Pug 101

Is a pug right for you?

Pugs are wonderful companion animals! They are affectionate, attentive, entertaining and personable. Those who recognize their endearing qualities tend to become quite obsessed with them! However, there are special issues associated with this breed that you must be aware of before choosing to adopt one.

  1. Like most purebred dogs, pugs are prone to expensive health problems.
    • Wrinkles and ears must be cleaned regularly to avoid infection, and nails must be clipped often, as pugs often clean their faces with their paws like cats.
    • Anal glands need to be expressed frequently.
    • Those short noses result in breathing problems. This can sometimes be ameliorated through surgery, but pugs still can’t tolerate hard exercise, nor can they tolerate temperature extremes.
    • Other heath problems include a tendency toward eye problems, elongated soft palates, excessive facial folds (which interfere with vision and must be corrected surgically), pug dog encephalitis, and liver shunts.
    • Pugs have sensitive eyes which are easily injured. Care must be taken outdoors and near small children. Nearly all pugs require some sort of eye treatment during their lifetime.
  2. Pugs were designed to be lap dogs. They consequently require a lot more attention, as it is their “job” to accompany you 24/7. If no one is home all day, a pug is likely to become depressed and exhibit behavioral problems. If you work long hours, a pug is not a good choice for you.
  3.  Pugs cannot be left outdoors for long periods of time. They physically cannot tolerate extreme temperatures, and are often sensitive to bee stings. Pugs are also often stolen, or find their way out of enclosures.
  4. Despite having short fur, they have a double-layer coat. This means that pugs shed a lot, year-round. They are not hypoallergenic dogs.
  5. Pugs can be difficult to housebreak, and often have accidents even when they are considered “housebroken.”
  6. Pugs are not good swimmers because of their front-heavy build, and many don’t like the water at all. They must be supervised near any body of water.
  7. Pugs have a tendency to gain weight, but at the same time, they LOVE their food and will try to stare you down and make you feel guilty for not sharing treats. Just a little bit of people food provides a tremendous caloric intake for them, so it must be done very sparingly. Added weight is hard on their already burdened breathing.
  8. If you are thinking of breeding pugs, please know that this is VERY expensive, both because of potential health problems and the fact that many pug dames cannot give birth on their own and require veterinary assistance. The puppies require constant care to ensure survival, and of course veterinary checkups for each puppy. Reputable breeders know how to breed out major health conditions, and breed for the love of the breed, not to make money.
  9. Puppies are a lot of work, just as they are in any breed. Please consider adopting a rescue, relinquished, or senior pug. They are very deserving and make just as wonderful pets as puppies!