A lot of people claim that pugs are among the most adorable dog breeds for their comical personality and unique appearance. Some might love bigger dogs more, other might prefer fluffy, white dogs that don’t shed, but on one thing we can all agree, when a pug is around, they are always the ones that steal all the attention. No matter what they do, their facial expressions and funny attitude make them the real star that is always under the spotlight. Everyone that has ever owned a pug, or has had a pug in their lives for a while, will definitely know what we’re talking about.
If you’re among the lucky ones that are about to or already have a pug in their lives, then you will certainly have plenty of unexplainable situations with your furry pal. But, no matter how much they could entertain you and make your life brighter, it is crucial to understand how to take proper care of your pug and provide it with the best possible life.
Although they will certainly strive when getting enough attention from their people, these dogs need special care in order to be happy and healthy. Because of their particular physical appearance, pugs need a little extra work from their owners to be entirely healthy and clean.
If you’re having a pug for the first time in your life, and are a little bit confused about what to do or how often to do something regarding your dog’s care, don’t worry, we got your back. We’ll guide to through all the essential steps in maintaining a healthy pug. This guide can also be useful for owners of pug cross breeds such as Puggles, Chihuahua Pugs, Frug, Pom-A-Pugs, Daugs and so on, that inherit a lot of Pug traits.
Feeding Your Pug
Just like other dogs, pugs love to eat. But the real difference is in the activity level that each dog maintains. Generally, pugs aren’t considered as one of the most active breeds, and if not given enough exercise they can become real couch potatoes. Because of that, it is crucial to pay attention to keeping your pug’s portions appropriate.
Maintain a regular schedule and feed your adult pug once or twice a day, according to the serving size recommendations.
You should also pay attention to feed your pug with age-appropriate dog food. Puppies need different nutrients than adult or senior dogs. Therefore, pay attention to your pup’s feeding requirements according to its activity level and age.
Check the Pug Feeding chart here and see the appropriate amounts of food according to your pug’s age.
|Age||Amount of food||Times a day|
|8-12 weeks||1/4 – 1/2 cup, puppy food||4 times a day|
|3-8 months||1/4 – 1/3 cup||3 times a day|
|8-12 months||1/3 – 1/2 cup||2 times a day|
|12 months and older||1/2 cup||1/2 times a day|
Through time, it might be wise to consider changing your dog’s diet in order to make sure he hasn’t developed any food insensitivities. Another reason to reassess your dog’s food is if you notice that your pug is gaining weight. In that case, it is necessary to revisit your dog’s daily calorie intake and consider increasing everyday exercise.
However, bear in mind that pugs are brachycephalic breeds that are more prone to respiratory difficulties which can even worsen in case the pup is overweight.
Another thing pug owners should be aware of is to control the amount of treats given to pugs. Since pugs are small-sized dog breeds, the amount of treats they can have throughout the day is way smaller than the treat portion a medium-sized dog could get.
The rule to follow is that treats should not exceed the 10% of your dog’s overall daily calorie intake.
Exercising Your Pug
Moderate exercise about 15-20 minutes twice a day
The best way to ensure your dog is healthy and happy is to provide it with sufficient exercise time. Exercise is not only important to keep your pug fit, but it is also one of the crucial steps for having a calm and satisfied pet that won’t develop any of the common behavioral issues.
An adult pug will need about two 15-20 minute moderate exercise session per day. They also love to play, so providing your pug with enough toys to play with inside the home will keep them engaged both physically and mentally. Ideally, you would also spend some time on a daily basis to play with your pug. You can chase each other in the home, or play fetch, whatever you choose your pug will surely play along.
No matter how much exercise is important for all dogs, with brachycephalic breeds exercise can get a little tricky. Because of their flat noses, it may be hard for them to cool down after straining exercise which poses them at the risk of getting a heat stroke. Also, walking them on a very humid and hot day may result in breathing difficulties and potentially in overheating too. Therefore you need to know when you should keep exercise intensity a bit lower than usual.
Quick tip: Don’t walk your pug during the hottest part of the day.
Avoid long walks during very windy or excessively rainy days, as these can cause eye problems in your pug.
Appropriate Walking Equipment
Unlike bigger dogs, a pug will need a harness instead of a collar when taken out. Collars would limit a pug’s already aggravated breathing, leading to further breathing difficulties that you would rather prefer to avoid. Make sure to get a good leash that will enable you to walk your pug on a busy, narrow sidewalk, but also on the wide fields in the park.
Getting the right kind of leash and harness will also enable more effective trainings with your pug.
Training Your Pug
Pugs usually respond well to basic training. They might not be excessively interested in more complex training, but teaching them basic commands should cause no problems as these dogs love to please their owners. As with any other dog, you have to be kind, patient and consistent in your training lessons in order to make sure your dog really learns what you intended him to.
Also, the best approach that all modern dog behaviorists suggest is positive reinforcement. You can easily apply this approach by using treats as rewards whenever your pug obeys a command well. But since you have to make sure not to overfeed your dog with treats, you should know that simply praising your dog after he has been a good boy also works as an effective reward.
However, bear in mind that training your dog isn’t only repeating the command until you lose your breath. In order to properly train a dog, it is necessary to know how to communicate with your pet. When you understand your dog’s body language, it will be much easier for you to know when it’s the right time to start training, as well as to recognize if something is bothering your dog. Spending some time to study dog and human communication will make training any dog way easier, and pugs are no exception to this.
If you’re a first-time dog owner and have difficulties in handling your dog’s naughty behavior or teaching him commands, you might have to consider enrolling your pug in an obedience class. This way you will learn the right way to lead your dog and will have some additional time to bond with your dog.
Grooming A Pug
As you may already know, pugs are known to be big shedders. Although their hair is short and almost completely skin-like, pugs lose a lot of hair and they shed significantly more than their cousin brachycephalic breeds Boston Terriers or French Bulldogs. However, this usually won’t create any health problems to a pug. On the other hand, what requires more attention and can be a source of a potential health issue in pugs are their skin folds. Let’s see what is the correct way to groom your pug.
Bathing A Pug
Bathe your pug at least once per month
Typically, bathing your pug once per month should be more than fine. However, some owners prefer to bathe their Pugs on a more regular basis.
Of course, if your pug got extremely dirty somewhere, you would definitely give it an extra bath. Although bathing them shouldn’t be a very complex task to do, there is one thing that requires more of your attention after you bathe your pug – the pug’s facial folds.
When bathing is completed, make sure you clean, rinse and dry your pug’s facial wrinkles properly. Leaving their facial folds damp might lead to skin or yeast infections that will make your dog’s skin itchy and prone to other irritations.
Clean Your Pug’s Facial Folds
Clean your Pug’s wrinkles at least once a week
Although bathing your pug once a month might be perfectly enough, your pug’s facial folds will need more frequent care. Because a pug’s wrinkles might hold onto food, saliva, dirt, and other debris, your pug’s skin can become irritated. Not only, but this might eventually make your pug smell really bad.
In order to ensure your pug smells nice make sure you clean the wrinkles with a cotton swab or cotton pads dipped in warm water at least once a week. Pay a lot of attention to wrinkles around the eyes and nose, and be very gentle and careful. While cleaning the folds, the cotton pads shouldn’t make contact with your pug’s eyes, nose or mouth.
If your pug already suffers from a yeast infection or other form of skin irritation, you should get antiseptic canine wipes and use them to clean your dog’s folds two to three times a day.
And, just like we mentioned earlier, make sure you don’t leave the fold damp by drying them gently with a towel or a dry cotton pad.
Brushing A Pug
Brush your Pug once to twice a week
Pugs are big shedders, especially during summer. Their coat, despite being short, needs regular weekly brushing in order to be healthy. You should make sure you get the appropriate grooming tools for your pug’s coat. Typically, pug owners find themselves satisfied with a slicker brush or a specialty shedding brush.
Brushing your pug once to twice a week will not only keep his coat and skin clean but will also control the amount of shedding. Although there won’t be anything to “untangle” when brushing a pug, it is crucial not to skip regular weekly brushing as it keeps skin healthy by spreading the oil secreted from the oil glands of your dog’s skin. This oil moisturizes a dog’s skin to a perfect level and prevents irritations and infections from happening.
Trimming Pug’s Nails
Trim your Pug’s nails every 1 to 2 months.
Unlike other more active dog breeds, pugs typically don’t wear down their nails which is why trimming their nails will be necessary. If you want to trim your dog’s nails at home, use clippers that are specifically designed for dogs and that prevent cracking or splitting. However, before doing it, inform yourself on how to do it properly, as cutting the nails too short might injure your dog and cause him unnecessary pain.
Usually, dog owners prefer to bring their dogs to dog groomers that know how to perfectly trim dog’s nails without causing any harm.
You will see yourself when your pug needs a nail trim – the nails will simply get too long and will produce a louder sound when your pug walks around the house.
Cleaning Pug’s Ears
Clean your Pug’s ears once a week.
Because of your pug’s small size, his ears might be a true collector of dirt and debris. When not cleaned regularly, as you can probably guess, the debris in ears can cause an ear infection that will require a vet’s visit and a period of a more serious medical therapy. Therefore, buy a specialty solution that you would use to clean your pug’s ears.
Spray or squirt a little bit of the solution on the inside of your pug’s ears and then wipe them with a cotton ball gently. Focus on the exterior part of the ear and don’t go into the ear canal because this could result in an ear injury.
Protecting Your Pug’s Eyes
Clean your Pug’s eyes once a week to every day depending on your dog’s eyes.
Because of how they’re built, Pug’s eyes are structured differently than eyes in other non-brachycephalic breeds. Their eyes are large and are slightly popped out when compared to regular dog eyes. This puts Pugs at risk of developing many eye problems, and actually, these pups often have some kind of eye infection or injury.
Because their eyeballs are shallow, it will be quite easy for your Pug to have his eye injured, and because of the size of their eyeballs, debris and dirt might irritate your Pug’s eyes more frequently than it would cause problems in other dog breeds. When things get really tough, some Pugs even lose one of their eyes. Although that usually doesn’t affect your dog’s lifespan or the overall quality of life, it will still be sad to see your Pug not having those two beautiful eyes gazing at you.
Therefore, prevention and proper eye care should be paramount for all Pug owners. Only by protecting and caring for your Pug’s eyes will you be able to avoid all those common eye problems that Pugs often suffer from. Here’s what you should do.
Debris will always enter your Pug’s beautiful eyes, so make sure you remove it properly with an appropriate dog eye cleaning solution. Removing irritants from your pug’s eyes will decrease the chances of him getting an infection. If you notice your pug has some accumulated “eye gunk” in the morning, clean that with dog eye wipes. Also, be extra careful and remove any sharp objects away from your Pug’s reach.
Whenever you notice excessive discharge or any other weird symptom, head directly to your vet to get the right therapy for your Pug. Reacting on time might save your dog from surgery and eye loss.
Raising A Healthy Pug
If you take care of your pug appropriately by paying attention to his nutritional, grooming, and exercise needs, your pug should be a healthy pup. However, pugs are known to be prone to a set of diseases that might be passed onto litters genetically.
Therefore, whenever you are bringing your pug to a vet you might want to check him for the diseases and health conditions pugs can often suffer from. These include:
- Cheyletiella Dermatitis – Walking Dandruff
- Pug Dog Encephalitis
- Nerve Degeneration
- Corneal Ulcers
- Dry Eye
- Eye Problems
- Demodectic Mange
- Staph Infection
- Yeast Infection
- Hip Dysplasia
- Legg-Perthes Disease
- Patellar Luxation
Follow the puppy vaccination schedule and keep your dog’s vaccines up to date. Pay attention to tick and flea season in order to apply necessary prevention measures that will keep your Pug safe from tick and flea-borne diseases. Another thing you will need to do at the vets is parasite, hookworms and roundworms elimination.
Think about spaying or neutering your Pug if you don’t want to breed your pup since this might decrease the chances of catching some diseases at an older age. However, do your research on this matter before choosing your final decision.
Since Pugs can be prone to so many health conditions, it will be necessary to have your pug seen by a vet bi-annually. Your vet will know which tests and check-up your Pug will need to stay safe and healthy.
Of course, when it comes to your pug’s safety, it is highly advisable to microchip your dog. You never know when unpredictable things can happen, and having your dog microchipped might be a great way to keep your dog safe no matter what happens.
Puppy Proof Your Home
Because of their small size, a lot of objects can be potentially dangerous for your Pug. Sharp small objects might lead to an injury that might be much more severe in a Pug than in a dog of a bigger size. Since dogs love exploring their surroundings with their mouth, they also might accidentally swallow a small object which can be a serious choking hazard.
Not only, but even small amounts of certain food might be extremely toxic for your Pug. Pay attention to poisonous plants, and keep them out of your Pug’s reach. Make sure you or anyone else from your family doesn’t feed your dog with toxic and potentially fatal foods as well.
Therefore, remove small items from the floor and areas that your Pug has access to. Protect cords as well, as your dog might find them a great thing to chew onto, and if you love your shoes, keep them in a safe spot to prevent your shoes from becoming your pug’s favorite chewing toys.
Raising A Happy Pug
Since Pugs can be anxious if they are not given enough exercise and attention (and sometimes it can happen no matter how much you’ve already dedicated your time to them and spent enough time outdoors), it might be wise to know all other factors that might affect your dog’s mood. There are several things you should keep in mind if you want to raise a happy pug that won’t develop small dog syndrome or other forms of dog anxiety.
Socialize Your Pug On Time
Socialization with other dogs and people is crucial in order to have a fully functional dog that won’t get scared in new situations. Make sure you engage your Pug in dog interaction since they are still very young in order to let them learn how they should approach dogs. Similarly, introduce your Pug to your friends and relatives, and show your Pug that these new people are friendly and nothing to be afraid of.
Learn To Communicate Properly With Your Pug
In order to form a strong bond with your dog, it will be necessary to learn to read your dog’s body language signs and understand what they are trying to tell you. Although it might seem like a difficult task to do, just by observing your dog you will be able to understand so much. Although your Pug will probably pick some commands you teach him, he will still most likely pay attention to your body language too.
Learn how to talk to your dog properly, and he will surely respond well. As soon as you pay more attention to your communication, training and handling your dog will become much easier.
Provide Your Pug With An Appropriate Bed
Pugs can develop certain joint issues through time. Therefore, they will need an appropriate bed to sleep onto and that will stay comfortable for the years to come. You want your Pug to have a great place to relax at when they just need some alone time, or simply want to catch a break from everything that’s been going on inside the house.
Ideally, you would find a bed made of orthopedic foam that will support your Pug’s body, head, and neck. This way you will help him rest more efficiently, and prevent or minimize the chances of bone and joint issues.
Provide Your Pug With Enough Toys
All dogs need toys in order to be entertained. But there are a couple of different toys that you should buy. First of all, it might be wise to buy teething toys for teething puppies that will help them scratch their gums and relieve the pain caused by emerging teeth.
Once they grow older, you should swap teething toys with chewing toys of appropriate size. Providing your dog with durable chewing toys will satisfy their chewing needs, help their teeth and gums remain healthy which will result in a calmer pup.
On the other hand, you can find other types of toys your pug will love to play with such as Kong toys, balls, and other types of interactive dog toys.
Getting a dog brings a lot of joy to your life, but it also demands your responsibility. And just like any other dog, pugs need appropriate care as well. However, it’s good to know that due to Pug’s constitution and their physical features (big eyes, wrinkles, flat nose), they require some more care and a special approach in daily maintenance.
Remember that each dog is different and has its special needs. So, if you want to have a happy, healthy pup in your life, make sure those needs are properly met.