The A – Z of a Happy & Healthy Pug
A- Activity: Not all Pugs are total couch potatoes, they can be very active little dogs and they love their daily exercise. Regular exercise and activity is essential to keep your Pug fit, not just physically to prevent weight problems, but also for mental stimulation to prevent your Pug from becoming bored. Remember boredom and lack of activity can lead to destructive and obsessive behaviour.
This doesn’t mean you have to walk for miles, your Pug will love other types of activity and exercise like tug of war and fetch, which can be indoor games. Outdoors Ziggy hasn’t got the hang of fetch, currently it exists of I throw, he chases and I fetch!
Food puzzle toys and trick training will also help to keep your Pug happy and stimulated, remember they need brain activity as well as physical activity.
Ziggy particularly likes the Kong toys they keep him entertained as he tries to work out how to get the food out.
Pugs are very sociable and love to play with other dogs, allowing them to play with other doggy friends will give them the social skills they need to mix. Our Pug loves playing with big dogs and thinks there is nothing better than an hour of chase, he just loves being chased and being chased and bowled over but not all Pugs are like that so choose his friends carefully. Some Pugs are surprisingly agile and will love to do a bit of agility training so they will be getting both the physical and mental stimulation they need.
Smellorama: Nose Games for Dogs will keep you and your Pug stimulated.
Remember Pugs are not good in heat extremes so walk times may need to be adjusted according to the time of year.
B- Bathing: Because of the breed’s short coat there is no need to give your pug a regular bath unless he is a “Grub Pug”. Giving him a good brush before and during his wash will help to get rid of some of the dead hair but you have probably realised by now Pug’s shed like crazy, the hair leaps of their little bodies at an alarming rate. Use a natural shampoo to make sure it doesn’t irritate your Pug’s skin.
Pay attention to folds and ears, these will need wiping in between bath times but this is a good time to give them a wash. If his folds are left they can get very grimy causing foul smells and infection which may need the attention of a vet. Wiping just a little petroleum jelly after wiping his folds creates a protective barrier keeps the skin moist.
Make sure your Pug is completely dry before you let him out into the cold, their thick undercoat can take a little while to dry, we put a little jumper on ours after his bath when it’s cold which he loves. If you get your Pug used to the hairdryer some will love having all this attention and fuss. But by far the favourite part of bath time is the towel rub down afterwards.
C- Cars: Generally pugs love to travel in cars, make sure you take them somewhere nice and not always to the vets. No dog should be kept loose in a car in fact in a lot of countries it is illegal and the fine is as much for having a child loose in the car! The safest place is a big enough cage or airy pet carrier or in a proper pet car harness correctly seat belted in. Never ever leave your pug in the car! Cars heat up very very quickly and can be a death trap, less than 10 minutes could be sufficient to be fatal to your friend!
D- Diet: Every dog should be fed a healthy balanced diet. It is a matter of personal preference whether your Pug is fed on a home cooked diet or on a commercial dog food. Without any doubt it is more difficult to get the right balance of essential ingredients in your own cooking. Good formulated diets contain the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and trace elements. With a complete food there is normally no need for supplements
E- Eyes: Pugs’ eyes are unique and are mainly responsible for the breed’s expression and irresistible appearance. Compared with other breeds, pugs’ eyes are large and slightly more prominent. Because of the short muzzle, pugs lack the natural ‘bumper’ and are therefore more vulnerable. To keep your pugs’ eyes healthy it is absolutely essential to check them regularly. Check for abnormal redness, inflammation, discharge or even signs of a half or completely closed eye. If your Pug continues to have red, itchy or inflamed eyes despite great care and attention it is important to find a vet who specialises or is at least very familiar with pugs and conditions particular to them.
We were recommended to use Celluvisc by our vet as a lubricant for Ziggy’s eyes and still use it. He did have to have an operation on his eyes to stop the irritation and inflammation which if left would have resulted in him going blind, the cause of this was ONLY picked up by a Pug specialist and we are very grateful that he did.
See Pug Health for more details.
F- Feeding: Generally, healthy pugs are fairly greedy (exceptions prove the rule) and are not difficult eaters. Keep meals regular. Try to feed an adult pug twice a day with a small breakfast and the main meal in the afternoon or early evening, using a raised food bowl has several benefits for our short necked and nosed friends.
Benefits of a Raised Dog Food Bowl
While traditionally placed at ground level, there are several benefits for dogs when their food and water bowls are raised. Placing a dog bowl at the proper height for a dog allows him to maintain proper standing posture. When the head is kept above the stomach, food travels more efficiently down the digestive tract. Additionally, when bowls are at the proper height for dogs, there is less strain on their leg joints and neck. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are better than porous materials as they are easier to keep really clean.
As Pugs are prone to chin spots which can easily become infected and itchy, using ceramic or stainless steel bowls can really help to reduce these problems.
We like these Trendy Pets bowls as they look stylish as well as being sturdy enough for our food shovelling Pug when he is eating.
6 inches in height is the approximate height for a Pug’s raised feeding bowl. To check for your Pug: measure from the floor near his front paw to top of his shoulder and then take about 6 inches off, the difference is the approximate ideal height for your Pug’s raised bowl so go for the closest height.
F – is also for funny remember once you own one your life will never be the same! Gemma Correll Pugs products really capture the Pug personality and that of their owners!
G- Grooming: Pugs are very easy to groom, regular brushing with a natural bristle brush keeps their coat neat and shiny and helps to keep hair off your carpet and clothes. However pug’s shed constantly, the magical fibres leap off their little bodies at an alarming rate and there is no off season! Always keep your pug’s toenails short otherwise they may cause problems. Pugs are normally not keen to have their nails trimmed and it may need a bit of persuasion, we find it easiest to have someone come in and give Ziggy a beauty treatment once a month and trim his nails.
H- Heat: Because of the shortened nose, pugs cannot stand heat very well. This is a matter of fact and must be considered when you choose to live with a pug. In hot weather pugs should be walked in the morning and cool of the evening. When you plan a car journey try not to travel in the heat of the day and make sure there is always sufficient ventilation and aircon. Heat stroke in a pug is a major emergency. Use cold wet towels and water to cool the dog down, frozen peas and crushed ice cubes also help to get the temperature down.
I- Inoculations: Vaccinations and regular booster injections prevent infectious diseases. Before adequate vaccinations became available some of these (eg Distemper and Parvovirosis) caused considerable losses in the dog population and were a permanent risk. Thanks to modern and safe vaccinations dogs can now be taken out and about and can meet other dogs without risk. A puppy should normally have its first inoculation at 8 or 9 weeks followed by a second at 12 weeks. To keep your pug protected and annual booster is necessary. Your vet will take the opportunity to give your pug a general check-up and make sure he stays a healthy pug.
J- Joints: Like human beings and most other breeds, pugs can suffer from joint disorders. Some are simply caused by old age and rheumatism but others, like slipping stifles, hip dysplasia and certain spinal abnormalities are based on genetic defects. Symptoms are lameness, difficulties in getting up and even paralysis. Take limping or abnormal movement seriously and contact your vet. Remember healthy pugs should not look like a battery when you look down, being overweight will aggravate any joint disorders.
K- Kennels: There might be situations when you will need somebody to look after your pug and it is better to be prepared. Commercial boarding kennels often offer excellent facilities but cannot replace the “comfort” your pug may be used too. Check out some kennel’s in advance and ask questions. An excellent alternative is a ‘pugsitter’ who takes over your pug for the time you are on holiday, try your pug for a day session before going away on a trip to see how everyone gets on. Join a local pug group often group members will pug sit for you in return for the same favour.
L- Life span: Pugs are a long lived breed and normally reach a good age. 15 or 16 year old pugs are no rarity. Remember they are more likely to reach this age if they are healthy and active. See Pug Health.
M- Moulting: Pugs shed their coats continually, hair leaps off their little bodies at an alarming rate, with a peak period in spring and autumn there is no off season! Buy a good vacuum as you will not win against this onslaught of hair.
The Robot vacuums are great if your pug will leave it alone. Regular brushing and is a must to keep the hair situation in hand!
If all else fails buy pug coloured clothes and furnishings!
N- Neutering: If you do not want to breed from your pug, sooner or later the question of castration (for males) or spaying (for bitches) will arise. Before a bitch is spayed she should have had at least one proper season and should be fully grown.
O- Obesity: There is no excuse for an overweight pug! A good balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding unhealthy tit-bits will keep every pug slim, fit and healthy! It will also contribute significantly to you having several more years of Pug love with your curly tailed friend.
Pug dogs; “the most extraordinary dog of them all”
P- Parasites: Various external and internal parasites can bother your pug. The most common ones are fleas and worms. There are now various safe and effective products on the market which can be purchased from your vet. You should be aware of heartworm if you live in the warmer climes where there are mosquitoes. Make sure you get your pug protected against heartworm, you can do this either with an annual vaccination or tablets. This is a life threatening issue and it is easy to prevent but not to treat. Paralysis ticks are a big problem in certain countries and areas. There are very effective tablets now and again it is easy to prevent but not to treat. Paralysis ticks can not only kill your pug but they can have long term health problems if they survive a bite.
Paws: Make sure your Pugs paws stay soft and don’t become dry and cracked. Your pug will be less likely to want to go for walks and play if his paws are sore.
Q- Quirky: Pugs are know as the clowns of the dog world and they certainly live up to that title.
We love the cover picture from country life and think that the expression, “The most extraordinary dog of them all” is a perfect description of Pug dogs.
R- Rescue: The Pug Dog Welfare and Rescue Associations are registered charities which are run by voluntary helpers. Pugs all over different nations, young and old, get prompt help if they are in need. A wide network of volunteers help to rescue and re-home pugs in need. Find the one near you and if you are seriously looking for a pug consider giving one of the rescue pugs a forever home.
S- Skin: Pugs have very fine skin which needs to have regular checking, especially their wrinkles. Pay particular attention to the deep one over the nose. Make sure that these are always kept dry, clean and free of infection.
T- Teeth: Pugs jaws are undershot (ie the bottom jaw is slightly longer that the top jaw) causing their teeth to be differently positioned compared to most other breeds. Bad breath, tartar and gingivitis are common symptoms and can occur from a fairly young age. Suitable chews and the use of a toothbrush can help to prevent this problem.
U- Ulcer: The nightmare for every pug owner is an eye ulcer.
Symptoms are a closed eye, redness and swelling, abnormal discharge and the eye showing a mark normally surrounded by cloudiness.
Ulcers can be the result of an injury (bumping against furniture, playing with another dog, thorns etc). They can also occur spontaneously.
Immediate veterinary treatment is required. Follow any instructions carefully because aftercare is critically important.
V- Vets: Choose a vet who understands the Pug breed.
W- Water: Ensure that your pug always has access to fresh water. Excessive drinking can be a symptom of renal dysfunction or other internal disease. Splashing in a paddling pool can be fun and helps to keep your pug cool in the heat of the summer.
Weight: remember keeping your Pug trim and fit will increase his quality of life as well as his longevity.
Wrinkles: The beautiful wrinkles that are so characteristic of the Pug face need to be kept clean. Pay particular attention to the deep one over the nose. All sorts of grime can get in there making it sore and itchy.
X- Xrays: To be avoided at all costs! You know what we mean.
Good pet insurance is advised in case of unforeseen injuries and illness.
Check the exclusions carefully when choosing insurance for your pet.
Y- Yawning: Quite often, in our experience followed closely by a sneeze. Do not look adoringly into your pug’s cute face unless you are prepared for a full facial pug sneeze!
Z- The gentle snoring noises you will get used to! Alternatively buy ear plugs!
Enjoy your Pug and the love and laughter they bring to your life.
They are indeed “the most extraordinary dog of them all” and if you Have Not Been Pugged you are missing out.