Allergy season plagues Scottish Terriers

It always makes me a bit wary when I get a new comment on this post about itchy Scottish Terriers and allergies. Sometimes, it’s good news about how skin allergies cleared up after a change in diet, but at other times it’s  bad news, as it was last week. My heart just sank to hear that Mary was having problems with a 13-week-old Scottie puppy. Here’s her comment:

Hello, Please tell me how you have cured this problem. Scout, our 13 week old Scott is scratching and biting on himself way too much. I have tried medicated baths, Salmon oil, tuna added to his food, and several different foods. He has Advantix for ticks and fleas on, so it’s not that. I’ll be looking forward to your cure. Thanks!

This post prompted me to bring together all the many allergy tips readers have contributed on past posts about allergic Scottish Terriers.

Change your dog’s diet to combat allergies

Corn and chicken are considered the main culprits in dog food allergies. Some people recommend no grains at all while others allow rice. The following foods and diets were recommended by readers. When specific brand names were provided, they’ve been noted. When no brands were suggested, I’ve simply linked to foods that fit the bill.

One reader also recommended a raw food diet (be warned — these can be controversial) and another suggested kangaroo meat. Also suggested were plain acidophilus yogurt, salmon oil and flaxseed oil as well as prebiotic and probiotic supplements.

Shampoos can help with allergy and sensitive skin

While my Scottish Terrier Bridget was originally diagnosed with an allergy, a second vet said he didn’t think she had allergy symptoms and prescribed instead a medicated bath, which cured her itchiness. Bridget was bathed with Vet Solutions Canadian Medicated Shampoo. Scottie News readers also recommended the following pet shampoos:

  • Nature’s Embrace all natural shampoo
  • An anti-seborrhea and dry skin shampoo called Allergroom (it’s also hypoallergenic) followed by an oatmeal cream rinse and conditioner called Epi-Soothe
  • Hylyt
  • Sebocalm (a British version of Hylyt)
  • Oatmeal shampoo for dogs (no specific brands recommended)

One reader added that human shampoos like Head and Shoulders, Selsun Blue and generic brands like Equate can also work on dogs. Another recommended Gold Bond Medicated Powder.

Drugs for dog skin allergies

Sometimes with allergies, you have to escalate to the drugs. Scottie News readers and their vets have found the following to have helped in certain circumstances:

New treatments for dog skin allergies

The Scottish Terrier News recently reported on positive results obtained with cold laser therapy. Let’s hope that at least one of these treatments helps poor little Whisky whose allergies have led to missing fur as seen in this video. Get well, Whisky, and all you other allergy-suffering Scottish Terriers.

36 thoughts on “Allergy season plagues Scottish Terriers

  1. We were able to thwart Fritz’s itchies by attacking them before they got him! We preemptively started him on a low dose of benadryl daily in April (as soon as we noticed he started licking his paws, which seemed to be the first sigh of an allergic reaction). As soon as we noticed the 1 benadryl a day wasn’t cutting it, we upped it to 2. Then when that didn’t work (this was at the height of tree and grass blooming season) he took 3 benadryls (one every 8 hours with cream cheese).

    That, combined with a weekly bath with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and giving him a high quality diet, we were able to shut the itchies down before they were ever able to rear their ugly head! I’m proud to say that he hasn’t had a single itch or scratch, while this time last year the poor thing was in a cone and loaded up on meds. He’s actually been off the Benadryl for weeks, and is still itchy free, although we are keeping a very close eye on him.

    1. I live in Savannah, GA and it is hot for Scotties. I have used benadryl and fish oil capsules drizzled over their food. It’s a pain in the butt, but it helps. Mine are very bad at taking pills. I have 2 Scotties that are over 10 years old and are brindles. My other 2 are 2 and a half years old and black. They come from different homes and have the same problems but react completely different. What ever, can’t imagine life without the best dogs in the world! Here’s to Gus, Gracie, Barkley and Maizie!

  2. So far, thankfully, I have never had a Scottie with allergies. I do recommend a diet that is high in protein and low in grain – try to steer away from any foods that contain corn. My adult dogs all eat puppy food because it is higher in protein. I also give them an Omega-3 capsule daily and about a tablespoon of olive oil on their food. I supplement their protein at least 3 times a week with either a boiled egg, cottage cheese or canned salmon. Occasionally I give them sardines or cooked liver. I do keep Etiderm shampoo but have never had to use it, but I have heard that it really helps with the itching.

  3. My “Scout” too just started having itching problems and she’s four. This is the frst year she’s show any signs of this. She’s already on venison and potato Royal Canin diet for her tummy issues so I’m sure it’s not her food. I gave her 1/2 a Benadryl (and since found out you can do 1 mg. for each 1lb of weight up to twice a day) once a day for three days and the groomer bathed her in a tea tree bath. She’s about 88% better! I know where we live the allergies have been off the chart so hopefully this “Scout” is only having a contact allergy problem as well. I did however, maker her an appt. with a dermatologist. If you go that route they have to be off all antihistamines and cortisones for 2 weeks prior to the appt., but they would test her for allergies. I had a previous dog with horrible allergies and we had her tested. She was allergic to 18 out of 23 things. We ended up giving her weekly allergy injections (serum made up of what she was allergic to) and she was totally med free the remainder of her life! it worked wonders for her. So…I’m a huge proponent of going directly to the specialists instead of throwing good money after bad away at a regular vet, etc. Anyway, I hope this Scout finds some relief somehow. I hate it when our buds aren’t 100%!!!! Good luck.

  4. As soon as Gracie started licking her leg and paws, I started her on ChlorTabs (chlorpheniramine maleate 4 mg.) which is an antihistamine as recommended by my vet. All year round I give her a 1000 mg. fish oil gel cap each day . From what I have read, using the antihistamine and the fish oil together gets better results. I use Oster brand Oatmeal Naturals shampoo and conditioner. She is much better this year as a result of all of the above.

    Dogs need omega-3 from an animal source – the fish oil fills the bill. My vet said the ChlorTabs (or other generic chlorpheniramine maleate 4 mg) would be the best type of antihistamine for grass allergy.

    Both the fish oil gel caps and the ChlorTabs can be purchased at Wal-Mart in the OTC drug aisles.

  5. My 3 are on Earthborn Great Plains Feast. They love it & it loves them. None of them have any allergies. When they have baths, I use Tropiclean Puppy and Kitten shampoo. It has no soap in it, so no residue!

  6. Advocate for Raw Feeding Scotties
    I suffered for years with Scottie’s allergies, rashes, hair loss, bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Numerous trips to the $$$$ vets, I bought (to name a few): pills, shampoos, supplements, ointments, and very expensive foods. Different vets diagnosed my dogs as allergic to: Chicken, grain, corn, beef, and grass. I was spending an enormous amount of money, the situation was not improving, and my dogs were suffering.

    After extensive research I tried raw feeding. After a very short time, all allergies clear up, hair coat recovered, teeth sparkled and the ‘eliminations’ lost their rank odor. And the issue of weight control became a non-issue.

    Yes, it takes a little thought, meal planning, and establishing a rapport with the local butcher. But the results are immediate and well worth the effort. A fine meaty beef bone is a meal your Scottie will relish. Fresh raw chicken necks cost less than fifty-cents a pound. This isn’t rocket-science, high-tech, or off-the-grid back-to-nature science, this is common sense feeding what God intended the efficient digestive system of our dogs to eat.

    Sort of make you wonder who is posting negative propaganda about raw feeding? The Dog food companies or the vets?
    I have been a raw feeder for almost 10 years and credit my Scotties excellent health and longevity to a basic, no-nonsense diet. Yes, I used ‘Scotties’ and ‘longevity’ in the same sentence.

    Happy in MD

  7. In regards to raw diets, they can contain incredibly high amounts of bacteria such as MRSA, Staph, E-Coli etc.. These are potentially deadly to people. If you feed raw, you are at risk of contracting illnesses associated with these bacteria. Also, dogs have been domesticated for so long that they do not eat raw items without incident either. My friend’s Scottie killed a rabbit and ate it before they could stop him. He had to be rushed to the E-Vet because of vomiting and bloody stools. They were able to save him, thankfully. The vet said that he had contracted E-Coli poisoning from the rabbit.(They were able to get some of it out of poor Bailey and they tested it).
    I just cannot see ever feeding my babies a raw diet. I wouldn’t want to risk their health, or the health of my family.

  8. Bronwyn, thanks for your concern. To date I have not picked up a road kill or tossed a live rabbit at my Scotties. Raw feeding does not mean that. I purchase my meaty beef bones, chicken and organ meat from the very best butcher I know. I maintain it and feed it in my very clean kitchen. Ten years and counting – no infection, no E-coli, no staph – and very, very, very, healthy dogs.
    There is beneficial bacteria derived from a raw diet that helps create and maintain a healthy immune system (so efficient an immune system that I no longer vaccinate or use poisonous flea and tick killers – but that’s a whole other story) Most ‘modern’ dogs could use a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria.

    Given the choice of the path I had been following of medicines, fancy shampoos, supplements, vet bills, with continued rashes, sores, etc., or my glossy, happy, lean-and-fit, glistening Scotties (and a 14 year-old Border Collie with zero issues) Give me a meaty raw bone any day.

    You are very kind to have voiced your concerns and a raw diet certainly is not the be-all-end-all for everyone. I merely suggest that it should be considered when all other prescribed remedies have failed.

    Still happy in MD

  9. If my Scottie “Bogie” eats beef, he has diarrhea. He was born with that problem. But he has allergies, and white round spots on his rump. Six years old…and he’s now taking 50 mg of Hydroxyzine twice a day, and I spray him when he does get into the itchies with GenOne spray, and it stops it right away…and Bogie can relax. I wish I could get to the bottom of what’s causing his allergies…but the Vet talked about grasses and we live among a lot trees. Also, he is most difficult with his grooming. I need suggestions as to what to do about that!!! I’ve stopped the groomers from plucking hairs out of his ears…and cutting his toenails, and take him to the vet for that. I can’t afford thousands of dollars of a vet allergist. But that may be the only answer. He eats ID Prescriptives and Caesar mixed in…If anyone has a suggestion or two…please give them to me…thanks.

    1. My black scottie had those problems. I finally listened to my Vet and started her on Atopicia several years ago and all the allergy symptoms went away. She is going to be 11 in June but is having stuffy nose problems now. We recently moved to DE and the pollen is plentyful. The vet has her on Baytril tablets and I don’t know that is the answer. I don’t know what to do now. I just don’t think antibiotics are the answer, its not helping anyway. The atopicia really was a great relief for my scottie. Try it for your scottie allergies.

    2. Hi Barbara, Sounds like your little guy has allergies. Could be food and/or environment. Most likely it is environment. Atopicia is your answer for your doggie comfort. Try it for a month and you will see the difference in your scottie. I put off giving it to my scottie until I just couldn’t stand to keep giving her meds for ear infections, anal problems, hair loss and she never wanted to socialize, not to mention she smelled. Atopicia changed all that, yes, it worked, my scottie has been taking it for about 7 years. She is 11 and looks great and is happy. Good luck! I might add that the atopica, 50 mg per day cost about 90.00 a month, but you can submit a rebate to Novartis and get 10.00 rebate. Yes, its a little pricey, but well worth it.

  10. Angus is 6 yrs old and has never had “the itchies” until this Spring. We did many things and finally ended up at the Vet Dermatologist. She cultured his bad scabby things and grew a bacteria so we treated that with an antibiotic. The sore and itch went away for about 2 wks and then came back. I bath him every other day with Hexadene and put human Hydrocortisone 2% on the red spots and then take him for a walk to try to distract him from licking. That helps sometimes. I asked the vet several months ago about more antibiotics but he was hesitant and we didn’t. Now I am going to try the generic Benadryl 25mg 2x daily and see what that does. We have tried to think of every thing he could be reacting to, grass, wool blanket etc. Nothing in our house is different than it has been for all of his 6 yrs. He is already eating sweet potato/duck because he has digestive issues. We’ll see, stay tune

    1. I am amazed that more vets don’t recomment Atopicia. I think they want you to keep coming back so they can take your money. Just try it.

    2. Once again, I can not express that Atopicia will take care of all that. Yes, about 90.00 a month and you can get a 10.00 rebate, but safer for you doggie than all those other programs you have going on. Try it for a month and see the difference. You will be at peace and so will your scottie.

  11. My 12 yr. old scott had to have a toe removed this week due to cancer. It developed quickly, I have been told that this is common in scotties. What do you know of this.

    1. My scottie had this at the age of 10. We went to three vets before she was diagnosed. The first vet thought it was a toenail infection and treated with antibiotics. Our Scottie “Maggie” started limping and upon x-ray at a third vet and lots of $$$ later, we were told that she needed her toe amputated due to bone cancer. Luckily the cancer did not spread to her vital organs. Maggie is doing well and is back to normal. She will be 12 in November. It happened very fast for us too and there were really no warning signs!

  12. I was the one that left the anonymous message, forgot to put in address. Concerned about my scot.

  13. Bogie has been helped with his skin issues with a shampoo the Vet told me about…it has helped more then the medications. VET Solutions Universal Medicated Shampoo for Dogs & Cats…on the bottom of the bottle it says Vetoquinol.
    I hope this helps your little Scots. My heart goes out to little “Whiskey”…

  14. My 9 Year Old Scottie Female “maddie”, has always had nails that grew into her pads, very slow growing.
    Her nails are very brittle and the other day she damaged the nail somehow and the quick is exposed right above her pad.
    I took her to the Vet and he said if it doesnt heal he will have to ampute the nail. I just wonder if she may have Bone Cancer as well? Shes not been very active, but good appetite and she drinking well. She acts like its bothering her like pain but the Vet is hesitant to give her anything for that. Should I get an XRay of her foot? I was wondering is that what show the Cancer in your dogs foot? Thanks for your help>

    1. The x-ray was the only confirmation that we had for the bone cancer. I would definately have that done if I were you. If you catch it quickly, then it may not spread.

      Good Luck and send me an update!

    2. Hi Mike, I was at the vet with my dog one day and was talking to another client with a black scottie. He told me that his scotty was operated on for cancer of the toe or foot, can’t remember exactly. He said one vet did not diagnose it so he tried another vet, because his dog kept licking his foot and eventually started to limp. The dog was at the vet for a check up and was active and able to walk on his foot again once the cancer was removed. Hope you find out what is bothering your little scotty.

  15. Absolutely, raw diet is best, I did give my Sottie some good holistic large crunchies in the morning (a dental formula) so she could bite them and keep her teeth clean and at night she had raw diet, raw chicken necks and other meats and large bones with meat (she would just eat the meat of the large bones and not eat the bone) no chicken leg bones. Some liver, but not every day (not good) some plain yoghurt or cottage cheese and some people will give a raw egg at times. Dogs stomachs can handle all that. I researched the net and Youtube has a lot.

  16. I have two Scotties. A black female, Maggie and a Wheaton, Toby. Toby has Addisons disease and is on prednisone and percorten. Now my Maggie had pimples and hair loss again on her back. She has had this maybe 3 other times and they always put her on cephalexin and temaril-P. It clears it up, but comes back in a few months! The Vet can’t seem to figure out why she keeps getting this and says it must be the environment. She is on limited ingredient lamb and rice. I did switch her to sweet pot. and fish, but didn’t help, she got it anyway. I give my Scotties a fish oil everyday and I give her a Benadryl everyday. It seems to just be on her back!?? anyone else had this problem?? Maggie is 10 and was also tested for thyroid and liver, etc. She has high liver marks and I’m starting her on Marin and Densyl. I don’t know if that has anything to do with her pimples and hair loss. The vet doesn’t think so. Thanks for any help, Barb

  17. My Scottie has been itchy since I got him a 10 weeks. He is now 2 1/2 yrs. I tried many things and finally gave in to the expensive allergy testing. After 1 year on hypoallergenic diet food and still itchy the Dermatologist decided it didn’t look like food allergies. Although when trying to switch back on to non prescription foods he did seem to get itchier with the Salmon & Rice. He is on Chicken & Sweet Potato by Nature’s Recipe which until the last couple weeks he has done fine along with the new drug Apoquel. When he has a flare up though it does take a while to get back to less itchy and usually does include brief use of steroid. I’m still looking for a better method to control the itch.

  18. I have had scotties for over 40 years. I presently have 2 sisters that are almost 10. I have gone through the gamut of allergies. I feed the non grain gluten free natural ingrediate food.. Merrick Venison. For their scratching I give them Apoquel. In the summer I give them a bleach bath. 1 capful of bleach to a gal of water. I use a kiddie pool. Do not rinse and keep outside to dry. I have o idea what I will do this winter. I have a Demodex scottie, I give her Bravecto every 3 months. It works beautifully. Their allergy car has been a long process. I hope this helpful

  19. people, scotties are known to have allergies. Usually to the environment not food allergies unless they are vomiting or have diarrhea. Carpet dust mites cut grass and out side molds mildew,. When I read about some of the horrible methods you are putting your Scotties through to cure allergies I cringe. Please ask you Vets about Atopicia. Yes it’s a pill a day at the cost of 90.00 a month, but it is less expensive than visiting the vet for ear infections and annals being expressed . JUST Try Atopcia. Your dog will have a better life.

  20. I am in shock that I read you are giving your scotties bleach baths!! Or any animal…how would you like it if someone did that to you!? That is horrible!!!!

Comments are closed.