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Common Health Problems in West Highland White Terriers and Schnauzers

Skin allergies in dogs.

Use the tips on this web site to treat skin and paw problems in canines - Treatment options for bacterial and yeast infections in the paws, legs, belly and other areas.

Dog skin allergies are treatable.

 

Skin Allergy to grass, pollen and toxins:

Canines are commonly allergic to trees, grass, pollen,  fabrics such as wool or nylon, plastic or rubber materials,  additives, dairy products, mites and of course flea bites and insects.   The body responds to these allergens by becoming itchy, the dog  scratches and then there is the perfect place for a bacterial infection to manifest itself.

 To the left is a menu with skin problems your dog may be experiencing.  Please click on the subject your are interested in. 

The reason why these allergens cause itchy skin is  that, allergens that are inhaled, eaten or gets on the body of the dog  causes the immune systems to produce a protein called IGE.  This protein is in certain cells of the skin.  When these cells are combined with the protein IGE the dogs body releases histamines.

Prevention of dog skin allergies from diet

One of the best things you can do right now is check the bag of pet kibble and see if there are any grains in the list of ingredients.  Return it to the pet store and get a good kibble without grains!

It may surprise you that there is so much junk in pet chow.

Use homemade Westie meals to stop the allergy from becoming infections.

I may have missed some so if you'd like to write in and tell me your story please feel free to tell me about your experience. 

Now you have an idea as to what your Westie might have an allergy to. 

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Caring for a dog with skin problems

 

For instance my dogs get  very sick after I give them a new toy.  That plush toy, even though  bought at a pet shop, sometimes has dyes and stabilizers so that it  looks good to you so that you will buy it. 

Your dog doesn't care what it is as long as he can play with it.

Ive started washing all the new toys before I give them to the dog.

This has really helped my dogs.

 

Allergies from diet was the first diagnosis for my dog, Spooky boy but it was incorrect.  Only after a very serious procedure called scoping did we find out the truth.. 

That's when we found out my boy had a stomach disease that could not be treated, not even surgery - we tried many recipes and supplements but for most of his life but  he was never fully fed and was always thin

Terriers seem to be the most allergic dogs on the planet and I will show you the problems and the solutions that vets have encouraged.

Many times this collection has been suggested by a veterinarian to give to a pet who is unwell. Pay attention to your pets health: his weight, activity level, skin and coat quality.

Does he seem bored or lethargic?  Does he bring you his favorite toy?  All are signs he is just not as energetic as he should be.  Making your pets meal might be helpful.

If these are not maintaining or improving, consult your veterinarian.  Essentially your pet should be eating what he would  be getting in nature.  The list below gives you an idea of the specific diets needed for good health.

  1. Meat protein
  2. Vegetables
  3. Bone meal
  4. Oil (Omega 3 and 6 are good)

Dogs do ingest vegetables and grains but they get them from the animals they hunt.   The first thing a pack of dogs eat after they bring down game is the stomach.  Inside the stomach can be found what the rabbit has been grazing on; green leafy vegetables and grains.

When you start making his dinner, remember this list of items because they are important.

The importance of variety

cannot be over stressed. (This applies to any and all diets and recipes!) Do not get in the habit of feeding just one recipe..  How would you like to eat Hamburgers for the rest of your life?  Pretty boring, eh?

 

Making a large batch

Mix protein, starch source (if applicable), oil, vegetables, and bone meal together. Freeze in serving-sized portions. The other supplements should be added fresh at each serving.

Vegetables

My Spooky boy loves it when I add cooked carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and potato.

The vitamin-mineral supplement

You can use a specially made pet vitamin supplement, such as Pet Tabs. There are many good animal supplements available today that can be found at your local feed store or health  store.  Ask your Vet about what he/she recommends.

Bone meal must be in an edible form. Get it from the health store.

Bone meal is a must.  They love to munch on legs  and ribs!  Have you ever seen a happier sight than your canine with his bone?  If your dog cannot eat these from the butcher give them a good human grade quality bone meal.  Measure according to weight.  Do not use the type intended for gardening or plants.

Probiotics include acidophilus and other "good" bacteria.

They help maintain your companion animal's normal bacterial population and prevent colonization by disease-causing bacteria. Digestive enzymes are important to keep the pancreas from being overworked and to aid digestion so your dog gets the greatest benefit from the chow he/she eats.

Meat may be fed cooked or raw.

While many holistic veterinarians recommend feeding raw instead of making and cooking it, there are potential risks to your pet's health from bacterially contaminated protein.  So it must be cooked to well done to counteract the effects of any bacteria in the protein.

Please discuss this issue with your veterinarian before feeding raw . If feeding raw, it is recommended that it should be frozen for 72 hours at -4 degrees F prior to use.

Most proteins can be refrozen one time safely, so once you mix the meal, it can be put back in the freezer until thawed for feeding. Always follow standard safe handling procedures.

Important!

With any diet change, go slowly.  A canines tastes and digestive system need time to accommodate new ingredients.

Too rapid a change may result in diarrhea, vomiting, refusal to eat, or other problems.

This is especially important with older animals and sick animals.

Start by adding 2 tablespoons of the new meal to your dogs diet.  Slowly increasing by a tablespoon each day.  If you have a giant breed, start by using 1/4 cup of the new meal.  Increasing gradually.

But I have seen that changing store bought dog chow always causes diarrhea, but when I add my vegetables to my homemade recipes they have no problem.

I wonder why that is?  It has to be the additives?  Because my homemade chow has no additives, colorings, added grease or lard and preservatives.

Dog chow and our pets; when did it become so difficult to find a good diet when commercial pet chow is not trusted, especially if it has ingredients from overseas which could contain bacteria and pesticides and now Diamond Brands just announced another recall of their products, when does it end?

An allergy from dog chow can  turn a happy pup into a shadow of his former self, a sad canine with stomach problems - dealing with these problems may cost you more money in the long run but better than paying vet bills every month.

When I bought my puppy home, I thought I had bought the perfect puppy. Then on the third day he got sick. It's been 13 years of Vet visits and $$$ poured down the drain.

My pet Spooky has endured more visits to the vet because of food allergies, than I can count, but he's worth it because he is a one in a million; he's the  greatest companion I have never found.  West Highland White Terriers are known for having allergies.

With vomiting blood, diarrhea and blood in his stools I visited  different vets every few months. Could this be a disease causing my Westie to vomit his food?

After $1200.00  dollars in examination, x-rays and drugs, they all told me that it was  probably a an allergy because they couldn't find anything wrong in the blood work or examination.

They sent me home with a special diet of Duck and potatoes, Venison and potatoes and finally Salmon and  potatoes Nothing worked so they switched me to a their special diet at an exorbitant price. Still my male  would loose his appetite, refuse to eat and vomit bile.

Westies with allergies like these are  all too common. We hope we can give you some hints on how to keep your Westie or any other dog with food allergies in tip top form.

    Fine art pet portraits at elle designs

 

If the terrier's body is Inflamed by allergy they will rub their face against the carpet or the couch, trying to rub the sides of  their body where it itches against furniture or anything that will  relieve the itch. 
If your dog has skin allergies read detailed  information

Ear infections:

Ear infections are skin lesions caused by allergy in the wax glands and ears.  These can get serious very quickly.

This usually occurs because the dog bites or scratches. The skin may be dry, oily or red depending on the dog.  It is very common  to have both ear infections and skin allergy occur at the same time if   bacterial infections exists.

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Questions

My almost two year old Golden retriever began to scratch himself about a month ago.
Our vet says that around 2 yrs. is when a dog will show symptoms if they do indeed have allergies.
The vet wanted us to change his food, which we did. We fed him a grain-free blend. Then the vet said to stop feeding that food because it has too many ingredients.
I'm getting confused.  What is a hypo-allergenic diet?  I need sound information.  If you can help me, Thank You!

Answer:

Has the vet ruled out all other causes of allergies?  Have you eliminated fleas and other pests from your home and your Golden?  If so and you are sure your dog doesn't have mites, fleas or other pests, I would try to think of anything you have changed in your home or new cleaners, soaps, anything that might make your dog itch.
Once all that has been ruled out I would look at the dog food the vet is giving you.  Is he advising you to buy Hill's Prescription Diet?  Can you tell me what other types of food you have tried?

Most dog foods have so many additives that the additives alone can cause an allergy outbreak. 

For dogs that really have allergies to certain foods you may have to try an elimination diet. If these foods are not taken out of the meals you are feeding, the symptoms will persist.

Certain foods are considered more hypoallergenic because most dogs are not allergic to them. Many dog food companies are saying their food is hypo allergenic. 

Ive tried them all and I found some that work for my dog.  They can be found on Spooky's dog food test kitchen results.  I'm not making any money by listing these brands but it might be a good place to start if the vet food doesn't work.

My other advice would be to cook for your dog.  The best part of cooking for your dog is that you know what is going into the food.  Just good free range chicken and veggies.  I would start by feeding your dog a bit of chicken breast.  See if he tolerates that and stops scratching.  It might take a while for the histamines to get out of his system. 
If the chicken seems fine, I would add a vegetable or rice.  Buy good rice from India not China.  India knows rice.  China laces their grains with pesticides (the pet food recall a few years back).  Then try some potatoes, then some carrots and even canned pumpkin has been shown to be good for your dog and well tolerated.  I buy my pumpkin from Whole Foods.
Be sure to let me know how it's going with your Golden!
My dog has allergies so bad that i have to give him a daily bath. Is this hurting the dog by bathing him every day?
Kim in Texas

Answer
It does not hurt the dog but it can cause the skin to dry out.  The coat of a dog needs natural oils for the coat to look shiny and strong.  I don't think a conditioner will do the trick.  A dog needs his skin and coat to be healthy.
Question
I have a Westy with allergy problems or so I thought. He's been on antibiotics and Prednisone, to suppress the immune system.  I tried every vet "special" food. Salmon and potatoes, Venison and potatoes and on and on.  nothing seems to work.
Laurie in Seattle

Answer
It's not so much bad dog food but the additives they put in the food. Check out what's really in dog food because there are some very toxic ingredients.

I tried cooking for my dog and he immediately got better but I have the time to do that and other people don't.

I suggest you try a home cooked meal with added vegetables (there are plenty of recipes on the web) and see if your dog starts feeling better.

Any supplement can also have additives. So this might compound your problem.

Antibiotics can kill all the good flora and fauna in the gut (where our immune system starts) so try putting it back in by either Probiotics or cultured yogurt.
Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be healthy
 

 

 

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Please Read

Any information contained on this site relating to various medical, health, and fitness conditions of Westies and their treatment is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing dog allergies - you should always consult your own veterinarian.