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Your dog won’t stop scratching? Time to look at their diet…

Your dog won’t stop scratching? Time to look at their diet…

As responsible pet owners, we understand that nutrition plays an essential role in our canine companions leading a long, happy and healthy life. But did you know that feeding your dog a poor-quality diet can lead to health problems such as itchy skin?

Skin problems can be caused by external sources, true, but many are caused by what is going on internally.

Feeding your dog cheap commercial food can result in a weakened immune system, which in turn can cause problems with the skin and coat.

It’s all about the ingredients
Most commercial dog foods have some sort of grain as their main ingredient. This isn’t the lovely sweet and juicy corn us humans enjoy, or the same quality as the wheat in our breakfast cereal.

Not only that, when was the last time you saw a dog happily munching away in a field of corn? A dog’s digestive system is not designed to digest grain, it’s just not natural!

Grains are cheap which is why they make up a bulk of commercial foods. However, they don’t provide our four-legged friends with the correct oils and nutrients for a glossy coat and healthy skin. On top of this, grain is amongst the most common foods when it comes to allergies for dogs.

A lot of commercial dog foods contain very little meat and the likelihood is; the meat they do contain often comprises of meat derivatives or by-products. These can be parts of any animal and not fit for human consumption such as the intestines, feet, ears, blood and bones.

As you could guess, the nutritional value of these animal parts is poor, depriving your dog of sustenance. This can weaken a dog’s immune system and make them more susceptible to problems, such as skin allergies.

Do we want quality or value?
As you’ll now know buying poor quality, commercial food for your dog can have a detrimental effect on their skin and overall health. So why is it these commercial dog food brands continue to be so successful?

Here at Devoted, we decided to find out what people really prioritise when it comes to dog food. Is it quality, or its price?

We asked over 600 people in the UK if it was price or quality that they looked for when buying dog food - non-dog owner’s answers were included in the ‘others’ category.

Our research found that an overwhelming majority of dog owners (69.5%) said that quality was more important than price when buying dog food. So why is it that so many people still opt for low quality, cheap food?

There are 3 main reasons dog owners continue to purchase low-quality, grain-based foods for their pets:
 
Lack of understanding
Many dog owners are unaware of the content of inferior, grain-based foods. Even though the product states it’s a “chicken dinner” it can have as little as 4% chicken included in the ingredients.
There is also a lack of understanding when it comes to the damage a poor-quality diet can do to a dog. Along with internal problems feeding a cheap grain-based food can have a significant impact on our best friend’s skin causing it to be dry and itchy.

Clever Marketing
The large companies which produce poor, grain-based dog foods have huge marketing budgets. Adverts with happy pooches running about in the picture of health, well-worded taglines such as complete, nutritious and balanced combine to make consumers feel they are giving their pet the best possible diet. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

Cost
Price can play an important part in which food we choose to feed to our pet, but it shouldn’t. Feeding your dog a cheap grain-based food will almost definitely result in more pricy trips to the vet. Although more expensive grain free alternatives may not seem cost-effective, they tend to have a higher calorific count. This means you don’t have to feed as much as a non-grain free food, therefore making it cost effective.

They will also prevent problems such as itchy skin from occurring; saving money on expensive vet bills.

Combatting itchy skin and allergies

We all want to do the best for our canine companions when they’re itching and uncomfortable, and the good news is you can.

There are many things that you can do to help your pet when it comes to itchy skin. Using natural extracts and ground oatmeal in baths or shampoo’s is an age-old way of combatting itchy skin and can be very effective in soothing your dog’s ailment.
However, at the end of the day diet plays a huge role in the health of your dog’s skin. Getting your dog’s diet spot on is the best way to not just combat, but irradiate skin conditions.

Providing your dog with a natural, grain-free diet can help alleviate any allergies or intolerances that are often the cause of itchy skin. For dogs who routinely suffer with allergies or food intolerances then a hypoallergenic/grain free diet should be explored.