There is a clear-cut, unequivocal answer to the question whether Pugs are hypoallergenic:
No – Pugs are not hypoallergenic.
Pugs shed constantly. Living with and loving a Pug poses problems to dog allergy sufferers.
Not everyone is allergic to Pugs. A clinical study of allergy patients found that just 5 percent of patients were allergic to dogs of any kind.
Another way of putting that is, 95 percent of people aren’t allergic to Pugs.
But if you are in that minority of people whose immune systems are hypersensitive to Pug hair and Pug dander, there are a lot of things you can do to minimize your allergies while keeping a Pug as part of your family.
Are you really allergic to your Pug?
It doesn’t take a lot of the allergens in Pug dander, hair, and saliva to set off an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to dogs.
As little as two-millionths of a gram of dog dander per gram of dust can trigger sneezing, wheezing, teary eyes, and sinus irritation.
That’s like having one Pug hair in your vacuum cleaner bag. Tiny amounts of exposure to your Pug theoretically could aggravate allergies.
But other common pets are even more allergenic. It only takes one-millionth of a gram of cat dander per gram of dust to trigger cat allergies.
Clinical studies have found that 17 percent of people are allergic to cats, compared to just 5 percent who are allergic to dogs.
Scientists have found that most homes contain cat allergens even if they have never contained cats. (They are tracked in clothes and with dogs that have had contact with cats.) It’s also possible to have allergies to ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs.
If you have a Pug, and you have allergies, it’s more likely that something besides your Pug is causing the problem.
But even if you have had a scratch test or a blood test, and you know for sure that you are allergic to dogs, getting rid of your Pug may not help.
That’s because there is no such thing as a nonallergenic dog.
All dogs produce allergens
Dogs produce allergy-causing substances in their dander. They make allergy-producing substances in their slobber.
Flaky, dry dog skin is allergenic, and it becomes food for dust mites that also cause allergens.
Male dogs produce other allergenic substances, one kind of allergen if they have been neutered, and another kind of allergen if they have not.
If you have an allergy to dogs, you are allergic to all dogs, not just one breed. You have a stronger allergic reaction to saliva than to hair and dander.
And you will have more allergy problems with a large hypoallergenic dog than you will with a small “allergenic” dog.
Scientists at Wayne State University measured dog allergen levels in 190 homes with 190 dogs of different breeds and mixed breeds.
They found that all the homes contained dog allergens. Pound for pound of body weight, “hypoallergenic” dogs produced fewer allergens than other dogs.
But homes contained the same amount of dog allergens no matter what breed of dog, purebred or mixed, they contained.
That’s because a Portuguese Water Dog, Afghan Hound, Irish Water Spaniel, Standard Poodle, Giant Schnauzer, Samoyed, or Airedale Terrier, all considered hypoallergenic dogs, produce the same amount of allergens as a Pug.
Pugs just produce them in a more compact package.
If you have allergies, and you can’t bear the thought of parting with your Pug, there are lots of things you can do.
In fact, even if you don’t have an allergy to dogs, the following recommendations will help you keep your Pug healthier.
Grooming is a great way to bond with your Pug
Pugs have coarse, fine hair. Since you’re probably petting your Pug a lot, you have noticed that a Pug’s hair gets softer the more often you pet them.
You probably have also noticed that your Pug sheds just about every time you pet them. For a small dog, a Pug sheds a lot of hair.
You can’t stop your Pug from shedding, but you can minimize how much dog hair you have forming little hairballs around your home.
The main thing you need to do is to brush your dog’s coat.
You don’t have to fuss with shampooing your Pug’s fur or making frequent trips to the dog groomer that longer-haired breeds require.
Taking care of your Pug’s coat
Brushing your Pug’s coat once a week, twice a week, or even every day is a great way to form bonds with your dog that will last into its golden years.
Your Pug will come to regard brushing as a fun part of its regular routine, especially if you brush its coat every day.
Because Pugs are small, brushing isn’t the onerous chore that it can be on a larger dog.
It’s a quick and easy task that relaxes your Pug and relaxes you, making your Pug’s other activities around your home more manageable. Everyone in your family can enjoy brushing your Pug.
Pug puppies take more time to groom
Brushing Pug puppies takes more time than brushing adult Pugs. Puppies will wiggle and squirm and treat the brush as another toy.
Telling your Pug to stay still won’t work, because they will conveniently fail to learn “sit” and “still” commands, continuing their playtime.
The most effective strategy for getting puppies to sit still to be groomed is to time their grooming sessions after a vigorous play session.
With a little luck, your Pug puppy will be so worn out that staying still is easier.
On the other hand, it is important never to incorporate any kind of rambunctious play into a grooming session. Your dog will come to associate the grooming brush with play and never sit still.
You might not mind if your Pug puppy wiggles and squirms during grooming. Your puppy is a new addition to your home, and you expect lively activity.
The problem comes when wiggling and squirming becomes a habit.
There will be a time you want to get your Pug groomed quickly, so you can do something else, and you want to have trained the habit of accepting grooming passively.
Make a general inspection of your Pug’s skin health part of its grooming routine. Get used to looking closely at your Pug’s skin.
Look for infections, sores, rashes, and fleas. Brush your Pug over a white, hard surface, so you will see any fleas or insects you brush out of its coat.
You should also inspect your Pug’s ears and mouth when you brush their coat.
Look for mites and fleas in their ears and any signs of inflammation and infection on their gums and tongue.
Hygiene for adult Pugs
As your Pug matures, they will need more skin and coat maintenance than just regular brushing. Baths should also be part of your Pug’s routine.
Keep in mind that small dogs chill easily, so you will need to use warm (not hot) water and gentle cleansers for their bath.
Keep the bathroom warm and dry them thoroughly with clean towels.
One of the most important areas to keep clean on your Pug is the wrinkles on its face. They catch dirt, debris, and abrasive and sharp debris.
Use a damp cloth every day or two to clean these folds of skin to prevent skin allergies and infections.
Warm-water baths and quick cleaning with a damp cloth captures dander and dead skin cells that could cause allergies for you.
These aren’t the only Pug health maintenance habits that indirectly reduce allergy problems for the Pug’s people.
Nail care for Pugs
Pugs can accumulate saliva, hair, skin cells, and dander under their nails.
Keeping their nails trimmed reduces the sources of allergies for you, and keeps your Pug’s from becoming dangerous scratching instruments.
You never want to cut a dog’s nails to the quick. This causes pain and bleeding for the dog, and increases the risk of infection.
Because Pugs have small paws, you may want to avoid nail trimmers altogether, and keep your Pug’s nails short with a Dremel.
This is a rotary polishing device like those you may have seen in nail salons.
Many pet parents find that their Pug puppies are too enthusiastic about the time with their humans for them to cut their nails safely.
You are more likely to need to take a puppy to a groomer than an adult.
Observe what the groomer does with your Pug, so you can emulate the procedure safely at home when your Pug gets older.
How often do Pugs need a nail trim?
Puppies don’t do a lot of walking on concrete or asphalt, so their nails grow faster than those of adults.
Pugs that have to stay indoors in the winter need their nails trimmed more often than they in warm-weather months, inactive senior Pugs may also need more nail clipping.
Always take your Pug to the groomer if you are concerned there is any chance of injury when you cut their nails yourself.
Brushing your Pug’s teeth
An important part of minimizing allergies caused by your Pug is keeping their mouth fresh and clean.
Gum infections cause extra salivation, and saliva triggers allergies in people. If you make a regular habit of brushing your Pug’s teeth — two or three times a week is enough — you will prevent tooth decay and gum disease in your Pug and reduce your own allergies at the same time.
Pugs love to cuddle, so you are sure to know when they have bad breath. If your Pug’s breath takes your own breath away, or you see plaque and tartar building up on their teeth, it’s time to brush.
Get into the habit of brushing your Pug’s teeth. You’ll need a special canine toothbrush and meat-flavored toothpaste, and a lot of patience as both of you learn the routine.
You can get the idea of how to brush your Pugs teeth from the below video.
Cleaning around your Pug’s eyes
All those little bits of brown, yellow, gray, or black sticky or dry mucus that accumulate around your Pug’s eyes are potentially allergenic to you.
Gently cleaning around your Pug’s eyes every time you brush helps both of you feel better. You never need to scrub the area around your Pug’s eyes.
A gentle rub with a moist, warm (never hot!) cloth is sufficient.
One more step for reducing allergies to your Pug
It’s essential to keep your Pug clean, but it’s also essential to keep your Pug’s toys, blankets, and crate clean to prevent allergies.
You never want to take away all of your Pug’s toys at once, but giving at least one or two a quick cleaning with a damp cloth will help.
So will washing blankets and dog sweaters. Just keep in mind that for dogs, smelling is believing.
If your Pug suffers separation anxiety, you don’t want to wash the scent of its missing mother or mate away. Leave them unwashed for the sake of your Pug.
What else can you do to reduce dog allergies when you have a Pug?
- Let your Pug have its own domain in just one or two rooms of your house. This won’t eliminate dog allergens in the rest of your house, but it will help.
- Make sure your Pug doesn’t sleep on your bed, and especially not on your pillows.
- Run a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner in your bedroom and other rooms you use a lot in your house 24/7.
- Make sure your vacuum cleaner also has a HEPA filter.
- Wash your hands after petting your Pug.
No Pug is hypoallergenic, but every Pug can be less allergenic with regular attention to basic grooming.
Don’t’ forget that if all other efforts fail, your allergist can help you live and breathe more happily with your Pug.
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