Cuddling is one of the joys of owning a pug, unless your allergies make those otherwise fulfilling opportunities unbearable. Pugs tend to exacerbate human allergies more than other breeds do -- but even allergy sufferers can limit risks and enjoy companionship with the pugs who love being near them.
Allergy symptoms you might experience when you’ve been around a pug include a runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, fatigue, wheezing, coughing, eczema and skin hives. Some people experience allergy symptoms when they’re around dogs, and some breeds cause them to experience more symptoms than other breeds do. As you'll see, the pug is among them.
The pug, among the toy group of dog breeds, has a square, sturdy body and weighs between 14 and 18 pounds full-grown. His short fur is fawn or black, and his muzzle has a distinctive mask. The pug also has skin folds on his face, which means he has more skin in that area. More skin equals more dander. This leads to more symptoms in allergy sufferers.
Pugs' skin flakes, also known as dander, plus their saliva, can cause allergy symptoms in people. Pugs' fur is another symptom producer. This is because these dogs shed, and the fur that settles on you, your clothing, furniture, curtains and floors can leave you feeling miserable with allergic reactions.
After running, walking, rolling and playing outside, your pug might bring all sorts of sneeze-inducing elements inside your house. When the trees and flowers are blooming in the spring, for instance, your pug is bound to bring pollen in on his coat and paws. Minimize the effect by wiping his paws and coat with a damp towel or, better, bathe him soon after he's been outside when you know allergens are plentiful in the air. The ASPCA says you should give your dog a bath at least every three months, and possibly more often than that if he is outside often. Ask your veterinarian how frequently you can bathe your pug without drying out his skin.
Vigilant grooming is important to reducing allergy symptoms. Brush your pug once a week to cut down on the amount of fur floating around and settling on everything. If possible, brush him outside, and ask someone who doesn’t experience allergies to brush him. Bathe him at least every three months in unscented, hypoallergenic shampoo or soap that doesn’t cause your allergic symptoms to flare up.
Cleaning Skin Folds
Also clean your pug's face thoroughly but gently, paying special attention to the skin folds. These folds and wrinkles can harbor bacteria, dander and dirt, which can cause you to experience terrible allergy symptoms. However, you can minimize this problem by cleaning the folds with dampened cotton, such as cotton balls or swabs. After wiping them clean, dry the folds with sterile cotton balls.
Keeping your home clean is another means of mitigating allergy symptoms. Clean your pug’s bedding or crate thoroughly and frequently. Vacuum or sweep floors, rugs and carpet at least once per week to remove fur, dander, dirt and other allergens. Dust thoroughly, wash floors and wash your bed linens in hot water weekly. Allergen filters in your home’s heating and cooling system make a world of difference. Look for filters that specifically handle pet dander. Open up windows to air out your home.
To minimize allergy misery, it’s best to not allow your pug to sleep on your bed or get up on furniture. Encourage him to sleep and relax on his own comfortable and cozy dog bed. Consult your health practitioner and veterinarian for more guidance on allergies.
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Pug
- American Kennel Club: Dogs and Allergies
- American Kennel Club: Achoo - Hypoallergenic Breeds
- The Humane Society of the United States: Allergies to Pets
- The New York Times: Nonallergenic Dog? Not Really
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Pet Allergy
- Dog Fancy; Nose to Nose: Don’t Let Allergies Come Between You and Your Dog; Carol Brzozowski-Gardner; April 1999
- ASPCA: Grooming FAQ
- ASPCA: Groom Your Dog
Judy Wilson has writing and editing expertise in health, technology, pets, business and travel. She has contributed to USAToday.com, SFGate.com and numerous other publications. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed Mini Medical School.