A Complete Guide to American Staffordshire Terrier Skin Issues (and Fixes!)
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A Complete Guide to American Staffordshire Terrier Skin Issues (and Fixes!)

by Jeff Bloom

Written By: Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, cVMA | Professional Services Veterinarian, Wild Earth

If you are a American Staffordshire Terrier parent, you know just how amazing these dogs are– and you also know that these breeds can be prone to skin issues. Part of celebrating our love of these pups is making sure we keep them happy and healthy, and sometimes it can be a challenge to find ways to help make them more comfortable.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about possible allergies, and what you can do to help your fur baby.

American Staffordshire Terrier Skin Conditions

We know that breeds such as the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Terrier, are prone to skin conditions, allergies and subsequent skin infections. This is because they have short fur and do not have a protective undercoat, making their skin vulnerable to environmental allergens and irritants. Genetics also play a role as many skin and coat health conditions are hereditary.

Uncontrollable scratching, excessive licking, paw chewing, ear infections and skin infections are very common symptoms that can occur secondary to allergies, and if left untreated, they can quickly get out of control. Just as with all dogs, your dog can experience three main types of allergies – food allergy, flea allergy, and environmental or contact allergy. Keeping track of what time of year your American Staffordshire Terrier is itchy, and what symptoms they develop will go a long way to determining the type of allergy.

Food Allergens

Believe it or not, your dog’s allergy symptoms might be from the food they’re eating. The animal-based ingredients in dog food (beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, egg, pork, fish, and rabbit) are responsible for over 3 times as many food allergy cases as the plant-based ingredients. According to a study on PubMed.gov, after five weeks of their dog patients “starting an elimination diet, more than 80% of patients had achieved a remission of clinical signs of CAFR .”

That means your dog’s allergies could be eliminated just by changing what they eat, namely by removing those common food allergens, so consider switching their dog food. 86% of customers reported a positive health benefit for their dog after switching to Wild Earth dog food!

Try switching to Wild Earth Dog Food and adding in our Skin & Coat Dog Supplements to improve your dog’s allergies!

If your pup does suffer from food allergies, make sure to eliminate all other sources of animal-based protein, including treats and table scraps. Our Wild Earth treats are a great way to treat your dog, without the itch! Try one of our flavors – Banana and Cinnamon, Strawberry and Beet, or Peanut Butter.

Environmental Allergens

American Staffordshire Terrier can be sensitive to irritants in their environment as they have short fur and don’t have a thick undercoat to protect their skin like many other breeds. This means that their skin comes into contact with environmental irritants more often, including grasses and pollen, which can easily be picked up on walks. To help protect your pup from these common allergens, wipe down their paws and bellies after walks with a damp towel.

Other possible environmental allergens can be found in the home, for example dust mites, and contact allergens can include anything your dog comes into contact with, including household cleaning products, detergents, and shampoos. If you suspect your dog is suffering from environmental allergies, speak to your veterinarian. You can also help by changing your HVAC filters regularly, and using powerful air purifiers indoors.

Flea Allergic Dermatitis

Flea allergies, or flea allergic dermatitis (FAD), is the most common dermatologic disease of dogs in the United States. The allergy is to flea saliva so just one bite from a flea can cause an allergic reaction. An important step in ruling out the cause of your dog’s itch is to make sure your pet is on a year-round prescription flea preventative prescribed by your veterinarian.

Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis

If your dog starts to develop dry, scaly skin, it may be caused by zinc-responsive dermatosis. This is a common disorder in American Staffordshire Terrier, which can develop at a young age. The issue occurs when dogs don’t get enough zinc in their diets, or cannot digest it properly. It’s a main reason we’ve added zinc to our Skin & Coat supplements.

Signs of zinc deficiency include red, hairless, scaling, crusting, or oozing skin around the mouth, eyes, ears, and chin or lesions on the nose and foot pads. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, please consult with your veterinarian.


Another reason that your dog may be suffering from itchy skin is due to parasites. Parasites such as mange and mites can cause itchy, red skin, and frequent scratching. Unfortunately, American Staffordshire Terrier are the most common breeds in US shelters, and they tend to stay in shelters longer, leading to stress, which decreases the immune system, and makes them more susceptible to mange.

Genetic Conditions

Genetically, American Staffordshire Terrier are prone to skin issues, and can inherit hereditary skin conditions such as zinc deficiency, mentioned above, ichthyosis, and some types of dermatitis.


Allergies cause chronic inflammation and decrease the skin barrier, so coupled with scratching or licking, can lead to infections, which need to be treated. If your American Staffordshire Terrier has areas of reddish brown discoloration on their fur, for example, this could indicate a yeast infection. If you suspect your American Staffordshire Terrier has a skin infection, speak with your veterinarian.

We love American Staffordshire Terrier! But, sometimes they need a little help with their skin issues…

Keep An Eye On Your American Staffordshire Terrier!

We love our pets like family and hate to see them uncomfortable. The reality is, American Staffordshire Terrier’s are more susceptible to skin irritations and allergies than some other breeds. Fortunately, by keeping an eye on their activity, watching how they react to their diet, bathing them as directed, and giving them a supplement if you think they need extra support, can go a long way toward helping them live a more comfortable life!

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