Ask the Vegan Vet: Diet for an Itchy Dog

"My dog has Intervertebral Disc Disease and has had a surgery for it in the past. To keep her spine healthy, my vet has put her on Wellactin fish oil which smells horrible, makes a mess and gives her terrible breath. She's also on meds to manage pain, joint health, and allergies. She's one ITCHY dog, even with the meds! 

I'm considering switching her to v-dog vegan kibble in the hopes that it may help her itching. That said, I'd love to replace her fish oil supplement with a vegan formula if possible. I know it's good for her spine to have those Omega 3s. Can I switch to an algae-based or flax oil supplement instead?" -Holly K.

Dear Holly,

Thank you for your question!

You can absolutely switch to vegan omega fatty acids.  Flax seeds alone are not equivalent to the fatty acids in fish oil.  However, I recommend a supplement blend like Udo's oil (part algae-based) with DHA, available in most health food stores.  You can give her 1 Tsp. per day since she's a little Frenchie.  Alternatively, you can use this supplement.

Many itchy dogs have an underlying food allergy, so a hypoallergenic vegan diet like V-Dog may help significantly.  Common allergens include chicken and beef.  Other potential allergens include soy and wheat.  For these reasons, a vegetarian (and soy-free/ wheat-free) formulation such as V-Dog could work for your dog.  Any diet change, should be done gradually.  I recommend a transition over 1-2 weeks.  Give the new diet 6 weeks with no other allergens to see if it is helping.  Be aware of flavored toothpastes and heartworm medications, and consider getting unflavored versions to allow the hypoallergenic diet to take effect.

Let us know how she does and good luck!

All the best,

Lorelei Wakefield, VMD

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V-dog contains 100% balanced plant-based nutrition for your pup. Our products are expertly formulated, veterinarian recommended and meet/exceed all AAFCO standards. We've seen countless dogs experience health improvements on our easily-digestible, healing formula -- including those who were previously prescribed a grain-free diet! Read their stories here or learn more about v-dog on our FAQ page!


1 comment

  • Hi – My dog loves her V-dog food but she has a seasonal itch. My vet recommended fish oil but I would rather find an alternative. I read your article on dog itch with the recommendation of Udo’s oil. When I checked I saw two products, the one for dogs (a powder) and the oil. Do they both have the same effect, or is the oil better.

    Thank you….. Nancy B

    Nancy B

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