old atopic itchy retriever licking paws


Dogs being fed a plant-based diet with none of the top allergens in the food (beef, dairy, wheat, lamb, egg. chicken, soy, pork, corn, rabbit and fish) will definitely stop scratching if the primary agent is a food allergy to the one of the protein molecules mentioned. Food allergies tend to develop in young dogs who have been fed the same food over a period of time and it tends to show as an otitis (recurrent itchy ears and ear infections).

Dogs that suffer with atopy  – a form of allergy where your pet is allergic to more than one environmental allergen, and where they tend to bite or chew their paws; will also do much better on a plant-based homemade diet than on a commercial hydrolysed protein dog food diet. Any dry food or kibble diets are made to last for a period of time on the shelf and they can carry storage mites that your atopic dog may react to especially if they suffer with the most common of all – a house dust mite allergy. A homemade diet immediately removes this concern and is far more palatable to your pet than a commercial hydrolysed diet. Purina Hypoallergenic HA food that most vets recommend, contains sugar as one of its ingredients to improve its palatability – this is not acceptable to sustain or even feed our dogs on a diet that has refined sugar as one of its ingredients!

Plant-based diets can also be made to be more beneficial to the skin barrier function (that is normally compromised in our itchy atopic pets who constantly chew and lick their paws), as they can have the addition of the purest form of EPA and DHA as Omega 3 Algae oil supplements as well as the addition of healthy skin function minerals such as Biotin, Zinc and Vitamin E. It is easier to find these in plant-based healthy homemade plant-based diets than in commercial dry foods where they are added in as supplements rather than coming straight from the plant source. Anything that strengthens the important skin barrier is vital to stop your itchy pet from scratching – we feel plant-based diets offer the kindest most sustainable solution.

Sadly most vets will tell you the only way they have been taught – to feed a novel protein to your dog instead of a plant-based diet. These ‘novel proteins’ ie proteins that your itchy pet may never have come into contact with before, offer non-sustainable and unkind options. These pet foods may contain duck or deer or rabbit or as in the case of Royal Canin Anallergenic, broken down chicken feathers, or ‘hydrolysed protein by-product aggregates’ as they state on their packaging! As animal lovers, we don’t even want to imagine how these beautiful animals used in novel diets are transported and slaughtered just to feed our itchy pets.

Another source of protein in most commercial skin-based dog foods is fish – either as the main protein source or as oils. We know that in our current climate emergency that we are facing, that there is no such thing as ‘sustainable fishing’. We have to protect our oceans and our marine life who rely on the small fish that are usually used in most pet foods, so yet again a plant-based diet for our itchy pets is the most sustainable option.

As vets become aware of the benefits of plant-based diets, we remain confident that the thinking will change, but for now, please be patient with your vet and gently explain your vegan dog food choices. Stick to what you know and have learnt about feeding your pet sustainably and kindly.

just be kind vegan dogs
Just Be Kind Vegan Dog Food
Regd as Slimming Pets Ltd
Stapleford Estate Saxby Road
Melton Mowbray LE14 2SB
Reg No: GB208RO 2162
LCC Trading Standards Service

Have you considered plant-based dog food?