yourpurebredpuppy logo

Pug Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books


Start your Pug off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Pug Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Pug puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Pug lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Pug are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Pug will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Pug puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Pug be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Pug? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Pug suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]


Complete list of Pug health problems

Sadly, the good-natured Pug is one of the unhealthiest breeds on earth, right up there with the English Bulldog.

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.

First of all, because of their short face, every Pug suffers from some degree of brachycephalic (short-faced) syndrome, which causes all manner 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)
  • A Pug's eye sockets are so shallow that the eyeballs don't even fit properly and an eye can be forced out of its socket by rough play or even by letting the dog pull too hard on the leash. A "popped-out" eye isn't going to roll across your floor – it's held more or less in place by nerve and muscle fragments. 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.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

FREE eBOOK! My free online health care program, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Pug in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.