JUNE 8, 2012
BY: KATHY MORDINI
With the molds and other irritants letting loose in the air, there’s tons of sneezing, itching and other issues taking the fun out of the pretty weather. If you suffer from allergies, you’re not alone because an estimated 20 to 25 percent of dogs suffer from allergies as well.
Of those canine allergy sufferers, about 85 percent of the time the culprit is mold, dust mites, pollen and other environmental factors – not food as so many people suspect. If your dog does a lot of excess paw chewing, licking, itching and scratching, it may be time to try something new.
Allergies cause more problems for our pet's health than just making them a bit irritable. Some pets have chronic ear infections or vomiting and diarrhea as well. If your pet has allergies, that actually is setting your pet up for other possible health issues since their immune system is busy fighting allergies instead of illness. Stephen Hauer, who’s spent years working with human allergies, has a solution – Doggy Goo – which is one of the pet products manufactured under his and Dr. Kristin Holm’s company Healthy Goo.
Getting to the root of allergies
“One of the things that I learned in my years of working in the pharmaceutical industry on human allergy treatments is that treating allergies sublingually gets to the root more quickly,” says Hauer of Highland Park. “Although shots are the best way to introduce medicine, they are not pet- or pet parent-friendly. If you have a way to introduce the allergy treatments via the saliva in the mouth, it makes it so much easier for everyone.”
Hauer partnered with Dr. Holm, a DVM and DACVD who one of just 200 veterinary dermatologists in America, to find a solution. She carefully chose a proprietary blend of 100 percent natural environment extracts to be included in Doggy Goo. This blend represents many of the major pollen, dust mite and mold environmental sources to which canine immune systems have been found to often inappropriately identify as harmful.
Rewiring immune systems
“Allergies are really just an improperly wired immune system that is trying to get rid of the allergens causing trouble,” adds Hauer. “If we work with introducing certain allergens that cause a reaction, it brings the immune system back by desensitizing the system to those allergens.”
Once they hit upon what worked best for their canine friends, they had another dilemma – how could they deliver this allergy treatments in the most stress free way possible. Pills, shots and other methods often cause a battle and added stress for pets and pet parents. Their answer was peanut butter.
Peanut butter and Doggy Goo
“Dogs just love peanut butter, which ensures high “patient/dog compliance” for Doggy Goo’s allergy focus,” says Dr. Holm. “Because Doggy Goo is regarded as a tasty treat by your dog, pet parent compliance is also virtually guaranteed to keep the allergy fight going.”
“The medication just needed a carrier that was tasty and would stick to their mouth,” says Hauer. “When we mixed our extracts with peanut butter, the dogs loved it and Doggy Goo was born. Pet parents just need to spread a specified amount into the bottom of a bowl or plate once or twice a day. The dog licks it up, administering medication on their own.”
Doggy Goo has been a year in the making and since Hauer’s been marketing the product, it’s really taken off. Pet parents are giving the peanut butter concoction a try as they look for ways to help their four-legged family member without added prescription medication, shots and more trips to the vet.
Stopping the itch
“My boxer has G.I. issues and bouts with diarrhea and at two-years-old has been licking her paws more and more,” says Lauren N. of Chicago. “I tried special food trials, frequent bathing and spent about $1,500 in vet bills and nothing helped. After using Goo for about a week, I began to see improvements – she stopped licking her paws. Her previous symptoms are gone after about three months.”
One dog that is doing a lot better thanks to Doggy Goo is Mr. Big. Here’s the dog’s eye view as told to his dad Tim Jendro.
“As long as I can remember, I used to have these itches on my paws and other places on my body. It would drive me crazy and the only thing that would help is when I would lick them. Mommy would get so mad because I kept her up at night licking and she’d keep moving me and telling me to try and keep quiet. Then, she started to give me this peanut butter stuff. It took maybe a week or two, but soon after she started giving it to me, I started feeling great when I before I would itch. Now I sleep through the night.”
Looking to the future
As word of the product’s success has spread, Hauer has expanded his market from working with individual pet owners and is now starting to work with the National Guide Dog Organization (see video to the left). As with people, allergies are genetically driven and many breeds, like the Labs bred to be guide dogs, are especially prone to allergies.
More products are on the horizon with a product slated to launch soon to help GI immune issues and a product aimed for seniors later in the year. What about the family cat? Hauer says cats are only about 25 percent as likely as dogs to suffer allergies and finding a tasty way to administer treatments will take more study. Learn more about Doggy Goo online and follow them on Facebook.
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