While any dog can be afflicted by chronic itching, pugs are at particular risk—their wrinkly faces especially can develop itchy, uncomfortable sores. By determining the source of your pug's itch, you ensure that it will live a little more comfortably—which is exactly how pugs like it.
Monitor your pug's itching behavior. Different spots may itch more than others, like the paws, rear end, face and torso. Taking note of your dog's behavior gives you your first clue into the cause of the itch.
Inspect your dog's coat carefully, looking for fleas—they often hang out around the base of the tail. Because pugs have such short hair, finding fleas is relatively easy—simply comb the fur away from the body and inspect the roots. If your pug is afflicted by fleas, treat her with an over-the-counter flea shampoo and comb, then apply a topical flea prevention medication.
Look for any sores on your pug's body. Some dogs develop bacterial infections of the skin called "hot spots," which look like inflamed, open sores. The sores itch, which causes the dog to chew his own skin, making the infection worse. If you find a hot spot, carefully clip away the surrounding fur to expose it to the air. Clean it once or twice daily with an antibacterial shampoo, then follow up with a drying compound with a topical anesthetic in it. If this doesn't get results within two or three days, take your pug to the vet—he may require a prescription to beat the infection.
Switch your dog food to a hypoallergenic brand for six to 10 weeks. Food allergies may be the cause of your pug's itching, especially if the itching is concentrated around the ears and feet. Switch your laundry detergent to a hypoallergenic brand, too—your dog may be experiencing a reaction to the soap chemicals.
Clean your pug's face regularly—about every other day. The skin crevices of a pug's facial folds are sensitive, and collect dirt and bacteria that may lead to itching and infection. This is evident when a pug grinds her face against furniture or carpeting. Using either a medicated wipe or the moistened tip of a cotton swab, gently wipe out the insides of your pug's facial folds.
- If your pug's symptoms don't improve, take him to the veterinarian. He could be the victim of a condition like mange, which requires professional medical attention.
- If your pug scratches her rear end regularly, such as by scooting across the carpet, consult your vet. She may need to have her anal glands professionally relieved—another telltale sign of this affliction is a lingering, unpleasant odor around your pug.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.