Skin issues with our dogs is one of the most common reasons our dogs visit the veterinarian. Atopy/allergy derived dermatological problems ( or environmental skin allergies) are challenging to diagnose the root cause. The good news, however, is adding in fresh, whole foods into your pets diet can have a significant impact.
A study from the University of Helsinki (HERE) found that changing a pet's diet to only 20% fresh, whole foods had a beneficial change to the pet's immune system and symptoms were greatly reduced. Only 20%! It's a misconception that moving to a fresh, whole food diet is an all or nothing proposition. This is not the case. Simple changes can have a real impact.
In this study, adding in fresh protein, raw vegetable anti-oxidant rich greens and berries, resulted in reducing the skin problems for the young dogs in the study with atopy/allergy issues whereas highly processed commercial dry diets tended to increase the skin issues.
The 20% Solution
Adding in fresh foods can help our dogs of any age, whether they are puppies, adults or seniors. Making a few changes in the diet by adding in moisture-rich bone broth, raw goat milk, raw super greens and replacing only 20% or 1/5 of their dry diet can help with improving their skin, digestion, joint health and, especially for our senior dogs, their cognitive functions.
So, just like we're encouraged to add more fresh, whole foods into our diet, we should be doing the same for our animals and it's not as daunting as you'd think. If you feed your dog 2 cups of food a day - that's like replacing the calories in a 1/2 cup each day with moisture-rich whole foods including fresh protein options. That's really pretty easy to do.
The key is to make the change BEFORE you have issues. It's always better to be on the offensive side of our health rather than trying to solve our health issues defensively. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or in this case, 20% of prevention...