Westie Skin Problems

West Highland Terriers, often better known as Westies, are small dogs that unfortunately are frequently plagued with a variety of skin problems. Westies have long hair that requires careful maintenance and which can easily cause some type of discomfort or even more serious skin conditions. Due to the fact that Westies are also predisposed to a number of allergies which can result in skin irritation, these dogs are seen as one of the leading breeds by veterinarians in terms of the number of skin problem cases that they have. Read on for a brief overview of skin problems for Westies.

Westie Skin Problems Overview

Although it's not entirely understood why, Westies are especially prone to certain types of skin problems. These problems include the following:

  • Dry skin
  • Hot spots
  • Irritated and red skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Skin allergies

Because it can be difficult to deal with these issues, many Westies are abandoned by owners who don't know how to or don't wish to care for them properly. However, most of these skin conditions are easy to recognize early on, and there are a number of ways to go about treating them if you make use of a veterinary specialist in your area to find the proper treatment methods.

Dry and Irritated Skin

Perhaps the single most common skin problem for Westies is dry and irritated skin. The symptoms of these conditions include skin flakes brushing off of your pet when you touch him or lying on carpeting, furniture or other surfaces throughout the house, red patches of skin and other discoloration, or even skin sensitivity. You may notice your dog scratching at himself or biting and chewing on parts of his skin; this actually further exacerbates the problem and does not help to make his skin conditions any better.

Medicated shampoos can treat most of these conditions. They're generally available through veterinary prescription only, however, so you'll need to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis and examination.

Skin Allergies

Another common skin problem that many Westies experience is skin allergies. Allergic reactions to food, particles in the air or other offending allergens can set off a reaction in your pet that causes his skin to develop open sores or other uncomfortable, painful symptoms. Westies tend to be predisposed to allergies related to the grains and other ingredients in certain types of dog food. The best way that you can work to prevent these allergic reactions from occurring is to give your Westie a well-balanced and high quality diet that is recommended by your vet.

If your pet does seem to be suffering from an allergic reaction, the best thing to do is to take him to the vet for testing. Once you are able to properly determine what the cause of his allergic reaction is, you and your vet can work together to eliminate it from your pet's environment, thereby reducing the reaction as well.