Healthy Skin: Improving the Skin Barrier

Dogs with AD have skin that is more ‘leaky’. Their skin barrier doesn’t function properly, allowing allergens to enter and trigger an immune response. Strategies to improve the skin barrier function can help treat the underlying cause of the disease rather than just treating the symptoms. This is an important part of managing allergies.

Supplements can provide vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to maintain normal skin barrier structure and function.

Common supplement ingredients for skin health include:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3 (essential fatty acids)
  • Probiotics

They may be included in an allergy-friendly diet or be added separately using liquids, treats, or powders.

Supplement FAQs

The videos below answer some common questions about using supplements to manage allergies.

How should I introduce supplements into my dog’s diet?

Which supplement brands do vets recommend?

Which supplements should I avoid?

There are two main ways to introduce supplements to your dog’s diet. One is to choose a diet with them included, while the other is to buy them separately. Because nutrition is so complex, most people add supplements to a diet that already suits their dog. However, you do need to be careful not to do both – there’s a risk that they ‘cancel each other out’ or even cause an overdose.

If you’re adding supplements separately, they normally come in chew, powder, or liquid form. Follow the dosing instructions on the label. In many cases, it’s worth starting slowly and building them up – most suggest using a half dose for a couple of days to avoid stomach upset.

Topical skin care

As well as improving skin health from the inside out, there are also some strategies you can use to improve skin health from the outside. These help the skin barrier to function correctly, like doctors recommending creams for eczema.

Most of these products are non-prescription, but it’s usually a good idea to get a go-ahead from your vet first.

Scroll through the images to find out more about the topical skin care options for dogs with allergies

  • Shampoos containing emollients e.g. Allermyl can help moisturise the skin
  • Antiseptic sprays, shampoos and ear cleaners can help reduce the number of bacteria and yeasts on the skin
  • Colloidal oatmeal products can help to moisturise the skin, relieving itch and redness.