I have a boxer, bull mastiff mix named Leo, who struggles with itching and scratching all the time. It got to the point to where I felt so bad for him not only because he’s my best friend but because I can tell he was uncomfortable. I finally had enough and gathered up my veterinarian’s phone number and took a trip to the vet. Leo was having rashes on his belly and kept licking his paws to were they were getting infected.
The first thing the vet asked me was, “what kind of food do you feed him?” I replied with “a healthy food with no corn or bi-products.” He said “that’s good but what is the formula?” I told him it was chicken. He said I might want to try feeding a novelty protein, something other than chicken beef or lamb, which are common ingredients found in dog food. The vet told me that most people come in and think that their dogs are scratching from fleas but it turns out it’s usually the food that they’re feeding. He said that if I try feeding a healthy dog food with a novelty protein my dog is most likely going to have a better reaction because he’s never been exposed to that specific meat source. The vet said that just like humans, dogs can become allergic to any ingredient at any time. He had mentioned some options of foods that I could feed but I insisted on going home and doing my own in-depth research for myself to see which dog food would be right for my dog. I came across a lot of very healthy foods that were grain free but I still didn’t know which direction to take. I finally narrowed it down to a couple limited ingredient diets which contained a novelty protein as the first ingredient, that might work for my dog. The types of dog food that I found were very simple, easy on the stomach and the skin.
Week by week Leo became a whole new dog. His skin issues have improved greatly and the dermatitis areas between the paws disappeared. His rashes near the belly had also gone away.
Turns out that Leo was simply having a reaction to the chicken. Now not that chicken is a bad ingredient but chicken is a cheaper protein and in most of the foods he ate, chicken was the main ingredient. After switching to a novelty protein the skin cleared up.
If your dog has skin issues, take a look at the ingredients on the package of dog food you feed and see what the meat sources are. If you see chicken, beef or lamb, chances are that could be the issue. Also make sure there is no corn, wheat or soy. Grain free would be a good choice with a single novelty protein.