Is your little Pug buddy constantly scratching his/her ears, biting and licking his paws, or suffering dry and flaky, or red and irritated skin? If the answer is yes, your pug could be suffering from allergies to any number of substances, or allergens. Just like people, dogs can also suffer from food allergies, allergies to dust or pollen, fragrances or perfumes, detergents and cleaning products, shampoos, bug/flea bites, grasses, or material he comes into contact with such as his bedding or your home carpeting, just to name a few of the many causes.
Testing for food allergies is often the dog-owner’s first thought.
Testing is done by starting your dog on a completely hypoallergenic diet. Slowly, after the first 8-12 weeks or so of the diet (the amount of time before all traces of the old, bothersome food substances are eliminated from his system), new foods will be introduced into his diet on a weekly basis. As soon as you again notice allergy symptoms in your dog – which may take the form of skin, respiratory, or digestive problems (vomiting, diarrhea) – you know to eliminate that particular food from his diet. Many Pug owners have also found that switching the dog’s diet from dry food to raw food tends to work well. If you are uneasy with making this kind of a raw meal for your dog, you can purchase pre-packaged raw meals from your local pet care store (i.e., Petco).
Flea allergies may require the use of steroids/corticosteroids, especially when keeping your Pug away from fleas is not feasible. Dogs are not allergic to just the flea itself, but also to the flea’s saliva that is deposited under the dogs’ skin. This is what usually causes a dog’s severe gnawing at his skin that causes patches of hair being removed, and resultant scabbing or breaks in the skin, which then may lead to development of a bacterial infection.
If you suspect your Pug is suffering from a contact allergy, the simple solution is to eliminate that item/material from his environment. This might be as easy as getting rid of your pug’s bedding, or getting a hypoallergenic laundry detergent. On the other hand, it could be nearly impossible if he is allergic to some unidentifiable grass/weed that may line your property. In this case, you may not be able to prevent the allergic reaction, but instead may have to relocate your Pug’s outdoor quarters, and simply treat the effects of the allergy with hypoallergenic baths, antihistamines, or steroids. Consult your vet before starting your dog on any steroid, as he will only need them for a very short time. Your vet will also inform you if your Pug’s symptoms are actually due to a yeast infection, which is common and will require you to proceed differently.