How Your Older Pets Diet Can Affect Their Skin

Often the first sign your pet has a skin condition is non-stop scratching. Then comes the biting or gnawing, the inability to sit still or seeming unsettled. Your pet may scratch so much they start to go bald. You’ve tried every shampoo, conditioner and cream under the sun, but then your vet asks, “what are you feeding them?”. You might be thinking, “how could what I feed my pet have anything to do with a skin condition?”, but food allergies in pets that cause skin irritation are not that uncommon.

A small black puppy is sitting on grass and scratching behind their ear

My Pet Won’t Stop Itching, Should I See A Vet?

Of course, there are many causes of skin conditions in cats and dogs. If your pet has a skin irritation that is accompanied by sores, a rash, hair loss, or ear inflammation, it is important for them to be assessed by a veterinarian so that the cause of their problem can be determined.

A ginger cat is scratching behind their ear

What Causes Itchy Skin?

Some of the most common causes of skin irritations in cats and dogs include:

  • Food allergies or adverse food reactions
  • Parasites or infections (fleas, bacteria, ringworm, etc)
  • Environmental allergies (pollen, dust mites, etc)
  • Endocrine or autoimmune disorders
A diagram showing different causes of skin irritations in pets

How Will My Vet Determine What Is Making My Pet Itchy?

Your vet may utilise one or many procedures to determine the underlying cause. A skin scraping, hair pluck, tape test, food trial, blood sample or biopsy are just some of the methods of identifying a reason for your pets itching.

A diagram with various methods a vet may use to determine the cause of itchy skin in pets

What Causes Food Allergies?

When your pet has a food allergy, their immune system mistakenly reacts to proteins found in meats such as beef, fish or lamb. In an animal without a food allergy, these proteins do not normally trouble the immune system, which when working normally, protects your pet from viruses and bacteria. In a dog with a food allergy however, an immune response is triggered when the food proteins are detected, leading to skin irritation and redness, itching, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.

A cat and a dog are sitting inside and in the sunlight

How Are Foods For Pets With Allergies Different>

In foods that have been specially formulated for pets with food allergies, the manufacturer will use a hydrolysed protein source. A hydrolysed protein is simply one that has been cut down into a smaller molecular size. The smaller size prevents the protein from triggering an immune response as the immune system no longer sees the smaller proteins as a threat.

A photo of a cat eating from a bowl

Royal Canin Skin & Food Sensitivities Range

Royal Canin is one brand that has a range of food for pets suffering from food allergies.

Skin Support – Only Available for Dogs

Royal Canin Skin Support is precisely formulated to help assist dogs suffering from skin disease. The Skin Support complex strengthens the skin’s natural defences and promotes healing. It contains fatty acids (EPA/DHA) to aid in the maintenance of a healthy digestive system and healthy skin, and antioxidants to help neutralise free radicals.

A photo of the Royal Canin veterinary diet skin support range of pet food

Sensitivity Control

Royal Canin Sensitivity Control is a scientifically formulated diet with selected proteins for the management of food intolerance, food allergy and gastrointestinal sensitivity. Sensitivity Control contains a limited number of protein sources to reduce the risk of triggering a food allergy, and includes fatty acids (EPA/DHA) to help maintain a healthy digestive system and a healthy skin.

A photo of the Royal Canin veterinary diet sensitivity control range of pet food

Hypoallergenic

Royal Canin Hypoallergenic is precisely formulated for pets that suffer from adverse food reactions (AFR). It is composed of a highly digestible, hydrolysed soy protein isolate of low molecular weight peptides. Royal Canin Hypoallergenic also incorporates fatty acids (EPA/DHA) to help maintain a healthy digestive system and a healthy skin.

A photo of the Royal Canin veterinary diet hypoallergenic range of pet food

Anallergenic

Royal Canin Anallergenic is a scientifically formulated and unique nutritional solution for pets with severe dietary allergies. Anallergenic proteins are extensively hydrolysed and the formulation and production process aim to exclude other potential sources of food allergies.

A photo of the Royal Canin veterinary diet anallergenic range of pet food

NOTE

The range of Royal Canin skin and food sensitivities products mentioned above are veterinary diet products and should only be used if recommended by your pets veterinarian.

View all Royal Canin Veterinary Diet products for Dogs here

View all Royal Canin Veterinary Diet products for Cats here

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Contributing Writer
Our contibuting writers provide some of the best information for owners of older pets. Working with our animal health professionals the OlderPet.com.au contributing writers provide content that is up to date, practical and accurate.

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