What are the pros and concerns of giving my dog bee pollen?

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Some consider bee pollen to be the ultimate multi vitamin and say that it’s the key to your dog living a long and healthy life.

Bee pollen is part of the trend toward more natural, holistic remedies. While not an exact science, it has become an attractive alternative treatment to expensive and often harsh treatments and surgeries. Holistic means taking a “whole body” approach, with cures designed to not just treat a specific ailment or body part. In dogs, the holistic theory utilizes vitamin supplements, changes in diet and herbal treatments.

Owners interested in using a holistic approach to caring for their dog have sought remedies for any number of ailments—from bad breath, itchy ears and removal of sticky substances on paws, to the more severe such as treatments for cancer, seizures and vomiting. Some of the most common ailments include allergies, distemper, skin problems, and worms and other parasites.

One of the most common ailments for dogs is an allergy. A holistic approach might include adding a multi-vitamin to the dog’s diet, introducing bee pollen twice daily (550 mg suggested), Echinacea twice daily (human dose), among others.

Pet store shelves are lined with foods and treats designed specifically for the dog with allergies. Allergies in dogs, as in people, come from inhalants, what they eat, breath, and, for dogs, what they might ingest or even walk on when they are outside. Traditionally, dogs are treated with a regiment of steroids, or antibiotics for the infections that invariably occur after a dog has torn open itchy skin. Yet, these treatments rarely get to the heart of the issue, the irritant itself. Of course, identifying the irritant, and finding a treatment, can mean costly allergy tests, costly foods and other treatments.

NOTE: Always discuss this with your veterinarian. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for a harmful interaction with medications.

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