Does your Westie suffer from allergies? Is it related to the food your Westie is eating? What food are Westies commonly allergic to?
Westies can often have allergies that can cause itchy fur and skin. This is called atopic dermatitis, which is an allergic skin disease that is common in West Highland Terriers. It impacts around 25% of dogs, and can cause severe or mild itching.
West Highland White Terriers are small, white dogs that were initially bred in Scotland for the purpose of hunting. Nowadays, this dog breed is known as a loyal companion. These fluffy balls of white fur are so lovable, and make the perfect family pets. However, they are not without their issues.
While itching doesn’t sound too dangerous, it can be when the dog scratches, rubs and itches itself as a result. This can lead to skin irritation, damage, infection and severe discomfort for your dog. No one wants that!
Allergies in dogs are most often caused by mold, pollen, dust mites, and the food they eat. While it is important to ensure that your Westie is groomed, bathed and cleaned often, their diet can lessen allergic reactions too.
What Foods Are Westies Allergic To?
West Highland White Terriers tend to suffer from a range of sensitivities and medical issues, which is normal for this breed. These sensitivities could include stomach issues, digestive issues, food allergies, and diabetes. One of the most common ailments for a Westie is food allergies.
Westies will often suffer from allergic reactions to grains such as rice, corn, wheat, barley, bulgur, maize, sorghum, millet, oats, rye, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa, flaxseed and some other seeds that are classified as grains.
It is also a good idea to avoid foods that account for up to 70% of dog intolerances, such as beef, chicken, eggs, dairy, and wheat.
Many popular dog treat brands can have filler ingredients that contain wheat or grains, so it is best to avoid those too, and only feed foods that are grain free or allergy friendly.
It is also advisable to remove foods from your Westie’s diet with by-products and fillers as these are not easily digestible, and can contribute to allergic reactions. This includes things like chicken by-products, but meat meals are generally okay.
It can be hard to nail down exactly what your Westie is allergic to, as you may need to try different types of dog foods and treats in various flavors with various proteins and vegetables.
If you find that your dog is itchy and showing signs of allergies when feeding them beef or chicken, then you could opt for a fish protein, which is great for the skin and coat as it contains lots of Omega 3.
Do All Westies Have Allergies?
It is hard to say definitively if all Westies have allergies or are prone to allergies, as it changes from dog to dog. However, it is common for this breed to have allergies, and most will develop allergies when they get older.
Most Westies will have sensitivities towards saliva, pollen, dust mites, and mold, and some will simply have food allergies and intolerances. These allergies will manifest on the skin, causing irritation, and sometimes infection.
What Should I Feed A West Highland Terrier?
Westies are small yet active dogs. Due to the fact that they are prone to food allergies, there are many high quality dog foods available to buy that are hypoallergenic and contain hydrolyzed protein, which is easier for them to digest.
You should feed your Westie according to its weight and exercise amount. An adult Westie should weigh from around 15 to 20 pounds, so you will not want to overfeed them. If your Westie is rather active, then it may need more calories per day to give it the energy it needs. Be sure to check the packaging of the food you use, as this should give you the approximate amount you should be feeding your Westie.
In addition to this, it is important that you feed your Westie according to its age, so that it gets the right amount of calories, nutrients and supplements to promote growth, or prevent early aging. Dog brands will create blends for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs, so be sure to pick the right one for your pooch.
When it comes to choosing food for your Westie, you will want to select a dog food with whole proteins, not by-products, as these are the most natural and run less of a risk of causing an allergic reaction. We would recommend opting for fish, as beef and chicken can cause allergies.
Fish oil is also a great ingredient as it has omega 3 fatty acid to keep the coat and skin healthy and irritation free. Choose a grain free or allergy friendly option, to avoid any wheat or corn that could aggravate the allergies.
Foods To Avoid
Westies can have sensitive stomachs, so large amounts of fatty foods and meat cannot be properly digested, and may cause issues. It is best to feed your dog natural ingredients without any fillers or preservatives. Some foods to avoid are:
- Chicken and chicken by-products
- Beef and beef by-products
- Cheese (dogs are lactose intolerant)
- Avocado (toxic)
- Mushroom (toxic)
- Garlic or Onions (toxic)
- Grapes, raisins or currants (toxic)
- Peanut butter containing xylitol
- Cooked bones
Dogs, and particularly Westies, do not have the stomachs that humans do. You should avoid giving any human food if possible, as it can be too salty and fatty, which can cause stomach upset and even issues like diarrhea and vomiting.
Signs Your Westie Has An Allergy
Some common signs that your Westie has an allergy are itchy skin, head shaking, licking front paws, rubbing the face on the floor or carpet, inflammation in the ears, diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, sneezing, anal itching (scooting on carpet), seizures, behavioral changes, and more.
While allergies can be lessened with a change in diet, it is important that you seek treatment from a veterinarian too. They may be able to provide steroids or antibiotics to treat the allergies externally.
To summarize, we love our canine companions with all our hearts, and want only the best diet and lifestyle for them. As Westies are prone to allergies, it is particularly important that you feed them the right foods that do not aggravate the problem.
Most Westies have intolerances to wheat, grains, and corn, so avoid foods with those ingredients. Many will also struggle with chicken, beef, and dairy products, so you will want to choose a food without these ingredients to avoid causing an allergic reaction.
With the right diet, grooming schedule and exercise, your Westie can live a long, happy, allergen-free life!
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