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More food mysteries

Shelby has been getting a bit better, however this food allergy just gets more mysterious—to the point where I wonder if it's actually a food allergy.

Shelby has been puking less often, and less volume. Since she's been getting 1 Benedryl a day, her puke frequency has dropped to once every 12-24 hours, and it's far far less. It makes me think that the vomitting and the welts are related to allergies.

However, here's where the mysterious part starts.
Wellness kibble
A tasty quality kibble that Shelby has been eating for 2 years. Contains chicken and brown rice.
Shelby gets welts after eating.

Boiled chicken and rice
We fed this to her during her bout of diarrhea.
No reaction.
But then we fed it to her after the allergy symptoms showed up and she broke out in welts immediately, and would vomit nearly all of it.

Venison and potato prescription kibble

No chicken or rice.
First feeding of 1/4 cup. No welts, but she threw everything up.
Second feeding + 20mg of Benedryl= No allergic reaction
Third feeding + 20mg of Benedryl = welts. (What?)

Welts from Venison and Potato Kibble

I'm confused. What's wrong with you puppy?

As for the prescription kibble, it seems to be harder to eat. Shelby pulls her kibble out of the bowl to crunch it.

As for what to do next, I'm not sure. It doesn't seem to matter what we give her, the welts show up, even though the vomiting has gotten better.

Additional clues...
I mentioned that she smelled different prior to these symptoms showing up. Maybe something in her body chemistry has changed? She only gets welts in areas where she can lick. Her muzzle, and certain parts of her underbelly.

It may be that she got into something or ate something that has made her more sensitive to food in general. Maybe they sprayed the dog park?

So now what?
Because I'm sitting on more kibble that I've ever purchased in my life, I'm not ready to try different kinds of kibble just yet. Besides that it's a lot of storage space we don't have.

Another 24 hour fast is not out of the question.

Yogurt with active cultures. We used to give yogurt without active cultures to her as part of breakfast, but stopped when the diarrhea showed up.

More tests at the vet. Steven's thinking a blood test to see if she caught anything.

But enough of that. Shelby looks bored, so I think I'll go play with her.

November 20, 2006 | Permalink


Poor little Shelby! Hopefully you will be able to find a solution soon, Winnie. Must be frustrating for all.

Posted by: heidi | Nov 20, 2006 7:12:47 AM

Poor Shelby! Funny, Sachi has been throwing up the past few nights at my moms. They can't figure it out either. They put her to bed at night, and there's throw up on her bed the next morning. Yesterday was good, but it was for a good 3 nights. Plus, mom caught her eating her own poo yesterday. yick! Hope u feel better soon!

Posted by: Janice | Nov 20, 2006 7:49:22 AM

Winnie, have you changed anything in your home? New laundry soap or hand soaps? New rugs of any kind? Cleaning supplies? Anything that you can think of that you brought into the home that might be affecting Shelbs? Could it be she's allergic to the dish soap you use on her dishes? Im grabbin at straws, here-lol. But it could be something that is new in the house that is bothering her that is near her food maybe and contaminating it? Just a thought. My friends pug is allergic to formeldahyde (sp?) and they had to remove all of the carpet and rugs and anything else with it in it. It was a horrendous ordeal. Please let us know how she fairs out with the tests at the vet. P.S Try some boiled chicken breast with nothing else to see if she reacts to the chicken alone. If not, than at least she can eat that and its low fat low cal.

Posted by: Marie | Nov 20, 2006 9:13:42 AM

Oh Shelby...I'm sending over warm hugs and kisses in hopes that you'll feel better soon. The video is cute and coincidently enough that's how Rocco "normally" eats.

Posted by: Cris | Nov 20, 2006 10:36:34 AM

Pugs are extra cute when they're eating. Something about those pug chops.

Sometimes allergies develop if you eat too much of a substance, or if your body associates a toxin/allergen to a substance (as a result of consuming the substance at the same time as teh toxin/allergen).

Posted by: Randon | Nov 20, 2006 11:51:16 AM

Since she only gets welts where she can lick, maybe it's a connection to her saliva? Some sort of glandular problem?

Posted by: Randon | Nov 20, 2006 11:53:48 AM

Hi, I just found your site last night trying to do some online research. I've got a six month old pug that started throwing up her food and developing big whelps on her face about 2 days ago. I'm gonna try the benedryl and see what happens. Anyway, I love Shelby's site! I browsed through it for about two hours. Who knew dogs could be so entertaining!

Posted by: Anna | Nov 20, 2006 1:23:24 PM

Accordning to my vet, it's 1mg per pound of pug. Shelby's 18lbs so I have to cut the pills. Good luck!

Posted by: Winnie | Nov 20, 2006 1:47:02 PM

I "third" the comments about chicken being often a source of problems for dogs with allergies. You *might* consider raw organic beef or pork after another fast (no, I agree, it won't kill her and may be what her system needs) and see if she's able to tolerate it.
I use the word *might* because we raw food enthusiasts are very "into" the whole thing and can come across rather nutty. But if you try a very pure piece of meat and and find that it is something that Shelby can tolerate it, you can then branch out and not be limited to expensive organic meat. At least you will have a safe food you can count on.
Our 11 yr. old (and formerly horribly allergic) Lhasa has thrived under a raw diet.

Posted by: Susan | Nov 20, 2006 3:50:10 PM

I read somewhere not to use the swifter dust mop on my hard wood floors because the spray was extremely toxic to pets. Have you had your carpets cleaned lately? Anything?
It is so hard when they are sick. They can't tell you what it is wrong. I have always thought of my Pug as my baby that will always be a baby.
Give Shelby kisses from Tennessee.

Posted by: Cat | Nov 20, 2006 6:42:35 PM

Hi Winnie,

My pug Lola has been battling barfing her food for over a year now. She doesn't have the welts, but I can tell you about what's going on with her.

We started her on the Wellness kibble too, and it made her barf. Took her in to the doctor, did blood tests, she was diagnosed with pancreatitis. So, we then put her on Canine ID wet food (mild food, wet is easier on their tummies) and pepcid AC in the morning and evening. She got better for a while, but then it continued.

Since then, we did more blood tests to diagnose the enzyme (whether it was pancreatitis or not), then an ultrasound (a total waste of $$), then an endoscopy - they sent a camera thru her intestines. It was valuable b/c she has been diagnosed with Inflammatory bowel disease. She is now on a steriod with the Canine ID canned, and will be moving to the eukaneuba low residue. We still do pepcid ac.

My point is, I would take Shelby to the vet. We saw our normal vet until it was out of her realm and we are now with a specialist. It could be an allergic reaction (pugs are sensitive) or something more. To calm her belly, pepcid AC is ok - or the generic, as long as it is famotine - 10mg.

Good luck! My heart is with you... I know exactly what you are going through.


Posted by: Nicole | Nov 20, 2006 8:41:50 PM

Wow, so many questions and good suggestions. Let me try to answer them all.

Marie, I thought that it might be environmental, but nothing's really changed. Recently I've been cleaning the floor with a mild water and vinegar solution. No chage in detergent. No carpet cleaning.

Randon, You bring up some interesting points, and it makes me more suspicious that the dog park was sprayed or something. Maybe when she ate some treats there, that the combo messed her up. But symptoms didn't show up for 2 days, so I'm not sure.

Nicole, it sounds like Lola has had a terrible time of it. I'm glad she's diagnosed properly now.

And Janice...you tell Sachi to stay classy :)

Posted by: Winnie | Nov 20, 2006 9:53:04 PM

My friend's lab is allergic to meat! It just came on suddenly a few years ago, and the vet finally diagnosed him. So, she feeds him a vegetarian kibble, and he hasn't been ill since. Good luck!

Posted by: Victoria | Nov 21, 2006 4:19:44 AM

i really hope she gets better soon! keep trying things on her untill something works! there's got to be something that's affecting her somehow! poor thing! good luck with everything, and i'll be checking in here to see how she's doing! take it easy shelbs! i love you pup!

Posted by: dana | Nov 21, 2006 6:05:09 PM

Hi Winnie, I sense your frustration, and as you can tell by the comments you are not alone. Allergies are tricky, I've had 'em myself all my life. I am still puzzled over my Oreo's condition, he has the same breakouts of redness and welts as Shelby, but no vomiting. He used to vomit after we had our lawn treated, despite the fact I would wait hours longer than they required for a pet to walk again on it. You could call your city to see when the last pesticide treatment was done for that park. They should put up notices for the people and their fur-babies ! Do you have farms nearby your home or the park ? Maybe they did a fall pesticide spray, that is done by plane and covers big areas so it gets in the air.
Oreo licks where his welts are, as Shelby does. His hair is thinning. They are on his underside, what I described to his vet as his "warm body parts" like between his legs, both front and back, even his ears and more recently around his anus. Yes, he recently had his anal glands expressed, so that's not it. The vet was surprised when I said his ears, but I know, as I said, I have allergies. Once, after taking a medication that I did not know I was allergic to, one of the first things that happened was that my ears got very warm, then started to itch. I got the Benadryl immediately, needless to say. This experience has helped me understand what he is going through. I gave him a bath today and used the soothing conditioning treatment again, keeping up with the Benedry, and he seemed to have the best day in weeks.
I think you and Steve are on the right track, don't wait too long to get her blood tested for allergies and/or other causes. I forgot to request "other causes" when his vet drew blood last week, but they should have suggested it. Still haven't heard the results. He did say a common allergen in dogs is dust mites, they are everywhere. Another family had a dog suffering that was allergic to white oak trees. They lived in a subdivision called White Oaks. Of course, it was set around groves of white oaks. I couldn't believe it when he said they didn't move. The dog had to get weekly shots.
As for the bags of food, you can donate whatever she can't eat to a local shelter or rescue group. Some won't mind if the bags were opened. The vet we had in Colorado gave us a free bag to try, he was just that nice.
A specialty type vet may just be in order, a friend of mine had to do that with her Golden retriever,(he was also on Pepcid) and it turned out to be something quite unusual but his diagnosis and suggestions helped a great deal.
Shelby has a lot of fans, we support her and her humans !!

Posted by: Deb | Nov 21, 2006 6:31:44 PM

I just want to add my thoughts & urge you to please look at the "raw" diet. My pug Oliver has thrived under it for over a year now & it's really not any more expensive than a "quality" kibble. There are some great books out there regarding including the one that everyone seems to use by Kymythy Schultze. If you read about & start learning what it consists of you quickly realize how much sense it makes. I'm quite sure that your vet won't be quick to try it unless they are holistic but you have to do what is truly best for Shelby. It could very well be what she needs & that's worth a try. Keep us posted!!
Erica & Oliver Pug

Posted by: Erica | Nov 21, 2006 8:21:03 PM

Oh no. It might be the Wellness! My pug has been eating Wellness for almost all his life (about 6 years). This past year he developed pancreatitis and then a few months ago got struvite crystals in his bladder which basically are like teeny tiny bladder stones the size of sand grains.. He couldn't pee and I raced him into the vet for emergency surgery. When they opened up his bladder they found there were SO many struvite crystals his bladder was basically filled with sludge which was clogging him up and making him unable to pee.

My vet then informed me that recently (this year) Wellness changed its formula (you might have seen their "new formula!" label on the bag). It used to be very nutritious but they changed their formula to mostly filler and now they simply spray the beef (or whatever flavor) onto the food!! And she said that it has been causing problems like struvite crystals and pancreatitis in dogs she has been seeing.

To make a long story short, we wrote a letter to Wellness complaining about their change in formula and what it did to our pug. They basically admitted guilt and are sending us a check to reimburse us for the total cost of my pugs surgery and medication ($1800!)!!!! They just asked us for a letter from our vet as well as a sample of the food we were feeding our pug so they could track down what exactly it was in the formula which was making dogs sick.

I highly suggest you change Shelby's food! I really hope she feels better soon!!!!! My vet recommended this brand called Innova Evo and my pug loves it and he is now a healthy and happy little guy...

Posted by: Monica Kim | Nov 21, 2006 11:39:00 PM

so sorry to hear poor little Shelby isn't doing well lately. i hope you're able to figure out what's up with her soon so that she can get better. she's so adorable, i just hate to think of her being sick like that.

Posted by: trace | Nov 22, 2006 10:46:39 AM


Posted by: INDIGO'S MOM | Nov 22, 2006 1:52:21 PM

My wife and I love your site! The odd yet endearing habits of pugs are universal! Our four-year old pug, Manlius, had terrible allergies for the first year that we had him (ear infections, scratching, etc...)I think it's admirable that you've tried so many foods, but I'd say to cool it for a bit. If you try too many things in too short of a time frame, you'll have a rough time narrowing down the culprit.
Two Things:
1.)Beef is a pretty common allergy. We switched Manlius to Nutro Healthy Choice Lamb and Rice, and his allergies stopped right away. His coat looked so great that he even won a contest in the pug group that we belong to!
2.) Pugs are irresistable, and while our little guy is loved by his grandparents, neighbors, and all of our friends, we've found that we just HAD to start refusing treats from people, especially well-meaning strangers at dog park. Only when you've established total control over their diet can you begin to eliminate what foods and factors are causing the problems. It may seem harsh to a stranger, but if you kindly explain, that "our pug has many problems with allergies, but thanks anyways," most people will understand. The trick is finding which sympathetic grandparent is sneaking treats at the table! :) I wish you the best of luck with your adorable little girl!

p.s. We also use Fresh 'n Clean Oatmeal and Baking Soda Shampoo, which produces awesome lather with just a small amount of shampoo, and rinses out twice as fast as other shampoos. Makes him smell GREAT, too!

Posted by: Brian | Nov 25, 2006 12:01:26 AM

Thanks Brian,
I didn't realize beef was a common allergy too. Though she seems to be doing really well with it. Much better than the chcken. It didn't occur to me that experimenting with Shelby diet would cause problems until last week when Steven mentioned it, so we've been keeping her on the Venison and Potato kibble for a while, just so there's a sense of normalcy in her diet. The problem is that this kibble also gives her welts without the Benedryl, so we'll eventually have to move her off of it too.

As for the oatmeal shampoo, I have't tried it, but I did recently give her an Aveeno Oatmeal bath. I completely expected that she would come out smelling like breakfast, but she smelled great!

Posted by: Winnie | Nov 25, 2006 9:51:23 AM

hmmm that makes me think my dog always takes the food out of the bowl and chews but she has always done this and her skin has been very scabby since she was like one and a half!!!!! i got her an allergy test but i have'nt gotten the results yet omg should i be worried!!!! i have a pug 2 but is shelby uncomfortable?????

Posted by: karelle | Nov 25, 2006 6:54:34 PM

Shelby's not uncomfortable. In fact, she's her normal perky self during this whole mess.

Posted by: Winnie | Nov 25, 2006 8:08:04 PM

Hi-another thought for Shelby's picky eating habits (the video clip above). Your husband may be correct that her eating habits are due to her teeth.

You may need to pour hot water over her hard kibble so that it becomes softer and is easier to digest. Most pugs inhale their food without chewing most of the time and this can lead to digestive problems.

Let the kibble + hot water sit on the counter until it is room temperature. Then you can feed her.

You have to be careful with a pug's teeth because they are more susceptible to dental problems. History-Over the centuries, pugs have been bred to have shorter noses and thus their mouths (teeth) had to adjust to the downward size shift. To compensate for the lack of space, their teeth turned sideways to fit into their mouth. That is why a pug's teeth (as well as other brachialcephalic dogs)are so prone to dental disease.

I hope this helps Shelby. Again, this is from experience with my puggie, Mia. You might also need to find another vet who is more familiar with pugs and their problems. Pug rescues are a good source.

Good Luck!

Posted by: Mari | Nov 29, 2006 11:25:09 AM

I hope this may help Shelby. My pug is Otis.
He has allergies also he does the puking and the welps. My vet put him on ID prescription lamb and rice can dog food. If I give him anything else he has an attack. That's my name for his puking and welps.
I also give him the small carrots for snacks through the day. He really like them. They are also good for plaque control.
Also Otis has to have the canned I.D., he can't even tolerate the dry version. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

Posted by: Susan | Dec 21, 2006 9:46:55 PM

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