Can dry dog food cause itchy skin and allergies in your Westie? Many people believe that dogs are hardy, nearly invincible, and can survive under any conditions. But while they are descendants of wolves, dogs are not like this anymore.
They require special diets, care and attention in order to thrive. Dogs are actually more sensitive than we may realize. Many dogs can have allergies to foods, products, and even pollen, just like us humans!
So, we often have to treat our canine companions like part of the family – and care for them in such a manner. Your dog may be suffering from allergies to its food, which can result in dry, itchy skin.
This can be very uncomfortable for your furry friend, so it is important that you can understand the causes and cures of itchy skin to keep your dog happy and healthy.
In this guide, we will go over whether dog food can be a cause of itchy skin, what the signs of a skin allergy are in dogs. And what you can do to prevent your dog’s skin becoming a problem.
Read on to find out all you need to know!
Can Dry Dog Food Cause Itchy Skin?
The answer is yes, dry dog food can cause your dog to itch and have itchy skin. This is typically because the food may be causing an allergic reaction, resulting in dry, itchy skin.
Many dogs are allergic to the certain ingredients in dog foods, which can make them scratch and itch at their skin.
Other skin allergies can make your dog lick its paws more, scratch its ears, or have dry skin under the armpits, neck, face and legs.
The most common food allergens for dogs are proteins such as chicken and beef. However, some dogs may be allergic to dairy, eggs, soy, wheat and gluten.
Other common allergens include corn, oats, rice, and more. Dry dog foods can also contain many filler ingredients and grains that are not necessarily good for your dog.
Meat and protein meals can also cause allergic reactions. Many of these ingredients are common in dry dog foods, which can cause itchy skin for your pooch.
For many dog owners, chicken and grains like wheat seem to be the biggest aggravator of skin problems for dogs.
If your dog seems allergic to its food, it can be hard to pinpoint what ingredients are causing the problem.
In these cases, most dog owners would opt for an allergen-friendly dry dog food blend and avoid foods with grains, fillers, wheat and proteins like chicken or beef.
Dry dog foods with fish ingredients and omega 3 and 6 are often the best choice, as this can help prevent allergies and promote a healthy coat and skin.
Signs Of A Skin Allergy In Dogs
If you are unsure if your dog has a skin allergy or is suffering from itchy skin due to an allergy, it is vital that you understand the symptoms to look out for.
Some of the most common signs of skin allergies in dogs are:
- Scooting or rubbing its rear end on surfaces and floors
- Sores on the skin
- Rubbing and itching of the ears or face
- Hair loss or patchiness
- Red, irritated or inflamed skin
- Flaking skin
- Excessive licking (particularly of the paws)
- Chewing, gnawing and biting at the skin
- Excessive scratching and itching
In addition, if your dog has very dry, irritated and itchy skin, they are more prone to an infection due to excessive scratching and itching.
If this is the case, then seek treatment from a veterinarian, as you do not want the skin to become infected and sore.
Causes Of Itchy Skin In Dogs
Skin allergies or allergic dermatitis are the most common types of allergies Westies can have.
However, dogs can develop itchy skin for several reasons.
While dog food can cause dry, itchy skin for dogs, it is not the only factor.
Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to a range of foods and ingredients. This can cause sensitive stomachs, sickness or diarrhea, but most dogs will simply have skin problems due to these foods.
Food allergies will most often lead to dogs scratching at the ears, face, or paws. They may only have sensitivities to certain foods, but some Westies can have severe allergies and reactions.
For instance, some dogs can have ear infections, itchiness, hives and even facial swelling if they consume the ingredients causing the allergies.
Certain environmental factors can also cause skin allergies. For instance, dirt, dust, mold, and pollen can cause skin reactions. Seasonal allergies can also impact your dog’s skin.
Environmental allergies tend to manifest on the ears and paws, which can lead to excess licking or infections. Be sure to check these areas regularly for any issues.
Dogs can also be allergic to cleaning products, such as the laundry detergent you use to wash their blankets, bedding, harnesses and more.
In addition, some dogs may have sensitive skin, and certain dog shampoos can cause itching and dry skin. Be sure to use allergy-friendly products when washing your dog to avoid irritation.
Dogs can also have itchy skin due to fleas. Flea saliva can cause an allergic reaction which can lead to dermatitis. This can manifest itself on various parts of the body, particularly at the base of the tail.
If your Westie’s skin is inflamed, red, sore and scabbed, this could be the problem.
You may also see fleas and ticks on your dog’s fur, which can be resolved with flea treatment from a veterinarian.
Ensure you stay on top of your dog’s regular flea and worming treatment to avoid any issues.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Itchy Skin?
If your Westie has itchy skin, the first thing to do is ensure you are up to date with your dog’s parasite control treatment. This includes fleaing and worming treatments.
If your Westie has inflamed or infected skin, you may need medical treatment. This can help relieve itching, and antibiotics can clear any infections.
If the skin irritation is mild, it could be worth using supplements in dog foods or treats that can provide nutritional support for healthier skin and a stronger coat.
This can soothe itching and excessive scratching. Some Westies may need to avoid strong detergents and shampoos.
You may have to use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo when you bathe your pooch or try giving your dog an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal works as a protectant for the skin while soothing irritation and itchiness.
Oatmeal baths can also help lock in moisture to avoid dry skin. Finally, always ensure your Westie is regularly bathed, brushed and groomed to remove excess dirt, dust and allergens.
Westies do require regular grooming to detangle the fur and remove possible allergens. You may need to use medicated shampoos for dogs with skin infections or chronic skin conditions.
You should also ensure that harnesses, collars, coats, and leads are also washed regularly to avoid spreading bacteria on the skin.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Allergic To Its Food?
Common signs that your Westie is allergic to its food are itchy skin, itchy paws (shown by your dog licking them excessively), digestive problems like diarrhea and vomiting, or sore ears.
They may also want to avoid eating their food, which can cause weight loss, lethargy and sometimes aggression.
It can be hard to tell which ingredients are causing the problem, and often it is a case of trial-and-error to find a dry dog food that is suitable for your dog’s dietary needs.
You may have to try a hypoallergenic diet for around 8-12 weeks, as it takes time for your dog to transition and get used to a new food. This can help you eliminate which foods are unsuitable.
You will also have to avoid treats and ingredients your dog currently has to find out what is causing the allergic reaction.
However, you can opt for an allergen test, but this is uncommon, and you may need to visit a dog dermatologist rather than your local veterinarian.
This would most likely involve a radioallergosorbent test (RAST test), a blood test that can determine what antigens your dog is allergic to.
This can help you uncover the trigger of the dermatitis, whether it is a food allergy, flea allergy, or environmental allergy.
To summarize, dry dog food can aggravate itchy skin as dogs can be allergic and sensitive to various ingredients, just like humans! However, they are not the only cause of skin reactions.
While food is one of the most common allergens that can cause itchy skin in Westies, this can also be caused by environmental factors and ticks and fleas.
If you are unsure why your Westie has itchy skin, seek the help of a veterinarian for further guidance.
More On Eating…
- How Much Food Should a Westie Eat? And How Often?
- What Can Westies Not Eat? Common Foods To Avoid
- Best Treats For Westies – Food Rewards And Snacks
- What Foods Are Westies Allergic To? (Westie Dog Allergies)
- How Big do Westies Get? How Much Do Westies Weigh?
- Can Dogs Eat Porridge With Milk? And Should They?
- What Human Biscuits Can Dogs Eat? (Risks & Benefits)