Dog allergies: scratching the surface, or barking up the wrong tree

Understanding and managing your dog’s allergies is crucial for their well-being. At Phoenix Bark, we’re here to shed light on this topic and guide you through the journey of providing the best care for them.

Some of the common symptoms of allergies in dogs

  • Itching and Scratching
  • Red or Irritated Skin
  • Watery Eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing 
  • Ear Infections
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Poor quality coat
  • Swelling
  • Hives.
  • Scooting
  • Hot Spots

It’s important to note that these symptoms can be caused by various health issues, so maybe have a chat with your vet 🙂

🧐 Decoding dog allergies: food or environmental?

Determining whether your dog’s allergies are food-related or triggered by their environment can be challenging.

Here are key insights to help you navigate this a little more easily.

Food allergies

The causes of allergies – we’ll save our views on this for its own article…

Pinpointing food allergies in dogs involves a systematic approach. Consider eliminating all but one protein. Our turkey, lamb, or venison recipes are excellent choices. Gradually reintroduce new proteins to observe your dog’s reactions. 

Take care to limit all food sources, Barbara is a sneaky ninja – when we tried this with her we needed to stay one step ahead of her extra-grrrr-icular snacking plans!

Environmental allergies

Seasonal allergies are common in dogs, and a little easier to identify. However, consistent, year-round triggers… not so much. These may stem from airborne substances in your home or their surroundings, such as mites, mould, dust, outdoor pollution and cleaning products.

However and most importantly…

External symptoms are not always the best indicator of when the issues were likely set in motion. These may well be just the tip of the iceberg, a later domino in a chain triggered earlier… but by what?

Behind the scenes, your dog has a potentially compromised immune system, imbalanced digestive system, or perhaps even a sluggish liver.  It could well  have been silently escalating for months before the visible symptoms surfaced.

Healing from within: a unified approach

Regardless of whether the allergies are food-related or environmental, the path to healing remains the same. Follow this protocol to initiate positive changes:

Feed fresh wholefoods

You will simply not have much luck solving an immune system issue while your dog eats processed food. If your dog has digestive issues alongside a skin ailment please do contact us and we can support you to make a safe switch.

Fresh food has been shown in multiple studies to support the healing of skin conditions and inflammation in dogs, and even in the prevention of them*.

Processed foods hinder immune system issues. Switch to fresh, whole foods to support skin health and reduce inflammation.

Avoid toxic chemicals 

These put a strain on a dog’s immune system and detox system.  There are wonderful natural flea and tick repellants out there and you can titre test for vaccine efficacy status, consult your vet! 

Book a microbiome / ‘leaky gut’ test with a reputable company 

(We love Pet Biome (.org) in GB)

You may have read that balancing your dog’s microbiome or healing a ‘leaky gut’ is needed for dogs with immune system issues? Well you are right, however do not spend any money on any probiotic supplements until you have determined what is happening inside your dogs system and which specific good bacteria or supplements your dogs actually need.

You could purchase the most highly recommended probiotic in the world, but if your dog doesn’t need the certain types of bacteria it contains, it will not help them.

The immune system IS essentially the gut lining, so if this is under par in any way it will contribute to or cause skin issues whether labelled environmental or food based.

To help heal a leaky gut you can introduce these to the diet:

  1. Bone broth
  2. Raw goat milk kefir
  3. Slippery Elm & Marshmallow Root
  4. An L-Glutamine supplement (dosage – 227mg per 5kg)

Our new calcium source is from a sustainably sourced seaweed (extremely bioavailable), which actually helps repair leaky gut too!

Use a topical treatment that helps not hinders.

Green Clay powder and Lucaa+ spray.

Green Clay dusted on skin or put on as a paste. This is great as it’s safe if they like it off, in fact it will soothe them internally too.

Lucaa+ probiotic bacteria spray, designed to soothe and nourish the skin, promoting external renewal without removing beneficial bacteria.

Oh and lovely cooling Aloe Vera is wonderful too! Just very hard to buy without chemicals in it. If you have some growing at home use the gel from the actual plant. If not then Essican’s version has the least preservatives of all I have ever seen.

Recognise is yeast involved too?

Ears can usually smell a bit funky!

Yeast considerations

For dogs dealing with yeast issues, opt for a single protein with a prebiotic fibre like herbs, lentils, or seeds. Consider incorporating a Supergreen such as Wheatgrass instead of vegetables.. so although when our girl had a yeast infection Phoenix Bark was ok for her, it may not be for your dog. Wheatgrass*** is not wheat itself and when coupled with even a single protein meat source will provide essential Zinc, Vitamin E and vitamins that are needed for skin health. It is also anti-yeast. Include  Saccharomyces Boulardii.

How can we help?

At Phoenix Bark we personalise every plan for every dog that we feed. So we can help in your mission to get to the bottom of the causes of allergies that you see in your dog. So if you’re already a customer, just give Kathy a shout and we’ll help. If not, give our Taster Pack a whirl, see how you get on! If you let us know all about your dog(s), we’ll prepare a personalised plan, so that you can consider regular deliveries. And, it doesn’t matter if you’re a customer or not, we’re here to help every single dog that we can, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to have a natter about your dog’s allergies! 🙂


* We list five pivotal studies here, but many more are available.

A case-control study of risk factors for canine atopic dermatitis among boxer, bullterrier and West Highland white terrier dogs in Sweden.


Puppyhood diet as a factor in the development of owner-reported allergy/atopy skin signs in adult dogs in Finland. 10.1111/jvim.16211


Fresh food consumption increases microbiome diversity and promotes changes in bacteria composition of the skin of pet dogs compared to dry foods.


The effect of atopic dermatitis and diet on the skin transcriptome in Staffordshire bull terriers.


Effects of a whole food diet on immune function and inflammatory phenotype in healthy dogs: A randomized, open-labeled, cross-over clinical trial.

***Any Wheatgrass! It won’t be labelled for dogs. Overthinking can contribute to a dogs ailments, simply grab some today. 

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