What Foods Should I Avoid for Dogs with Itchy Skin?

What Foods Should I Avoid for Dogs with Itchy Skin?

Itchy skin is a common complaint amongst dog owners in the UK. It's important to remember that itchy skin, or pruritus as vets call it, is often a symptom of an underlying problem rather than a condition in itself. This can range from allergies and parasites to skin infections.

One major factor that can trigger or worsen itchy skin is your dog's diet. Just like us, dogs can have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods, which can manifest as itchy, irritated skin. This is where diet management becomes crucial.

Common Food Culprits for Canine Itch

Just as humans can be allergic to peanuts or shellfish, dogs can react to certain ingredients in their food. These reactions can cause itchy skin, among other symptoms. While any ingredient could potentially be a problem for a particular dog, some are more common culprits than others:


  • Beef: A staple in many dog foods, but also a frequent allergen.
  • Chicken: Another popular protein that some dogs have trouble with.
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, and other dairy products can cause issues for lactose-intolerant dogs.
  • Eggs: While nutritious, eggs can trigger reactions in some sensitive pooches.
  • Lamb: This protein is less common in dog food, but can still be an allergen.
  • Soy: Often used as a protein source or filler in dog food, but can be problematic for some.
  • Wheat (gluten): While not a protein, the gluten in wheat can cause sensitivities in some dogs.

Other Ingredients:

  • Corn: A common filler ingredient that some dogs react to.
  • Artificial colours and flavours: These additives can irritate sensitive dogs.
  • Preservatives: Certain preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin have been linked to allergic reactions.

Remember, this isn't an exhaustive list, and your dog could react to any ingredient. The key is to identify the specific triggers for your individual dog.

Don't let allergies hold your dog back from a happy, healthy life. Order your My Pet Sensitivity test today and get fast, accurate results to identify your dog's specific sensitivities. Empower yourself with knowledge, so you can take action and give your furry friend the relief they deserve

Figuring Out the Cause of Your Dog's Itchy Skin

Identifying the specific cause of your dog's itchy skin is crucial for effective treatment. While numerous factors could be contributing, determining whether it's a food allergy or something else is a key step.

Here are two approaches to help uncover the culprit:

Elimination Diet:

Considered the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies, this involves:

  1. Veterinary Guidance: Consult your vet to design a strict diet plan, eliminating common allergens like beef, chicken, dairy, and wheat.
  2. Novel Protein: Your vet may recommend a novel protein source (e.g., venison, duck) that your dog hasn't consumed before.
  3. Strict Adherence: For several weeks, exclusively feed the prescribed diet, avoiding all other foods and treats.
  4. Observation: Monitor your dog's symptoms closely. If itching subsides, a food allergy is likely.
  5. Reintroduction: Gradually reintroduce individual ingredients to identify specific triggers.

Allergy Testing with My Pet Sensitivity:

For a convenient at-home option, consider the My Pet Sensitivity test:

  1. Simple Sample Collection: Collect a small fur sample from your dog.
  2. Comprehensive Analysis: The lab analyses the sample for sensitivities to hundreds of allergens, including food ingredients, environmental factors, and household products.
  3. Detailed Results: Receive a personalised report highlighting potential triggers for your dog's itchiness.
  4. Tailored Solutions: Use the results to adjust your dog's diet and environment, minimising exposure to allergens.

By combining the elimination diet and My Pet Sensitivity test, you can effectively pinpoint the cause of your dog's itchy skin, leading to targeted treatment and long-term relief.

Hidden Dangers: Decoding Dog Food Labels for Sensitive Skin

Once you've identified potential food triggers for your dog's itchy skin, choosing the right food becomes essential. However, navigating the often confusing world of dog food labels can be a challenge. Here's what to look for and what to avoid when selecting food for your sensitive pooch:

Limited Ingredient Diets (LID):

  • These diets contain fewer ingredients, reducing the chances of your dog reacting to a hidden allergen.
  • Look for LID foods with a single source of protein (e.g., lamb, duck) and limited carbohydrates.

Novel Protein Sources:

  • If your dog has reacted to common proteins like beef or chicken, consider novel options like:
    • Venison
    • Duck
    • Rabbit
    • Kangaroo
    • Fish (salmon, whitefish)

Hydrolyzed Protein Diets:

  • These diets contain proteins broken down into smaller particles, making them less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
  • Hydrolyzed protein diets are often recommended for dogs with severe food allergies.

Ingredients to Avoid:

  • Common allergens: Be wary of foods containing beef, chicken, dairy, wheat, soy, or corn.
  • Artificial colours and flavours: These can be irritants for sensitive dogs.
  • Preservatives: Avoid foods containing BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.

Label Claims to Be Aware Of:

  • "Hypoallergenic": This term is not regulated and doesn't guarantee that the food is suitable for all dogs with allergies.
  • "Natural": This doesn't necessarily mean the food is free from potential allergens or sensitivities.
  • "Grain-free": While some dogs may benefit from grain-free diets, it's not a solution for all itchy skin issues.

Treats and Chews: Don't Forget the Extras!

When managing your dog's itchy skin, it's easy to overlook treats and chews. However, these extras often contain common allergens like chicken, beef, wheat, and dairy. Even small amounts can trigger a reaction in sensitive dogs.

Opt for hypoallergenic options instead:

  • Single-ingredient chews: Sweet potato, bully sticks, or fish skins are good choices.
  • Limited-ingredient treats: Look for those made with novel proteins like venison or duck.
  • Homemade treats: Consult your vet for recipes using safe ingredients.

Remember, every bite counts for dogs with itchy skin. By choosing treats wisely, you can avoid accidental allergen exposure and help your dog on their path to comfort.

Taking the Itch Out of Your Dog's Life: Next Steps

Managing your dog's itchy skin is a journey, not a quick fix. It requires careful detective work, patience, and a multi-faceted approach. Remember:

  • Diet is key: Identifying and eliminating food triggers is essential, but it's only one part of the puzzle.
  • Veterinary guidance is crucial: Your vet can help diagnose the underlying cause of the itchiness and create a tailored treatment plan.
  • Holistic care matters: Consider supplements, regular grooming, and environmental management to provide comprehensive relief.

With persistence and the right approach, you can help your dog find lasting comfort and enjoy a happier, itch-free life.

Remember, every dog is different, so don't get discouraged if it takes time to find the perfect combination of solutions. Keep working with your vet, adjust your dog's diet and environment as needed, and celebrate every small victory along the way. Your furry friend will thank you for your dedication to their well-being.

Don't let allergies hold your dog back from a happy, healthy life. Order your My Pet Sensitivity test today and get fast, accurate results to identify your dog's specific sensitivities. Empower yourself with knowledge, so you can take action and give your furry friend the relief they deserve