What to Feed Dogs With Skin Allergies?
- by Erika Buenaflor
Picture this: your furry friend scratching up a storm, and you're left wondering, 'What's causing all this itchiness?' Dogs with skin allergies can be a bit challenging to care for, but we've got the scoop on how to better address this issue and keep their tails wagging.
Not all dog food is created equal, and some might even worsen the itch. In this article, we explore the world of dog diets, shedding light on what makes the perfect chow for pups with sensitive skin, why our furry pals can't help but scratch, what's behind those pesky allergies, and how to tell if it's a food intolerance or a full-blown allergy.
Why Do Dogs Develop Skin Allergies?
The most common type of skin allergy in dogs is the one that they develop because of external parasites. Fleas can make a pet go crazy to the point that they itch, gnaw at their skin, and create wounds everywhere. But allergens aren't limited to just fleas; they can be found everywhere in a dog's environment, even in their home.
Pets have become more sensitive to what they eat in the past few decades, and as a result, they have begun to develop food intolerances and food allergies.
The main difference between these two is how they affect the immune system. If a dog is allergic to a certain food, they develop a classic skin allergy, with rashes, itchiness. Food intolerances, on the other hand, are characterised mostly by digestive distress, such as diarrhea or vomiting, but the two can often be mistaken for one another.
Best Type of Diets for Dogs with Skin Allergies
Novel Protein Diets
Novel protein diets consist of a protein source that is not commonly found in commercial dog food, meaning that you're going to stop feeding your dog chicken, beef, pork, or even fish dry or wet food.
Novel protein diets may include proteins such as venison, bison, or kangaroo. The idea behind this type of diet is to eliminate the proteins in your dog's diet that may be causing allergies. Some of the benefits of novel protein diets include:
- Reduced exposure to common allergens
- Increased palatability
- Improved digestion
Hydrolysed diets consist of proteins that have been broken down into smaller pieces. The idea behind hydrolysed diets is to reduce the allergenicity of the protein while still providing your dog with the necessary amino acids. Such recipes offer reduced allergic reactions, improved digestion, and improved skin health.
Home-cooked diets can be prepared by a chef or pet nutritionist. Under the guidance of a veterinarian, you may also be able to cook your dog's food at home or order from a service on occasion. The best thing about home-cooked diets, whether commercial or not, is that they rely on wholesome ingredients.
If you have no knowledge of your dog's nutritional needs, it's best to stick to the advice of professionals. Home-cooked diets generally benefit dogs with skin allergies as they exclude allergens commonly used in commercial dog food. With their superior palatability, focus on skin health and better digestion, they are highly recommended to all itchy dogs.
Elimination diets involve removing all potential allergens from your dog's diet and reintroducing them one at a time to identify the culprit. This process can take several weeks or even months, so it can be a little frustrating for the pet and the owner at the same time.
However, they offer the advantage of being able to find out exactly what is causing your dog's allergy, something that you might not get if you opt for any of the other diets mentioned in this article. Reduced exposure to allergens and better skin health on the whole are two other benefits.
Diets Rich in Fish
If you've never given your dog dry or wet food whose main ingredient is fish, they're missing out on a series of important nutrients. To date, oceanic fish is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have heaps of benefits - from better cardiac health to reducing the risk of developing cognitive dysfunction when your dog becomes a senior.
Besides this, omega-3 fatty acids are widely known for improving the coat and skin health of pets and reducing inflammation throughout the body, including the epidermis and the joints. Fish-packed diets guarantee better coat quality and improved skin health, and they're often enriched with additional ingredients such as biotin, a supplement used by vets in the treatment of coat and skin conditions in dogs. If you're already feeding your dog one of the previously mentioned diets and you're looking to give them some extra essential fatty acids, try out our Reel Fish Crunchers, as they're packed in minerals, vitamins, and omega 3s.
Dog Products That Can Help with Skin Allergies
In addition to a suitable diet, there are dog products available that can help alleviate the symptoms of skin allergies. Hypoallergenic shampoos are formulated to be gentle on your dog's skin while effectively cleaning and moisturising their coat.
Look for shampoos with natural ingredients, such as oatmeal and aloe vera, which can soothe and calm irritated skin. A good example is the Rufus & Coco 2in1 Oatmeal & Aloe Wash, which contains all-natural ingredients and a hypoallergenic fragrance.
Supplements are also beneficial for dogs with skin allergies. Fish oil supplements can improve skin health and reduce inflammation. Probiotics can also be helpful in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which can support overall immune system function.
A Healthy Outside Starts From The Inside
Feeding a dog with skin allergies can be challenging, but the right diet and dog products can significantly affect their health and well-being. It is essential to monitor your dog's symptoms and consult with your vet if you suspect that your dog has skin allergies. Help your dog live a happy, healthy, and allergy-free life.