Dog Food For Skin Allergies


Dog Food For Skin Allergies Dogs and cats can suffer from food allergies, just like people. These allergic reactions can manifest as skin irritations, itchy skin, redness, rashes or hives, inflammation and pain, or gastrointestinal issues.

A Guide to Dog Allergies

A Guide to Dog Allergies 

Dog allergies can be extremely frustrating and worrying for both pet and owner. The severity of these allergies can vary greatly, with the most extreme cases being life-threatening.

Nevertheless, most dogs can continue living normal and happy lives if their condition is managed correctly. In this post, Pedigree explores the causes and signs of dog allergies.

What are the signs of dog allergies?

Dog allergy signs can vary greatly, but are often unpleasant for the pet. The most common symptom is itching of the skin. This can be all over the body or localised in certain areas – specific areas can be indicative of which allergens are responsible for the reaction. 

Other common dog allergy symptoms include:

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny discharge from around the mouth or nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Hives
  • Facial swelling
  • Excessive licking

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, they may be experiencing an allergy and you should contact a vet for further advice. 

In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur, which can lead to death. If you fear your dog is suffering one of these reactions, seek urgent help.

What Causes a Dog Allergy?

Just like humans, dogs can experience negative reactions to a huge number of allergens, including pollen, fleas, food, or even skin cells shed by other animals. Dog allergies are caused by oversensitivity of the immune system to these sorts of substances. While the immune system normally protects your dog, an overreaction can cause harm, resulting in the aforementioned dog allergy symptoms. 

Dog Allergies Caused by the Environment

As the name suggests, environmental allergens are found in the surrounding environment and include pollen, dust and mould. This makes them hard to avoid; however, many are seasonal. This means you may notice your dog is reacting more at certain times of the year.

The most common symptom is itching around the paws and ears, although it is not limited to these areas and other symptoms can also be present.

Dog Allergies Caused by Fleas

A common cause of allergic reactions in dogs is fleas. Tiny parasitic pests that live on your dog, fleas bite through their skin to drain and consume their blood. The allergen in this case is flea saliva, which is transferred as the pests feed on your dog. The resulting allergic reaction often makes dogs extremely itchy, especially at the base of their tail, and their skin may become inflamed as a result.  

If your dog has a flea infestation, allergic reactions are not the only possible negative effect. Treatment is essential, and you may want to consult a vet for further advice if you fear your pet has fleas.

Dog Allergies Caused by Food

It is possible for your dog to have an allergy to some types of food. Symptoms of this usually include itching, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

However, it is important to note that food intolerances are more common and are often mistaken for allergies. Food intolerances do not involve an immune response but are instead a physical reaction to a food not favoured by your dog’s body. 

Dog Allergy Treatment

It is important to consult a vet if you think your dog may be suffering with an allergy. Dog allergy symptoms never are enough indicative to enable easy diagnosis of the allergen and so a vet will normally need to carry out tests to make a proper diagnosis. 

Once the allergen is known, the best form of treatment is often simply avoiding it. For example, if your dog is allergic to a food, you should not feed it to them. If avoidance of the allergen is difficult, your vet may prescribe medication to help ease your dog’s symptoms.

Pet foods can trigger human allergies

Concerned pet parents ask veterinarian Dr. Lee Pickett for pet medical advice regarding human pet food allergies.

Pet foods can trigger human allergies

Q:Our toddler has multiple food allergies. When he developed a skin rash, facial swelling and wheezing soon after our dog licked him, it didn’t surprise us that he might also be allergic to dogs. The thought of finding our dog a new home tore my heart to pieces because she and I shared our lives long before my husband or son joined the family.

Our veterinarian saved the day by recommending we feed our dog a prescription food made from only those ingredients that didn’t trigger our son’s allergies. After we started the new food, our son no longer showed signs of being allergic to our dog. If you tell your readers about this, they too may be able to keep pets they might otherwise have to give up.

A:Food allergies afflict 15 million Americans, including five percent of children, and they cause 150 deaths every year. These eight allergens are responsible for 90 percent of human food allergies: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and wheat.

In a recent study, researchers found that 86 percent of pet foods contained at least one of the major human allergens, and 42 percent contained at least two.

This may present problems for family members with food allergies. Many curious toddlers taste their pets’ foods, and most enjoy kisses from their dogs while food particles cling to the tongue and hair around the dog’s mouth.

Moreover, an allergen may be present in pet food as an ingredient whose name is unfamiliar. For example, whey and casein contain milk. 

Ingredient lists also can surprise you. For instance, milk is present in some dog foods and human foods fed to dogs, including hot dogs and lunch meat.

Readers who want to help address this problem can contact their pets’ food manufacturers and ask them to list major allergens on the label.

Does a raw food diet help dog skin allergies?

Dr Scott graduated from the University of Queensland Veterinary School in 1997. He began his veterinary career in the RSPCA clinic Read More

Have raw food adverts for dogs been catching your eye recently? The diet promises lots of health benefits for your pooch, including helping with skin allergies. But how true are these claims? Dr Scott Miller is here to debunk the mysteries of this increasingly popular canine diet.

A picture of a Retriever sniffing a bowl of raw dog food

What is a dog raw food diet?

A raw food diet (or raw feeding) is exactly as it sounds. Instead of cooked or processed foods, you give your dog raw ingredients for their meals and treats.

A raw food diet for dogs could include a mix of:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh veggies
  • Whole/ground bones
  • Animal muscle meat
  • Animal organs
  • Raw eggs

Many dog (and cat) owners who raw feed think it’s the more natural and healthy choice, mirroring what dogs would eat in the wild.

> What are the suggested benefits of a dog raw food diet?

Companies like Raw Dog Food Cornwall claim raw food diets help your pet by:

  • Helping skin allergies
  • Giving them a healthier or shinier coat
  • Improving the quality of their stool

Some companies argue that cooked commercial pet foods are too processed, not giving enough or the right kind of nutrition. Others even say that these processed meals could even cause your pet chronic health issues.

A picture of two Labradors eating a plate of raw dog food outside

What’s the scientific research behind dog raw food diets?

The University of Helsinki published a study in 2021 on how a puppy’s diet affected skin allergy symptoms in adult life. The study gave dog owners an online feeding survey about their puppies’ diets from two to six months of age.

The study found:

  • Puppies with a diet of least 20% raw food saw a large drop in allergy and atrophy related skin symptoms as adults.
  • Puppies who had no raw food at all saw a big lift in these skin conditions as they got older.
  • Puppies with a diet of 20% processed commercial foods (like canned or sausage packed) also saw a big increase in these skin symptoms in adulthood.
  • A suggested link between more fresh food (plus less processed food/sweet fruits) and a lower risk of skin allergies and conditions.
  • More studies are needed to look at how other foods and oils could affect skin conditions in dogs.

What’s important to remember is these findings only suggest – rather than prove – a dog raw food diet could be positive for your pooch. It’s really down to individual experiences than widely-proven results.

This is only one review with a relatively low number of case studies, meaning it’s hard to be guided by the findings. There’s also not a lot of other published research articles out there on raw feeding.

A picture of a Fox Terrier eating out of a metal bowl in the garden

Does a raw diet help dogs with skin allergies?

So, could a raw diet really help to relieve your dog’s skin allergies? It depends. If your dog is having skin problems, the safest option is to speak to your vet before switching to raw feeding.

While some pooches could see their skin improve by eating raw food, swapping to this type of diet could lead to other health problems.

A picture of a Jack Russell Terrier holding a food bowl in its mouth

> Why are vets against a raw diet for dogs?

Many vets don’t recommend giving your dog or cat a raw food diet as:

  • There’s lots of recorded risks on pet raw food diets, but not as many clear benefits.
  • Raw foods can carry parasites and bacteria that may be risky for your pet.
  • Prepping raw food for your pet could lead to bacteria cross-contamination with members of your family, making them ill.
  • It may give them too much or too little of certain nutrients – domestic dogs have different dietary needs to their ‘wild’ counterparts.
  • Transporting and storing raw food while in transit could expose them to e. Coli and salmonella. These could cause gastrointestinal upset and even more serious illnesses.
A picture of a Spaniel eating out of its bowl in the kitchen

> Can dogs get e. coli or worms from eating raw meat?

It’s possible that your pup could get e. coli or worms from eating raw meat. Low quality or cheaper meat cuts (such as from a supermarket) aren’t prepared in a hygienic way to safely eat raw.

Healthy adult dogs might be able to resist a lot of the organisms, but it doesn’t make them completely safe from infected raw foods. Immunosuppressed dogs, puppies, and senior canines are even more at risk of getting poorly.

A picture of a black Labrador lying down and chewing a raw bone

> Can dogs choke on raw bones?

Dogs can choke on raw bones, especially if they’re already small or chewed down into smaller pieces. In most raw foods, the bones are ground up to stop worries about choking. But there’s other potential problems with eating raw bones as part of a raw food diet, like:

  • Breaking their teeth
  • Hurting their mouth and tongue
  • Injuring their stomach and intestinal lining
  • Getting blockages in their stomach or small intestine
A picture of a white fluffy dog watching another dog eating out of a bowl

What food is best for dogs with itchy skin or skin allergies?

Helping your dog’s skin allergies comes down to their individual needs – there’s no one-size-suits-all diet. Your vet can suggest a food plan or food exclusion trial to find the specific cause of the food allergy or intolerance. This will also help make sure your pet gets the nutrition they need for their age, breed, size, and any medical issues.

> What are other dog skin allergy treatments?

Aside from looking at their diet, vets can help your dog with skin allergy flare-ups by suggesting things like:

  • Antihistamines
  • Immunomodulatory drugs
  • Steroid tablets/sprays
  • Regular external parasite control (such as flea and tick prevention)
  • Keeping them indoors on high pollen count days (in case of contact or environmental allergy)
  • Regularly dusting the house
  • Supplements and shampoos
  • Special shampoos

If you have a Petsure policy and want extra support on helping your dog’s skin allergies, reach out to FirstVet. With unlimited 24/7 access to video chats with a UK-registered vet, you can get advice on treatments for your pooch.

When the unexpected happens to your pup, having Petsure dog insurance gives you peace of mind that you’re covered.

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