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Allergies or Self-soothing

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Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/26/2011, 10:59 pm

Hi fellow Pug lovers,

I'm trying to save myself a visit to the vet, but will go if need be.

My pug, Bear, is almost four years old, unattached, in good health, my best friend and shadow.

The recent phenomenon is that he scratches/rubs up and down in the creases between his legs ~ sometimes hitting his penis and it doesn't seem like he's doing it for pleasure (heaven help me) because sometimes he makes 'hurting' noises when he does it. When I went back to college, I tried to play with him as often as possible and when he got tuckered out, that's what I would do ~ softly scratch his inner leg ~ I did this before college too after he got tired from playing.

He is also scratching a lot and doesn't have a flea on him. I've tried oatmeal shampoo and medicated shampoo. I'm hesitant to try any human allergy meds on him......and someone recently told me to dab tea oil on him with a cotton swab.

Bear and would greatly appreciate any suggestions! Thanks in advance!


Last edited by RaeMahoney on 12/26/2011, 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  northernwitch on 12/26/2011, 11:09 pm

Sounds like allergies to me and the first thing I'd do is look at his food. What are you currently feeding him?

And just out of curiosity--what do you mean by unattached? Only dog or still intact?
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/26/2011, 11:15 pm

Thank you for responding!

Currently he gets Iams mini-chunks. I've read a ton of information about 'no-grain' food here, so we're on the lookout for an alternative. Any suggestions? (Low budget!)

My vet in FL always called him unattached. Go figure.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Renee on 12/26/2011, 11:19 pm

RaeMahoney wrote:Thank you for responding!

Currently he gets Iams mini-chunks. I've read a ton of information about 'no-grain' food here, so we're on the lookout for an alternative. Any suggestions? (Low budget!)

My vet in FL always called him unattached. Go figure.

So, "unattached" means intact? He is not neutered?

The best bang for your buck as far as grain free, high quality food - at the most reasonable price, in my opinion, is Taste of the Wild.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/26/2011, 11:22 pm

Yes, he is neutered. I was told by someone a long time ago that if you don't neuter soon enough that will keep the 'sex' drive going. Is that true? Thanks for the tip on the food ~ I will head to Tractor Supply tomorrow!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  northernwitch on 12/26/2011, 11:36 pm

Renee wrote:
RaeMahoney wrote:Thank you for responding!

Currently he gets Iams mini-chunks. I've read a ton of information about 'no-grain' food here, so we're on the lookout for an alternative. Any suggestions? (Low budget!)

My vet in FL always called him unattached. Go figure.

So, "unattached" means intact? He is not neutered?

The best bang for your buck as far as grain free, high quality food - at the most reasonable price, in my opinion, is Taste of the Wild.
I will second what Renee has said and say that Taste of the Wild is a good grain free kibble. I'd not go with a chicken or beef based one as those are the two proteins dogs are mostly likely to react to. I have also had good success with Wellness Core fish formula and Acana Pacifica.

Here are the ingredients for what you are currently feeding. I've highlighted the ingredients that may be an issue:

Ingredients (Mini Chunks): Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain
Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal
, Chicken Fat (Preserved with mixed
Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Natural Chicken Flavor, Dried Beet
Pulp, Fish Meal, Potassium Chloride, Dried Egg Product, Brewers Dried
Yeast, Salt, Flax Meal,
Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate,
Fish Oil (Preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E),
Choline Chloride, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese
Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt
Carbonate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A
Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of
Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement
(Source of Vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of
Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), DL-Methionine, Rosemary
Extract.



The fact that corn meal is the second ingredient also means it is one of the biggest portions of the food content--and corn is a big allergen in dogs. Also "chicken by-product meal" could mean anything from the chicken could have been used--by-product is a catch all phrase meaning God knows what. I highlighted the "dried egg product" as many dogs react to eggs.

So I'd get him off of grains and off of chicken for starters. It may take a couple of weeks for the itching to clear. And the plus about the no grain foods is that you don't have to feed as much since they are getting better quality food. So I'd start with 1/4 cup a meal (feeding twice a day) and if he needs more than move up to 1/3 cup.

And don't bathe him frequently. Frequent bathing strips the skin of necessary oils and can actually make the itching worse as the skin dries out. My dogs, unless there is a medical reason or they have rolled in something gross, only get bathed every 3 to 4 months.

If his itching is really bad, then take decaffeinated green tea bags and apply them to the itchy spots (warm, damp tea bags) or you can let him soak in a decaff green tea solution. It really does help.

If he's still itchy after a couple of weeks on a different food, then you may have to play around with food for a bit or he could also have some seasonal/contact allergies.

And get him neutered. Unless you have a medical reason not to (and it's rare) or a breeding contract from an ethical/reputable breeder, there is no reason to keep him intact.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  northernwitch on 12/26/2011, 11:38 pm

RaeMahoney wrote:Yes, he is neutered. I was told by someone a long time ago that if you don't neuter soon enough that will keep the 'sex' drive going. Is that true? Thanks for the tip on the food ~ I will head to Tractor Supply tomorrow!
Sorry--I didn't see this before I posted. So good that he's neutered.

No, the whole sex drive thing never ending is myth--but there are other good reasons to neuter a dog.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/27/2011, 12:00 am

Thank you both so much ~ I feel a lot better! And hopefully Bear will soon! He's a happy little dog, but I know he's bothered by the itching. I will keep y'all posted on how things work out.

Thank you again!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Aussie Witch on 12/27/2011, 6:01 am

As soon as I read your initial post I knew there would be responses regarding food allergies! We are incredibly fortunate to have people on this forum who have A Lot of experience in dealing with dog allergies and how to successfully treat them. There are very few times I would ever not recommend a vet visit when you are having issues with your dog's well-being, but diet is DEFINITELY one of those times when I believe you'll get more help and infinitely better advice from people on this forum than from most vets.

Anyway, welcome to the forum and I wish you success!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Puggered on 12/27/2011, 7:32 am

"Unattached" is a new one on me...although when you think about, he would be intact if his balls were still attached, so "unattached" for neutered does make sense.Very Happy
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  GingerSnap on 12/27/2011, 7:57 am

Good advice all around. Also, human Benedryl is safe for dogs, so if you need to add a med in, that's an option. The dose is 1mg per pound, so if you have an average-sized pug, you should be fine giving a single 25mg tablet. (I've used that amount on my 17-18 pounders with no problems.)
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  northernwitch on 12/27/2011, 10:44 am

GingerSnap wrote:Good advice all around. Also, human Benedryl is safe for dogs, so if you need to add a med in, that's an option. The dose is 1mg per pound, so if you have an average-sized pug, you should be fine giving a single 25mg tablet. (I've used that amount on my 17-18 pounders with no problems.)
Good point, Ginger. Just avoid the kid's version (or some of the liquids) as they often have Xylitol as a sweetener which is seriously toxic to dogs.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/27/2011, 10:54 am

Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice.
I'll try the Taste of the Wild food for a while and see if it helps. I'm nervous about the Benadryl, but will give it a shot if the food change doesn't work.
I'm so glad I found this site ~ y'all are very friendly and informative!
Thank you again!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  PugLady3 on 12/27/2011, 10:56 am

No advice to add, just wanted to say and good luck!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/27/2011, 10:59 am

Thank you!!!!!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  northernwitch on 12/27/2011, 11:33 am

Whereabouts in North Carolina are you? My Japanese Chin is from Snow Camp, NC.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  TNPUGMOMOF3 on 12/27/2011, 1:01 pm

I use Dick VanPatton's Natural Balance dog food. I get it at Petco and it is a reasonably priced grain free, limitited ingredient dog food. I feed mostly the fish formula, but rotate in the bison and venison also.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  northernwitch on 12/27/2011, 1:06 pm

TNPUGMOMOF3 wrote:I use Dick VanPatton's Natural Balance dog food. I get it at Petco and it is a reasonably priced grain free, limitited ingredient dog food. I feed mostly the fish formula, but rotate in the bison and venison also.
This also might be easier to find. Look for the Limited Ingredient Diet (LID)
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/27/2011, 1:32 pm

northernwitch, I am about thirty miles from Greensboro. Bear and I love the cold weather ~ we were both miserable in FL.

Going to have to copy and paste all this information before I go shopping!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Two Crazy Pugs on 12/27/2011, 3:46 pm

One of my pugs is on a limited ingredient diet due to allergies. Two big things to stay away from are corn and white potato (along with other things suggested). Good luck! Hopefully you can find the right food for him quickly!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Pugsaunt on 12/27/2011, 5:06 pm

Welcome to PA, and please let us know how your Bear is doing. My Penny Lane has major allergies to grains - corn, wheat, soy - so she's been grain-free for about 5 years now, and her coat is like silk. Softest and smoothest coat ever. She gets Taste of The Wild, rotating through the proteins. I am a whole lot picky about her treats - major label reader. No grain, no by-products or parts. She also gets Benadryl (well, the Target generic version) 25 mg twice a day. She's been on it since before she came to me (August 2005). It doesn't slow her down a bit.
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Rebecca and the Pugs on 12/27/2011, 5:58 pm

Pugsaunt wrote:Welcome to PA, and please let us know how your Bear is doing. My Penny Lane has major allergies to grains - corn, wheat, soy - so she's been grain-free for about 5 years now, and her coat is like silk. Softest and smoothest coat ever. She gets Taste of The Wild, rotating through the proteins. I am a whole lot picky about her treats - major label reader. No grain, no by-products or parts. She also gets Benadryl (well, the Target generic version) 25 mg twice a day. She's been on it since before she came to me (August 2005). It doesn't slow her down a bit.
I usually get the Costco label of Benadryl. CHEAP!!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  Saira on 12/27/2011, 8:20 pm

Rebecca and the Pugs wrote:
Pugsaunt wrote:Welcome to PA, and please let us know how your Bear is doing. My Penny Lane has major allergies to grains - corn, wheat, soy - so she's been grain-free for about 5 years now, and her coat is like silk. Softest and smoothest coat ever. She gets Taste of The Wild, rotating through the proteins. I am a whole lot picky about her treats - major label reader. No grain, no by-products or parts. She also gets Benadryl (well, the Target generic version) 25 mg twice a day. She's been on it since before she came to me (August 2005). It doesn't slow her down a bit.
I usually get the Costco label of Benadryl. CHEAP!!

Me too, cheap and industrial size! Laughing
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/27/2011, 9:25 pm

Cheap works for me! Thank you ladies!
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Re: Allergies or Self-soothing

Post  RaeMahoney on 12/28/2011, 7:48 pm

Got the benadryl today ~ it's only been an hour, so we'll see how it goes. Will hit Tractor Supply for Taste of the Wild tomorrow ~ I had no idea there were so many different kinds. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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