Picture this: It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, and you're lounging in the park with your dog happily trotting beside you. Suddenly, they start scratching furiously, clearly uncomfortable and unable to enjoy the beautiful day. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. 

Many dog parents struggle with their pets’ sensitive skin and allergies, conditions that can often be influenced by their diet. Here at A Pup Above, we understand how tough it can be to see your dog in distress. 

That’s why we’re diving deep into the world of dog food, sensitive skin, and allergies, aiming to shed light on how the right diet can make all the difference.

What Causes Sensitive Skin and Allergies in Dogs?

Sensitive skin and allergies in dogs can stem from a variety of sources, and pinpointing the exact cause can be a bit of a detective game. 

Here are some common culprits:

  • Environmental Allergens: Just like humans, dogs can react to pollen, dust, mold, and other environmental factors. These allergens can cause dermatitis, leading to itching and discomfort.

  • Food Allergies:Some dogs develop allergies to specific ingredients in their food. Common triggers include beef, chicken, dairy, and wheat. These allergies can manifest as itchy skin, ear infections, and gastrointestinal problems.

  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis:Even a single flea bite can lead to a severe allergic reaction in hypersensitive dogs, resulting in extreme itchiness and skin inflammation.

  • Genetic Factors: Some breeds are more prone to allergies and sensitive skin, suggesting that genetics can play a significant role in these conditions.

How Can Diet Influence a Dog’s Skin Health?

So, how exactly can diet influence a dog's skin health? Well, what your dog eats can directly impact how they feel and look, particularly when it comes to their skin and coat. It's not just about avoiding allergens, though that's a big part of it. Their diet's overall quality and composition play a crucial role, too.

A diet rich in certain nutrients can bolster your dog's skin health. For instance, essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 are heroes when it comes to enhancing the integrity and moisture of the skin barrier, leading to less itching and irritation. These nutrients help manage inflammation and are often found in fish oils and flaxseeds.

Moreover, diets high in antioxidants such as vitamins E and C can protect skin cells from environmental damage and help maintain a healthy, radiant coat. Proteins are another cornerstone of a healthy diet, supporting the repair and growth of skin cells. However, it's important these proteins are high-quality and easily digestible to avoid any adverse reactions.

Lastly, keeping your dog's diet consistent and balanced not only helps maintain their overall health but can also prevent sudden outbreaks or flare-ups of skin issues. It's all about finding what works best for your dog's unique needs and sticking with it — because when your dog feels good, they look good, too!

Which Ingredients Should You Steer Clear of in Dog Food?

Navigating the world of dog food labels can feel like decoding a secret language, especially when trying to pinpoint which ingredients might irritate your pup's skin. So, which ingredients should you steer clear of to keep your dog's coat shiny and their skin happy? 

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty and uncover those you might want to avoid:

Common Allergens

Some proteins, especially beef, chicken, dairy, and wheat, are notorious for triggering allergic reactions in dogs. These can lead to itchy skin, rashes, and other discomforts.

Artificial Additives

Synthetic flavors, colors, and preservatives may make food look and taste better, but they can also contribute to allergic reactions. Ingredients like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are particularly worth avoiding.


Low-nutrient fillers like corn, soy, and by-products provide little nutritional value and can contribute to skin irritation. These fillers are often used to bulk up the food but offer little in terms of health benefits.

Gluten and Grains

While not all dogs are sensitive to grains, those with specific allergies or intolerances might suffer from consuming grains. Gluten, found in wheat and other cereal grains, can be particularly problematic for some.

What Are the Signs Your Dog Is Reacting Badly to Their Food?

Wondering if your pup might be having a bad reaction to their food? It's not always straightforward to tell, but there are some signs that can clue you in. 

Let's look at how you can spot if your dog is uncomfortable or allergic to something they've eaten.

  • Itchy Skin: One of the most common signs of an allergic reaction is increased scratching. This can lead to redness, sores, and even hair loss.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Look for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive gas. A sensitive stomach can often be a sign of food allergies or intolerances.
  • Ear Infections: Frequent ear infections can also be a sign of food allergies, especially if they occur alongside other skin irritations.
  • Chronic Licking, Chewing, or Biting: Dogs often try to soothe their discomfort by licking or chewing their paws and other accessible body parts.
  • Poor Coat Quality: If your dog's coat becomes dull and brittle or they start to shed excessively, it might be linked to their diet.

Monitoring your dog for these signs can help you catch potential issues early, making it easier to consult with your vet and adjust their diet accordingly to keep them happy and healthy.

How Can You Keep Your Dog’s Skin Healthy and Happy?

Beyond spotting the signs of discomfort, how can you actively support your dog’s skin health? Here are some practical tips that can lead to noticeable improvements:

Prioritize High-Quality Ingredients

Opt for fresh, whole foods in your dog’s diet to provide optimal nutrition. Our sous-vide meals, such as Turkey Pawella and Texas Beef Stew, are crafted with human-grade ingredients, offering your pup the kind of quality that not only satisfies their taste buds but also nourishes their skin.

Stay on Top of Grooming

Regular grooming does more than just make your dog look good. It helps remove dead skin and fur, stimulates blood flow to the skin, and spreads natural skin oils that protect and hydrate the skin.

Check for Hydration

Keep an eye on your dog’s water intake. Hydrated skin is less likely to become dry and itchy. A simple way to check for proper hydration is to gently pinch and lift the skin on the back of your dog's neck. If it snaps back quickly, they are well-hydrated; if it returns slowly, they may need more water.

Mind the Seasonal Changes

Different seasons bring different challenges for skin health. In winter, consider a humidifier to combat dry air indoors, and in summer, ensure your dog has shade and plenty of water to avoid overheating.


Navigating the tricky waters of dog food, sensitive skin, and allergies can seem daunting, but armed with the right knowledge and a careful approach, you can make a world of difference for your pup. 

It's clear that the connection between what your dog eats and their skin health is profound. By choosing the right ingredients and being mindful of potential allergens, you can help alleviate or even prevent skin discomfort and allergies in your beloved pet.

Here at A Pup Above, we're committed to providing meals that not only delight your dog's palate but also support their overall health, including their skin and coat. Our carefully crafted, human-grade sous-vide meals are designed with your dog’s wellness in mind, providing balanced nutrition with every bite.

Ready to see the difference the right diet can make for your dog's skin health? Explore our range of gourmet meals and help your dog step into a happier, healthier life. Dive into our store today and start your journey to a more joyful, itch-free companionship!


Different Types of Dog Allergies: How to Identify and Treat Them | American Kennel Club

Pet Food Allergies | Pet Food Institute

Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals

The Importance of Your Pet's Skin and Coat and the Role of Diet | VCA Animal Hospitals