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Rottweilers with Skin Allergies

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The rottweiler is a confident, smart, and large dog. Males can get up to around 135lbs, while females aren’t far behind at 100lbs! While rottweilers can make loyal and loving family companions, they require extensive training and socialization, so are recommended to those with the time and experience to properly raise this dog. Rottweilers sport a strong and muscular build, and with proper training, they can be brave, loyal, and playful companions.1 Many rottweilers are unaware of their large size and are often convinced they make great lap dogs.1 One of the most historic and ancient breeds, their history dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, working with livestock and as guardians.1 Nearing extinction in the 1800s when their original roles were replaced by cattle cars and smaller dogs, modern day working rottweilers have transitioned into roles including police dogs, guard dogs, and guide dogs.1   

Type of Coat

Unlike other breeds, rottweilers do not offer much variation in their coat color, sporting a mainly black coat with tan-rust markings.1 A short, dense, flat, and coarse outercoat covers the entirety of the rottweiler, with an undercoat existing around the neck and thighs.1 Their coat is easy to maintain, requiring only weekly brushing and the occasional bath. Shedding is moderate, and often more intense in the spring and fall, as they lighten their coat for the summer or put on their protective coat for the winter.1

Susceptibility to Skin Allergies

Rottweilers, as a breed, are genetically more susceptible to a variety of skin conditions including eczema, folliculitis, atopic dermatitis, seborrhea, and skin allergies. When it comes to skin allergies, contact, inhalent, and food allergens could all be the source of their discomfort.4 While a true food allergy in dogs is rare, rottweilers appear to suffer from food allergies and sensitivities more than other breeds.4 Rottweilers are known to have sensitive stomachs, so bland hypoallergenic diets that still meet their high protein requirements, are often recommended.4 Rottweilers have been found to be sensitive to turkey, chicken, beef, dairy, fillers and grains, and food additives and colorants.4,3 

Allergy Locations

When your rottweiler experiences a skin reaction to an allergen whether it be contact, inhalant, or food, they’re going to scratch it. Skin allergies manifest as dry, itchy, red skin leaving your rottweiler biting, scratching, and chewing at their skin and paws.3 Depending on the allergen source, sometimes the location of the skin reaction can allude to the allergen itself, especially when contact allergens are the culprit, so take note of what your rottweiler is getting into!3 It is important to examine found skin allergies locations on your rottweiler, as scratching at them increases risk of additional complications including infections. Finally, rottweilers are highly susceptible to atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition that can be caused by allergies. Common locations of dry itchy inflamed skin included around the face and ears, joints, underside, and paws.6

Causes of Skin Allergies 

The diet your rottweiler consumes and the environment in which they live, can all lead to skin allergies. More so than other breeds, rottweilers are particularly susceptible to dietary skin reactions with common culprits including protein source, high levels of animal fat, spices, and grains and fillers.3 Additionally, they have a higher protein requirement than other breeds, and nutritionally inadequate diets can also result in skin problems.4 However, contact and environmental allergens including pollen, dust, cleaning agents, grooming products, and even plastics have been noted as skin irritants. Rottweilers can also experience skin allergies as a result of fleas, so flea prevention methods are imperative.4

Treatment Options

If you suspect that your rottweiler is suffering from skin allergies, it is important to take them to a veterinarian. As a breed, rottweilers have sensitive stomachs and are also known to suffer from colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), both of which can have parallel symptoms to dietary skin allergies.2 Additionally, rottweilers can suffer from other skin conditions, which manifest similarly to skin allergies, including eczema, folliculitis, and seborrhea. Proper diagnosis of your rottweilers discomfort, is crucial for proper treatment to occur.

Additionally, since rottweilers can be affected by seasonal and contact allergens, it is helpful to keep a clean house, use hypoallergenic products, and wipe them down after being outdoors.3 Further, plastic has been recognized as a potential contact allergen in rottweilers, so switching their water and food into stainless steel or glass bowls can help to eliminate this.2

Furthermore, since rottweilers frequently experience food sensitivities, adding variety, especially in protein sources has been recommended to combat dietary skin allergies.2 Additionally, homemade or fresh food diets, even “people food”, that offer ingredient transparency and are free of chemical additives, have been suggested to rottweilers for skin health. To help identify food allergens, an elimination diet of at least 8 weeks is often prescribed.5 Initially, the hypoallergenic diet consists of a single, and unfamiliar, protein and carbohydrate source, i.e. rabbit and pea. Post 8-weeks, ingredients can be added back into your rottweilers diet, including suspected allergens, to identify the dietary skin allergen.2

When skin irritation does occur, medications and topical treatments may be required,3 which may include updating your rottweiler’s flea and tick medication.2 Furthermore, antihistamines, corticosteroids, or cyclosporine may be prescribed to alleviate inflammation and itchiness.4 Veterinarians may also perform skin or blood tests to identify common allergens, which upon discovery are subsequently recommended to be avoided, at least initially. For longer-term care, the vet may suggest trying allergen immunotherapy, which consists of injections over a longer period of time exposing your rottweiler to increasing amounts of the detected allergen, in hopes of altering their immune response to it.4

Key Ingredients to Fight Allergies

It has been recognized that given rottweilers high dietary needs, malnutrition could be the source of their skin problems. So guaranteeing a well-balanced diet is the first step in helping to combat their skin allergies. Furthermore, dietary variety, primarily in protein source, can help alleviate symptoms. Additionally, since fillers and grains can prompt food allergies, barley and potatoes have been advised as more hypoallergenic fillers.2 Finally, beyond was is nutritionally required of your rottweiler, certain ingredients and nutrients can supplement skin and coat health. Fish oil is often recommended to help alleviate stomach inflammation.2 Furthermore, it offers itself as a source of key fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and help to protect the skin and coat.6 Probiotics are also being recommended, as newer research is demonstrating a link between allergies and the microbiome. Other key nutrients which benefit hair growth, skin strength, and collagen synthesis among other utilities include, vitamins A, C, E, B3, and B5, copper, zinc, certain sulfur-containing amino acids, and proline.6

The table below offers further possible dietary modifications that can be made to combat identified skin issues:

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 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 

As mentioned, fresh food is often recommended to rottweilers with skin allergies, as a way to monitor ingredients and potential allergens. Malnutrition can also be the source of skin problems in rottweilers, and fresh food has been found to be more digestible, allowing for more efficient use of its nutrient content. In a breed that can suffer from so many dietary skin allergens, ingredient transparency is critical. However, pet food is not well regulated and labels do not always tell the whole truth. With this, contamination and hidden allergens can find their way into commercial dog foods. Fresh food, with a focus on purity, can help combat this by allowing owners to see exactly what their rottweiler is consuming. Additionally, fresh food can be more enjoyable for rottweilers to eat, which is another bonus. The downside of homemade fresh food diets, is the time and knowledge required to make healthy nutritionally complete meals.

About Nom Nom

Companies like Nom Nom can help take the hefty responsibility of preparing fresh meals off of pet owners. Nom Nom offers an assortment of protein options, including turkey, beef, chicken, and pork, which is great for rottweilers who often require variety in their protein sources. Furthermore, Nom Nom produces its recipes in small batches with a focus on purity, using only the highest-quality human-grade ingredients. Organ meat is never used as it provides inconsistent nutrient compositions and can be contaminated with harmful toxins! All veterinary-formulated recipes come pre-portioned, with your rottweiler’s age and weight taken into consideration. Additionally, rottweiler owners with malnutrition concerns can rest easy, as all recipes contain the NomNomNutrient Mix which ensures a balanced nutrient composition regardless of recipe variations.  With Nom Nom, freshly made recipes are delivered weekly right to your door, and ready to serve. Do your rottweiler with skin allergies a favor, try Nom Nom, and after 30 days, under our care-grade guarantee, if you don’t see the difference a fresh diet can make, then we’ll buy your rottweiler’s next diet.

  1. Greenberg, A. Rottweiler. American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rottweiler/ (2017).
  2. Rottweiler Diet and Allergies. PetCareRx https://www.petcarerx.com/article/rottweiler-diet-and-allergies/492 (2012).
  3. Common Allergies in Rottweilers | Rottweiler Pictures, Information & Forum. https://www.rottweilersonline.com/health-and-diet/common-allergies-rottweilers.
  4. Atopic Dermatitis Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments | petMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_dg_atopic_dermatitis.
  5. 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).
  6. Diets and the Dermis: Nutritional Considerations in Dermatology | Today’s Veterinary Practice. Today’s Veterinary Practice https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/acvn-nutrition-notesdiets-dermis-nutritional-considerations-dermatology/ (2017).

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