|Barked: Tue Oct 9, '12 5:11pm PST |
|Here is what I did to get my Westie's skin issues under control:
1) VET: Take your dog to the vet and get 3 things: A) A blood test for allergies, B) a 10 day course of Simplicef (an antibiotic for skin infections) and a C) 10 day course of Temaril (a combination of antihistamine for allergies and a steroid to control inflammation). You don't want to give your dog meds for the long term, it will ruin his immune system and stomach and make the problem worse. Only for 10 to 14 days to get the initial problem under control, and then you have to do maintenance at home which I will explain in detail.
2) ELIMINATE/AVOID ALLERGENS: Once you get the test results for the allergies, you eliminate everything you can that he is allergic to. For example, my westie is allergic to lamb, so I switched him off the lamb meal food to a chicken and rice formula and that solved half of the problem. He is also allergic to grass, which I cannot avoid, but control with frequent baths (more on that later). A good type of food is important. I'm giving him Blue small breed/healthy weight and it has very healthy ingredients. Also, I supplement with the occasional chicken breast and rice or additional protein, fish oil mixed with the food is also good.
3) GROOMING: Take him to the pet groomer and shave his hair off. You can tell them to leave the Westie look on the face and tail, but tell them to use the clippers with comb #7 to leave his hair only half an inch long on his body. This will accomplish several things. His skin will be able to breathe better, important for healing. You will be able to observe what is going on with his skin better and where the problem areas are, so you can treat them. And finally, when you bathe him it will be easier to dry him just with a towel and let him air dry.
4) SUPPLIES: Got to the local pharmacy or walmart and get 5 things: A) Johnsons Baby Moisture Wash with Shea and Cocoa butter (not the baby shampoo, it has to be the baby moisture wash)-this is better than any medicated shampoo as they are irritating and what you want to do is cleanse gently so you can bathe him more often without irritating him. Plus it's way cheaper at only $3 a bottle. B) An oatmeal bath treatment from Aveeno or a generic brand. It comes in envelopes that you empty into the bathwater to make a bath that is soothing and relieves itching, turns the water white like milk. C) A plastic container for rinsing, can be a tupperware or I use an oversize plastic measuring cup because it has a handle. Make sure it's plastic, you don't want to use glass that can break and cut you or the dog. D) Get a 10% Cortisone cream. E) Benadryl antihistamine, the pink pill that is only antihistamine (without any decongestant, this is not good for dogs, do not get the blue pill).
5) BATHING: Fill the tub half way with luke warm water. Not hot, you don't want to burn your dog's sensitive skin, and not cold because it's not as soothing. Once you have the lukewarm water, add an envelope of the oatmeal bath treatment and dissolve until water is white. Bring your westie into the tub, he will like the warm bath. Get him wet with the plastic container pouring water all over his body. Then lather him well with the Johnsons Baby Moisture Wash with Shea butter. Make sure to get the legs, paws and especially anywhere he is very itchy. I leave the head for last because I don't want to get soap in his eyes, nose or ears, so I gently wash the face and rinse it right away avoiding those areas. Rinse his entire body by pouring water with the plastic container, make sure to remove all the soap. Keep rinsing him for at least 10 minutes, it gives the oatmeal a chance to soothe his skin. Then take him out and towel dry him well. Then he can air dry, the short hair will be dry rather fast within 1-2 hours. Repeat this bath every 2-3 days until he gets better. The bathe him any time you see him starting to get itchy or scratch, or anytime he gets wet or dirty.
6) Take the 10% cortisone cream and apply it to areas that are especially itchy. Give him a Benadryl pill every evening. Make sure it's only the antihistamine pink pill (do not use the one with decongestant). If he is extremely itchy, you can do one in the morning and one at night. Do not do more than 2 a day, and always give it with food and water.
7) If possible, move somewhere with a colder climate. Warm climates exacerbate allergies for Westies. When I moved from Miami to DC I noticed a big improvement in the winter months.
I follow all of these instructions every time my Westie has a skin allergy episode. He used to get them almost every month. Now that I've learned how to treat him, we are down to 2-3 episodes per year, which is not bad, and even then it only takes a couple of weeks to get the itchiness under control after doing all of the above. I hope this helps some Westies and Westie owners out there!
|my posts|| [notify]|