Pug and Allergies
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Susan Littleton
Posted on: June 14, 2006

My pug dog was allergy free until about 3 years ago, when he was five years old. He has very itchy skin, and will damage himself scratching. I took him to the vet and was told that it was allergies, although no allergy testing was done. He was put on 50 mg of Hydroxyzine, which has since been increased to 75 mg per day. He still scratches a lot, but when his dose is raised to 100 mg, he becomes drowsy and ill. He also seems to have very bad "dandruff". We bath him only once a month - since he is on "Revolution" for flea and heartworm prevention and the vet assistant once told us that bathing him mid month would decrease it’s effectiveness. I was wondering if there was anything you could suggest that would be more effective and pug friendly than the Hydroxyzine.

Most skin conditions as you describe are a result of food allergies. Please look at the work of Richard Pitcairn, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst for more information on homemade diets as well as a number of recipe choices. The condition of the skin/fur is usually an indication of an animal’s physical health, ie: how well the body is functioning as a whole. Drugs such as Revolution can exacerbate an already impaired system as they contain preservatives such as BHT which have been indicated by some scientists as a cause of liver damage and metabolic stress. The antihistamine Hydroxyzine whilst providing possible short term relief only reduces the symptoms; it does not deal with the root of the problem. Interesting that you should mention your dog’s tendency to become "drowsy and ill" on a higher dose of Hydroxyzine. One of my sources claims that "...relatively high doses are necessary and the positive effect observed may be due to sedation." (Maddison et al, 2002)

You should notice a difference in your dog’s coat and need to scratch once his food has been changed (do this gradually over a two week period). In the meantime, a wash of Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis) and Chickweed (Stellaria media) should help externally. Use one tablespoon of each in one cup of boiling water. Let steep, covered, until the tea is lukewarm, then strain. Wash the affected areas two to three times a day. Should you decide that you would like to wean your pug off the drugs, you must do this with the full knowledge and advice of your veterinarian. Stopping pharmaceuticals such as these too quickly can lead to other problems; please talk to your vet.

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