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Pembroke Welsh Corgis with Skin Allergies

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Pembroke Welsh Corgis are bold and low-set dogs that are full of energy, incredibly smart, and very perceptive. Often noted for their short legs, in welsh, corgi literally means dwarf (cor) dog (gi).1 These dogs love people, and people love these dogs as they are an incredibly popular breed.2 Originally bred to herd cattle and sheep, now more commonly found as lively household companions. Some Pembrokes even find their way into royalty, as Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most notable fans of this breed.2

Type of Coat

Pembroke Welsh Corgis have short but thick weatherproof double coats, which is great for withstanding the everlasting rainy conditions of their country of origin, Wales!1 A coarse outer coat protects the softer lighter undercoat, but this does lead to semi-frequent shedding, but weekly brushing should help significantly with this.2 A Pembroke can have a wide range of colors, from their classic auburn to black and tan, often with a white underside.  

Susceptibility to Skin Allergies

The thick double coat of Pembroke Welsh Corgis is very protective in many ways but can also be a trap for allergens. Corgis are prone to skin allergies more than many other breeds, so it is important to help keep them clean and minimize their exposure to potential allergens including, shampoos, pollen, grass, carpets, and even some food. When Corgis do catch an itch, they’re notorious for biting and licking that spot until hair loss occurs.3 Another condition that frequently affects Pembrokes is known as dermatomyositis, which is an inflammatory condition of the skin and muscles, most often caused by genetics but could also be from external sources.4,5

Allergy Locations

Hair loss can be a telltale sign of the location of an itch on a corgi because they pull the hair off themselves via licking and biting at the irritation. Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin disease resulting in itchy red skin, is known to frequently develop in Pembrokes from exposure to these allergens. In Pembrokes, atopic dermatitis often manifests around the ears, on the legs and underside, on the nose, and around the eyes.6  Furthermore, signs of dermatomyositis can also include hair loss, often seen around the eyes and lips, on the ears, and on the end of the tail.7 

Causes of Skin Allergies

For one, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are thought to be more genetically prone to skin allergies and the subsequent development of atopic dermatitis.6 However, simply put, the exposure to known environmental or food allergens can also be the source of the allergic skin reaction. Common environmental allergens include dust, pollen, grass, and ingredients in shampoos/household chemicals.3 Alternatively, hair loss and irritation can also result from non-allergic reactions including bacterial or viral infections, exposure to parasites such as fleas and ticks, malnutrition, or other diseases (i.e., dermatomyositis).3,4 

Treatment Options

For starters, exposure to known allergens should be minimized. Keep your house and carpets clean, and try using hypoallergenic or anti-itch shampoos. Being outside and getting exercise is important, but be mindful of what your Corgi is getting into and how much direct sun exposure they are getting, as it may worsen skin irritations.7

Further treatment options include injections of known allergens to help decrease sensitivity. Inflammation reducing medicines, such as corticosteroids, which can be given orally or as a topical cream. Antihistamines, allergy relief medications, to relieve itchiness and associated symptoms of allergies. Immunosuppressants, such as cyclosporine, as a pill, ointment, or spray for longer-term or large areas of skin allergies.8

Dietary management, improved nutrition, can also be a valid treatment option for Corgi skincare. Guaranteeing a well-balanced diet is one way to be sure malnutrition is not the reason for irritation and hair loss.3,6 Additionally, many dietary supplements are gaining popularity as a treatment option for skin and coat health in dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, are especially proving to be useful for reducing skin itchiness, improving coat quality, and alleviating symptoms of atopic dermatitis in dogs.

Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities can also be the source of your Pembroke’s skin irritation and discomfort. Often times it is hard to tell if the reaction stems from food sources or environmental ones. However, one way to help determine if food is the culprit of your Pembroke’s discomfort, is with a dog elimination diet lasting at least 8 weeks.10 If an adverse reaction to food is discovered via elimination diet or another method performed by your veterinarian, then avoiding that food altogether is essential in improving your Corgi’s symptoms. Make sure you discuss your Corgi’s diet with a veterinarian to ensure nutritional completeness is still met while also treating your dog’s skin allergies.  

Key Ingredients to Fight Allergies

As mentioned, a balanced diet is one way to help your Pembroke get everything it needs to maintain healthy skin and coat, manage inflammation, and keep from feeling itchy. Protein and many key amino acids are crucial ingredients to making sure your Corgi's hair and skin stay strong. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been shown to be helpful in reducing skin inflammation and itchiness.11 Furthermore, several vitamins and minerals key in maintaining skin health include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, copper, and zinc.11 Newer research is also highlighting the addition of probiotics to your dog’s food to combat allergies. 

Consider these dietary suggestions to help combat your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s skin allergies: 

Condition

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, and 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

How Fresh Food Can Help

No one diet can help every dog, but knowing exactly what is in your Pembroke’s food can, which is where fresh food comes into play. Balanced with all the key ingredients mentioned above, to ensure optimal nutrition to keep skin inflammation and itchiness in check, and keep your Pembroke’s coat thick and shiny. With simpler ingredients, you can see and name, sneaky food allergens are less likely to go undetected. Commercial pet foods can have vague labels and do not have manufacturing regulations, which can allow for contamination and unknown allergens. Fresh food produced in clean conditions, may be a safer alternative for dogs with adverse food reactions and skin allergies. 

One way to get fresh food is to obviously make it yourself. Unfortunately, this can be labor-intensive, and not everybody has the time, the means, or the background to ensure it is nutritionally wholesome. 

About Nom Nom

Nom Nom helps fresh food become accessible, crafting specialty diets for your Corgi delivered weekly to your door. With an emphasis on quality and purity, Corgi owners can sit back and let Nom Nom do the work to ensure their dog gets the best nutritionally balanced meal free of unknown additives and contaminants. They won’t even use organ meat in their recipes because it can contain toxins and unpredictable nutrient compositions.

Sometimes protein type can be the source of adverse food reactions and skin allergies in Corgis. Not to worry, because Nom Nom offers a plethora of veterinary-formulated recipe options. This further provides your Corgi with variety and excitement in their individually portioned meals. Additionally, all meals provided by Nom Nom contain the Nutrient Mix which ensures a balanced nutrient composition, securing a complete and fresh meal for your Corgi, everytime.  

  1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi Dog Breed - Facts and Traits | Hill’s Pet. Hill’s Pet Nutrition Available at: https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/dog-breeds/welsh-corgi-pembroke. (Accessed: 30th August 2019)
  2. admin. Pembroke Welsh Corgi. American Kennel Club (2017). Available at: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pembroke-welsh-corgi/. (Accessed: 30th August 2019)
  3. Hair Loss in a Corgi. Available at: https://pets.thenest.com/hair-loss-corgi-5844.html. (Accessed: 31st August 2019)
  4. Blanchard, C. Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Carson Veterinary Clinic (2016). Available at: https://www.carsonvet.com/services/dogs/breeds/pembroke-welsh-corgi. (Accessed: 31st August 2019)
  5. Inflammation of the Skin, Muscle, and Blood Vessels in Dogs | petMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_dg_dermatomyositis. (Accessed: 31st August 2019)
  6. Atopic Dermatitis/Allergies – Cardigan Welsh Corgi Health Foundation, Inc. Available at: https://cardiganhealth.com/research/immune/atopic-dermatitisallergies/. (Accessed: 4th September 2019)
  7. Dermatomyositis. vca_corporate Available at: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dermatomyositis. (Accessed: 31st August 2019)
  8. Atopic Dermatitis Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments | petMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_dg_atopic_dermatitis. (Accessed: 4th September 2019)
  9. Bauer, J. E. Therapeutic use of fish oils in companion animals. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 239, 1441–1451 (2011).
  10. Olivry, T., Mueller, R. S. & Prélaud, P. Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (1): duration of elimination diets. BMC Vet. Res. 11, 225 (2015).
  11. Diets and the Dermis: Nutritional Considerations in Dermatology | Today’s Veterinary Practice. Today’s Veterinary Practice (2017). Available at: https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/acvn-nutrition-notesdiets-dermis-nutritional-considerations-dermatology/. (Accessed: 4th September 2019)

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