Just like people, our pets can be sensitive to certain environmental factors such as seasonal changes…

Many pets experience sensitivities: some of the most common areas of concern for pet parents include tummy upsets and a dull coat with dry, itchy, flaky skin.

In fact, up to one third of pet parents report seeing skin flare ups once in a month in both cats and dogs1 and ‘skin issues’ is a commonly internet searched pet topic. Digestive issues are unpleasant and can be very worrying when you see them in your pet.

What can cause these sensitivities?

Your pet’s itchy, flaky skin may be caused by a number of factors including parasites and fleas, environmental allergens such as dust, pollen and mould, bacterial and fungal infections, lack of skin specific nutrients and sensitivities to certain kinds of proteins in their food. Cats may also experience hormone imbalances that can make them prone to skin problems.

Digestive disorders also have a variety of causes which can range from eating something inappropriate or new – we all know that pup who explores the world with his mouth first – to food intolerances or sensitivities, infections, inflammation of gastrointestinal organs and even stress!

Some breeds are more prone to particular digestive problems and flatulence including German Shepherd Dogs, Labradors, Pugs and Bulldogs, and Sphynx, Rex and Ragdoll cats.

Hill’s Science Plan Special Care
Hill’s Science Plan Special Care

What to watch out for

Ideally your pet’s coat should be clean, for cats fluffy, soft and smooth and for dogs shiny and relatively soft and smooth even on short or wirehaired breeds. If you see any of these signs your pet may have a skin condition that requires treatment:

  • Red patches, spots or pimples
  • Scabs, crusts or thickened skin
  • Dry, flaky or scaly patches
  • Dull hair with excess loss
  • Bad skin odour
  • Itching, scratching, licking or rubbing
  • Ear infections

Although a little more unpleasant, digestive problems are also easy to spot and consist of one or many of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Diarrhoea or soft stools
  • Change of appetite
  • Flatulence
  • Stomach gurgling
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Sudden inactivity or depression

As both these issues can be serious health concerns Hill’s Pet Nutrition recommends that you consult your veterinarian for any persistent or severe symptoms or if you are in any way concerned.

Ruling out more specific conditions, even healthy pets can experience occasional tummy upsets or flatulence or show signs of dry, flaky or itchy skin and a dull coat. It’s not uncommon for sensitive stomach and skin issues to occur at the same time.

The right food can help

Even when the cause of your pet’s sensitivity is not related to nutrition a high-quality food formulated especially for sensitive stomachs or skin can help. Hill’s, studies pets’ biology to understand how nutrition impacts digestive and skin health. Prebiotic fibre is important for the gut microbiome, the unique mix of bacteria essential for a healthy digestive system. Vitamin E, Omega-6s and other nutrients help maintain and protect skin.

Hill’s Science Plan Sensitive Stomach and Skin, from Hill’s Special Care range, is one delicious food ideal for pets with sensitive skin, sensitive stomachs – or both.

It’s precisely balanced to support healthy skin and gentle digestion with:

  • Easy-to-digest ingredients and fibres to encourage nutrient absorption and stools that are easier to pick up
  • Prebiotic fibre to fuel beneficial gut bacteria and support digestive health
  • Enhanced levels of Omega-3’s and -6’s and Vitamin E to nourish the skin and replenish natural oils for a healthy skin & luxurious coat

Now, you can save up to R250 on any Hill’s Science Plan Special Care product

Meet your pet’s special need with this great saving when you buy Science Plan Special Care for the first time.

  • SAVE R250 when you buy a 12kg bag
  • SAVE R150 when you buy a 6kg or 7kg bag
  • SAVE R75 when you buy a 2.5kg or 3kg bag
  • SAVE R50 when you buy a 1.5kg or 2kg bag

Click here to find out more!


  1. Science Diet Sensitive Skin Omnibus.April 2000, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.