Diet problems

Foods for Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. October 9, 2017
Foods for Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis

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Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is one of the most common skin conditions in dogs. It causes intense itching, wounds from scratching, rash or redness. Thus, owners of atopic dogs must provide the animal with specific skin care in order to alleviate the symptoms produced by the pathology and promote their emotional stability. Constant discomfort can lead to a state of stress and frustration in the dog.

Among the basic care for dogs with dermatitis is the modification of their diet, because an adequate diet can considerably favor the clinical picture and improve skin health. Therefore, in this AnimalWised article we will talk about foods for dogs with atopic dermatitis.

You may also be interested in: Hypoallergenic Diet for Cats with Food Allergies
  1. How does eating relieve symptoms of atopic dermatitis?
  2. How to choose the best food for atopic dermatitis in dogs
  3. Foods to avoid with atopic dermatitis
  4. Is changing diet enough to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs?

How does eating relieve symptoms of atopic dermatitis?

Because it is a skin condition, eating can help boost the immune system and repair damage to the skin more quickly. Given that CAD causes intense itching, redness of the skin, irritation, inflammation and multiple wounds as a result of excessive scratching, improper feeding can worsen the clinical picture, causing damaged tissue not to be repaired correctly or to enhance dry, even scaly skin.

For all of the above, read the following criteria for what to consider when choosing food for a dog with atopic dermatitis and what to avoid so you don't make the situation worse.

How to choose the best food for atopic dermatitis in dogs

Modifying the diet of a dog with atopic dermatitis has three distinct objectives: to help restore damaged skin tissue, reduce itching and promote proper growth of the coat. To do this, it is important to review the composition of the feed and opt for a feed designed for atopic skin. In addition, it contains alternative protein that reduces the risk of allergic reactions and provides great flavor. But, what are the recommended components? What food is ideal?

Rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

The deficiency of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids not only promotes the development of canine atopic dermatitis, but also worsens the condition of the dog's skin and impairs the health of their coat. Thus, the consumption of these substances helps to relieve symptoms such as irritation and itching, and to repair the injuries produced. Choosing a diet rich in omega 3 and 6 is more than recommended, both for atopic dogs and for dogs without this cutaneous condition.

Omega 3 fatty acid is found mainly in blue fish such as salmon or trout, in vegetable oils and green leafy vegetables. Omega 6 is also found in vegetable oils mainly.

Aloe vera

One of the most popular plants worldwide for its healing properties, aloe vera has the ability to keep the lipid levels of the patient's epidermis balanced and, in general, to keep the skin barrier in perfect condition. In this way, it benefits the cicatrization of the lesions produced by the scratching and favors the correct regeneration of the skin.

On the other hand, aloe vera is antibacterial, a fact that results in the prevention of possible topical infections through wounds. Also, it has important moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, necessary to relieve the itching and irritation associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs.

Rich in biotin and collagen

Biotin, also known as vitamin B8, B7 or vitamin H, is a key vitamin in the process of creating hemoglobin, regenerating cells in skin, hair and nail tissue, and metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and amino acids. Therefore, it is not surprising that an adequate diet for dogs with atopic dermatitis should contain biotin in its composition, since a deficit of the same can increase hair loss of the affected canine and worsen the state of skin lesions. Where can we find it? In legumes, whole grains, brewer's yeast, nuts and other products like carrot, potato or salmon liver.

Collagen is a protein that binds the connective tissues of the tendons, cartilage, joints, bones, muscles and skin, among others. Thus, it is an essential substance to maintain the correct health of the dermis and, therefore, if the dog with atopic dermatitis is fed based on feed it is recommended to opt for a product containing collagen peptides.

With vitamin E

Vitamin E plays a fundamental role in the prevention of cell oxidation of the dog and the consequent care of the skin. For this reason, feeding rich diets and vitamins is mandatory to keep the animal healthy and strong. Also, vitamin E, in addition to promoting the skin of the atopic dog, reduces itching caused by dermatitis and accelerate the process of regeneration of the dermis, helps strengthen the immune system and also promotes eye health.

Foods like green leafy vegetables, cereals like rice or fruits like avocado, are excellent natural sources of vitamin E. Be careful with the avocado, only give small portions and be sure to never let your dog near the pit of the fruit.

Foods for Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis - How to choose the best food for atopic dermatitis in dogs

Foods to avoid with atopic dermatitis

After reviewing the recommended compounds to alleviate the symptoms of atopic dermatitis in dogs, it is time to mention those foods that should be avoided to prevent the occurrence of skin reactions. Because many of the cases of dermatitis are related to food allergies, it is logical to ask the veterinarian to identify the food allergen, if any. Once found, it should be completely removed from the atopic dog diet.

Food allergies usually occur after consumption of a particular ingredient or compound of the food, not the product itself, the most common being veal, chicken, dairy, egg or wheat proteins. However, this is not an exact science and therefore there are also dogs that have allergies to specific fish proteins or cereals. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for manufactured and quality feed to facilitate the digestion of dogs and reduce the symptoms of dermatitis. In case you want to follow a home diet, it should be the veterinarian who prepares it.

Is changing diet enough to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs?

Although there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, feeding is the main element to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. However, to reinforce the effectiveness, it is recommended to opt for specific prizes and goodies that are part of your dietary routine.

Thus, it is advisable to opt for dietary supplements designed to strengthen the skin's natural barrier and enhance the appearance of the skin, rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.

Once the dog's feeding with atopic dermatitis has been adapted and approved by the veterinarian, a dermoprotective shampoo should be purchased with aloe vera, collagen and olive leaf extract to treat atopic skin and reduce itching, rash and irritation of the skin.

On the other hand, because atopic dermatitis can also be caused by environmental factors and irritants such as pollen or dust, if these are the reason for the skin reaction, prevent the affected dog from coming into direct contact with them.

Foods for Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis - Is changing diet enough to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs?

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments section!

If you want to read similar articles to Foods for Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis, we recommend you visit our Diet problems category.

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Hi my vet has change my dog food to royal canin anallergenic food his etopic dermistis every other food makingbit worse and I have the medicated shampoo any advice would it be worth a try
if my dog has atopic dermititis what special foods do i use to feed it and how much money does it cost
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Lilanda,

The info is in the article, let us know if there is anything specific you may have missed!
Hi. I am adopting a dog with allergies. I was told she has psoriasis but I read on line if she suffered from psoriasis she could not have red meat which she eats . She is eating canidae red meat formula grain free. She went for testing through the shelter and is to have NO. Fish blue dye. Msg. Sodium nitrate or carrageenan. My question does she have to have a rain free food ?t
Thank you
Hello Josie,
My 18 month old Mastiff suffers from a skin irritation and I have tried many things to try and reduce his scratching and irritation.
He is currently on a strict diet dry dog food made of feather protein to try and stop or mimimise the symptoms.

You mentioned in your article that a dermoprotective shampoo should be purchased with aloe vera, collagen and olive leaf extract to treat atopic skin and reduce itching, rash and irritation of the skin.

Can you please recommend some brands for me?

Thank you.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Karen,

Unfortunately, not all products are available world-wide (or even nationally). The best thing is to speak to your veterinarian and ask what they would recommend. You can do the same in a pet store, but make sure they aren't just trying to sell you something which they have on offer or are paid to promote. Check on the package to see if it is recommended by your national veterinary association.
janice billette
We adopted a black mouth cur, red bone hound , Rhodesian ridge back mixed breed.She has had a history of no one wanting her, we are her third family, because of her dermatitis. We are having trouble getting it under control and have finally discovered she needs a L.I.D. diet. The Apoquel the Vet has prescribed is working but, I hate that she has to be on this for her health and the expense. Although, we are finally learning how to take care for our new family member, it has been very frustrating and hard watching the new addition to the family suffer while we are trying to find answers .The information on this page has been very informative and helpful, we are hopeful to to finally be getting on the right track and have a happy,healthy, itch free dog. Thank you
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Janice,

We are sorry to hear about your dog's past experiences and the understandable strain this may put onto a family. It is sometimes too easy to underestimate how disruptive a condition like dermatitis can be, not to mention the obvious discomfort and even pain it can provide a dog. We are glad that we could have been of some help and that you have arranged the right treatment with a vet.

We hope this means the beginning of a speedy recovery and we're very happy she has been able to find as generous and evidently caring a family as yourselves. If it is OK with you, we would like to send you an email with a few more questions as some of the information in your case might be helpful to other members of our community.

The AnimalWised team.
they are good hunting dogs
My friends dogs have suffered with skin disorder for at least 5 years and when I ask about it he tells me his vet says it's only dry skin. I am not questioning the vet as my friend has a tendency for not conveying all the needed information and for being vague. The dogs {65lb. 15yr. old pit/Sheppard & a 65lb. 7yr. old Lab both female} complete diet has been "Kibbles n Bits" small breed size with less than stellar nutritional ingredients and no Vitamin E. among others. The chances of dry skin in two dogs living together would not be that unusual even of different breeds, but when they live in a small community like a trailer park and are the only two with this condition I can help wonder about other possibilities. I researched several possibilities as this condition is a symptom in many disorders and my limited understanding of veterinarian medicine and canine biology can fit under your little finger with room to spare. My career as an electrical contractor taught me a little knowledge is dangerous and always consult a professional. Therefore I welcome any opinion or suggestion regarding this and can offer a more detailed breakdown of their lives as it includes being in a single wide mobile home for 8-10 hours a workday and 2 block walks to relieve themselves before going back inside. Which in and of itself has a multitude of disorders associated with it as well naturally skin condition being among most of the symptoms lol. Attached is my best cell phone picture of Chevy {pit/shep.} and can provide better as they are staying with me for a couple days. Not trying to put my friend under the bus hes a big heartened sole, but he will lean to his vets prognosis as it would be the easiest and less costly of conditions but has yet to produce a single bit of difference in either animal and I can no longer watch these poor dogs suffer any longer. Other notable conditions occurring in both: Skin is flaky with pieces that seam to grow right from the skin {best description would be a scab not ready to come off completely}, an uncontrollable itching over entire body causing inflammation and soars, small wart type skin lesions and bumps under the skin. All of which could be found in most mineral, vitamin, or other dietary ingredients deficiency as well as in most mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders directly or indirectly associated with their living conditions and/or diet. I look forward to hearing from you as well as your opinion on if this is should be pursued or could it just be dry skin and not a sign of a bigger issue.

Thank you,
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Foods for Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis