Wintertime Itch — Is It Seasonal, Or A Food Allergy?


dog-1559746__340No doubt about it, for people and pets alike the winter season is rough on skin. The heat in our homes coupled with the cold temperatures and lower humidity dries out our skin, causing roughness and itchiness. While we humans can alleviate the discomfort with lots of creamy lotion, our pets aren’t so lucky. But there are things we can do to help our canine friends feel more comfortable if the itchiness is winter related. And if the scratching is not winter related, this season is a good time to rule out other causes of skin conditions, such as food allergies.


The moisture changes caused from going back and forth between forced heat and cold air can easily disrupt the balance of oils in a dog’s skin, and the resulting dryness causes the uncomfortable itching.

Excessive scratching can then lead to sores which may become infected, so it’s important to take steps to alleviate the itching if possible. Here are a few things to try:

  • Brushing improves circulation and stimulates the production of natural oils in your dog’s skin.
  • Limit baths, and when you do bathe your dog use a moisturizing shampoo formulated for sensitive skin.
  • Consider using a humidifier in the room where your dog spends the most time.

Food Allergies

If you’ve tried the above steps and your dog is still scratching just as much, you may want to test for food allergies. This is an ideal time because if a dog is itchy in the winter it’s much easier to rule out irritants like mosquito bites or pollen. A hypoallergenic food trial can identify your dog’s diet as the culprit of itchy skin conditions.

Canine food allergies affect up to 20% of all dogs, and are typically caused by a protein source in your dog’s diet. Ingredients such as dairy products, meat or fish can be problematic for some dogs. Common symptoms include itching and scratching, recurring ear infections, poor coat condition, sneezing or wheezing, and face rubbing or head shaking.

A food trial is the only sure way to test for canine food allergies. Consider switching to reputable products formulated specifically for allergies and food intolerance, and eliminate all other food sources for 12 weeks. The veterinarians at PetWellClinic® in Knoxville and Alcoa can evaluate your dog’s skin and coat and consult with you about which diet to try.

PetWellClinic partners with Knoxville Pet Food Company to offer the highest quality pet food at the lowest prices. We offer a variety of Hill’s® products for allergen free or sensitive digestive care diets, Purina Pro Plan Select for sensitive skin and stomach, and HA Hypoallergenic® canine formulas all at discounted prices.

Whether the cause of your dog’s incessant scratching is seasonal or dietary, itchy dry skin is just no fun. Getting to the root cause will help your pooch finally feel — literally — comfortable in his own skin.

By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for treatment of minor issues such as skin conditions, safe flea and tick preventative products, vaccinations, and wellness exams — with quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours, with no appointment necessary.

PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa,TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.



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