Dog Knowledge

3 Steps to Eliminating Your Dogs Itching & Scratching

how to help your dog stop scratching

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

Have you been feeding your pup our Wild Earth Complete Protein dog food, but they are still suffering from itchy skin?  Here are a few steps to follow to ensure your pup is getting all of the benefits of our plant-based dog food.

Step One: Make sure you are completely eliminating animal-based products, including those given as treats, supplements and/or in flavored parasite preventatives. For flea/tick/heartworm preventatives, I recommend using these year-round, so be sure to switch over to an unflavored version or one free of animal-based proteins. Beef, dairy and chicken are the most common offending food allergens, so make sure these in particular are completely eliminated from their diet. Tip: you can try using Wild Earth treats, which are free of the most common allergens, to show your pup just how much you love them – without the itch!  So if your pup suffers from these common food allergens you have to make sure they are completely eliminated from their diet. 

Step Two: Make sure to check in and see your vet so they can rule out and address any possible infection. Allergies result in chronic inflammation and an impaired skin barrier, which, coupled with trauma caused by constant scratching, make pet’s more susceptible to infection. For example, that reddish-brown discoloration on your pet’s paw that they are constantly licking is actually a yeast infection. Even if food allergies were the culprit, and you have since removed the offending food, that infection still needs to be treated to be resolved. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is evaluated, and the appropriate treatment is prescribed. 

Step Three: Consider that your pet may have more than one type of allergy. Read below for more information on the three main types of allergies in dogs. 

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Food allergies are not the only types of allergies that can be affecting your pup. There are three main causes of allergies in dogs, which can cause them to be itchy – these are food, flea and environmental allergies. Food allergies in dogs are relatively common and are stereotyped by non-seasonal itching (meaning the itch occurs year-round) of paws, ears, underarms, and rear end. Contrary to popular belief, these allergies are not always accompanied by gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea, and the most likely culprit is not grain. Instead, the most frequently reported food allergens involved in cutaneous adverse food reactions are animal based products such as beef, dairy, and chicken (Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals: common food allergen sources in dogs and cats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4710035/).

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. The most common presentation is itching and hair loss on the rear end, and it is usually seasonal as prevalence of fleas ebbs and flows throughout the year. 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. Most flea preventatives found in pet stores require the flea to bite to kill them, so it is important to choose one that prevents the flea from biting in the first place if your dog is allergic to fleas. Lastly, environmental allergies are often seasonal, meaning they flare at certain times of the year, and common locations affected are face, feet, underarms, ears and belly. Unfortunately there is not always a clear culprit, and allergic dogs may have a combination of two or more of these common allergies- meaning that a dog with a food allergy can also have an environmental allergy! 

Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, cVMA

Dr. Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva is the Professional Services Veterinarian here at Wild Earth. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Brown University, and attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in general practice, on telehealth platforms, and in animal rehabilitation. She has worked tirelessly to gain expertise in the field of canine nutrition through numerous certifications and coursework, and plans to pursue her Masters in Animal Nutrition.

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