What Type of Dog Food to Feed to Prevent Itchy Skin
Itchy skin is one of the most common signs of a dog food allergy or a food sensitivity causing fixated scratching, attempts to bite the area and even “butt ski” to eradicate an annoying irritation. Selecting a food with a single protein source and limited ingredients can be a good choice in finding a dog food for itchy skin and preventing it from being an ongoing problem.
Dog Food for Itchy Skin: Identifying the Allergy
Pets can be allergic to variety of things beyond the food bowl. Environmental inhalants like dust, pollen and mold are very common (especially in spring time). Not to mention parasites such as fleas. It can take just one flea bite to have a significant allergic reaction.
“Itchiness and skin upsets can also be sign of more serious underlying medical conditions so always work with your veterinarian first to try and identify what could be causing these issues,” explains Wellness Pet Food veterinarian Dr. Danielle Bernal. “If it is a food allergy, they will be able to recommend both a medical and dietary plan to help them recover.”
A Food Allergy Versus A Food Sensitivity?
The immune system produces antibodies that protect against unwanted foreign bodies in the system that may potentially cause certain illnesses or infections. (This is the same for people and pets.) A food-related allergic reaction occurs when the immune system makes antibodies that identify a protein as harmful, when in fact, it isn’t. This is what veterinary professionals describe as an inappropriate immune reaction to a protein ingredient in a pet food recipe.
A food intolerance, or sensitivity, is a temporary tummy upset in the digestive tract and doesn’t involve the immune system. An allergic reaction is longer lasting and can continue even after the offending protein has been eliminated until the immune system gets back to normal.
A food sensitivity issue or a full-blown allergic reaction can happen to a dog literally “out of the blue” and, at any age.
“However, they usually appear after the pet is six months of age, with the majority of affected dogs being over one or two years of age,” adds Bernal.
Typical Signs and Symptoms of a Food Allergy or Intolerance
- Itchiness, most often affecting the face, causing a dog to constantly paw at its snout.
- Recurring ear issues including ear-scratching, head-shaking and ear infections.
- Hot spots on the feet and between the toes.
- Redness and swelling around the anal area.
- Other symptoms can include digestive issues such as vomiting, a bloated tummy, diarrhea and nausea and a refusal to eat.
Team Up with Your Veterinarian
If you notice any of the above symptoms or anything else out of the ordinary, the best course of action is to initiate a conversation with your veterinarian who knows your pet’s unique health profile and who can best help you identify if it is a food allergy or a food sensitivity and suggest the right dog food for itchy skin and eradicate the problem.
Most likely, your veterinarian will want to start with a series of diagnostic tests to get to an actual diagnosis. Determining food allergies is not usually a quick fix. Discuss the possible need for a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or an antihistamine to bring the situation under control more quickly. And, if it is food-related, the next step would be to work together to find the right dog food for your dog’s itchy skin.
How to Find the Culprit Protein
Tests done at the vet’s office will steer you in the right direction to change your dog’s diet. The food trials begin! It can be a slow process. And it takes patience.
The idea behind a food trial is selecting to feed a protein that your dog has not eaten within the last 6 months. For example, if he’s been eating chicken, take it off the menu. When your dog is on a food trial and trying out a new recipe, be sure you eliminate the protein you are suspicious of completely from his diet, including switching to different treats and even toothpaste if it is flavored while you are doing the food trial.
A recipe with one animal protein source and a limited ingredient list is a good place to start to help a dog with itchy skin especially if it’s identified as a food intolerance problem. Wellness CORE SIX recipes are limited-ingredient, (six main ingredient sources) high-protein diets that delivers the balanced nutrition your dog needs to thrive from the core. Each recipe contains only one thoughtfully-sourced novel animal protein and a short list of hardworking, powerful, non-GMO ingredients. They are:
The Wellness helpline is a great resource to provide answers to questions that address your dog’s dietary needs. Tel. 800-225-0904. Monday – Friday 8.am – 5pm ET.
If you have dog that is thriving on a Wellness CORE SIX recipe, please share your photos with us by tagging #wellnesspetfood and @wellnesspetfood for a chance to be featured on our website or social pages!