What is it?
Canine skin conditions like itching, redness, bald spots, rashes, etc. are among the most frequent medical problems dog owners face. The cause can be anything from a fungal infection to a drug reaction, so your first step should always be to consult your vet.
What to know
When other causes have been ruled out, many dog owners find themselves left with food allergies or poor nutrition as the potential offenders. In that case, your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist will likely recommend an elimination diet to help pinpoint which foods make your dog’s skin condition worsen.
The starting point is an ultra simple diet with just one or two ingredients, including a protein source you know your dog has never had before, for example rabbit, ostrich, goat, duck, venison, moose, or white fish. The carbohydrate source should also be new to your dog. You might try sweet potato, sorghum, barley, or oats.
Once your dog’s skin is at least 50 percent improved—this may take several months—you can then start adding foods back into his diet, one ingredient at a time.
Homemade or store-bought?
Either route is an option. Feeding your dog home-prepared food from fresh produce and meat is the surest way to eliminate all additives and byproducts of processing. However, the cost and time involved may be prohibitive, in which case you can opt for one of the many good commercial canned wet or frozen foods on the market.