Read time: 5 mins
20 Dec 2019
All dogs like a good scratch every now and then — and usually with enthusiastic enjoyment. But sometimes, pet parents will notice that the scratching is getting a bit out of hand (or paw). Continual scratching or rubbing might be a sign your dog has skin sensitivity or an allergy. These can be a cause of irritation for your dog and concern for you.
There's plenty you can do to help soothe your pooch. A good starting place is a healthy diet. As with humans, this can be key to combating uncomfortable itches and scratches. Before we dive in with the solutions, let's take a look at the symptoms: how do you know if your dog has sensitive skin?
The most obvious sign is over-the-top scratching and excessive licking. If you part your dog's fur, the skin may be red, broken or flaky and they could be experiencing hair loss. They may also be feeling a bit down in the dumps, and who can blame them? After all, they can't tell you where that pesky itch is. You know — the one that's just out of paw's reach.
There are a number of causes which can trigger skin irritation in dogs, it is important to try and determine exactly what is causing it so that correct treatment can be provided. These are some of the few things that can trigger skin irritation:
Some dogs are intolerant to certain ingredients, such as corn, wheat and soy
Just like us humans, pollen and dust can all cause problems for your pooch
Pesky hay fever symptoms giving you grief in the summer? Dogs can experience similar symptoms as pollen and grass levels change
Good old fleas, lice and mites...you know the drill. It's might be time for a trip to the vet (but say it quietly)
These can be caused by bites, yeast or out-of-control scratching
Some breeds, like German Shepherds, French Bulldogs and Westies, are particularly prone to skin issues
Thankfully, there are simple ways to help, starting with what's for dinner…
The first point of action for itchy skin in dogs is consulting with your Vet. They can help to prescribe a thorough care plan to help to resolve your pooch’s persistent problem.
Of course, sometimes topical treatments are needed. Sore patches might need special creams or emollients and there are shampoos for sensitive skin that you can use at bath time. Then it's a case of keeping on top of washing and brushing, as well as regular treatments for fleas and other bitey visitors. Pampered pooches might even like a trip to the parlour from time to time.
It's a bit of a squeamish thought, but another very common allergen is storage mites. These little blighters live on and feed off cereal foods and can cause intense itching in dogs.
For this reason, it’s better to avoid dog food that uses a high volume of cereals, such as wheat. Cutting out dry foods and choosing fresh, quality ones — like Butternut Box — means your pooch will never meet a mite.
Diet plays an enormous part in your dog's general wellbeing. Healthy skin starts with good food. And good food is all about balance — with lots of delicious meat and veg. When we're cooking up our tasty meals, we use ingredients (oils, fats, and vegetables rich in beta-carotene) that we know help to maintain shiny coats as well as result in clean bowls. Most dogs love the taste and texture of sweet potato and broccoli, and as they contain healthy skin-supporting vitamins, they always go into the mix.
Sore or itchy skin could be caused by an allergy, which could in turn be down to what's in their bowl. The answer is to switch to a trusted dog food like Butternut Box. Our meals have no added (deep breath) wheat, corn, soy, sugar or salt — all of which are known to cause intolerances in dogs. We are 100% transparent about our ingredient list and we only use things that you can see and say, there’s no hidden additives or preservatives.
Even certain meats are known to disagree with some pooches, which is why we cook up a choice of recipes and are very careful about cross-contamination. We even go so far as to do a protein swab between recipes (it's very CSI around here), so you can be confident your dog's meal will not include any meat other than what’s stated on the pouch.
If you suspect an intolerance, it might simply be a case of chew-it-and-see, whilst keeping track of your dog's reaction to different foods. When you sign up for Butternut Box deliveries, we'll ask you about intolerances. This is to make sure that we only ever send meals that'll have your pup rolling over for a tickly tummy, not grumbling about a sore one.
When you subscribe to Butternut Box, our free 24/7 Vet Nurse helpline is available should you have any concerns about your precious pooch.
Our customer surveys revealed that 500+ dogs have been eating Butternut Box meals for 2 months and 3.5 months onwards, reported visible improvements in their dog’s skin and coat.
To understand exactly how our food is helping to promote healthy skin in dogs, we measured skin hydration and skin barrier function of 21 healthy dogs eating Butternut Box for at least 3 months. We also measured the same parameters in 9 dogs eating alternative premium diets.
Skin hydration is essential for keeping a dog’s coat in good condition, high levels of hydration will prevent dryness, itchiness and rashes. Skin barrier function, on the other hand, is important for helping to retain moisture, prevent the penetration of allergens and irritants, as well as maintaining normal bacterial and yeast microfloras.
We are proud to say that our study revealed that dogs eating Butternut Box diets have much better skin hydration and a more intact skin barrier than dogs eating alternative food brands.
You can read the full research report here.
At Butternut Box, we are always striving for better. This means regularly carrying out critical research to further our understanding of dog health, so that we can produce the best possible nutrition products.