We know how difficult living with itchy dogs can be. You might have tried a variety of ‘hypoallergenic dog food’ and treatments, only to see your canine’s constant scratching and discomfort continue – frequently accompanied by ear infections. For advice please get in touch.
Why do dogs get itchy skin?
1 in 10 itchy dogs are itchy due to a food allergy. Just as itchy eyes can be a symptom of pollen allergies in humans, itchy skin can be a symptom of an allergic reaction in dogs. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system becomes over-activated by factors such as a non-species-appropriate diet, stress, or medication
Changing to a whole food diet can be an excellent first step towards managing an itchy skin problem: it soothes the immune system, enabling it to function with an ‘appropriate’ response that helps keep the body healthy, rather than being part of the problem.
Why? It’s species-appropriate – cats and dogs evolved foraging and eating whole foods. Feeding fresh, naturally balanced meals helps ensure your pet receives optimal nutrition in every meal, supporting the growth of good bacteria and building up a nice, healthy microbiome (more on that, shortly).
In comparison, standard processed pet food tends to incorporate low-grade protein, high levels of cereals, and preservatives; these act as anti-nutrients, interfering with the absorption of all the goodies your pet needs for a thriving immune system. Not great for itchy dogs.
The importance of a happy gut
To tackle your dog’s itchy skin and reboot the immune system, you need to ‘go with the gut.’
The gut is home to over 70% of the immune system, which is why it’s our first port of call when treating an allergic dog or cat. Just like us, dogs and cats host colonies of bacteria on and inside their bodies, the majority of which reside in the digestive system. What do we call this amazing network of bacteria? The microbiome.
A healthy microbiome is home to diverse species of bacteria that act as a barrier against the absorption of ‘inappropriate’ food particles into the bloodstream.
A poor microbiome can lead to a permeable barrier that allows these food particles to enter the blood; this causes the immune system to become over-activated, producing an allergic reaction.
Food that soothes itchy dogs
Hug is packed with the nutrients needed for a robust microbiome. Our whole food diets can help itchy dogs avoid common food allergens such as wheat, dairy, chicken, and beef, putting to work nutritious novel proteins such as pork instead. Hug recipes also include prebiotics, clever forms of dietary fibre that cultivate diverse bacteria, combatting allergic reactions.
If Hug’s raw or cooked meals aren’t for you, we also offer a brilliant cold pressed range for canines. We only include premium bioavailable ingredients that are both natural and eco-friendly, using nourishing pea and rice porridge in place of the usual suspects like maize – ideal for itchy dogs.