Top 10 Best Dog Foods For Skin Allergies
Figuring out why your dog is so itchy and what to do about it can be complicated and frustrating.
Food allergies — and therefore, dog skin allergies — in dogs are becoming more common. The most frequently reported foods that cause allergic symptoms in dogs are beef, chicken, lamb, wheat, soy, walnuts and corn. However, dogs can be allergic to any foods containing small amounts of protein including fruits, vegetables and grains. Most food allergies can be successfully managed with a change in diet. Changing the meat source of your dog’s food, introducing a novel meat or feeding a hydrolyzed protein diet can help alleviate your pup’s symptoms.
How do I know if my dog is allergic to his food?
Food allergies and sensitivities can have many symptoms but often manifest as itchy skin. Environmental allergens can cause these same skin symptoms. Dogs with food allergies commonly have environmental allergies as well. Without treatment, these symptoms can become more severe over time.
Food allergy symptoms include:
- Repeated ear infections
- Rash around mouth and anus
- Anal gland infections and leakage
- Repeated skin infections (hot spots)
- Itchy skin
- Licking/chewing paws and legs
What’s causing my dog’s food allergies or intolerance?
A food allergy is a reaction that involves the immune system while a food intolerance does not involve the immune system. Both allergies and intolerances may cause severe symptoms but are physiologically different.The exact cause of food allergies and sensitivities is poorly understood. However, it is believed that genetics and the integrity of the intestines may play a role in the development of food allergies in dogs. Rotational diets have been thought to decrease the likelihood of developing food allergies. The rationale is that by rotating proteins daily, weekly, monthly or even seasonally, the body may not have time to become intolerant of any one protein. This theory has not been proven with any scientific evidence.
If I treat my dog’s food allergies, will it treat the skin allergies, too?
The best treatment for dogs with food allergies is to identify the offending foods and remove them from the diet. A small number of dogs will be able to resume eating those allergenic foods after several months of elimination. Dogs who are allergic to just one meat source may find immediate success in a diet change. However, dogs with several food allergies may require a more advanced diet strategy to diagnose and successfully treat their symptoms.
Work with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog’s skin allergy symptoms are not caused by other factors such as parasites, environmental allergies, stress or other diseases. Adding a veterinary dermatologist to your veterinary team can expand your pet’s treatment options. You can find a dermatologist near you.
Types of Dog Food For Skin Allergies
There are generally two types of dog food specially formulated to help with skin allergies. The first type has limited ingredients, which make it easier for owners to pin down a specific ingredient or allergen that their dogs might be allergic to – whilst still providing enough nutrients for their healthy growth and development.
The second type is hypoallergenic dog foods, which are usually prescribed by veterinarians and contain proteins that have been hydrolyzed into simple basic components amino acid building blocks which the dog’s immune system does not recognize as an allergen, thus reducing the chance of an allergic reaction.
Owners should know that dog food for skin allergies will help if the dog is allergic to a particular substance that can be eliminated from their diet through trial and error. It may also help to boost the immune system, giving them better protection against allergens. However, dog foods might not be able to resolve skin allergies associated with environmental or parasitic causes. Therefore, recognizing the root cause of the allergy is crucial to employing the best treatment plan for your pet’s relief.