What to feed a westie with allergies

What to feed a westie with allergies

James Wellbeloved also offer yummy dog food combining fish, turkey, duck, or lamb with rice, which is known for being tender on the digestive system. These diets offer numerous of the same benefits as grain free dog food.

If you need advice on how much to feed your dog, there is a handy guide on the website which offers advice depending on size, level of activity, weight and age.

All James Wellbeloved dog food is high quality, packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and highly digestible, so no matter which diet you select for your dog, you can be certain that they will be enjoying tasty, protein-rich food that will hold them healthy and energised.

Treatment for Allergic Reactions

The exact method of treatment will depend on the cause of the allergy but removing exposure to the culprit will be a key part of this.

Some common forms of treatment include:

  1. For dust mites, it is recommended that you clean your dog’s bedding at least once a week and vacuum regularly. This will assist to limit their exposure to dust.
  2. For food allergies, an elimination or prescription diet will be pursued to pinpoint the foods that are problematic. Symptoms should reduce during this period, at which point you can reintroduce foods on a one-by-one basis to see which ones trigger a flare-up.
  3. For flea allergies, it is significant to own a continuous treatment plan to protect against flea infestations so that your dog is not affected by them.
  4. For environmental triggers such as pollen.

    Prescription shampoos are typically recommended for this to avoid the possibility of drying out your dog’s already irritated skin. Avoidance, antihistamines or steroids may be used.

Other treatment options are available including immunotherapy and medication which work on the immune system.Your vet can recommend options that may work based on your dog’s symptoms and the type of allergy that they have.

[Photo Credit: JackPeasePhotography ]

Canine atopic dermatitis is love a trickster in a fairy tale-always causing chaos. But let's talk about a more practical helpful of magic. After every, you don't need to be Houdini to get pet owners to cheer for your successful treatment of their itchy pets.

It is true that an estimated 10% to 15% of dogs suffer from atopic dermatitis; and the actual number is probably considerably higher. Atopic dermatitis typically manifests as pruritus and erythema, but some dogs develop recurrent pyoderma or otitis externa instead. Here's how to take the intrigue out of canine atopic dermatitis-no secret key or sleight of hand required.

We're talking about a long-term relationship here!

In his CVC presentation, Dr. Darin Dell explained the importance of a supportive relationship with owners of atopic dogs and of asking what they can handle-you're in it for the endless haul!

Hear it here:

No magic pill

No single therapy is 100% effective at treating atopic dermatitis. Most patients need a core therapy and one or two supportive therapies. Four core allergy therapies that are safe for long-term use are 1) immunotherapy, 2) cyclosporine, 3) oclacitinib and 4) canine atopic dermatitis immunotherapeutic (CADI).


Immunotherapy, the gold standard of allergy therapy, is the only treatment that changes the immune system's response to allergies rather than suppressing the immune system or dulling the clinical signs. Immunotherapy can prevent new allergies from developing.

It is also the only therapy that could potentially cure a patient. However, the cure rate is low, and most dogs require immunotherapy for life.1

Onset of action: Six to 12 months for significant benefit

Side effects: No major side effects (anaphylaxis can happen but is rare)


Both istration routes (subcutaneous injections and sublingual drops) are effective. The best choice is the one that the owner will comply with.

Because of the slow onset of action, numerous patients need an additional core therapy when beginning immunotherapy.

Dogs should get immunotherapy for a year before you and the owner discuss whether it is worth continuing.


Cyclosporine (Atopica-Elanco) treats allergy signs by suppressing IL-2, T helper cells, and T suppressor cells.2

Onset of action: Four to six weeks for full effect

Side effects: Mild vomiting and diarrhea are the most common.

Hypertrichosis, gingival hyperplasia or immunosuppression is possible.


To assist prevent vomiting, owners can freeze capsules, give the medication with a little meal, divide the dose throughout the day, or start with a low dose and ramp up to the target dose over two weeks.

Since cyclosporine does not provide immediate relief. I combine it with a corticosteroid during the first two or three weeks of treatment.3

Do not taper cyclosporine until the desired response has been reached. It is best to taper slowly by eliminating one dose a week until every-other-day dosage is achieved or clinical signs relapse.

If a relapse occurs, the client should return to the previously effective dosing regimen. An inability to taper does not indicate treatment failure; some dogs require daily therapy endless term.


Oclacitinib (Apoquel-Zoetis) treats allergy signs by blocking IL-31-the cytokine linked to the feeling of itch-and suppressing IL-2, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-13.

Onset of action: One or two days, but some dogs improve within 30 minutes.

I own had a few patients not reply for five to seven days.

Side effects: Decreased hematopoiesis and immune suppression are potential side effects, especially at higher dosages and in dogs less than 12 months of age. Published safety studies own thus far found minimal changes on hematologic tests at maintenance dosing. Vomiting and diarrhea were the most common side effects in clinical studies. 4,5 However, I own had a couple patients develop vomiting severe enough to stop the medication.


A twice-a-day dosage is recommended for the first two weeks and then once daily thereafter. I own had some patients whose skin worsened when the frequency was reduced to daily, but eventually, these dogs did get back to the desired level of relief with the daily dosage.

Calculate the low and high finish of the dose range using 0.4 to 0.6 mg/kg instead of using the dosing chart provided.

Editor's note: Apoquel has been in the news-but despite shortage issues in the past, Zoetis announced it's now in fully supply.

Discover more coverage here.


CADI (Zoetis) is a once-a-month injection of a monoclonal antibody that targets IL-31. It is available through most veterinary dermatologists and some general practitioners.

Onset of action: One or two days, but some dogs feel itch relief as soon as 30 minutes.

Side effects: None


It is safe for puppies and dogs with other health problems.

CADI is beneficial for dogs with owners who may not see well enough to give a pill or may forget to give it every day.

We do not know what clinical effect CADI will own on allergic otitis, recurrent pyoderma or allergy-related erythema since it only targets the cytokine linked to itch.

A magical(ish) treatment strategy

Every allergen patient is different-different allergies, primary signs, and secondary problems-so every treatment needs to be diverse, too.

Nevertheless, your treatment strategy should be consistent.

Step 1. Provide adequate flea control. Any allergy (e.g. flea, food, seasonal) can cause other allergies to get worse-it can kick start inflammation. So ensure that fleas are a nonissue by making certain these dogs are receiving appropriate flea control.

Step 2. Eliminate infections. Eliminating infections reduces pruritus and inflammation while also improving the patient's odor and appearance. Dogs with allergies may be slower to reply to antibiotics than dogs without allergies are, so check progress after three weeks of antibiotic therapy but treat until infections are gone.

Step 3.

Rebuild the epidermal barrier with ceramides. When the epidermal barrier is intact, there is less allergen exposure, less risk of infection and less pruritus. You can discover ceramides in shampoos, sprays, conditioners and spot-on products.

Step 4. Conscientiously select a core treatment. First and foremost, the best treatment is the one that the owner will actually ister correctly. Beyond that, consider the patient's underlying medical conditions, the severity of the allergy, and the primary signs.

Step 5.

What to feed a westie with allergies

Add supportive therapy as needed. These therapies include antibacterial and antipruritic shampoos, wipes and sprays as well as oral antihistamines, oral essential fatty acids and topical ceramides. Reevaluate your supportive therapy after a month and then on an on-going basis, as the patient's needs will likely change over time.

Editor's note: It may not be as obvious as the ancient rabbit out the cap, but successful treatment of atopic dermatitis can be magic for the human-animal bond. For more ideas, tools and tips, check out the dvm360 dermatology toolkit.



Dell L. Darin, Griffin CE, Thompson LA, et al. Owner assessment of therapeutic interventions for canine atopic dermatitis: a long-term retrospective analysis. Vet Dermatol 2012;23:228.

2. Guaguere E, Steffan J, Olivry T. Cyclosporin A: a new drug in the field of canine dermatology. Vet Dermatol 2004;15:61-74.

3. Dip R, Carmichael J, Letellier I, et al. Concurrent short-term use of prednisolone with cyclosporine A accelerates pruritus reduction and improvement in clinical scoring in dogs with atopic dermatitis.

BMC Vet Res 2013;9:173.

4. Cosgrove SB, Wren JA, Cleaver DM, et al. A blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of the Janus kinase inhibitor oclacitinib (Apoquel) in client-owned dogs with atopic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol 2013;24,587-597.

5. Zoetis, Apoquel package insert, February 2013.

Darin Dell, DVM, DACVD

Animal Dermatology Clinic

3901 East 82nd St.

Indianapolis, IN 46240

Tips for going Grain Free

If you’re considering transitioning your dog onto a grain free diet, we own some top tips to assist you make the switch.

Whenever you make changes to your dog’s diet, it’s significant to consult a vet first.

They will be capable to give you information and advice on what will best suit your dog according to their age, breed, health records and size, and how much to feed them. For example, if you are thinking about giving your puppy grain free food, they may need a diverse diet to an adult or senior dog.

When changing your dog’s food, you should always introduce the new food gradually, giving your pet plenty of time to adjust and reduce the chances of your pet getting an upset stomach. If your pet is a fussy eater, a gradual transition should increase the likelihood that they will accept the new food.

During the food transition, hold a shut eye on your pet for any changes in behaviour or health and contact a vet if you own any concerns.

Spotting the Signs of an Allergy

Skin irritation will often be a prominent sign of an allergy.

Itchy, red and scabby skin are common symptoms, and affected dogs will often scratch repeatedly.

Itchy ears can be a tell-tale sign and for flea allergy, an itchy back or base of the tail are also likely to be present. For food allergies, itching, chronic ear infections and gastrointestinal problems are common symptoms.

How to select dog food

If you’re considering moving your dog to a new dog food, including grain free, it can be hard to know where to start.

To make certain your pup gets the best nutrition possible, here are a few handy tips on how to select a excellent quality dog food.

First, you’re going to desire to consider your dog’s breed, age, size and activity level. This can make every the difference when selecting dog food. For example, smaller dogs own smaller stomachs than larger breeds, which means that little dogs can physically manage much less food than large dogs. For this reason, little breed diets are more energy thick than large breed diets. We also make smaller kibble to suit smaller mouths, and larger kibble to slow below large dogs!

Next, do your research.

Where do the ingredients come from? How are they processed? What is the quality of the ingredients used – in specific the meat? The wording on dog food labels determines how much of the ingredient is used and where it comes from, which is always useful to know.

Above every, pay attention to your dog’s preferences – at the finish of the day, you desire to make certain they are enjoying their food! If your dog turns his or her nose up at a certain food, attempt a diverse one – or attempt feeding our James Wellbeloved wet pouches as a tasty topper.

If you select to feed wet and dry remember to reduce the quantity of dry food fed – and own a glance at our dog feeding guide to get an idea.

So, if you’d love to switch your dog to a grain free diet, James Wellbeloved is a great choice.

You can relax simple in the knowledge that every ingredients in James Wellbeloved Grain Free food own been carefully sourced and cooked to ensure finish and balanced nutrition for your dog, keeping their jacket, heart, teeth and joints in top condition.

When making the transition to a grain free diet, always be certain to consult a vet first and to hold an eye on your dog, ensuring that they are healthy and happy.

Office calls

Give us a call for an appointment if you notice any of these types of signs:

  1. Fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes
  2. Tartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth
  3. Lethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sleeping
  4. Itchy skin (scratching, chewing, or licking), hair loss
  5. Change in appetite or water consumption
  6. Lumps or bumps – regardless of size

Spay or Neuter

One of the best things you can do for your Westie is to own her spayed (neutered for males).

In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries and generally the uterus, and in males, it means we surgically remove the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify and address some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a excellent time. This is convenient for you and simple for your friend.

Routine blood testing prior to surgery also helps us to identify and take precautions for common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry; we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the time arrives.

What to Watch For

Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease, or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The significant thing is to be capable to tell when to seek veterinary assist, and how urgently.

What to feed a westie with allergies

Numerous diseases cause dogs to own a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your West Highland White Terrier needs help.

Heart Disease

West Highland White Terriers are prone to multiple types of heart disease, which can happen both early and later in life. We’ll hear for heart murmurs and abnormal heart rhythms when we examine your pet. When indicated, we’ll act out an annual heart health check, which may include X-rays, an ECG, or an echocardiogram, depending on your dog’s risk factors. Early detection of heart disease often allows us to treat with medication that generally prolongs your pet’s life for numerous years.

Veterinary dental care and weight control go a endless way in preventing heart disease.

Illustration of degenerative valves in the heart. Over time, some dogs will develop heart failure.

Heart failure is a leading cause of death among West Highland White Terriers in their golden years. Most heart disease in dogs is caused by weakening of a valve . A heart valve slowly becomes deformed so that it no longer closes tightly. Blood then leaks back around this valve and strains the heart.

Pets with heart valve disease (sometimes called mitral valve disease) own a heart murmur. If your dog has a heart murmur or outward signs suggesting heart problems, we’ll act out testing to determine the severity of the disease. The same tests will need to be repeated at least every year to monitor the condition. If heart valve disease is diagnosed early, we may be capable to prescribe medications that could prolong his life for numerous years.

Veterinary dental care and fatty acid supplementation can assist prevent heart disease and weight control can assist decrease symptoms.

Sometimes the sinus node, which is the part of the electrical system that signals the heart to beat, doesn’t work properly. If your Westie has this condition, called ill sinus syndrome, he will own a extremely low heart rate and may faint with exercise. Mild cases can be treated with medication. If his symptoms are more severe, he may need more advanced care. We’ll act out a test of the electrical activity of the heart (ECG screen) each year as well as before he undergoes anesthesia to provide the best care for your friend.

Your West Highland White Terrier’s Health

We know that because you care so much about your dog, you desire to take excellent care of her.

That is why we own summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Westie. By knowing about health concerns specific to West Highland White Terriers, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.

Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pet’s breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions we’ve described herein own a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed.That does not mean your dog will own these problems; it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs.

We will describe the most common issues seen inWest Highland White Terriersto give you an thought of what may come up in her future. Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

This guide contains general health information significant to every canines as well as the most significant genetic predispositions for West Highland White Terriers. This information helps you and us together plan for your pet’s unique medical needs.

At the finish of the booklet, we own also included a description of what you can do at home to hold your Westie looking and feeling her best. You will know what to watch for, and we will every feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.

West Highland White Terriers: What a Unique Breed!

Your dog is special! She’s your best friend, companion, and a source of unconditional love. Chances are that you chose her because you love Westies and you expected her to own certain traits that would fit your lifestyle:

  1. Intelligent and simple to train
  2. Small and travels well
  3. Always on the go, with a keen eye for adventure
  4. Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark
  5. Compact – does well in little living quarters

However, no dog is perfect!

You may own also noticed these characteristics:

  1. Likes to dig
  2. Needs regular exercise to prevent chewing, digging, and other problems stemming from boredom
  3. Coat requires regular grooming
  4. Can be snappy around children if not socialized properly
  5. Needs frequent attention from her family

Is it every worth it? Of course! She’sfull of personality, and you love her for it! A true friend, the West Highland Terrier gets along with every. With socialization she enjoys children, other dogs and most strangers. Her simple going nature and little size makes her the perfect travel companion.

The West Highland White Terrier was developed in Poltalloch, Scotland, and was known as the Dog of Argyleshire.

Westies were bred to control vermin and to hunt fox or otter. Today they are enjoyed as companion dogs. They are great performers in conformation, agility, obedience, and ground dog trials. WHWTs are athletic, alert, intelligent, courageous, and fun-loving. They tend to bark and dig, especially if bored. Westies should be socialized early to other pets and childern, as they may nip when irritated. West Highland White Terriers own an average life span of 15 years.

Eye Problems

Not numerous things own as dramatic an impact on your dog’s quality of life as the proper functioning of his eyes.

What to feed a westie with allergies

Unfortunately, West Highland White Terriers can inherit or develop a number of diverse eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated correct away, and most of which can be extremely painful! We will assess his eyes at every examination to glance for any signs of concern.

Glaucoma, an eye condition that affects West Highland White Terriers and people too, is an extremely painful disease that rapidly leads to blindness if left untreated. Symptoms include squinting, watery eyes, bluing of the cornea (the clear front part of the eye), and redness in the whites of the eyes. Pain is rarely noticed by pet owners though it is frequently there and can be severe.

People who own certain types of glaucoma often report it feels love being stabbed in the eye with an ice pick! Yikes! In advanced cases, the eye may glance enlarged or swollen love it’s bulging. We’ll act out his annual glaucoma screening to diagnose and start treatment as early as possible. Glaucoma is a medical emergency. If you see symptoms, don’t wait to call us, go to an emergency clinic!


Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Westies. We’ll watch for the lenses of his eyes to become more opaque—meaning they glance cloudy instead of clear—when we examine him. Numerous dogs adjust well to losing their vision and get along just fine.

Surgery to remove cataracts and restore sight may also be an option.

Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, is common in West Highland White Terriers. The tear glands no longer produce enough tears to hold the eye moist, which results in sore, itchy eyes and infections. Ouch! Symptoms include a thick discharge, squinting, pawing at the eye, or a dull, dry appearance of the eye. This is a painful condition; please call us immediately if you notice any of these signs.

We’ll conduct a tear test when we examine him. If he has this disease, we’ll prescribe ointment that you’ll need to apply for the relax of your dog’s life.

Retained Puppy Teeth

Dogs normally start to lose their primary (“puppy”) teeth at around 4 months of age. When the primary teeth don’t drop out as the adult teeth come in, infection or damage to the adult teeth may develop. Retained teeth are common in little breeds love Westies. The retained puppy teeth trap food and hair between the normal adult tooth and the primary tooth. Painful gums, bad breath and adult tooth loss can result if untreated.

We’ll monitor his growing teeth and recommend removal of the puppy teeth if they are present alongside his adult teeth.

Partners in Health Care

DNA testing is a rapidly advancing field with new tests constantly emerging to assist in the diagnosis of inherited diseases before they can become a problem for your friend. For the most up-to-date information on DNA and other screening tests available for your pal, visit www.Genesis4Pets.com.

Your Westie counts on you to take excellent care of her, and we glance forward to working with you to ensure that she lives a endless and healthy life.

Our goal is to provide the best health care possible: health care that’s based on her breed, lifestyle, and age. Please contact us when you own questions or concerns.

Bone and Joint Problems

A number of diverse musculoskeletal problems own been reported in West Highland White Terriers. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friend’s bones, joints, or muscles you will be capable to take grand care of him throughout his life.

Both hips and elbows are at risk for dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the joints to develop improperly and results in arthritis.

Stiffness in your Westie’s elbows or hips may become a problem for him, especially as he matures. You may notice that he begins to show lameness in his legs or has difficulty getting up from lying below. We can treat the arthritis—the sooner the better—to minimize discomfort and pain. We’ll take X-rays of your dog’s bones to identify issues as early as possible. Surgery is sometimes a excellent option in severe and life-limiting cases. Hold in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain and suffering!

Young West Highland White Terriers may be prone to a painful degenerative hip condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease.

The exact cause of this condition is still not completely understood, but it is thought to be a problem with blood supply to the hip, which causes the femoral head (the top of the thigh bone) to become brittle and easily fracture. Ouch! Generally occurring between six and nine months of age, it causes pain and lameness in one or both rear legs, and often requires surgery.

Normal Knee

Illustration of patellar luxation.

Notice how the knee cap has moved out of the groove it normally resides in.

Sometimes your Westie’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of put (called patellar luxation). You might notice that he runs along and suddenly picks up a back leg and skips or hops for a few strides. Then he kicks his leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in put, and he’s fine again.

What to feed a westie with allergies

If the problem is mild and involves only one leg, your friend may not require much treatment beyond arthritis medication. When symptoms are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to hold it from popping out of place.

Liver Disorder

Some West Highland White Terriers can develop a liver disorder called Copper Hepatopathy. This disease causes toxic levels of copper to build up in his liver, leading to its failure if not treated early.

Affected dogs generally show symptoms of jaundice (yellow eyes, gums and skin) by about two to four years of age. He should own liver testing done starting early in life to screen for any abnormalities.

Your Westie is more likely than other dogs to own a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt (PSS). Some of the blood supply that should go to the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs to grow and function properly. If your friend has PSS, his liver cannot remove toxins from his bloodstream effectively. To check for this problem, we’ll conduct a liver function test in addition to a standard pre-anesthetic panel every time he undergoes anesthesia.

If he develops symptoms such as stunted growth or seizures, we’ll test his blood and possibly conduct an ultrasound scan of his liver. Surgery may be needed, but in some cases, we can treat with a special diet and medication.

Abnormal lymphocytes, as seen under the microscope, confirming a diagnosis of lymphoma.

Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of every dogs by age two. And unfortunately, your West Highland White Terrier is more likely than other dogs to own problems with her teeth.

It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will lose her teeth and be in harm of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your Westie’s life span may be cut short by one to three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can do at home to hold those pearly whites clean.


West Highland White Terriers are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections—the same ones that every dogs can get—such as parvo, rabies, and distemper.

Numerous of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, herage, and other factors.

Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s )

Addison’s Disease is an endocrine system disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones to hold the body functioning normally. Left untreated, hypoadrenocorticism can be fatal, and symptoms often mimic numerous other diseases. Fortunately, we can run a specialized timed blood test to check for this condition. Though any dog can acquire this disease, Westies seem to get it more frequently. We’ll be watching for clinical signs at every exam, and will periodically check his electrolyte levels to screen for this problem.


Diabetes mellitus is a fairly common disease in dogs.

Any breed can be affected, but Westies own an above average incidence. Dogs with diabetes are unable to regulate the metabolism of sugars and require daily insulin injections. It is a serious condition and one that is significant to diagnose and treat as early as possible. Symptoms include increased eating, drinking, and urination, along with weight loss. If he shows signs, we will conduct lab tests to determine if he has this condition and discuss treatment options with you. Treatment requires a serious commitment of time and resources.

Well regulated diabetic dogs today own the same life expectancy as other canines.


Lymphoma or lymphosarcoma is a type of cancer that afflicts West Highland White Terriers more than other breeds.

What to feed a westie with allergies

This disease makes the body form abnormal lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. Because white blood cells can be found throughout the body, this cancer can show up almost anywhere. Lymphoma is a extremely treatable form of cancer, with an excellent success rate in dogs receiving chemotherapy. Treatment can be costly, however, and is a lifelong commitment. Luckily, lymphoma is one of the few types of cancer that can often be found with a blood test, so we may recommend a finish blood count twice annually.

Watch for swollen glands (ask us, we’ll show you where to look), weight loss, or labored breathing at home and be certain to call us if you notice any unusual symptoms.

This photo shows a puppy with a retained upper canine tooth. Note how the adult tooth has erupted in front of the puppy tooth.

Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

Build her routine care into your schedule to assist your Westie live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.

  1. Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.
  2. West Highland White Terriers often own serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!
  3. Keep your dog’s diet consistent and don’t give her people food.
  4. She makes a grand travel companion due to her little size.
  5. Supervise your pet as you would a toddler.

    Hold doors closed, pick up after yourself, and block off rooms as necessary. This will hold her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.

  6. Brush her jacket as needed, at least weekly. Hand stripping is also required.
  7. Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how!
  8. She tends to bark and dig, especially if bored.
  9. Exercise your dog regularly, but don’t overdo it at first.

Genetic Predispositions for West Highland White Terriers

The adrenal glands are situated along the vena cava (the large vein in the abdominal cavity) near each kidney.

These little glands release numerous significant hormones in the body.

General Health Information for your West Highland White Terrier

Brushing your dog’s teeth daily will prevent periodontal disease.


In humans, an allergy to pollen, mold, or dust makes people sneeze and their eyes itch. In dogs, rather than sneeze, allergies make their skin itchy. We call this skin allergy “atopy”, and Westies often own it. Commonly, the feet, stomach, folds of the skin, and ears are most affected. Symptoms typically start between the ages of one and three and can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most common signs.

The excellent news is that there are numerous treatment options available for this condition.


All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your Westie’s body, inside and out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest herskin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into hersystem in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s significant that we test for them on a regular basis.

We’ll also recommend preventive medication as necessary to hold herhealthy.

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

This is a genetic disease that causes the red blood cells to be abnormal. Affected Westies will be anemic, with pale gums, exercise intolerance, and liver and spleen enlargement. Sadly, there is no cure and most dogs with this disease die by four years of age. There is a DNA test available to identify the disease in young puppies or for those pet parents interested in breeding.


Obesity can be a significant health problem in West Highland White Terriers. It is a serious disease that may causeor worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease.

Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, frolic a game with her, or perhaps take her for a stroll. She’ll feel better, and so will you!

Roundworm egg as seen under the microscope.

Bladder or Kidney Stones

There are a few diverse types of stones that can form in the kidney or in the bladder, and West Highland White Terriers are more likely to develop them than other breeds. We’ll periodically test his urine for telltale signs indicating the presence of kidney and bladder stones; they are painful!

If your buddy has blood in his urine, can’t urinate, or is straining to urinate, it is a medical emergency. Call us immediately!

Taking Care of Your West Highland White Terrier at Home

Much of what you can do to hold your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just love it is for people. Watch her diet, make certain she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth and jacket, and call us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual (see “What to Watch For” below). Be certain to adhere to the schedule of examinations and vaccinations that we recommend for her.

This is when we’ll give her the necessary “check-ups” and test for diseases and conditions that are common in Westies. Another extremely significant step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will assist you cover those costs.


Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:

  1. Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss
  2. Cloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyes
  3. Depression, poor appetite, yellowing of the eyes
  4. Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss
  5. Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear discharge
  6. Inability or straining to urinate; discolored urine
  7. Weakness, pale gums
  8. Coughing, exercise intolerance, rapid breathing at rest
  9. General listlessness, droopy facial expression, vomiting, diarrhea
  10. Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”


  1. Crook A, Dawson S, Cote E, MacDonald S, Berry J.

    Canine Inherited Disorders Database [Internet]. University of Prince Edward Island. 2011. [cited 2013 Apr 11]. Available from: http://ic.upei.ca/cidd/breed/west-highland-white-terrier

  2. Ackerman L. The Genetic Connection: A Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs. Second edition. AAHA Press; 2011.
  3. Gough A, Thomas A. Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell; 2010.
  4. Bell JS, Cavanagh KE, Tilley LP, Smith FW. Veterinary medical guide to dog and cat breeds. Jackson, Wyoming. Teton New Media; 2012.
  5. Breed Specific Health Concerns [Internet].

    What to feed a westie with allergies

    American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc. [cited 2013 Apr 11]. Available from: http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/breed-specific-concerns/?breed=west-highland-white-terrier

How to Assist Your Dog

If you ponder that your dog has an allergy, speak to your vet. They can conduct a physical examination to attempt to determine the cause of the symptoms. If this proves inconclusive, allergy testing is the next logical step.

Who Is Likely to Be Affected?

Any dog could potentially experience an allergic reaction but some breeds are thought to be more prone to this.

Susceptible breeds can include Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.

Why Allergic Reactions Occur

Some of the common environmental triggers for allergic reactions include pollen, mould spores, dust mites and smoke. Other causes can include fleas, rubber and plastics, and food.