Anti-Itch Dog Food for a German Shepherd

by Susan Leisure, Demand Media
    German shepherds are more susceptible to food allergies than many other breeds.

    German shepherds are more susceptible to food allergies than many other breeds.

    If your German shepherd can't stop scratching, the cause may lie in your dog's food. German shepherds are more prone to food allergies than many other breeds, so understand food allergies and supplements is important in helping your German shepherd feel less itchy.

    Understand the Cause

    The first step in alleviating your German shepherd's itchy skin is determining the cause of the irritation. The most common cause of itching in dogs is fleas. Be sure your dog is on flea prevention, and check carefully for signs of flea infestations. For dogs with a flea allergy, even just one flea bite can irritate the skin and changing your dog's diet won't make much of a difference. If no fleas are present, move on to other common causes of skin irritation, including food allergies.

    Eliminate Common Allergens

    German shepherds are particularly prone to developing food allergies. Symptoms of food allergies often include chronic infection of the dog's skin. If your dog is always itchy, but doesn't have fleas, it's time to read the label on your dog's food. The most common allergens are beef, chicken, dairy, corn, wheat and soy. Try switching your dog to a limited ingredient, grain-free food with a novel protein that your dog has never had, like duck. You might also try switching your dog to a raw diet. If your dog's itchy skin is caused by environmental allergens, the higher-quality diet will be beneficial in fighting those allergic responses, too.

    Add Supplements

    The best supplements to add to your German shepherd's diet to help with itchy skin are omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have significant anti-inflammatory properties, and have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of immune responses, including skin irritation. Omega-3 fats are found primarily in fish oil and flaxseed oil. If you feed your dog a high-quality fish-based food, he is likely getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. If your dog's food is primarily any other protein, consider adding an omega-3 supplement.

    Prepare Your Dog's Food at Home

    If your dog's skin irritations are severe, you may want to consider preparing her food at home. This way you can completely control the ingredients. Whether you choose a raw or cooked diet, be sure that you are avoiding common allergens and using organic fruits and vegetables and proteins free of hormones and antibiotics. Consult your vet before starting a homemade diet.

    About the Author

    Susan Leisure is the director of an animal welfare organization and owner of a holistic pet supply store in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a master's degree from Emory University, and is currently completing a degree in clinical pet nutrition.

    Photo Credits

    • German Shepherd image by Terraina Lambert from Fotolia.com