Welcome to the "Strictly Bull Terriers" Forum. This is a Bull Terrier Forum dedicated to all the true English Bull Terrier enthusiasts around the world.

Skin Allergies with Bull Terriers

Unfortunately skin problems and allergies are common problems amoungst the bull terrier breed. Yes, there are some significant skin disorders that can be associated with Bull Terriers. However (through my experience) 80% of the Bull Terriers I've come into contact with that had a skin disorder was found to be the result of an improper diet rich in grain. I've rescued several Bull Terriers that had bad skin issues where patches of fur were missing, no fur on the feet, excessive shedding, scabs and abrasions, etc which were often misdiagnosed for mange, mites, pyodermas, neurodermatitis, ringworm, hookworm, fleas, and hot spots.

Most often the cause of skin allergies within Bull Terriers is caused from poor diets consisting on a dog food with high amounts of grain. My biggest recommendation to anyone that has a canine with skin problems is to, first and foremost, concentrate on a proper diet free of grain. There are many grain free dogs on the market. I personally like to use Taste of the Wild. Here's a link to website which lists several grain free dog foods: Grain Free Dry Dog Foods.

Proper and professional tests can be conducted by a veterinarian to determine the cause of a canine skin disorder.

Please visit: http://bulliesofnc.com/bull-terrier-nutrition for our recommendations on Bull Terrier Diet and Nutrition.



- Steve Gogulski
"It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
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  • My dogs have all gotten seasonal allergies I think because they occasionally break out into hives, never severe and goes away in a couple days but I have seen them all do it randomly. Bowzer is HIGHLY allergic to salmon, it took me forever to figure it out, because I didnt think he would be allergic to something people feed to dog's WITH allergies, well he had diarrhea most of his life, or loose stool, and I could never figure out why until I gave him some salmon oil in his food and he was covered in hives! His face was swollen and I had to get him a steroid injection and he was having horrible diarrhea. Since than I keep away from fish foods, though there is often salmon oil in a lot of dog kibble, that never seemed to cause him problems but treats or vitamins with it in it was like salmon over load for his system. The other day it proved to me just how bad his allergy is when I gave the dogs a piece of salmon jerky and bowzer was just starring at me like
    "i want some!!" so i was like okay..and gave him less than half of what I gave the others and he had a potty accident in his cage which is incredibly rare for him, so I knew it was from that, so sad!! The lady at a rescue here met my dogs and was shocked by how nice they looked, no allergies, no redness, i feel I have been lucky since I know what makes bowzer break out, the other dogs seem allergy free. It just seems like these dogs have a sensitive stomach, would you agree? I've only found one food that works so well for them!
    "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, till the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." WWW.ZERLETTKENNEL.COM
  • edited June 2012

    I don't have any food sensitive BT's but I rescued a few that were. Oddly my Bullies can eat a wide variety of different foods without noticing any effects except some occasional gas.  :-)

    I keep them all on a strict diet and add supplements.  Raw meat has always worked great for us for those BT's with high energy or in need of bulking up. They'll even welcome vegitables mixed in their food.  

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Has anyone had any experience with Wolle products to treat severe skin issues in their Bullies?

    I have tried a grain-free diet with no substantial results, anti-staph injections, salmon oil supplements, antibiotics, antihistamines, steroids, Aveeno baths, Ketochlor treatments, etc. You name, we have probably tried it. Long story short, we are on the verge of taking the financial plunge and getting him tested at a vet Dermatologist.

    The Wolle company is in Great Britain and I have been trying to get information from them for the past week with no response.  However, if someone else has tried them successfully, I will gladly be annoyingly persistent until I get some answers.  This has gone on for too long and I feel so bad for him! :(

  • MacsMom,


    I tried my best to research this product you're talking about and there's nothing substanciating this products results. To be honest there's barely anything listed under this product. It appears to be another all natural herbal wonder medicine that's made up of natural ingredients and vitamins.

    Out of curiousity, where did you hear of this product because it's obvious they aren't very popular or sought after? I'm sure you could find several other products with the same natural ingredients. Reading up on this manufacturer that are really adamant with going ALL NATURAL. I don't think this would be a liable solution to your problem which has already been met with diet changes as well as prescription medication.

    By the way, Woole Products also has an All Natural Herbal Supplement for dogs with painful joints and muscles. If someone gave me some herbal supplement if I had painful joints and muscles I'd throw it back at them.

    The maker of this product (Arno Woole) was never a doctor nor veternarian. Just a herbal all natural buff who prefers vitamins over medicine. Whether they work or not is a mystery because there's NO reviews of the product and no proof that they work. :-q








    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Thanks for the information.  Here is where I initially heard about it:  http://www.bull-terrier-skin.com/
    I am willing to try even "snake oils" at this point.  But I will take your word for it and appreciate the insight.
  • Yes, I actually included that link on the response I sent you above. I'd wait until I had a tested to see what's causing the skin problem.  Intradermal allergy tests is a specific test utilized to test dogs to see if they have any allergic reactions which cause skin problems and itching. This is an extensive test averaging 1 hour at which time the dog is sedated and receives 60 injections made into the skin. The price of this test is $250. In your case I'd say it would be well worth it and provide you with authentic answers.


    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Thanks so much for your input and time! I will definitely keep you posted as to his progress or lack thereof.
  • Thanks. I'm interested to see how things turn out for him. Do you have any photos of him?
    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Hi. I have a three year old brindle bull terrier whose allergies get increasingly worse each year.  We have tried almost everything.  He is currently taking Atopica just started last week without much result.  His hind paws are so sore he is limping and currently taking pain medication.  We live in Lancaster County PA and I am at my wits end would love to know if anyone has any suggestions.  He is on an egg and rice diet and he gets bathed at least 2 times a week with Zymox shampoo and rinse.  Thanks
  • Rachele my bully is allergic to poultry products so we put him on grain free holistic food now i dont know if this will help your bully or not but it sure did help are boy out and his coat looks and fills great .Look on www.dogfoodadvisor.com and rate your bullys food and maybe find something that will help him and good luck with your search ..
  • Thanks Alfred I will try anything.
  • My recomendation would be have her professionally tested. Intradermal allergy tests is a specific test utilized to test dogs to see if they have any allergic reactions which cause skin problems and itching. This is an extensive test averaging 1 hour at which time the dog is sedated and receives 60 injections made into the skin. The price of this test is around $250. Most skin allergies in Bull Terriers are caused from food and improper diet.
    Some may suggest Serum-Based tests for allergy problems which is a simple blood test. However, this test does not require any expertise and has the disadvantage of resulting in false positives which can cause treatment for an allergy that doesn’t exist.

    Most Vets will put your dog on all kinds of medications in hopes they will help or minimize the problem because they do not have the means to conduct an Intradermal allergy test. I urge you to find a Vet who has the capabilities to perform the proper tests so you can pin point the actual cause of your dogs allergy. Until then it's going to be a guessing game and chances are you've already tried the most common ailments that cause allergies amoungst Bull Terriers. Now might be the time to have her tested by a knowledgable Vet with the capabilities of providing you with the root cause of her allergies.

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Thank you I will have this done and see what comes of it.
  • edited January 2013

    Hey to all the Bull Terrier lovers out there. I wanted to
    post this information to help any of you who may be having issues with your
    bullies skin. I got my white bully named Diesel almost 3 years ago. When we
    brought him home we took him to the vet to get him checked out. We were told
    that he had Demodex Mange. We started treating it right away. Once the mange
    went away we started seeing sores on Diesel's feet. He would get rashes on his
    belly, nose and ears. He would scratch his armpits so much they would bleed and
    scap. He was always chewing on his feet. Not to mention, his nails were
    horrible. They were no longer clear. They were dark, and weak. They were always
    breaking and chipping. So we took him to the vet on numerous occasions. He was
    put on numerous different types of antibiotics, and was given topical creams.
    Nothing was working at all. So, I thought he might have a food allergy. So I
    switched him onto a raw food diet. Although he LOVED this diet, it did not
    change his skin, even after months and months. So on a trip to the vet, I
    wanted to find out more about his nails. The vet said it was yeast and that I
    should soak his feet in Epsom salt. This did not work. So I started doing
    research about dogs nails and why they get brittle and weak. I found a website
    that discussed Candida (a form of yeast) in dogs. I had just learned about candida in humans
    because of health issues it was causing for my husband. So a light bulb went
    off for me. When a dog has Candida in their system, they will get similar
    symptoms as a dog affected by allergies would. So I found out from the
    nutritionist my family uses that if you take too many antibiotics without
    taking any probiotics, candida can developed inside your body. So I thought to
    myself, hmmm maybe all of the antibiotics that Diesel was on for his mange
    started these symptoms. Then I put him on more antibiotics thinking they would
    help when in reality were making the skin issues in my dog worse. So I ordered
    an all-natural supplement called Candida Cleanse from my nutritionist and
    started giving it to Diesel along with an all-natural probiotic. Within a few
    weeks, I started seeing improvements in his fur, skin and nails! I stopped giving
    him the supplements when he cleared up and I have not had to give them to him
    since. He still looks great. He’s much happier and healthier.  It has been almost a year since I did this treatment with him and it has never come back. 
    I went through a horrible two years trying to
    figure out what was wrong with Diesel. The 2 years Diesel had while I was figuring
    this out was miserable also. So, I just wanted to share this info with you
    guys. I know every case is different, and please do your own research as well.
    This just worked wonders for me and for my mother in laws friends’ dog who had similar
    issues. Good luck. 
    If anyone has any
    questions feel free to contact me!!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

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  • When i got Sadie, she had a HUGE bald patch on her neck, it was terrible looking, plus her skin was so itchy i had to cover her feet with old socks to try to get her to quit itching since her skin was so itchy and raw.as soon as i brought her home i got her started imedietly on an all raw diet and within 2 months she quit itching completly and all her fur grew back and she looked great.

    heres Sadie right after i got her,

    you can see her neck is bald and in the second one you can see her red irritated feet from chewing at them.

    and then after, i know you cant see her neck well, but all the fur grew back and you can see her paws in the 3rd pic, white if not a bit dusty from the walk but deff NOT red or irritated. i have a few videos of her from day one till the day i sent her off to her new home, she acted and looked as if she were 7 years old when i got her and acted and looked about 3 when i gave her up.


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  • nikkimele - Thanks for taking the time to present this information. This subject receives many inquiries and the more information added provides other bull terrier owners with helpful suggestions from owners who have first hand experience from dealing with skin allergies with their Bull Terriers. It amazes me how often I hear about Bull Terriers being misdiagnosed and treated for mange when in fact mange was never the problem. I wish more Vets would put forth the energy to conduct proper tests that conclude mange vice making an assumption just to quickly prescribe and sell prescription medications.
    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • My 11 year old has had major allergy issues since age 1. He was tested and is allergic to beef, barley, pork, peas, corn and kelp. Unfortunately there is a whole bunch of other things that cant be controlled, ie cottonwood trees, timothy grass and scores of fungi and mold that come through the air.. He has been on Taste of the Wild salmon for over a year, it has helped a little but his feet and legs are still a mess. Ive spent over 20,000.00 in vet bills over the years, which if he was cured, or better, I wouldnt even mention. but he isnt. He used to improve some in the winter, but not any more. I wish there was some way to prevent another owner and pet from going through what we have, it sucks. Every spring I tell myself I am going to put him down for his own sake, how good can life be with sores all over your legs? They must hurt. Anyway, he looks at me with those eyes....and hes still here. The vet gives him antibiotics and steroids, and that used to clear him up for a couple weeks, but now he is getting new sores before the medicine is finished.
  • edited May 2013
    Wow, he sounds as though he has a severe cause of allergies. Usually (with proper tests) the cause of the allergy problem can be found so further exposure can be stopped. However, your EBT has several allergies of all sorts which must make life difficult. He's blessed to be in your hands where he's been well cared for and treated to the best of your abilities.
    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Brutus chews his butt fur at the base of his tail on both buttocks and is now after his sides I used to use chlorohexiderm on my pitx and it is seeming to work for him as well along with allergy pills at 35mg 2bid I have noticed crusting on his eye??? Anyone ever seen this??
    Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear your words.
  • This is the best pic I can get...
    Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear your words.
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  • I am hoping for some advice...

    My 11 month old white bull terrier has just broken out in red bumps all over. She is shedding since the weather has warmed up some. The red bumps just started a few days ago. Nothing new as far as diet, shampoo, bedding detergent, etc. Not sure what to do. Any suggestions?
  • What type of food do you have her on?
    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • She is on the vet recommended Hills Science food; the brindle was throwing up several months back and this is the only food that stopped that. Before that, they had natural choice, and several others from petsmart. we had to avoid fish, makes the brindle sick. chicken was also a possible allergy for the brindle.

    my white bullie does not seem to have the same food allergies, she will eat anything. they are both on the same food.

  • I'm a little shocked your Vet recommended that food. It doesn't have very good reviews and if your using the standard Hills Science adult dry food then it's high in grain which isn't a good idea for any Bull Terriers especially those that are sensitive to allergies. Hills Science is a 2 star food according to Dog Food Advisory. It may be beneficial for you to compare some of the suggested foods mentioned above to the one you are currently using. Here's a link to the review of the food you are currently using: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/hills-science-diet-dog-food-adult-dry/

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Often times the bull terriers break out into 'hives' when the weather changes. It's pretty common, mine do it too. Often times its nothing to worry about, give one benedryl a day for a few days, and just ride it out. It becomes a more serious issue if the face swells up and the entire body is swollen, than you may need a visit to the vet because it could be a severe allergic reaction to snake, spider ect. Most of the time from weather, its harmless, looks terrible, but this too, shall pass.

    A few weeks ago I noticed a strange bite on claxxtons foot, it was really strange, and puffy and his foot was swollen. I figured he was bit by a spider or something. I cleaned it up, drained it, and covered it while I went to work. When I got home from work he was covered in hives, all over his face, his legs, predominately on the same side the foot was bitten on. I phoned my vet, which told me not to panic, and give him some benedryl, it took a few days, but he returned back to normal.
    "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, till the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." WWW.ZERLETTKENNEL.COM
  • edited March 2013

    Cesar breaks out in hives all over from fly bites, hore flys/deer flys. we get them BAD, and no bug spray or topical would  repelle them that i have tried (and i have tried nearly everything!) so he basically spends his summers on benedryll.

    this is a picture i took last summer, Cesar was wearing an all natural bug repellent for humans, VP fly ointment/ repellent, advantix (or frontline- i tried both last year) nothing worked-this is how bad they were last summer, i was constantly waving them away from him to no avail.


    a few times i even sprayed them directly with deep woods off!-didnt faze them.


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  • My beloved Gertrude is a 6 month old white bully and she has a patch on the top left side of her muzzle about 2" x 1"  that started about 2 weeks ago.  The skin is discolored and dark and the hair is thinning and stands strait up.  At first I thought she bruised it when she was romping around but it doesn't seem to be improving.  It is neither growing or diminishing.  Do you have any suggestions?
  • In checking this thread I noticed Xchairity's post about flies ( and was surprised that I didn't see any help) ...
    Around where we live they have tons of horses.. And it's a residential area so they use what they call " fly predators"... They are by Spalding Labs. I wasn't sure whether they did anything for dogs, seems they do.
    They "clear out the area" .. So if the problem is wherever you go, and not just loca
    In the beginning God created English Bull Terriers, in the image of EBT's, God created all other breeds.
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  • I will have to look into that Thanks!
  • I'm struggling with my 8yr old bully's skin. He's suffered from ear infections last couple years, spring and fall, and had to take antibiotics and steroids to clear them up. This sept along with the usual ear infection I found what I thought to be flea dirt on his head between his ears. I set about bathing, cleaning, etc to clear this up and while the dirt went away he then developed a rash/infection with his hair falling out and needed antibitiotics to clear up. This worked but after second round of antibiotics has now become increasingly itchy again with the area under his neck getting rather red and inflamed, again, as well as hives have broke out going down his back. I'm giving him herbs, liver detox, and lots of vitamin c , b to try to get his immune system working better but to no avail as of yet. This all started in September. Asked vet aboutCandida cleanse i-she recommended adding Oil of Oregano to his diet he is on raw diet, beef, chicken, turkey - any ideas? I don't really want to 'sedate' him to test allergies...
  • Was what you thought flea dirt actually flea dirt? If so, he might have allergies to the fleas themselves, which isn't to uncommon in all sorts of breeds. I would also suggest maybe just giving him a good multivitamin with everything in one instead if a couple of each, that way it is more balanced. I would also skip out on the cleanse, if you are feeding him a balanced raw diet, then there is no need for a cleanse, but you should add salmon oil to his diet. It does miracles with their skin and coat, so please skip out on the oregano and upgrade to the salmon oil. When he broke out in a rash under his neck, would it be from his collar? If I leave mine in their collars and the metal clasp rubs their skin, it will irritate their neck as well. Again, it is super important to feed him a balanced raw diet, with the right percentage of meaty bones and organs, to much of one or the other throws the balance of and they won't get all the nutrients they need. I'm sure someone else will chime in on the correct raw balance, I fed raw and kibble so I'm no expert there.
  • @kad - What kind of food and diet do you have him on? I can understand that you may not wish to sedate him in order to have proper allergy tests conducted. However, I think it would a much better choice than allowing him to deal with the effects of his allergies for such a long period of time.

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • I had an issue with plastic feed and water bowls.  Switched to stainless and Meatball's nose and snout cleared substantially.  Was it stuff not properly cleansed from plastic or plastic itself?  I don't know.  She also reacted to ant bites and the like.  Hives and bumps all over her belly.  But a good bath usually cleared it up for her.  She hated baths but afterwards she always appreciated the way it kept the dander down. 
  • Apollo has a quarter sized bald spot on his head where the hair is finally growing back in. It was right dead center between his ears and it drove me NUTS because I couldn't fathom how or why he got it!!!
  • Sergio had/has the same thing!!! 
  • kad - I have dealt with a flea allergy. For my dog, it manifested itself in red bumps that would eventually scab up and take the hair with it. They were all over her body. She was given a Capstar to kill live fleas and was started on flea prevention, and it cleared things up right away. We also had to flea bomb the apartment twice to clear it.

    One thing a lot of people don't think to check for is yeast infections. Yeast infections are most common on feet and in ears, but can take over the entire body and cause thinning of hair or widespread hair loss. A common sign of a yeast infection is smell - your dog will just smell funny. I've heard it termed "Frito feet" (thank god I'm not a Fritos fan). Also look for what I would call browning of your dog...Quinn's toenails are clear, but they were brown near the base of her quick. She also had lots of brown gunk in between her toes. And some buildup under her belly and near the lady parts. From what I have read, steroids aren't always a positive thing for yeast infections. We did medicated wipes for Quinn (antifungal/antibacterial) and then started her on daily coconut oil. I've seen a tremendous improvement in her skin and coat. I've also switched her food, but she's on dry food soo.... Hope you find a solution.
  • Hi everyone
    I need advice!
    Our bull terrier Ruby has had rashes on & off since she was 4months old, she is now 17months. The first time she was given antibiotics after she was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. This cleared up in a matter of days but came back a few weeks later. She has since then had yeast ear infections and 'itches' every since. She has had food trials and been on hypoallergenic foods, and is currently on Royal Canin Skin & Weight formula.
    The worst is her recent 'itch attack'; she has been continually scratching her bottom and in the morning she rolls and scratches on her carpet and the grass. Our vet first cleared her anal glands, which relieved it to a point but continued to scratch. We have tried cortisone based sprays & creams & finally a small, short course of prednisone which relieved the itch but now has returned after finishing the course. Our vet says she has a contact allergy to grass as the rash develops on her chest and her itchy bottom.
    I have been advised by other bull terrier owners to add omega 3,6 &9 oil to every meal as well as bovine colostrum powder to boost her immunity to help fight the histamine release. Also give zyrtec or phenergan for major breakouts but I am apprehensive to do so...
    Please help!!
  • Check her food ingredients, if there is any grains in it rice, wheat or corn, that is probably it. Diet is a huge factor in this breed.
  • There is!
    It list the ingredients as
    Maize, barley , pork,poultry,wheat flour,psyllium husks, and other ingredients which are fine.
    What do you give your bullies? I've never had one?
  • She was on the royal canin hypoallergenic when we did food trials- but the rashes continued. It contains rice too!
    It's so frustrating!
  • Taste of the wild is great food and grain free
    Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear your words.
  • I feed mine Wellness core, also grain free, but I mix in raw and freeze dried. I like to switch it up a bit for them, so as long as it's grain free I'll let them eat it.
  • Here's my recommendations. I have yet to have anyone come back and say they had allergy's or any form of health problem (related to their diet) by providing their Bull Terrier with this nutritional diet and supplements:


    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • Thank you everyone! I will look into those dog foods!
    Anyone against colostrum to boost immunity right now while she is really itchy?
  • My feelings are that it's unnecessary. Her allergies are coming from her diet. Simply change her diet and provide her with a good supplement to boost her immune system and I promise you'll see a big difference FAST.

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
  • http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com try this website! It's also on Steve's link. Hey Steve! What puppy is that in the bottom left corner of your link? The black brindle? Awesome pup!
  • That was a puppy from Cyra's litter. He went to New Jersey.

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
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  • Thank you everyone for your advice. While a wait for my taste of the wild to arrive I have put ruby on a raw diet of lean mince, veggies, bones & chicken necks. No dry dog food at all and I'm already seeing a difference after 4 days.
    She still rolls around on her back & belly in the morning but no bottom scratching, grinding and growling at all!!!
  • Great News!!! No more grain and junk ingredients and she's already reaping the benefits.

    - Steve Gogulski
    "It's not just a Dog, it's a Bull Terrier!"
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