Dealing with Dog Allergies: Itchy Dog Skin and More
Between itchy skin, upset stomach, and more, allergies are no fun. But do allergies impact your dog in the same way they affect us? Let’s examine what it means for dogs to have allergies and how you can address itchy dog skin and other uncomfortable issues.
Can Dogs Have Allergies?
The simple answer to this question is yes, dogs can have allergies. Like humans, dogs can showcase a lot of similar symptoms when dealing with allergies:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Constant licking
Even though we may share some similar symptoms, it’s important to note that allergies don’t always impact our best friends in the same way. There are different types of dog allergies, some of which are much more common than others.
Dog food allergies
While some pet parents are concerned about their best friend having an adverse reaction to chicken or some other ingredient, food allergies in dogs are rare. According to research from Banfield Pet hospital, only 0.2% of dogs are allergic to some form of food.
If your dog is showing signs of an upset stomach, it’s much more likely that your furry friend is dealing with some form of food sensitivity or intolerance. This issue can be a larger sign that your dog’s food is too hard on their tummy and they need a gentler blend of ingredients or that those ingredients aren’t prepared in the right way – or both.
Dog skin allergies
Although food allergies are unlikely, environmental and other outside allergies are growing increasingly common. Banfield’s research indicates that environmental allergy cases grew by more than 30% from 2008 to 2018, and that trend hasn’t slowed down since common allergy triggers are commonly found in and around the home. These include:
- Dust and storage mites
- Cleaning solutions
Fleas and other insects and another main cause of skin allergies in dogs. Flea bites, bee stings, and more can cause allergic dermatitis, which leaves your dog’s skin extremely inflamed and itchy. Too many bites and excess scratching can also cause your best friend’s skin to become inflamed, turn red, and even scabbed over time.
How to Diagnose if Your Dog Has Allergies
The best way to try and determine whether your dog is dealing with a food allergy or a sensitivity is to work with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you manage your dog’s symptoms and rule out other reasons why your dog may deal with itchy skin, runny eyes, or some other problem.
If you’re particularly worried about a food allergy, your vet can use what’s called an elimination diet to narrow down which ingredients may be the source. After this process, you’ll be able to determine whether your dog is allergic to some form of food or learn that your dog’s itchy skin or upset stomach is caused by a food insensitivity or another issue.
How to Treat Food and Dog Skin Allergies
The best way to address allergies is to avoid their sources altogether. Once you identify the source of the allergy, do what you can to keep it away from your dog.
This process is easier for some sources than other. You can cut out certain ingredients or remove any offending cleaning products, fabrics, or other items. As for fleas, dust, and other sources you can’t completely control, do what you can to prevent or lessen the impact of their presence. For example, practice regular flea and tick prevention to help ward off these pests.
What to Feed Dogs with Itchy Skin or Sensitive Stomachs
Whether your best friend is dealing with an allergy, food intolerance, or something else, it’s important to make sure that your dog’s diet supports their skin, stomach, and everything else. The right dog food should be delicious and offer the nutrition required to live a happy healthy life.
There are some characteristics that you can look for to support your dog if they’re dealing with dry skin, an upset tummy, or some other issue. Here are three key factors that you can use to choose the best dog food for dry, itchy skin, sensitive stomachs, and allergies.
Start with the right ingredients
Whether you need to avoid an ingredient or not, quality is vital. Look for ingredients like high-quality, fresh chicken or whitefish to get that all-important animal protein so your dog gets the right amount of amino acids to help support their well-being and muscle growth. Linoleic Acid, and Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids are also important ingredients for a sensitive dog’s diet since they help nourish and replenish skin and coat. You can also look for special formulas that eliminate certain ingredients, supply added probiotics, and provide other advanced nutrition.
- Grain-free formulas
- Digestive and immune support formulas
- Skin and stomach support formulas
You should also try and avoid dog food brands that use fillers, artificial colors, and sprayed-on flavors. These ingredients may try and make kibble more enticing, but won’t be as delicious or nutritious as kibble that sticks with real, quality ingredients and taste.
Favor slow-cooked food
The way your dog’s food is made is just as important as the initial ingredients. Dry dog foods that are extruded and exposed to extreme heat can damage key nutrients, especially the amino acids from protein sources. That’s why it’s best to look for dog food that’s slow cooked in small batches. This slow-cooking method ensures that these essential amino acids will remain available for dog’s bodies to use by using controlled temperatures and taking the time to prepare dog food the right way. Make sure your dog can enjoy a delicious meal that still has all that valuable nutrition intact.
Don’t be afraid to give your dog extra support
Your dog’s dinner is just one way that you can help support your dog’s health. Some dogs may show signs of food sensitivities because they’re dealing with other digestive issues. Giving them an added source of probiotics can help replenish the good bacteria in your best friend’s digestive system. For example, probiotic food sprays like BreakThru Biotics Digestive Health & Immune Function Formula can add 12 strains of healthy, active probiotics to help support proper immune response and function.
Help Your Best Friend Lead a Happy, Healthy Life
Whether your dog is dealing with an environmental allergy, food sensitivity, or any other issue, it’s only natural to give them the support they need. With some good information and a lot of love and care, you can help your canine companion live their best life.
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