Oh look – it’s fall! Time to break out the new fall wardrobe, and don’t forget the added excitement of all the beautiful colored trees you can admire as well.

As most pet parents are excited for fall, there are still many who dread it. With fall comes the shedding of leaves, spores and molds that end up all over our pets and their fur. Say hello to allergy season!

An allergy is an abnormal response of the immune system. The body reacts to a usually harmless substance in the environment called an “allergen”. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested, or when it comes into contact with a pet’s skin.

As your pet’s body tries to get rid of the allergen, a variety of skin, digestive, and respiratory issues may surface. These include (but aren’t limited to) paw licking/chewing, hair loss, ear infections, watery eyes, itchy skin, and a lot of scratching.

Histamine is one of the biggest players in an allergic response, causing much of the inflammation, redness and irritation we and our pets experience. Once the body goes through this process, being exposed to the same allergen again will result in this antibody response, hence the allergic reaction.


Flavonoids have generated significant interest from nutritional and scientific communities due to their potential beneficial effects on histamine and allergic responses. Of the more than 4,000 types of flavonoids that have been identified, the one receiving increased attention by researchers: is quercetin.


Quercetin, pronounced KWAIR-suh-ten, is a flavonoid (also called a bioflavonoid) that has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.

During an allergic reaction the body releases histamine, which contributes to inflammation, redness and irritation. Research has shown that Quercetin can “turn off” histamine production and suppress, or at least moderate, inflammation. Furthermore, Quercetin helps suppress cellular activity associated with inflammation. This means less itching! For this reason, it has been coined “Nature’s Benadryl”.

“Quercetin exerts strong anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-pathogenic, and immune regulatory effects in vitro and in animal-based studies. Epidemiological data indicates reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer in groups self-selecting diets high in Quercetin. In human studies, quercetin has shown to lower blood pressure, and in athletes it significantly reduces the incidence of the common cold, especially during periods of heavy training and race competition” – Dr. David Nieman – North Carolina Research Center

Quercetin supplements are available in pill and capsule form. They are often packaged with “Bromelain” which increases the bioavailability of Quercetin, meaning you get more bang for your buck when combined.

“I call it ‘nature’s Benadryl’ because it does a great job suppressing histamine release from mast cells and basophiles.” – Doctor Karen Becker


To work out the proper dosage in milligrams, just multiply the weight of your pet (in pounds) by 8. So a dog weighing 50lbs should get 400mg or a 125lbs dog would get 1,000mg.

For cats – most cats tolerate a dose of 50-75mg once or twice daily, check with your veterinarian for more detailed dosages.

1000mg of quercetin a day is roughly equal to consuming 124 red apples or 217 cups of blueberries. Researchers suggest that the average human who consumes an abundant amount of fruits and veggies is only getting about about 230mg of quercetin a day.

Remember: Whatever the amount you give your pet, always split the dosage into two separate portions throughout the day for best results.

(According to holistic veterinarians, if your pet is in really bad shape you can always double the dose.)

For more info on Quercetin, head on over to Dogs Naturally Magazine: Nature’s Benadryl: Quercetin

Rodney Habib

“An educated, informed and well-researched community of pet owners can only put more pressure on the pet food industry to be better! When pet owners know better, they will only do better!”