My male pug is 14 years old and grew up in Southern CA. Recently we moved to Washington state and since then he's developed allergies that we can't seem to get control of.
It started with him using his back legs to kick at the sides of his face, his ears and head. He'd scratch like that for a solid 30 seconds and then start to hack and cough, like he couldn't breathe. Off to the vet we went, where he was diagnosed with an ear infection. Ok, meds administered, some time has passed and vet confirmed the infection is gone. She also confirmed he doesn't have any teeth problems, lice or fleas, so we assumed the itching would stop. It didn't.
It seems to happen mostly at night. He will kick and scratch the side of his head all night if we let him. And something about how he does that causes him to cough like he's got something in his throat. Maybe it's how he's twisting his body? If we touch the side of his face he suddenly flicks his head to the side we're touching, it's almost like he can't control himself from doing it. I've gotten to the point where I'm afraid to touch his head because we aren't sure if this is somehow causing him pain. However, he doesn't cry or whine and there are no red spots, bruising, bumps or other visible issues. We haven't changed his doggie shampoo or the detergent we use. The bedding (and bed) are all the same ones from CA, where he had no issues at all.
I realize the weather here could be causing this so my question is - can I do anything to help him? He eats and drinks normally and acts like his normal self. It's frustrating because he's such a good boy and doesn't deserve to be uncomfortable. Half a Benadryl doesn't seem to do much for him. Can anyone help?
Since you've ruled out so many other possibilities, it sounds likely that it's environmental... something different in the weather or the pollens in your new location. There are several allergy medications that are suitable for pugs to take. Just like in humans, sometimes certain allergy med's work better for one person and a different type works better for another person. You may want to try something other than Benedryl (diphenhydramine) to see if it helps the itching. It would be best to ask your vet for a recommendation, but I can tell you that our girl does well on 1/2 of a pill of Chlorphenamine (Brand name Chlor-trimaton) when her itching gets really bad.
As for the trouble breathing, I really don't know, but it does seem plausible that it has to do with the way he is twisting. Given his age, I think it'd be best to have the vet make sure his airways are clear and that he's not having pain.
Best wishes and I hope you are able to get your boy some relief from the itching.
Mom to Miss Jelly Bean "Beanie" Licorice Pug
Forever in our hearts: Miss Nilla Sassafras Pug August 17, 2002 to April 19, 2018
And my Heart-Dog... Wonka the Dancing Pug, CGC, W-FD, W-TFD.
Februrary 11, 2005 to May 10, 2020. Miss you, sweet boy!
Hi & You have come to the right place for helpful advice & support! I don't have much experience with allergies, so I'll let the others who do have lots of experience respond, & I'm sure they will be along soon to help you out.
Have you let the vet know that he is still having the same problem, so they might look into it further? If you find that your vet doesn't seem interested in finding out what the cause is, you might want to get a 2nd opinion at another vet. I wonder if you could take a video to show the vet of what your pup does when you try to touch the side of his face? Good luck, and please let us know how he does.
Rugby 7/10/02 - 9/28/15 Miss you, little girl! You're always in my heart!
I have an update on Riley's allergies and it's awesome news.
We had noticed it was really bad in the bedroom (at night), so much so that I'd been sleeping with him in the living room. Then yesterday I removed all the bedroom furniture so I could do a thorough vacuuming and cleaning of the carpet. I dusted the room, changed every sheet and blanket and even wiped down the walls and windows. Finally, I changed the filter for the heater as well as cleaning the one in the air purifier. Something in all that seems to have done the trick because last night he didn't itch, kick, cough or hack ONCE!! I'm not sure which of those things worked but who cares as long as he's doing better.
I'm hoping it wasn't just a one night thing but so far we're stoked. I love my old man puggy so much! Thanks for the advice and well wishes.
It's very possible it is dust mites. I plan on keeping an eye on him to see if the issues return. If they do, I'll try another "crazy lady cleaning" (haha) and see if it works a second time. If it does, well I guess that means I become a crazy lady cleaner 24-7.
Unfortunately, we can't because we're renters. There is only carpet in the bedrooms in our house and our landlord installed it just before we moved in. We have FOUR dogs (three of them are big) and she's awesome for renting to us to begin with.