Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial measuring the effect of a dietetic food on dermatologic scoring and pruritus in dogs with atopic dermatitis

BMC Vet Res. 2021 Nov 19;17(1):354. doi: 10.1186/s12917-021-03063-w.


Background: Canine atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common condition that often requires multimodal therapy. Including a diet in the multimodal management of AD may reduce medication doses, saving pet owners money and reducing side effects. The objective of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was to determine if a diet fortified in antioxidants, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the clinical signs of AD. Forty client-owned dogs with AD were enrolled in the study and assigned to either an enriched diet (diet B) or control diet (diet A) for 60-days. CADESI-4 index scores and owner-reported pruritus scores were measured periodically.

Results: Total CADESI-4 index scores for dogs eating diet B were lower on day 60 compared to baseline (P = 0.003). There was no statistical difference in scores for dogs eating diet A over a 60-day period. Diet B dogs had 25 and 49% reductions in CADESI-4 index scores on days 30 and 60, respectively (P = 0.0007) while diet A had no change over the study period. When comparing the percent change in owner-reported pruritus scores, diet B also performed better than diet A. By day 60, owners feeding diet B to their dogs reported a significant reduction (P < 0.0001) of 46.4% in itching, while those on diet A reported a 26.8% reduction, which was not statistically significant (P = 0.08).

Conclusions: These study results demonstrate feeding a diet enriched with ingredients to improve skin health and reduce inflammation improves the clinical signs of AD in dogs.

Keywords: Allergy; Atopy; Canine; Dermatology; Diet; Nutrition; Veterinary.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Veterinary

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diet therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / veterinary*
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Male
  • Polyphenols
  • Pruritus / diet therapy
  • Pruritus / veterinary


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Polyphenols