PUG HEALTH PROBLEMS
Common health problems can be found if you research any dog breed (as you should before you decide to get one). This shouldn’t put you off getting a Pug but merely make you consider whether these are the sorts of problems you are able and willing to share your life with.
*Remember, just because they are prone to them doesn’t mean they will get them just be vigilant so any problems are treated early.*
Probably the number one potential problem in Pugs is being overweight. Most Pugs will eat till they burst and always “act” hungry even just after supper. Ours have on several occasions nearly had a second meal because they look soooo hungry they couldn’t have possibly been fed. As with children communication between the adults is vital!
Although this is one of the most common problems it is in reality the easiest to remedy and your Pug’s weight should be monitored because of the potential for breathing and bone/joint problems which are much worse in a fat Pug dog. How fair is it to let your Pug (or any dog for that matter) get overweight anyway?
Unless your Pug is a complete and utter thief you are responsible for his figure.
See Pug Grub page for simple, delicious and easy to follow ideas, recipes and books for your ‘podgy Pug’.
Secondary to weight comes Pug Eye Problems. The prominent eyes and nosiness of the Pug make them susceptible to scratches. These must be monitored carefully as they can lead to more serious health issues. An eye injury in Pugs can go from simple scratch to serious Pug eye ulcer in just 24 hours. Be aware and vigilant of your boggled eyed beast!
Our Pug puppy Ziggy had a very serious eye issue resulting from the bedding the dog carrier company put him on for his journey to us. He very nearly lost his eye sight and was even in danger of losing his eye. If we hadn’t taken him straight to the emergency vets when we picked him up it would have been a very different story. Very sad for such a young pug puppy.
If you are having your puppy transported check what bedding they use. Straw and Hay do not mix well with a tiny boggle eyed puppy. See Ziggy’s blog to read about his story and daily life as a well loved Pug of the Gold Coast, Australia.
Ziggy loves digging at the beach but as you can see he gets sand everywhere. We wash his face as soon as we leave the beach and then once home or in the car use a product called Celluvisc which is a lubricant our vet suggested.
Our little chap has also had occasional irritation in his eyes which got gradually worse so by the time he was nearly 3, despite having taken him to numerous vets. His vision was limited due to irritation and a dark sludgy brown pigment covering his eyes (Pigmentary Keratitis). Thankfully we bumped into someone who had taken their pug to a vet who specialises in brachycephalic dog breeds. We made an appointment and he identified immediately that his eyelashes were a little turned in and irritating the surface of his eyes.
A little nip and tuck and he is now a true Gold coaster with his eyes clearing and sight improving. We are very grateful to Kylie and her Pug Audrey for passing on this vets details. www.jacobswellvetsurgery.com.au
It’s well worth looking for pug specialist vets who are knowledgeable about Pug health problems.
We would welcome any tips, remedies and suggestions you have come across as Pug owners over the years which will help fellow Pug owners and their Pug babies. firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately their squashed faces which make them look so cute and funny can also make breathing very difficult for them. The soft palate can become elongated restricting their airway and in some Pugs the nasal passages (stenotic nares) may be to narrow for them to really get much air into their lungs.
This can be serious enough to warrant an operation as it can cause damage to the larynx and even for the larynx and trachea to collapse. If you are concerned about your Pug’s breathing then you should take them to your vet for an assessment.
Your vet will decide the best course of action; sometimes just an increase to their fitness combined with reducing weight is enough to solve the issues. Sometimes the symptoms do not really present themselves until you Pug is older.
Signs to look out for:
- Noisy breathing
- Vomiting during or after mealtimes
- Poor exercise tolerance
- Excessive ‘reverse sneezing’
- Passing out
- Constant panting
Less obvious signs may be that you Pug will rest its chin on something to keep the airway open and lay on its back to sleep, although this seems to be a favoured Pug sleeping position anyway.
You can see if you look at the history of Pugs that over years they have been bred with shorter and shorter snouts. Be aware that this does also make them vulnerable to heat as they find it harder to cool down. Pugs have been known to stay out in the full sun even if there is shade available so ensure they have access to water, shade and very little direct sunlight.
To see an example of a Pugs revere sneeze scroll below, it is a very common occurrence in this breed bit can be quite frightening if you have not witnessed this before. We have put a video of this so you can become familiar with this Pug phenomenon.
We have a small paddling pool, which Ziggy loves fish for his toys and to cool off in.
Bone and Structural Problems
All small dogs have skeletal issues within the breed, the two featured here are the most prevalent within the Pug breed.
Patellar luxation is a problem whereby their kneecaps actually dislocate causing them some discomfort as they walk.
Hip dysplasia where it can lead to lameness in the hind legs making walking exceptionally difficult.
It is best to check with whomever you are buying your puppy from that there is no history of problems in your Pug’s breeding, although this doesn’t guarantee there won’t be any problems it will lessen the likelihood of later health problems. Where possible visit your pup when they are still with mum, if that’s not possible get lots of photos sent of the pups and both parents.
Pug encephalitis This is an inherited health condition which is genetic in origin which affects young dogs of the Pug breed. The majority of the affected dogs are under three years of age. It is generally fatal so it is important to check the history of your prospective puppy’s parents. For more info click here.
A pug’s wrinkled face can hold a lot of secrets in the way of grime and dirt. Anything your pug sticks his face in, be it dirt, sand or food, can get trapped inside his facial folds causing irritation and possibly infection. Even if your pug does not seem messy, his own natural excretions like eye mucus and skin oils can collect in his facial folds causing health problems.
It is best to check these folds regularly, especially the deep one over his nose before problems set in. Some warning signals that a clean is overdue are your pug rubbing his face vigorously on anything and a rather unpleasant odour when your little friend snuggles up.
Use a moist cotton bud or pad to wipe out the dirt and grime, be gentle as the skin inside the facial folds is very sensitive. Once the cotton pads come out of the folds clean, use a cotton swab to smear a tiny bit of balm inside the folds to keep the skin soft and create a protective barrier. Make sure you only use a little if you use too much it will cause more of a build up of dirt. However if you suspect an infection a little salt water wash will clear up any minor infections. More serious ones will have to be treated by your vet.
You may want to investigate health issues further as we have just covered the main ones. Generally if you just pay attention to you Pug and look out for the different signs that can indicate there could be a problem and catch it early all will be well.
We strongly advise that you get pet insurance and as early as possible before your Pug has had time to develop any issues. Trips to the vets can be very expensive and pet insurance companies will not insure you for any pre-existing conditions. They will also not insure your pug for any associated problems. This means that if your pug has an eye condition of any kind you will not be able to claim for any eye problems in the future. It also means that if you Pug has had a pre-existing condition in the left eye you would not be able to claim for problems in the right even though there had been no previous issues. (This would be applicable wether it were eyes or legs!)
Check also their exclusions – A lot of pet insurance companies exclude things like soft palate resections and stenotic nares surgery because it is considered elective surgery. Even though your Pug may be desperately in need of this for health reasons.
Read their policy before choosing your insurance company!
Save your self a trip to the vet, read below about reverse sneezing.
One tip that may save you an expensive tip to the vets is to be aware of reverse sneezing! Our Pug keeled over very briefly after a severe episode and then was immediately ok, very alarming. We thought for a minute he was having a fit. When we mentioned it to the vet and said it seemed as if he had run out of air she agreed. His episodes tend to be brought on by stress luckily are not usually that severe. We have found keeping him fit and active helps with all the Pug breathing issues and he is able to run and play for hours.
Reverse sneezing is a sudden, startling sound that makes you think your dog is choking, having a fit or asthma attack. It can be very alarming but is common in a lot of dogs but particularly brachycephalic dogs like Pugs.
Watch the video clip to see what reverse sneezing looks and sounds like.