Bella is biting… again. Bella is scratching…again. And Bella is licking…again. You know this can’t be normal: Your German Shepherd is constantly scratching, licking and biting her skin. This is no walk in the park for her, or you for that matter. Sensitive skin is not uncommon in many pups because there are so many ways that a dog can develop a problem — flea bites, a wound, food, even shampoo. Signs of sensitive skin, other than constant scratching, include inflamed skin, hair loss and redness.
There are a variety of reasons why pups scratch their skin: their diet, their environment and even their genes. Veterinarians refer to Bella’s and other dogs’ needs to scratch their skin and hair as pruritus. According to T.J Dunn, DVM at PetMD.com, most skin and coat conditions in dogs occur fall into one of six categories: environmental, nutritional, parasitic, allergic, neurogenic and infectious.
A dog typically provides clues that her allergy is in fact related to her diet. Chronic digestive problems like loose stools and vomiting are two of them. She also might lick her feet or rub her face against the carpet. A veterinarian can run blood tests to confirm or you use the process of an elimination diet which means you cutting out certain foods and reintroducing them one at a time to figure out what’s making her sick.
Some experts put the blame on the fact that today’s commercial dog foods are filled with processed proteins, fillers and artificial colorings. These chemicals can be a breeding ground for food allergies in some dogs. So, it might be time to take a look at what you are feeding her.
Experts advise that one of the best ways to combat skin conditions in dogs (if it is related to their diet) is to give them a grain-free food diet. Grains like corn and wheat can exacerbate a dog’s skin condition. Most commercial dog food is filled with wheat, corn and other grains, which could trigger food allergies in some dogs.
Dogs don’t have the proper tools in their saliva and digestive tracts to break down the carbohydrates and fiber found in grains. So as grains pass through a dog’s intestines, they can irritate his lining and allow mucus to form and bacteria and fungus to grow. This irritation can cause skin and digestive disorders as well as allergies and other infections. That’s why some vets and animal lovers recommend high quality meat-based dog foods — which typically are more expensive for the pet owner.
When choosing dog food to help with sensitive skin, first and foremost, make sure the label says “for sensitive skin” or “for sensitive skin and stomach.” Ingredients found specifically in these formulas include meat (beef, poultry, lamb or fish), Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and
Of course, you could make your own dog foods or treats. There are many good recipes available on Web sites like Allrecipes.com and Thehonestkitchen.com. This way, you can ensure that your canine’s meals will be almost chemical-, hormone-and preservative-free.