Give the dog some vitamins. Missing Link would be a great idea. Or anything with Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids.
If the vet thinks this is a food allergy, try a food with very few ingredients. Sensible Choice and California Natural are good ones to try -- they only have 4 ingredients. Of course, the dog could be allergic to the lamb -- or the rice -- in which case you will have to try something like fish and potato, available from the vet. When using this food to eliminate a food allergy, it is important that the dog not get even one bite of anything else. If he does okay on the food, after a few weeks, you can slowly try a bite or two of new foods -- one at a time -- that is one every day or two. If he has a reaction, that way you will know what the reaction is to. Too many people put dogs on a special diet and then give them biscuits with different ingredients. If a dog -- or person -- is allergic to a food, one bite is enough to cause a reaction!
Throw out any detergents or fabric softeners that are scented. All detergents and Fabric softeners should be FREE from perfumes and dyes -- use only things like Cheer Free and Downy with the white cap. Rewash all bedding that he comes in contact with in the "free" detergent, and rinse with vinegar. Laundry detergents should be Liquid, not powder. The powder forms may not totally dissolve, and leave a residue that will cause itching.
Buy some antihistamines at the drug store -- there are three major antihistamines, and you may have to try all three before you find the one that works.
Tavist, Benadryl, Chlortrimeton. Give him 1/2 pill four times a day. (Benadryl he can have a whole pill three times a day if necessary).
Make sure you do not use any with added ingredients -- no decongestants -- No to Tavist-D, etc.
There are also prescription antihistamines that are made for dogs which you can get from your vet. The dosages are suggested dosages from various books on the subject. However, it is always a good idea to check on a dosage with your own veterinarian.
Now, the fun:
The most important is the dog himself. Hope he likes water! I'll tell you how I do this, and you can improvise from there.
I use a divided sink and a Rubbermaid dishpan.
Gather several towels.
Fill the Rubbermaid dishpan with cool water (heat is bad for allergies).
Add 1 cup of Epsom Salts. Soak a towel in the solution. Then stand the dog in the dishpan.
Put the towel on his back and keep pouring the solution over his back for 10 full minutes!
Then put the dog on the other side. Empty and rinse the dishpan and towel.
Refill the dishpan with cool water. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar. (has to be apple cider type -- check the label and really read it! -- some are really distilled vinegar with additives -- you want the vinegar made from apple cider)
Soak the towel.
Put the dog in the dishpan, put the towel on his back, and pour the solution over him for another full 10 minutes.
Do not rinse. Gently towel dry and then let him air dry the rest of the way. Do not use a hair dryer. He will only smell like a pickle until dry.
He should get immediate relief from this soaking -- and No, it doesn't sting. Any fighting he's doing is from being placed in a full pan of water.
You shouldn't have to repeat the epsom salts soak, but the apple cider vinegar soak can be used several times a week and should follow baths with anything else. In fact, you can bathe him in the ACV instead of shampoo.
Another important thing to watch is cleaning solutions on floors. Linoleum
can be washed with distilled vinegar.
And watch where you walk him. Absolutely no lawn treatments in his exercise area.
Also, be very careful in using flea treatments. Don't use anything unless you actually see fleas or evidence of them until the skin is healed. Almost any dog can tolerate a water-based spray -- like Mycodex or Adams aqua spray. And most dogs can tolerate Advantage. Do not use Frontline, Sentinel, or Revolution.
If all of the at home treatments have been exhausted, and you do go to your
vet before using cortisone, ask about Atarax. It is used in dermatology to relieve
itching for contact dermatitis.
Also, different antibiotics may be tried. SMZ sometimes works when others don't. Ask the vet about "pulse" dosing.
Washing bedding often.
Never use scented candles and carpet cleaners... ONLY USE White vinegar. If professionally done, NO dry cleaning solutions. If Steam cleaning is done... Ask for allergy free solutions ONLY. Tell them you prefer, White vinegar. They can do it.
If Bed spread goes to dry cleaners. DO not let your Westie on the spread without putting a blanket over it.
For mold on cement or wood: Use dry baking soda. Poor on the surface. Mist with water. Scrub with a mop or by hand with a rough pad/or brush attached. Let sit for at least an hour. Rinse off well. Do this on a sunny day and the dog will not get mold/yeast on the pads of his/her feet.
If Westies are prone to anything, it is yeast. The vet will say it is allergies,
when in fact it is yeast. All of the above is very important to reduce exposure
to yeast. Yogurt and acidophilus is a great prevention.