Most veterinary dermatologists (and vets) will agree that when we have an itchy, allergic dog and we run blood tests and send them off to the laboratory to find out what the allergen is, most cases will come back showing that your dog has an allergy to house dust mites.
House dust mites are the most common allergen in dogs. Very sensitive dogs with pink skin and white fur, will usually react to almost all allergens on top of the house dust mites, including flea bites, grass, pollen, animal proteins, wheat and dairy.
We appreciate that this website is primarily about plant-based dog food which is the ideal food to feed a sensitive dog as it can contain NONE of the top allergens found in dog food. These top allergens are beef, dairy, chicken products and wheat, and to a lesser degree soy, lamb, pork, fish, and corn
This Blog post is to make you the dog owner aware of another top allergen that is found on dry dog food (not in it), and that is storage mites. According to a veterinary article published in October 2019,
“Dogs with year-round atopic dermatitis are often sensitive to Dermatophagoides house dust mites. Storage mites are known to grow on cereal-rich foods. Tyrophagus storage mites can exacerbate clinical signs of allergy in laboratory dogs sensitised to house dust mites. Consequently, itchy atopic dogs with high-levels of house dust mite antibodies are likely to have a flare of signs after eating a food contaminated with storage mites; the development of such flares would lead to a false positive diagnosis of a food allergy. “
How prevalent are storage mites?
According to the same article: – “We searched two databases on January 25, 2019 for articles providing original information on the growth of storage mites on commercial dog foods. Storage mites, especially Tyrophagus putrescentiae, can multiply on protein- and fat-rich dog foods. The population growth is higher when the initial mite density is high and when kibbles are crushed. When storage conditions lead to the overgrowth of moulds on the kibbles, the mite proliferation is higher. Storage mites do not bore holes in food packages but invade bags via defective seals. In the field, storage mite contamination usually is undetectable in newly-opened commercial dog foods, and, if present, their number is low. When newly-purchased bags are stored in temperate conditions indoors, little overgrowth—if any—of storage mites occurs. However, when kept in environmental conditions with higher temperature and humidity, Tyrophagus mites will enter and proliferate in sealed food packages.”
What can be done if you have an itchy dog all year round?
Get veterinary treatment in the form of Cytopoint monthly injections. These injections, are NOT cortisone based and have very few side effects as they act directly on the ‘itch cells’ compared to other forms of treatment such as Apoquel and cortisone that have many harmful side-effects.
Use oral treatment (tablets from your vet) to worm and flea and reduce mites in your sensitive pet. Natural treatments will not be strong enough if you have an allergic dog, and we DO NOT advise any of the spot-on or flea collar treatments as they are extremely harmful to our natural insect population that we so desperately need to protect. Always clear away any faeces passed by your dog immediately for 3 days after worming/flea treatment as flies lay their eggs in dog faeces and again we need to protect our natural world.
The BEST solution for our very itchy dogs, is to feed homemade food where you can exclude ALL of the top allergens as you choose the ingredients; and there is no issue with storage mites in homemade foods. If you do not have the time to homecook, then we recommend Hownd’s Pumpkin and Quinoa Casserole.
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