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Allergies? Common and odd symptoms
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AnnmarieDSLR
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:45 pm Post subject: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Hey fellow pugsters! Hoping to get a bit of help with my newest pug Tottsie. We have a situation I have never run into before in this specific way and I know someone here probably has.

Tootsie is a spayed female puppy mill breeder rescue. She is approximately 4 years old - no one is quite sure so we are going with that. She was bred over and over and over until her last litter died and then she was being put to sleep. A wonderful rescue org saved her as well as many others and she now has a forever home with my family and our two older male neutered pugs, Dudley (12) and Buster (10). Biiiiiig change for them but it has been a month and all is well. Surprising easy adjustment. BTW we never owned a female dog - a female any animal to be precise.

Here is the issue: about 10 days ago and every morning since, between 5 am and 7 am, Tootsie wakes up - all the pugs sleep with us of course - and begins nipping at her hind quarters. Her tail, her tush and her flanks. She really winds herself up - jumping on and off the bed, running around the bed on top of us and the other pugs to the point of frenzy. She sometimes scoots on her tush in circles. It takes a while to calm her down. She then goes out to take care of business, eats breakfast and settles onto the couch - all is well for the most part - until the next morning.

She may do that again once during the day but it is almost exclusive to that period of the morning.

We checked all the usual suspects - her gland did need to be expressed but has been clear since that first time I expressed it (10 days ago), absolutely positively no fleas, mites, flakes or rash. Not even any redness in any area from the base of her tail down to her feet. Yet this seems to be where she is nipping at - specifically the base of her tail.  Nothing there. Used a fine tooth comb and bright light to see and all there is is perfectly healthy pug skin.

We took her too the vet yesterday morning, explained it all and the vet diagnosed it as food allergies. He checked her tush - gland was fine. Explained about the change in diet with no other treats as a start and be patient. It was a bit of a rushed visit which is highly unusual for this vet. The place was packed!  No worms in stool sample or visual inspection.

So we purchased a high quality cod and sweet potato food and are slowly transitioning her over to that from a basic "overweight dog" food. She was 23lbs when she came to us and since she is quite short she was shaped light a fat tootsie roll - hence her name. She has dropped 1 1/2lbs with exercise and portion control. We are very happy about that.

Anyway - food allergies? Only at this time in the morning and only related to that part of her body? I am not reading that anywhere else and it seems odd to me. She sleeps in the bed at other times of the day - a two hour afternoon nap with me and her boys is standard - so I am not thinking it is the bedding though I did give everything there a thorough was with extra rinses.  She has been with us about a month and this just started about 10 days ago.  I cannot think of anything new in her environment that would cause the sudden onset though I know allergies can come out of no where.

It is the beginning of pollen season here so ... but this is a very specific area and a very specific time. I actually bought blackout curtains for our bedroom hoping to delay the time she awakes but that did not work. I was thinking along the lines of her associating "get up - sun is shining - run around and bite my tail". Just in case.

I am going to make another vet apportionment for this Tuesday and ask a lot more questions - one of them being - what can we give her in the mean time to relieve her distress because she does whimper some while nipping and scooting. An anti itch spray? Ointment which would be a nightmare but done if necessary. Benadryl would be hard since when do we give it?

Our middle pug Buster has a food allergy that we cannot figure out - he grabbed something that fell on the floor during dinner and his swelled up like a Sar Pei. An ER visit and a script of prednisone helped that instantly. He cannot take Benadryl since he is on pheno for epilepsy. He also had bladder stones but we never told him, they never bothered him so we just avoid feeding him anything but his normal daily diet and all is well.

But this situation with Tootsie is different. No swelling, redness, hives, rash, etc ...

Any comments, help or suggestions would be oh so greatly appreciated.

Side note but very important: we have been asked to adopt her sister and we are seriously considering doing so but are very hesitant until Tootsie's issue is under control. It would not be fair to any of the pugs to have so much going on at once.  I am calling the rescue agency and explaining. Also asking if her sister is exhibiting any of these same symptoms.[align=left]
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allyzabethe
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:35 am Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Tough one. Not sure how much help I will be, but here's my info.

My two girls (litter mates, will be 3 in June) have some serious allergies. I have not had them tested for allergens, but I do know that Petunia is allergic to poultry because she gets hives when she eats it. I chose not to have them tested for specific allergens because I am going a different route in treatment. More on that later. Also, testing for food allergens can be tricky and inaccurate. To me, a better judge of food allergies is doing the elimination diet (change the food, no treats, etc. like you are doing), then adding items back to see if there's a reaction.

Food allergies can take a while to come out, so it could be that if she's eating something she isn't used to. Do you have her on the same food that she was on with the rescue? Do you know how long she was on that food?

Ask your vet about giving Benadryl though. I use the children's liquid and add it to their food. The typical dosage is 1-2 mgs per pound of body weight. Start with 1 mg per pound at first, then increase if you need to. When the girls were at their worst, they were getting 40.5 mgs three times a day.

On the different allergy treatment. I read "Pets at Risk" by Dr. Alfred Plechner on the advice of my vet. It's a completely different approach to allergies. And it's not the standard practice. So if you read it and decide to go with it, you'll have to find a vet that agrees with it, too. And it is not cheap in the least. The treatment itself is inexpensive, but the tests aren't. My girls had their first test a month ago, had their first treatment two weeks ago and another blood test on Friday. Before the treatment, they had to wear clothes all the time because they chewed themselves bloody. And they were on the Benadryl three times a day. Within a week of treatment, they were naked again and I've backed off the Benadryl. I do still give it to them during the day when I'm at work. The vet was even impressed by their turn around.

Read the book and decide for yourself though.
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AnnmarieDSLR
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:27 am Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

I will check my local library for a copy of that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

See - I am not so sure it is a food allergy. I find it incredibly odd that this behavior only happens at a certain time of the day. No one knows what she was eating at the puppy mill. At the rescue group she ate the same food I was feeding her up until yesterday. So there was no change there. And then these symptoms come on her about 10 days ago.

I can not make a correlation to food though I know that really makes no difference. Food allergies can be built up and do not necessarily start from puppy hood.  

The only reason I am asking about the Benedryl or any other possibly topical med is to provide her relief while we try out the new food.

Right now she is laying on my bed and my son is petting her - even in the areas she "worries" in the morning and she isn't bothered by it one bit.

But come tomorrow morning I am sure it will be a totally different, frantic, whimpering story. Poor baby girl.
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PYK3
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:54 am Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Welcome and bless you for rescueing Tootsie (love the name)
I can't offer any help sorry but did want to say hi.
Hope all goes well tomorrow and you can figure this out.  Please keep us posted.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:14 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Maddy scoots her bottom around in circles when she has to potty (pee and poo). That's her tell. This scooting can also be an indication of some sort of bacterial infection in the urinary tract (but this can be easily diagnosed at the vet and may not be an issue here).

Regarding food allergies...well, this can be quite a loaded issue. Beef and chicken are common canine meat allergens.  Corn, wheat, and soy are also very common grain allergens. Some veggies can also cause some allergic reactions. Foods high in starches (such as potatos) can also cause some irritation... None of this is absolute for your dog, of course, but it can provide some ideas. I assume you were not feeding the same food the puppy mill was feeding her, right?

I hope you find out what's going on with Tootsie. Please let us know. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:47 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Here's a wild stab at it. Could it be that she remembers having sex against her will at the puppy mill. Or she's remembering labor and trying to bite at the offending area?This would be kind of like a bad dream in REM sleep right before she wakes up in the morning? If it doesn't happen any other time this could be a possibility. Just a thought. I wish you luck! You sound like you are covering all your bases and have a good heart!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:04 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

PYK3 - thank you.

ndemmons - we thought the same thing at first but there is no correlation.  You can take her out til the cows come in but the behavior still shows up at that specific time. The scooting is just a small part of it. The reaching around and trying to bite is what is really noticeable and then she scoots because she is in that position and turns if that makes sense.

Nope - she is not eating the food from the puppy mill. At least we hope not. No one knows what they were being fed. When we adopted her she was eating a high quality kibble for weight control and we kept her on that until the vet visit. We changed her over to cod and potatoes for the food allergy suspicions.



Moopsie - I guess anything is possible with a puppy mill dog. I can tell you one thing - she sure as hell remembers being beaten. If you raise your hand to pet her she virtually falls to the side cowering. You have to squat down and sort of pet her from the side. She is getting much better at this but the first week it was heartbreaking. Had my husband near tears.

In every other way she is completely normal - simply the sweetest little girl ever. Running, jumping, barking, eating, snuffleing, snoring - you name it. Actually a bit more active than my other two were at that age. Now they are couch potatoes so she really is a big change.

BTW - a call to the vet revealed no parasites on fecal exam. The rescue group suggested that since on of the other dogs had whip worms.

He called the vet earlier today to ask if there is something we can do to relieve her itch while the food transitions and we are waiting for a call back. Vet was in surgery. Possibly a bit of Benadryl.

EDIT: vet just called and said we may give her 1/2 of a 25mg tablet twice a day.  So I running out to the local pharmacy now to pick that up. We have the generic version which would have been fine but it is in time release capsules.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:43 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Give her time and hopefully she will adjust as far as the cowering. My friend Erin, also a member here, adopted a puppy mill rescue about 8 months ago. The change in her has been remarkable. She learned how to play with toys, plays with her big brother and had a good time at the dog park on Saturday. It has taken a while, but she has learned how to be a pug.
I know there are others on here that have adopted mill rescues, too. It takes time, but you can help her forget her past.
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PYK3
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:46 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

So glad you had good news from the vet.  Hopefully the Benadryl will help.  Keeping our fingers and paws crossed.  Thanks for keeping us posted.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:26 am Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

My pug, Jazzy has been waking up from  a sound sleep with body twitching.  Mainly right hind leg and tummy area.  Does not appear to be in pain at all.  Eats, drinks, no vomiting acts completly normal afterwards.  Been going on the past two weeks, has happened 3 times, that I know of.

I took him to the Vet last monday, all blood work came back normal.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:17 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

This morning - 6 am - same scenario. Frantic biting and nipping at her flanks and tush. Even her legs a bit. Jumping off the bed, running around the room - stopping to bite and scratch.
We brought her back in bed and tried to calm her down. I evn quiety sand Twinkle Twinkle. I did not know what else to do! I did not want to stimulate her more so we kept the petting to just her head area.

No luck. She jumped back up and scratched and nipped.

The dose of Benedryl - 12.5 mg - was given last night at 11 pm. Either it did not work, did not last or was too low a dose.

Followed our usual routine. She went out, ate, went out again and now is napping at my feet.

Somehow I keep thinking that when we get up or totally distract her with something else it sort of breaks the thought pattern of the behavior. I get a feeling it is neurological or obsessive in a way. I am not totally convinced it is a food allergy. The timing is too specific.

I am going to wash all the bedding today in a dye free hypo allergenic soap and see if that makes any difference. She is spending at least 7 hours in our bed so maybe there is a correlation there.

I am grasping now. I so want her out of whatever pain or discomfort she is in.

Can anyone recommend a soothing anti itch shampoo I can find locally - such as at a PetCo - that I can try. I will give her a bath about 7 pm tonight, rinse her thoroughly and dry her gently as not to stimulate her skin and coat too much.

She was bathed a couple of weeks ago with a basic over the counter pet shop major label oatmeal shampoo.

I am also going to try and keep the windows closed in our bedroom all day and maybe even run the AC to grab any pollen or other allergens.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:12 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

ah, these rescue dogs.....

ours would try to dig to china....very obsessive behaviours...

we got ours from a home who had beaten him, kept him in a garage cabled to a crate with a piece of plywood for a bed and they bleached his anus....

he still has habits, even six months later...to show us just how insecure he is....and we deal with them one by one..

have you tried swaddling her when she starts on the behaviour? or removing her from the room and redirecting her?

this might be a leftover behaviour, as was suggested......it sounds behavioural...

has the change in diet helped?

just my 2c, but i would do an elimination diet...and just give her hamburger or chicken and rice....brown rice because it is low glycemic....and see how she does with food...might want to add some fish oil caps in case this is an itchy dog.....maybe even add some digestive enzymes...although i don't think the problem is physical...it sounds psychological with physical manifestations...

six months later, with our bubba.....he is now sleeping on his back, which implies trust....he is house training....he still eats like he is being starved and cries when he hears the fridge opening....he still ducks when we pet him from above, because we know someone hit him with a baseball cap....but now he sleeps soundly without whimpering or digging....

the one thing on your side is time....and i think you're doing a bang up job of trying to help this poor baby who was so abused and mis used.....
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:51 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

First, the Benadryl would have been out of her system by that time. It only lasts 4-6 hours. So you could get up in the middle of the night to try it, but I think that might be defeating the purpose.

The swaddling idea may work. Since she's biting at her hindquarters, if you can get some doggy panties to cover up that area, she may not chew on herself. With mine, if they were wearing a shirt or sweater, they wouldn't chew themselves. The second it came off, they chewed themselves bloody. I know it's not the same kind of thing, but it may help.

If you do think that it's more of a behavioral issue, what about beating her to the punch? If she does this like clockwork at 6 am, get up at 5:45. Take her out to potty, give her some love, etc. Then go back to bed. See if you can avoid the situation entirely. If that works, gradually move the time forward by 5 minutes or so each week. See if you can get past the 6 am wake up call.

Did you get her from GMPR or Curly Tail? They might be able to refer you to a behavioralist, too. If not, check out Pat Miller's site.
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AnnmarieDSLR
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:01 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

LONG POST:

I do tend to think it is a behavioral component though I am definitely not ruling out allergies what so ever. A call to the rescue group asking about the other dogs from this litter (as far as they can tell) revealed that none of the other dogs are having these issues. Some were adopted and who knows what is going on with them though the group has called and e mailed asking about Tootsie as a follow up.

Right now she is scratching her side - like you see in the commercials for dogs with fleas - not the biting and nipping of her hind quarters. So that is an indicator of an itch IMO.

I will try the swaddling. Not sure exactly what to use though. Something from neck to tush. I am not familiar with dog clothing. Maybe even something from the baby department of Kids r Us?

I will also try to beat her to the punch though that is going to be a heck of a challenge with the 2 other pugs - both being on the senior side.  Getting up means out, eat, out.  So their routine is going to change also.  We can do it of course but they are going to give me that evil eye look. "5:50 am? Are you kidding us?" LOL!


On the food front:

I have read so many food/allergy/itching threads on this site my head is spinning! Our vet also has two itchy pugs (one has only one eye) - both rescues. Coincidentally my older 12 year old pug Dudley is blind in one eye, limited site in the other and stone deaf so we have a lot in common with his dogs.
His dogs eat  Natural Choice Herring, Rice and Potato  and it helped them greatly. We purchased a small bag of that on the way home from the vet and are transitioning her onto that exclusively. That was on Saturday and she is still pretty much 1/2 and 1/2 with her previous food - Eukanuba Weight Control.

I really trust our vet. Having so many pets in the last 20+ years (dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, rodents) he has always been right there when we needed them treated or had questions. The whole staff is great and very compassionate when we had to help an  animal pass out of pain.  Getting a bit choled up now.
He is very honest when it comes to prognosis but pretty much lets us decide how far to treat our animals or makes a strong suggestion when treatment will only prolong a pet's life for us - not the animal.

That said: what the heck food do I try?

I have read recommendations here that include Halo, Blue Buffalo, Nature's Recipe, Natural Balance, ect ...

I understand about the elimination diet. Actually my son's pediatrician called it the stone age diet. He had terrible food allergies as a child. We fed him very basic foods for almost a year eliminating all together what he tested positive for: chicken, wheat, corn, sugar and milk. Try making school lunches without any of those ingredients!  He ate a lot of home made soups. Smile Slowly we added one of the foods back into his diet once a week and watch for a reaction. This took us 4 years.  By the time he was in the later years of elementary school he was pretty much allergy free but had an issue or two now and then.

He is 23 now and eats EVERYTHING!!! LOL!

So I can easily and willingly make Tootsies food. Say boiled fresh chicken, brown rice, fish oil and veggies? Going to run that past my vet. Wondering if I should try that for her dinner at 4 pm with just a bit of her current kibble mixed in so as not to cause her a belly ache so to speak?

I don't want to make too many changes at once because then I will never know what the actual issue is but now that I see her scratching her side - and neck too - that skin has to be itchy. i think it could be a combo: she itches and then becomes obsessed with the itch.

Funny thing - I just remembered: when my son was an infant and had terrible colic we swaddled him in a baby blanket and then I carried him very close to me in sort of a papoose to calm him down.  We did eventually find out he was allergic to both my milk and his formula and through elimination we were able to feed him pre digested soy milk without iron. Oy vey!  It's one of the reasons I only have the one kid. Dogs are so much easier.  :-)

Sorry this is sooooo long but final question: cost being no issue would it not be best to have Tootsie tested for allergies right off the bat so she can get immediate relief depending on the results of the tests?


Just a note: these are my pets, my dogs, my loves - I will do anything I can to keep them health , happy and out of discomfort or pain. It's what I do no matter how nutty some other people (neighbors or friends) think I am.  Almost no different than what I would do for  my child.  Though if it comes down to just chicken and there is only one piece left Tootsie gets it - my son can go to Mc Donalds.  Very Happy
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allyzabethe
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:02 pm Post subject: Re: Allergies? Common and odd symptoms Reply with quote

Lots of questions! But good stuff.

If you want to try an elimination diet, you need to find a protein source that Tootsie has never had before. Typically, that is NOT chicken, turkey or beef. Lamb may be out, too. You'd want to use something like fish, venison, buffalo, bison, duck. And you want to use a carb source that she hasn't experienced. That could be rice, but more than likely not since that's become a big ingredient in many dog foods. My vet had me go with potatoes. My elimination diet for my girls (all homecooked by me) is whiting (fish), greens (kale, mustard, collard, spinach, broccoli), sweet potatoes and potatoes.

I think if I were in your situation, I'd stick with the current food that your vet recommended for the time being. Try the other options first like panties or getting up early. It can take 8 weeks for a new diet to show improvement so you have to give it some time.

As for the allergy testing, testing for food allergens in dogs is notoriously unreliable. Testing for environmental allergens (pollen, mites, etc.) is more reliable. If you decide to go that route, you would then have to give injections to desensitize Tootsie to those allergens. A friend's dog is in his second year of shots now. He is getting somewhat better, but not 100 percent. I think it may take up to three years to be really effective. You may not see immediate relief. So it's up to you on that.

Let me share my experience with my girls. I did not get them tested for specific allergens, but I had suspicions. The maddening itching and chewing did not change with the seasons or location, so it probably wasn't anything like pollen or grass. I already knew that Petunia broke out in hives with poultry, so that was obviously one issue. My suspicion was a hypersensitivity to fleas. My girls are on Comfortis, the flea pill, but it's impossible to keep fleas off your dogs unless you keep them in a sealed room. Dog parks have fleas, the neighborhood has fleas, the pet stores have fleas. I refuse to keep my guys stuck in the house. I use organic products to treat my yard, but the birds and squirrels will continue to bring them in. Everybody (dogs and cats) get treated for fleas, but the treatment does not keep fleas off of the dogs. It helps prevent an infestation, but the only way it works is by killing the flea that bites the critter, so there will be flea bites.

My girls did get a little better when we travelled to Texas for Christmas, so there's the possibility that it could be the cats or my laundry detergent. So changed the detergent. Can't change the cats. Still no relief. Until I read the Pets at Risk book. And I've already posted about that.

Me personally, I wouldn't do another bath at this point. If you think that she may have some residue or something from the other shampoo, you can rinse her off. If you do want to use a soap on her, try castile soap. I get it from the local health food store. Does not contain laurel sulphate which is a drying agent. Extremely gentle. I get the version that has tea tree oil in it which can help with itchies. But it's not a magic bullet.

This is what I was thinking of for the panties.
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But you could always get one of those baby onesies and cut a hole for her tail. That may work.

Try the Benadryl now, see if you see a difference in the itchiness. And look at her skin all over. Is she pinkish everywhere or just where she has scratched. My girls undersides were almost constantly pinkish red and should be whiter. If you are seeing all over color, that can be an indicator of an internalized allergen versus a contact allergen, like itchy paws that have stepped in grass.

And you are not alone in your craziness. You're a pug person. Most of us are just like you. You have found a home here.
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