Common Skin Problems In Pugs

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
Every breed is prone to certain health problems. What conditions are characteristic for pugs when it comes to skin problems?

Pugs are adorable and, for many, a favorite dog breed.

One of their main characteristics are their big eyes and skin folds.

However, every breed is prone to some health problems and pugs are no exception.

Keeping our dogs happy and healthy is our main concern. As every breed is different, it’s good to know beforehand what health problems are characteristic for some breed and how to handle them. We have previously written about pug eye problems and today we’re taking a look at the most common skin problems pugs experience.

Pug Skin Characteristics

Have you ever wondered why pugs have skin folds and loose skin? The truth is that breeds with this kind of skin were initially bred for fighting, as the loose skin was supposed to protect them. However, pugs have almost always been lap and companion dogs, so while this trait may be genetic, it’s believed that it’s mostly for aesthetic purposes in pugs. The folds are mostly present on the neck, shoulders and chest.

It’s exactly the skin folds that cause most skin problems. Read on and find out what the most common skin conditions are, but before you do, check out the video below for more info on pugs in general.


This is a skin infection due to which pustules discharge thick and white pus. It’s the skin folds that are infected and can be reddish and moist. The smell is pretty unpleasant as well. You will be able to tell that your pug is suffering from this disease if he/she is licking and scratching at the areas in question.

Treatment is determined based on the severity of the case. In mild cases, topical antibiotics will be prescribed to kill pathogenic bacteria and corticosteroids to alleviate inflammation and itching. The hair around the affected areas will also be clipped. In more severe cases, oral antibiotics will be necessary to fight the problem.

As this problem usually occurs around the skin folds, it’s often overweight dogs that get affected. In order to prevent this condition, you should feed your dog a healthy diet and make your dog loose weight if overweight. It’s also important to keep the skin folds clean and dry, in order to decrease the chances of infection.

Atopic Dermatitis

This is a general name for a condition where dogs become hypersensitive to certain allergens – pollen, dust, chemicals or some food. Atopy is usually a seasonal condition during which a dog scratches and bites at the affected areas, most frequently the belly, feet and face. Other symptoms are discharge from the eyes and nose and sneezing. The scratching and biting can in their turn lead to new bacterial infections.

Unfortunately, dogs that suffer from seasonal Atopic Dermatitis usually go to suffering from this condition all year long after some time. There is no cure for this as of yet, but the problem can be managed and controlled with the help of your vet.


This is a fungal infection that affects the pug’s skin. The disease got its name as the lesions that are a result of it are in form of rings. However, this is not the only symptom. Affected dogs also experience hair loss and scaly skin on the areas in question.

As a result of ringworm, it’s not uncommon that the lesions are attacked by other bacterial infections that can form pustules and papules. This is especially the case with dogs with weak immune systems. It will rarely happen to healthy dogs.

In order to be sure that it’s ringworm you’re dealing with, your vet will conduct a so-called Wood’s Lamp test. And in order to figure out what specific fungal species are causing the problem, a Dermatophytosis culture can be conducted. This infection is usually treated with topical antifungal preparations or rinses.

Ear Mites

This the most common mite in dogs. Common symptoms of this disease are head shaking and ear scratching. This is an easily transmittable disease among dogs, so if you have more dogs it’s highly likable that all of them will get infected.

Ear mites live in the ear canals, as they feed on the tissues and tissue fluids within the ears. They can spread to the head and entire body if you don’t treat them.

Just like with ringworms, it’s more likely that puppies will get attacked by ear mites than adult dogs with stronger immune systems.

Demodectic Mange

This is another common skin problem with pugs. Demodectic mange is a consequence of Demodex Canis mite. It’s mostly dogs with weak immune systems that get affected, as healthier dogs are usually immune to mites.

Demodectic mange is displayed through lesions on the dog’s body – either on the entire body or just in some parts. In addition, hair can fall out and inflammations can happen. Your pug may also be dealing with change in appetite and refuse to eat.

If you start noticing these signs, you should take your dog to the vet for an examination. If it’s demodectic mange you’re dealing with, your vet will come up with a treatment plan. It usually includes shaving hair off from the areas in question and using special shampoo and/or solutions that kill mites.


Allergies are common with dogs and pugs are no exception. Most common are allergies from the environment, insect bites and food. As a result of allergies, skin problems can occur.

Common symptoms of allergies are runny nose, watery eyes and scratchy skin. A dog with skin allergy will scratch and bite and can create bold spots from the scratching. It’s also not uncommon for pugs to be allergic to fleas. Those that are can have really big reactions on their skin.

Finally, food allergies are also very common. A pug that’s allergic to a certain kind of food can cause skin problems and irritations. It’s usually grain or meat sources in the food that’s causing problems with dogs and in these cases it’s recommended to change your dog’s diet. However, these are not the only allergens, so you have to make sure your dog is tolerating whatever it is you’re feeding him/her.

It’s vital that you talk to your vet that will run tests and determine what it is your dog is allergic to, so that you know what to eliminate from your dog’s diet and what to supplement it with.

How To Keep Your Pug’s Skin Healthy

As you can see, pugs are in fact pretty prone to skin problems. It’s important to be aware of that so you can be observant for signs and do the best you can to prevent skin problems to happen. It’s vital that you inspect your pug’s skin on a regular basis and look out for any swelling or redness.

A very important thing when it comes to this is keeping the skin dry, in order to keep the skin folds healthy. As it’s usually at the skin folds problems occur, you have to pay extra attention to these areas. Observe for redness, odor, selling and changes in behavior, such as scratching and biting.

If you were to notice anything similar, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The earlier you get a diagnosis, you can start the treatment and your pug can get better soon.