and wants to be again.


DGP was developed by leading Australian veterinarians & herbalists. It is an all natural herbal supplement that contains the following ingredients: Feverfew, Celery Seed, Wheatgrass, Boswelia, Bromelain, Papain, Corydalis Root, Cayenne, Turmeric, Shark Cartilage and a Proprietary Blend of Native Australian Herbs.


Suggested Use: Each bottle of DGP contains 60 chewable tablets.
Give Dogs or Cats under 30 lbs., one tablet daily.

For larger dogs, 2-3 tablets daily depending on pet's body weight
(divide dose a.m./p.m. if possible).



The Whole Dog Journal:

The Whole Dog Journal featured Dog Gone Pain in the May, 2006 issue and reported excellent results. A study of older dogs with arthritic pain or stiffness all showed an improvement. (A reprint of this article or subscription can be obtained at the Whole Dog Journal.) The manufacturer also states that noticeable results will be seen in just one week.




Thundershirts Are Great For:

How It Works

It Might Not Be “Just A Noise” to Your Dog!

When young children hear a scary noise at night, they often run to their parents. The response is usually something like “Don’t worry. It was just thunder.” Or “It was just a noise. Nothing to be frightened of.” Unfortunately, for a dog that is afraid of noise, no amount of explaining or consoling will help. Noise Anxiety is a very real and very common problem for dogs across the country. The estimates vary widely, but somewhere between 5 million and 15 million dogs suffer from noise anxiety severe enough for their owners to seek help. That’s a lot of anxiety! Below is a brief overview of canine noise anxiety including symptoms, causes, and remedies. If your dog suffers from noise anxiety, there are choices available to help relieve her stress. Unfortunately, many veterinarians are not well versed on the different treatments out there and jump to prescribing medications. Make sure you do your research before settling on a plan. But believe me, your dog isn’t alone in her fear and you can help her!


Symptoms of Canine Noise Anxiety
Panting Drooling Indoor Elimination
Whining / Barking Hiding Seeking Tight Spaces
Destructive Chewing Clinging to People Shaking / Trembling
Scratching Not Eating Pacing / Panicked Running




Noise anxiety can exhibit many symptoms and severity levels. On the less extreme end of the spectrum, a fear of thunder may just cause some shaking and clinging to her owner. On the other extreme, thunder may cause panicked running, destructive chewing, defecating indoors, or even jumping through a plate glass window! The table below lists many of the known symptoms. Review the list to see which symptoms your dog may exhibit. Some owners aren’t even aware that a negative behavior they are seeing is actually caused by noise anxiety. For example, does your dog get upset when you take photographs using a flash? That may be noise anxiety! The flash may remind your dog of lightning and she becomes frightened that a storm may be coming.


Determining what caused your dog’s noise anxiety may be difficult to pinpoint, if not impossible. If you’re lucky, you may be able to trace the start of your dog’s anxiety to a traumatic incident such as being too close to a fireworks show or too close to a lightning strike and its subsequent thunder clap. But more than likely, it won’t be anything that obvious. Your dog may have a genetic predisposition for noise anxiety. Studies have shown that some breeds have a higher incidence of noise anxiety such as Collies, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. For some dogs, noise anxiety gradually appears and worsens as they age for no apparent reason. For other dogs, it appears as a puppy and stays with them.

But one thing that most experts agree on… when it comes to noise anxiety, you never want to pet, coddle, or otherwise console the dog when she’s exhibiting symptoms. Your dog will most likely interpret your behavior as “You see! I do have something to be worried about!” It’s important for the people around the dog to behave normally during events that trigger the dog’s anxiety. In fact, a possible cause for noise anxiety in the first place is her owner’s nervousness or fear of some kind of noise. Most dogs are very sensitive to their owners’ moods. If her owner has a fear of thunder, she may give her owner the benefit of the doubt!

What your dog is actually experiencing with noise anxiety could also be numerous things. For some, it may be just the noise that bothers her… a dog’s hearing is far more sensitive than a person’s and some loud noises may even cause physical discomfort. But for others, it may not even be the actual noise that frightens the dog. Dogs have highly developed senses of smell… they may smell a thunderstorm long before they hear any thunder. Dogs are more sensitive to barometric pressure changes than people… wide swings in pressure may even cause pain in some dogs. Dogs also may react to the buildup of static electricity in their fur when Thunderstorms approach.

Whatever the case may be, there are treatments to consider for giving relief to your dog.

Treatments for Noise Anxiety

So what are you to do? Different treatments work for different dogs. There is no guarantee that any one alternative is best for your dog. Besides the effectiveness at reducing symptoms, there are other issues to consider when evaluating which treatment may be best for your dog. Some treatments can be very time consuming for the owner (for example, desensitizing). Some treatments can become very expensive and pose risks of side effects (for example, ongoing medications). I suggest that you review the options below. If you are just getting started with treating your dog’s noise anxiety, I recommend beginning with the least expensive and time consuming option (a wrap) and if that doesn’t produce the desired results, continue with the other options. It’s not unusual for a combination of treatments to ultimately be the most effective for a particular dog.

  • Change the Dog’s Environment

    These are the “common sense” simple things to try if feasible for your circumstances. Try creating a safe haven for your dog (such as a blanket-covered crate) or finding a location that will reduce the noise level. Try turning on music or the television to help mask the sound of the problem noise. If you know an event is coming (e.g. thunderstorm or fireworks), try giving your dog a lot of exercise beforehand. None of the above typically shows dramatic results, but they can help to reduce symptoms.

  • Pressure Wraps

    This is a surprisingly simple and effective treatment for many dogs. But unfortunately, most veterinarians have never even heard of it as a treatment for noise anxiety. A “pressure wrap” is anything that wraps around the dog’s torso and chest to provide a constant, gentle pressure. Why does it work? No one knows for sure but it’s likely a combination of making the dog feel comforted and secure plus distracting the dog from concentrating on whatever it fears. This treatment has been around for years and has been proven very effective for many dogs. You can try to make one yourself out of an appropriately sized t-shirt, but it can be difficult to put on and to get the desired fit. A product like Thundershirt works very well. It is very easy to put on, is well made, and is the least expensive commercial wrap available… just $36. And Thundershirt offers a satisfaction guarantee… if it doesn’t work for you, you can return it for a full refund. Pressure wraps often show good results with the first usage, however some dogs require 2, 3 or more usages before you see reduced or eliminated symptoms. A pressure wrap is inexpensive, the least time consuming, and has no risk of negative side effects. So why not try it?

  • Behavior Modification

    Desensitization is one of the most common behavior modification tried for noise anxiety. In a nutshell, in a controlled environment, you begin by exposing your dog to a low level of the noise that bothers her. As she gets accustomed to it, you increase the levels louder and louder over time until she learns to tolerate the real deal. It’s good in theory but has limitations in practice. It’s very time consuming… if it works at all for your dog, you will likely have to give periodic treatments weekly for the rest of the dog’s life. And many dogs are too smart to react to the “staged” noise; they can tell the difference between a CD playing a thunderstorm and the real thing. If you want to give it a try, several books are available on the subject.


With its patent-pending design, Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. Based on surveys completed by over two thousand customers, over 80% of dogs show significant improvement in symptoms when using Thundershirt. Thundershirt is already helping tens of thousands of dogs around the world, and is recommended by thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers.

As for WHY Thundershirt’s gentle pressure works to calm a dog, experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years. For example:

  • TTouch dog trainers use pressure to address a wide variety of anxieties.

  • Veterinarians use pressure to relax cattle when they are administering vaccinations.

  • People with autism use pressure to relieve their persistent anxiety.

  • Children with certain behavioral problems use pressure shirts and weighted vests to relax and focus.

  • Parents use swaddling to calm an inconsolable newborn infant.

Until now, there just hasn’t been a well-designed, inexpensive pressure wrap commonly used for dog anxiety. Thundershirt is changing that! Thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers now recommend Thundershirts for their anxiety cases.


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 Shipping our products outside of Canada in regards to customs is at the buyer's own risk due to the fact that every region/state varies regarding import regulations. Creature Comfort will not be held responsible or liable for any problems that result at your local customs office, nor for any customs duties or taxes that arise from your local customs office.  If customs duties are assessed, these are in addition to your shipping charges and must be paid directly by you. No refunds will be given for items that are seized at your local customs office.
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