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Learn : Dog Allergies

Miniature Schnauzers with Skin Allergies


The Miniature Schnauzer is the breed who has it all: an energetic and affectionate personality with a dose of humor, all wrapped up in a small package. Unfortunately, the one thing this dog doesn’t have is immunity to skin allergies. Many of these allergic reactions develop from genetic conditions, environmental conditions or food intolerances. 

Type of Coat

This terrier breed has a double coat: the top coat is wiry and stiff while the undercoat is softer and catches loose hair. The Miniature Schnauzer sheds minimally, making him an excellent canine choice for families with allergies. Brush your Mini Schnauzer two to three times weekly to prevent mats from forming, especially in areas with longer hair such as the face and legs. 

Your Mini Schnauzer’s double coat can make it difficult to see any redness, rashes or sores that may result from an allergic reaction or skin inflammation. Grooming your dog regularly will give you the chance to check his skin and stay on top of any allergic reactions.

Susceptibility to Skin Issues

The Miniature Schnauzer is prone to developing genetic and environmental allergies that can result in atopic dermatitis. Skin allergies in Mini Schnauzers can also be caused by food intolerances. With food allergies, the dog’s body reacts poorly to certain foods and the inflammatory response appears in various forms on the skin. These forms range from oily skin to lesions to flaky or crusty skin.

If your Mini Schnauzer is frequently or excessively itching and chewing at areas of his body, or rubbing his face against objects, he may be suffering from skin allergies. Without treatment, your dog may eventually cause damage such as lesions, hot spots and open wounds. Often, these skin conditions become breeding grounds for secondary bacterial and yeast infections.

Your dog may also show susceptibility to ear infections as a result of skin allergies. The Mini Schnauzer can be prone to this condition, so check your dog’s ears frequently for odor, dirtiness, redness or open sores, especially if your dog commonly scratches at them. These may be signs of an ear infection that will need to be remedied as soon as possible.

The Connection Between Skin and Food Allergies

Atopic dermatitis goes hand in hand with food and skin allergies. Often, Miniature Schnauzers who suffer from environmental allergies, such as dust mites, pollens, and grasses, are prone to developing a food allergy as well. 

A primary animal protein source is responsible for most food allergies. Typically, beef and chicken are the sources that provoke most allergic reactions; however, some dogs are also allergic to fish, milk, corn, soy and eggs. Many dogs with food allergies also suffer from a negative gastrointestinal response as well as skin inflammation.

Treatment Options

  1. Inexpensive skin products such as sprays, balms and shampoos can provide temporary relief from the itching and rashes associated with skin allergies. 
  2. Organic, hypoallergenic topical sprays or creams can soothe hot spots and skin lesions. 
  3. Shampoos that are organic, sulfate-free and hypoallergenic, and which have added anti-inflammatories like aloe vera, can also calm irritated and itchy skin.
  4. For more severe cases, speak with your veterinarian about medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids to better manage the inflammations.

Because blood tests are still unreliable, the best way to determine if your Mini Schnauzer is suffering from a food allergy is to put him on an elimination diet. The effective food to use for this test is a fresh food diet with single-ingredient or limited sources; this approach will provide the most accurate test results. Here are the steps to follow for an effective elimination diet:

  1. For eight weeks, feed your Miniature Schnauzer a single-ingredient or limited food that she has not eaten previously. 
  2. The fresh food elimination diet must include the following: single sources of animal protein, carbohydrate calories and vegetable protein, such as peas and rabbit or lamb and sweet potatoes. Avoid feeding your dog any foods that have unidentified proteins or natural flavors as these sources can disrupt test results.
  3. Make sure your Miniature Schnauzer does not have any table food, treats, supplements or flavored medications during the eight weeks. Any of these sources can interfere with the test.
  4. After eight weeks, slowly move your dog back to his normal diet, and carefully monitor him for any sign of allergies.

Consider adding a probiotic to your Mini Schnauzer’s diet as an additional tool to manage food and skin allergies. Research shows that probiotics can effectively help manage or eliminate skin and food allergies by strengthening your dog’s immune system.

How Fresh Food Can Help

Dry commercial kibble often lacks the healthy fats and essential fatty acids that are critical to your dog’s well-being. A fresh food diet will help address your Mini Schnauzer’s food and skin allergies by providing whole, clean nutrition to fight inflammation. Fresh food diets include minerals like essential amino acids, B-vitamin complexes and zinc, all of which support your dog’s immune system.

Consider these suggestions to manage your Miniature Schnauzer’s allergies through his diet:


Coat Color Changes

Dietary Needs and Adjustments

Increase amino acids which can be found in  protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories); use our calculator to convert a label percentage to the caloric basis (grams per 1000 calories)

Concurrent GI Signs

Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial

Chronic Itching and Dermatitis

Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial

Dull Coat and Scaling

Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc

Dandruff and Crustiness

Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels

About Nom Nom

Our fresh food diets are made with your dog’s health and happiness in mind and are delivered to your home in perfectly portioned packages.

Nom Nom’s fresh food diets include Nutrient Mix, which gives your Mini Schnauzer an extra boost of immune system support. The Nutrient Mix contains selenium, magnesium, and zinc for immune health and strength, and Vitamins A and E for healthy skin and coat. 

  1. Youn, H., Kang, H., Bhang, D., Kim, M., Hwang, C., Han, H. (2002). Allergens Causing Atopic Diseases in Canine. J. Vet. Sci., 3 (4), 335-341. Retrieved from
  2. Kawano, K., Oumi, K., Ashida, Y., Horiuchi, Y., Mizuno, T. (2013). Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences, 16 (4), 735-739. Retrieved from
  3. Tapp, T., Griffin, C., Rosenkrantz, W., Muse, R., Boord, M. (2002). Comparison of a Commercial Limited-Antigen Diet Versus Home-Prepared Diets in the Diagnosis of Canine Adverse Food Reaction. Veterinary Therapeutics, 3 (3), 244-251. Retrieved from

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