My Dog Is Really Itchy – Will A Vegan Diet Help?

For dogs with sensitivities, the SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE way of eliminating ALL of the common allergens is by feeding a healthy and complete vegan dog food diet with NO animal...

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My Dog Is Really Itchy – Will A Vegan Diet Help?
An allergic dog that suffers from itchy skin and ears who is constantly scratching and chewing their paws is just awful. I know as I have personally had my own black family Labrador who suffered from a life of itching and yeasty smelly skin and how I wish as a vet I knew what I know now as a vegan vet, as she would have had a very different life!
Lewis Hamilton chooses to feed his adored Bulldog Roscoe a fresh wholefood vegan diet (he lives in America and buys wholefood fresh vegan dog food Bramble). Lewis Hamilton had this to say when he transitioned Roscoe - "His coat is much softer, his swollen itchy paws have healed up, he is no longer limping with pain of arthritis and his breathing has opened up."

Bulldogs and dogs with white coats and sensitive pink skin, tend to be more prone to skin infections, sore paws, ear infections and secondary yeast problems. Sometimes these symptoms are also accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping which dramatically reduces your dog’s quality of life.

Food allergies tend to develop in young dogs however they can appear in older dogs too. Generally these dogs have been fed the same food over a period of time with no adverse effects and then your dog suddenly starts to get itchy…it can all be a bit confusing and we are here to help you!

Most common food allergens
  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
2nd most common food allergens
  • Soya
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Corn 

Dogs being fed a healthy balanced plant-based diet with none of the top allergens found in the food (beef, dairy, wheat, lamb, egg, chicken, soya, pork, corn and fish) will stop scratching as these proteins can be fully eliminated from the diet if they are the cause of the allergy. 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 very itchy ears and ear infections.

Cross-reactivity is common in dogs, so if your pet is allergic to beef, they will very likely be allergic to bison or venison. Similarly if allergic to chicken, they will react to duck, turkey and pheasant.

There is nothing more worrying than having your dog constantly itching, scratching and uncomfortable. They are more prone to skin infections, ear infections and secondary yeast problems if the scratching is not kept fully under control and none of us want to see our dogs in pain.

Veterinary Dermatology Article showing main food allergens in dogs

Veterinary Dermatology article

What is fairly clear is that food intolerances and allergies with a compromised immune system and combined with an imbalanced microbiome are at the heart of the cause. Your dog has probably been treated with antibiotics and cortisone in the past, all of which compromise their delicate immunity and unbalance their gut microbiome.



For dogs with sensitivities, the SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE way of eliminating ALL of the common allergens is by feeding a healthy and complete vegan dog food diet with NO animal proteins or animal products at all. A complete plant-based diet is 100% safe and your dog can thrive on it for their whole life. So you don’t need to worry about elimination trials or experimenting with different proteins.

Dr Sue Paterson M.A. VetMB. DVD DipECVD FRCVS“A balanced plant-based diet is a good choice for a truly novel protein diet when food trialling dogs with potential cutaneous adverse food reactions.
They are often more palatable than hydrolysed protein diets and dogs with an intolerance can be maintained on a complete diet indefinitely.” - Veterinary Dermatology Specialist Dr Sue Paterson M.A. VetMB. DVD DipECVD FRCVS


Solo Vegetal hypoallergenic dog foodDr Sue Paterson M.A. VetMB. DVD DipECVD FRCVS is one of the first dermatology vet specialists to import Solo Vegetal from Italy specifically to treat dogs with a truly novel protein diet for use on her Virtual Vetderms website. It is the one food that is now sold in veterinary practices throughout the UK due to her influence.


The aim is to transition your dogs so that their diet no longer contains any triggering ingredients. As a result, their skin should heal and in many cases dogs are able to come off long term medications such as steroids (cortisone), Apoquel and Atopica which is great news!

We recommend that you slowly transition your dog’s diet and then monitor their skin condition to see the improvements over subsequent months.

If you supplement your dog’s diet with natural Omega 3 Algae oil this will help restore and protect their valuable skin barrier function, particularly if they have been scratching and chewing their paws (atopy).


Old dog licking paws with atopy


For dogs that suffer with atopy and are intolerant to certain foods as well as environmental allergens such as dust, a diet full of vibrant colourful vegetables with NO soya, wheat, animal proteins, yeast or corn is ideal such as Give A Dog A Bean.

Read the science here showing how a healthy gut microbiome from fresh plant-based sources feeds a healthy protective skin in your dog.

Dry food or kibble diets are designed to have long shelf lives and as a result they can carry storage mites. An atopic, itchy dog with a house dust mite allergy may therefore have a reaction to dry dog food in general. Tinned dog food such as Give A Dog A Bean, or home cooking is the best option if your dog has such a severe house dust mite allergy (the most common allergy that we see in dogs).

We advise keeping any dry food away from your pet and the area they sleep in. Freeze it first in batches and then transfer to a sealed plastic container to reduce the risk of a reaction if your dog only likes dry food as tis prevents any exposure to storage mites in the dry food.

Interestingly, the foil packaging around Solo Vegetal dry food seems to protect it the best from being affected by storage mites compared to all the other dry foods available.

The best solution for dogs with environmental allergies to pollen, house dust and grass, is to remove the offending allergen everyday from your dog’s fur and paws. The easiest way to do this, especially after they have been out; is to wipe wherever they scratch and lick with soothing gently medicated CLX wipes. We sell CLX Wipes cheaper than anywhere else!!!

Add in a pack of CLX Wipes when you next buy your dog’s food. They are impregnated with mild antibacterial and soothing medication and should be used daily to wipe away contact allergens such as pollen, grass and dust mites from your dog’s fur.

Use them daily and save money by cutting them into 4 to make the pack last longer as shown below. Sweet Georgie the German Shepherd (read all about Georgie's amazing transformation here) loves having her itchy paws wiped daily (see video below) 🙂

What else do we sell to help your itchy dog?


Allergone Mite Spray

Allergone is a new and innovative safe spray that neutralises the allergens of house-dust mites. It reduces exposure to house-dust allergens and helps to reduce skin reactions with dogs sensitive to dust and mites.

It forms a polymer film that glues tiny dust particles together to form larger particles to stop them floating in the air. The aggregated allergens can then be removed easily by conventional cleaning. It is effective for up to 5 months after application, with controlled release of its active ingredients due to slow-release technology.

Allergone has been tested and approved in the EU so although not a natural product, it is perfectly safe compared to other mite sprays available. Buy Allergone here.


Dermoscent Essential 6 is the quick solution to efficiently fight your dog’s dry skin, improving skin and coat health without having to bath them!

Dermoscent Essential 6 is scented in a way that respects your dog's natural scent, helps to reduce hair loss and aids in its growth, hydrates the skin and also combats dander (irritants on your dog's coat that cause allergic reactions). In addition, it restores the skin's immune system as it is a spot on full of natural Omega 6's and it leaves your dog's coat up to 80% more shiny with its natural plant-based ingredients. Buy Dermoscent packs of 6 spot ons here.


 We sell soothing shampoo bars formulated by dermatologist Dr Sue Paterson, and each contains aloe vera, oatmeal, turmeric and cinnamon.  

Each bar is pH balanced to minimise disruption of the natural skin microbiome.  All of the bars have a coconut and olive oil base which moisturises the skin to reduce water loss which is known to be important particularly in dogs prone to itchy skin conditions. 

Highly sustainable and long lasting with no plastic containers. Buy a soothing soap bar for you dog here.



At the end of the day vets are only human and like the rest of us, they will use what is familiar to them and advertised to them the most.

Therefore most vets will recommend doing a strict elimination diet for 2 – 3 months by feeding your dog ONLY hydrolysed diets such as hypoallergenic or anallergenic kibble. Or a vet might suggest you try a novel protein such as duck, deer, ostrich or fish.

Unfortunately all of the above foods still contain proteins in one form or another that can trigger allergies!

This makes it very difficult for owners to understand what is really causing their dog’s allergy. Most owners still need to give their dogs medication and end up spending a lot of money on expensive kibbles and medication without ever resolving the issue long term.

Additionally dogs cannot be maintained on hydrolysed prescription diets indefinitely as they tend to be low in protein and very processed (Purina HA contains pure sugar as one of its ingredients!).

Sadly vets do not have the wealth of nutritional knowledge we wish they had however things are changing! More veterinary practices are learning about alternative, more effective diets which is why there is a growing demand for brands such as Solo Vegetal, Omni Sensitivity, Give A Dog A Bean -  all plant-based diets formulated by vets specifically for allergic dogs!

Dr Arielle Griffiths BVSc MRCVS

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