Minor skin and coat problems can often be addressed by diet, but if your dog’s problems are severe or if there is no improvement, please speak to your vet.
What to look out for?
- Continual scratching or biting of the skin.
- A greasy, smelly coat.
- Constant moulting.
Why can diet help?
Dogs have allergies too, and while no food offers a cure, you can avoid problematic ingredients that your dog may react to. Any ingredient has the potential to trigger a reaction, so identifying the cause can be quite a challenge.
Vets offer several types of allergy tests in which the dog’s skin or blood is assessed for reactions to a number of foods and environmental factors.
Remove anything from your dog’s diet that is likely to be causing a problem. The simpler the diet, the better.
- Remove all treats.
- Choose another dog food with as few ingredients in common with the current food as possible. For example, if the current food contains chicken, rice and maize, look for one that uses salmon and potato instead.
- Change the diet gradually over about a week.
You may not see an immediate improvement; it may take up to 12 weeks before you notice a difference. Some dogs might appear to get worse before they get better. This is called the ‘detox period’ and generally begins within a week or two of the food change, and lasts for another week or two. If these or any other symptoms continue or worsen, or if you are at all unsure at any stage, please speak to your vet.