Your dog is constantly itching, scratching, and biting, and you can’t figure out how to solve their skin allergies. You’ve tried changing their grooming routine, you’ve tried special shampoos, you’ve tried medications. But have you tried changing their diet? Dietary changes and supplements can be the most natural and easiest way to treat your dog’s skin allergies, with just a few key ingredients able to improve the situation in as little as a few weeks.
Many veterinarians believe poor breeding practices and processed pet foods to be the cause of skin allergies, making a far greater impact than current environment and external factors (which is where most owners start to look for treatment options). While you certainly can’t go back and do anything about poor breeding practices (though it’s important to be aware of moving forward), you can easily make changes to diet away from ingredients that inflame skin allergies, and towards those that provide relief. Here are a few natural solutions.
4 Natural remedies to solve your dog’s skin allergies
Probiotics have been shown to improve allergies quickly and efficiently. Cultures like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus can be great to give young dogs as a preventative measure, while also being useful in skin allergy treatment for dogs of all ages.
Even more, probiotics have a ton of other digestive benefits, and are a relatively inexpensive way to give your pup an all-around health boost.
How to give your dog probiotics: Add probiotics to every meal, per serving size on the package. Ideally, your pup will consume around 2-10 billion CFUs per day.
2. Ditching kibble (and other processed foods)
That’s right. Processed foods are one of the main causes of skin allergies, so if you haven’t already done so, please stop feeding your dog processed foods and treats. They lead to day-to-day health issues, while also playing a role in long-term health problems.
Kibble is the biggest culprit, with high-pressure, high-temperature cooking processes that damage essential nutrients, while also adding fillers. Even in premium kibbles without artificial additives, the process of creating kibble itself leads to many negative implications for dogs. Do yourself a favor, and invest a little bit more in the present to save in the long run.
Veterinarians recommend home cooked diets for dogs with allergies. Whether you cook it yourself, or use a service like NomNomNow doesn’t matter. Just make sure that the food is cooked, fresh and not frozen, and balanced by a veterinary nutritionist to ensure critical nutrient levels (simple chicken-and-rice-diets won’t suffice). Moist food has been shown to reduce skin allergies, so avoid any dehydrated versions that will rob your pup of an essential dose of hydration.
When shopping at the pet food store, remember that processed treats are also a cause of skin allergies in dogs. When buying treats or other snack items, please be diligent to read labels. Like your own food, you should only be purchasing things that have real ingredients (and only a few of them). Some vitamin names look like long chemical names, so just make sure to Google the name of anything you don’t recognize before purchasing.
3. Healthy fats and oils
When adding probiotics to your dog’s meals, you’ll also want to make sure your dog receives a healthy share of good fats and Omega-3s to combat skin allergies.
Flaxseed oil (or milled flaxseed) are especially healthy and hypo-allergenic, as are fish oil, and coconut oil. When added to every meal, the healthy fats and Omega-3s in these oils will help treat skin allergies from the inside out (plus, you can count on a lush coat, and brain benefits!). Old home remedies often suggest corn oil, but veterinarians strongly recommend against corn oil nowadays, given that nearly every corn product is a GMO, which is highly allergenic.
One important thing to note when adding these to your dog’s diet: a fat is still a fat, even if it’s a good one. Little diet changes can mean big weight gains for dogs of all sizes. If you will be giving your dog flaxseed oil, milled flaxseed, fish oil, or coconut oil, think of it as something you are incorporating into the diet, not simply adding to the diet.
If you are preparing your dog’s meals yourself according to a recipe developed by a veterinary nutritionist, ask them how you can add a dose of one of these healthy fats to each meal. If you are purchasing a homecooked diet, they should ideally already include one of these. If they don’t, consider switching to one that does. It can be very messy math to add the oils yourself while still trying to track your dog’s caloric intake.
4. Filtered water
Last but certainly not least, make sure your dog is getting the best water– and plenty of it. Tap water can have things in it that are not harmful to dogs, but can be inflammatory to skin allergies in dogs that already suffer from them. Bottled or filtered water is a sure way to guarantee your dog’s diet is free from impurities.
Medical solutions to your dog’s skin allergies
Most dogs will find that the above treatments will be sufficient in kicking allergies to the curb, and it is highly recommended to begin with a natural approach before diving in to a more intensive treatment. However, if your dog is one of the few who still suffers after trying all of the above, you’ll want to discuss the options of antihistamines or other pharmaceutical approaches with your veterinarian, to make sure your dog doesn’t suffer.
What has worked for treating your dog’s allergies? Share other home-remedies you’ve found useful in the comments below!