Pug Health Care & Feeding
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick list of Pug health problems
Sadly, it's impossible to make a "quick" list for the Pug. They're so sweet-natured, but the structure of this man-made breed is grossly deformed and leads to numerous health problems. It's not okay for breeders to do this to a dog.
Every Pug suffers from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of respiratory and eye problems.
Some Pugs can't even run without gasping for breath. In hot weather, Pugs should be kept in an air conditioned home and supervised during outside activity so they don't overexert themselves and suffer heatstroke.
Pugs born with heart disease are predisposed to a slow irregular heartbeat that can cause sudden collapse. A pacemaker may ultimately be required. Pugs may also develop an irregular heartbeat from the persistent coughing or retching caused by their brachycephalic syndrome.
The cramped mouth doesn't have enough room for strong healthy teeth, so Pugs are prone to dental disease.
Eye problems are very common in Pugs. The protruding eyes are easily scratched, leading to corneal ulcers. The eyes can actually be forced from their sockets by rough play or even pulling too hard on the leash. A "popped-out" eye is held in place by nerves and muscles (i.e. it doesn't roll across your floor!) but it's often damaged to the point of blindness. One-eyed Pugs are all too common.
Pugs are also deformed orthopedically, which predisposes them to bone and joint problems. Hips, elbows, and knees can all be bad, along with the disks in a Pug's backbone.
Pugs are prone to allergies that cause chronically itchy skin. In addition, their wrinkled folds of skin trap dirt and moisture and provide an inviting home for yeast and bacteria, so bacterial skin infections are common. Also tumors.
Pug Dog Encephalitis is a devastating inherited inflammation of the brain. It causes seizures and is incurable. Epilepsy is another seizure disorder that occurs in Pugs.
(See more health problems below.)
Preventing health problems
Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Pug have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, Pug Dog Encephalitis, hip dysplasia, and luxating patella, your Pug has less risk of developing those conditions.
Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Pug, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Pug puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!
Here are my dog health tips for raising a Pug puppy or adult dog:
Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Pug lives the best life he can.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Pug
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Pug puppy really need? Does your adult Pug need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.
Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Complete list of Pug health problems
Sadly, the good-natured Pug is one of the unhealthiest breeds on earth.
First of all, because of their short face, every Pug suffers from some degree of brachycephalic (short-faced) syndrome, which causes all kinds of health issues.
A Pug's respiratory system is so compromised that some Pugs can't even run without gasping for breath. Many individuals struggle to breathe in hot or humid weather. In hot weather, Pugs should be kept in an air conditioned home and supervised during outside activity so they don't overexert themselves and suffer heatstroke.
Eye problems in Pugs include:
- Corneal ulcers caused by scratches to the prominent eyeballs
- Dry eye – very common and can be serious
- Pigmentary keratitis, which looks like a dark glob of pigment starting on the white part of the eye in the inside corners and gradually spreading across the eye, impairing vision
- Eyelash abnormalities, entropion, cataracts, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Your Pug's protruding eyes can actually be forced from their sockets by rough play or even pulling too hard on the leash. A "popped-out" eye is held in place by nerves and muscles (i.e. it doesn't roll across your floor!) but it's often damaged to the point of blindness. One-eyed Pugs are all too common.
Pugs are also deformed orthopedically, which predisposes them to bone and joint problems.
- Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are rampant in Pugs. According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, the Pug has the 2nd worst rate of hip dysplasia of all breeds and the absolute worst rate of all small breeds. An incredible 70% have abnormal hips.
- Elbows are no better – 43% abnormal.
- Other orthopedic diseases in Pugs include luxating patella (loose knees), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, intervertebral disk disease, and hemivertebra (malformed vertebrae in their backbone).
Pugs are prone to allergies that cause itchy skin. Their wrinkled folds of skin trap dirt and moisture and provide an inviting home for yeast and bacteria, so bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) are common. Demodectic mange is also common in Pugs, as are tumors and cancers, especially mast cell tumors.
Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a devastating inherited inflammation of the brain. Symptoms typically appear at 9-18 months old, but can occur even earlier, or much later in life. This terrible disease causes a stiff neck, staggering gait, wandering in circles, pressing their head against a wall or furniture, and seizures – all developing within just a few weeks or months. PDE is incurable.
Epilepsy is another seizure disorder that occurs in Pugs.
Pugs born with heart disease are predisposed to syncope (a slow irregular heartbeat) that can cause sudden collapse. A pacemaker may ultimately be required if the heartbeat is severely or persistently affected. Pugs may also develop syncope from the persistent coughing or retching caused by their brachycephalic (short-faced) syndrome.
Other health issues in Pugs include hypothyroidism, collapsing trachea, liver shunt, and occasionally hydrocephalus (in some Pug puppies).
Hanging tongue is a mild condition that can occur in Pugs, where the tongue protrudes through the front teeth or hangs out the side of the mouth. It may be a neurological defect or a structural defect, but it isn't really anything to worry about – which is good because there isn't much you can do about it.
Pugs are also prone to dental disease (which can be serious unless treated) and reverse sneezing (which is harmless).
Virtually all Pug puppies are born by C-section, birth defects are common, and the puppy mortality rate is high. Mother Nature knows when a breed is unhealthy.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.