After reading your blog, I realised that Bubbles are suffering from allergy.
We are lucky that so far TOto hasn't shown any sign of Allergy, but there are times when he scratched more than usual we will start to suspect everything!
Once it happened we STOPPED all his treats and threw them all away!
And the 2nd time it happened we start thinking what is 'New' in TOto's life! Oh ya, I used washing detergent on the Towel I wiped him everyday. I remove that step, and TOto is back as usual.
Of course there are 1001 reasons in the environment.
But if you goes to a Vet, the shortcut reason will always be 'Oh they are allergic to something in the environment!' Bullshit, hahaha I also can do that and then prescribe some Antihistamine.
One forummer has mentioned that he tried to remove everything from his dog and test one by one what are ther real culprit that caused the allergy!
I shall shortlist some of the causes that you can control and see whether it helps!
First and foremost, the thing that affect Westie the most is their Food! Look at the ingredient closely, and the shorter the list of ingredient the better! And so far Westies are allergic to EVERYTHING except Lamb and Fish! Learn the Ingredient and read through them! Try to remove ingredients such as wheat, corn and grain. Buy the kibbles in small quantities, and see if the scratching get better. There are some Grainfree + Lamb/fish kibbles around. TOto is having 1/4 cup of Solidgold Huchen Flocken and 2/4 cup of Orijen Fish.
If you have the time and $$$, the next best food idea will be BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). I have read ravings review about how their dogs miraculously recover from their Allergies with Barf diet! Or if not the next better idea will be home cook food because you are still in control of what you are feeding your dog and you cut away all the preservatives!
The water they drink usually stained the fur at the mouth, use filtered water. We add drops of Apple cider to TOto water everyday. If you suspect the water, boil it. If you can afford buy bottled water.
We usually made our own treats but we still indulge TOto here and there especially when there is a discount! But we are very strict, he only can have all fruits and vegie biscuit, if not we still keep to Lamb and fish! But we cut up all his treat to very small pieces! We do not want to overfeed him!
Use paraben free and phthalate free shampoo that are hypoallergenic and all natural! I higly recommend Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo.
My hubs mentioned that Singapore water is very 'Hard'. He says try to leave the water overnight before bathing your dog. He mentioned that the 'chemical' will sink to the bottom of the bucket, so you have to gently scoop the top part of the water for use. We bring TOto down to walk at least 3x a days, and each time he comes home we will wipe him thoroughly and even dip his feet in water to clean it!
One of the reason we handstripped him was to reduced the chances of TOto having skin allergy. By handstripping, their hair follicles can breath better. Hubs explained that usually westie one hair follicles has a few soft coat fur, and one coarse fur; so if you pluck the coarse fur away. It helps that follicles to loosen up and the skin could breath better! Hahaha this is Hubs ways of explaining to me!
Please read and take it with a pinch of salt, we are not experts! These are written based on our own experiences and what we researched and read here and there ...