Down South Westies
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Westie Skin Problems and Dog Allergies

We humans aren't the only ones who can suffer from allergies. Allergies affect many different mammals, including dogs. Dogs have long suffered from allergies that come from many different sources. Only recently have people started doing things to help man's best friend deal with the ravages of dog allergies. 

Generally, dog allergies are of five types: flea allergies, food allergies, contact allergies, bacteria allergies and atopy.

Flea allergies is the most common cause of dog’s year round itch. It is quite easy to recognize as it is manifested by uncontrollable scratching and biting at the legs, tail or the abdominal area. An interesting fact here is that the allergies is not caused by the flea bites per se, but by the fleas’ saliva. The real allergen in this situation is the saliva that irritates the dog’s skin. This can be solved by application of dog dermatological products and anti–flea measures.

Food allergies is caused by certain ingredients found in dog food. Darby, our Westie, has food allergies. He is highly allergic to wheat so we feed him a food that is wheat free and also for “sensitive stomachs”. You should always be aware that you should not feed your dog from the table and be sure his food and treats are wheat, corn and beef free! Food allergies is manifested also in the form of skin irritation and accordingly, gastrointestinal disturbance. Obviously this can be resolved, albeit not easily, through dietary restrictions and correction. This is the type of allergies that cannot be remedied through medicinal intake.

Allergens affect the skin upon contact, with the effect being on the negative side. Itching and irritation will occur at the points of contact. Most common substances that trigger contact allergies are nylon carpets, wool, insecticides, soaps, grass and even flea collars. This type of allergy can easily be solved by removing the harmful contact.
Dust allergies cause the same difficult reactions that are common in humans. This is why it's important to keep your dog's living area dust free. Reducing the dust level by frequent dusting and cleaning is essential.

Inhalant allergies, otherwise known as atopy is caused by inhalation of molds or pollens acting as allergens floating in the air. This is the second most common type next to flea allergies. Occurrence of this allergies type can be seasonal as tree pollens for instance, scatter only during certain periods of time, either during spring or during fall. Symptoms include watery eyes, paw licking and skin itching. Female dogs are easier prey to this allergies than the males and certain breeds like the Boston Terriers, Westies, the Shnauzers, Boxers, and the Irish Setters are more disposed.

We have been blessed with a healthy breed line. The University of NC began a study on Atopy a couple years ago. We were asked to submit blood samples for our dogs even though we had no problems for comparison with other dogs that do have Atopy problems. The assured me they would keep me updated on the study, but of course, I have heard nothing from them.

Let me suggest a possible inexpensive solution: Go to your vet or supply store and purchase a bottle of Pharmaseb Shampoo by Anmpharm. Malaseb Shampoo by DVM Pharmaceuticals was a great shampoo, but the FDA shut them down, for what reason I do not know. Bathe your Westie every other day for 3 baths. Be sure he is dried with your hair dryer on low heat so you will not dry out the skin or burn him. Lather him good and try to leave it on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Rinsing is very important. Rinse, rinse, rinse and then rinse again. Avoid contact with the eyes. You can use Super White Coat Brightener Shampoo by Bio-Groom to wash the face. It is a tearless shampoo and we use it weekly on our dogs.

After those 3 baths, bathe him weekly until you run out of shampoo, then you can start using Kalaya Emu Oil Shampoo. It is a shampoo that we have used weekly on our dogs for years. Some say never bathe your Westie! WHY have a stinking Westie sleeping with you? The important thing is to use the right shampoo. These shampoos have worked for us for years and we have never had problems with weekly baths.

One more important matter: It is very important that you get your Westie on a plan with inexpensive supplements. It is important to give your Westie 1,000 mg Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate Gel Caps. You can buy them at Walmart. We give them one PM. He will play with it at first, but then he will look forward to it as if it is a treat. Be sure to get the soft gels. Also, Four Paws Brewers Yeast with Garlic is another important supplement and very inexpensive. We believe that the yeast with garlic is what keeps our dogs flea-less! We have never used flea products and give our dogs one AM and one PM. They love them and eat them better than treats.

One last thing: Some vets place an Elizabethan Collar on your dog to keep him from scratching. Most Westies are embarrassed about this and have a horrible experience. You might want to consider using a One-zee (baby outfit) on your Westie. All you have to do is cut our a hole for his tail. This is ideal for spay or neuter surgery.







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