These days there are lots of specialized dog foods for dogs with allergies and food intolerances. There are limited ingredient diets and plenty of foods with novel proteins, grain free and gluten free foods. But some dogs don’t need quite that degree of specialization in their diet. Or their issues are a little more vague. For these dogs, sensitive skin and/or stomach dog foods can be the answer.
Symptoms of a sensitive skin problem usually include:
- Dry, flaky skin
- Excessive itching, scratching, rubbing, and licking
- Excessive shedding
- Losing hair and bald patches
In extreme cases, the dog will have reddened patches from rubbing and damage his skin. A sensitive skin problem could be the outward signs of a food intolerance. Or, it could be the symptoms of an allergy – perhaps the dog has an inhalant allergy or even a contact allergy. He might show symptoms when he comes in contact with grass, for example, or a certain kind of dog shampoo.
Symptoms of a sensitive stomach would include:
- Itching and scratching
A dog with these problems can have a combination of symptoms.
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You should also check to see if your dog has any kind of parasite (internal or external). By far, the biggest cause of dog allergies is flea bite allergies. Keep the fleas away, and the skin problems clear up.
Sensitive skin/stomach dog foods
Sensitive skin/stomach dog foods have been around a while. Some companies have been making them for years, though they may have updated their formulas. In general, sensitive skin/stomach dog foods avoid using some of the most common dog food allergy triggers. This makes them suitable for a lot of dogs who may have problems with corn, wheat, or soy. These foods usually don’t have artificial colors or flavors since these could be triggers for an allergy or food intolerance. They often contain extra omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and other nutrients for the skin and coat.
Sensitive skin/stomach foods usually contain grains or cereals such as rice and oatmeal which are relatively easy to digest. Fish, such as salmon, is a frequent source of protein. The following dog foods are very good sensitive skin and/or stomach foods: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dog Food, Eukanuba Sensitive Skin, and Iams® Sensitive Naturals™ Ocean Fish & Rice Recipe.
There are also several brands that include chicken, lamb, and some other ingredients that could be allergy triggers. These brands include:
- Royal Canin
- Nature’s Recipe
- Nutro Natural Choice
- Hill’s Science Diet
- and others.
Your dog may do well on one of these foods if chicken or lamb is not a trigger for him.
If your dog continues to have skin or stomach issues after trying some of these dog foods, you will probably need to do more to try to identify the specific cause of your dog’s allergy or food intolerance. We recommend working with your veterinarian to find your dog’s food triggers. Once you identify the specific ingredient(s) that bother your dog, you will probably be able to find a good dog food that works for your dog.