Ah pugs, they’re cute and growing in popularity thanks to several famous pugs on social media. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before owning a pug.
Pugs drop so much hair
I currently have three dogs – a Pomeranian, a Chihuahua cross and a pug, and Eric our pug moults more than the other two put together. Although their hair is short, when they shed, it gets EVERYWHERE. In the Spring when Eric really starts shedding, our lovely cream carpets become black from his fur.
If you have a pug, you need to brush them daily to remove all this dead hair and it’s a good idea to get your puppy used to brushing at a young age (this brush is a godsend). We have to use a rubber brush to pick up all the hair and a special dog vacuum cleaner but honestly, it gets everywhere.
Top tip – brush them in the garden so the fur doesn’t get stuck to your furnishings!
Pugs are hyper
When I first got Eric, I was told that pugs are lazy. This is not true. Eric is nuts. He is super excited when we have people over, when we have visitors and when it’s time to go on a walk, boy can he walk. He loves to run and play and is actually pretty fast. Eric can easily do an hour’s walk every day and still have energy when we get home. Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they are lazy.
Pugs are prone to overheating
Dogs with flat faces (sorry Eric) are called brachycephalic. Although that squished face is adorable, it does mean these little guys can overheat quickly. Dogs lose heat mainly by panting, and as the whole nasal, muzzle and throat is squished, you have to be really mindful of this.
In the summer, Eric will either go out first thing before it gets hot or last thing at night. If I still feel it is too hot, we will miss walking that day. Heatstroke can kill dogs, so I cannot stress this enough and dogs will die quickly from this.
Signs of heatstroke are;
- Bright red tongue
- Red or pale gums
- Breathing difficulties
- Increased heart rate
Heatstroke is an emergency. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, move him into a shaded area, put wet towels on his body, offer him water and phone your vet immediately.
In the warm weather, there are lots of things you can do to keep your pug cool. Many like water and paddling pools are a good way to cool them off. You can also get cooling bandanas and cooling vests which do help. Make sure water is always available, and you can offer them ice cubes too. We have a cooling mat which we place in front of a fan for Eric which helps him.
Pugs are greedy
Yep – these guys are definitely foodies and Eric will eat anything. Although Eric came from another home where he was starved, it’s in a pug’s nature to be greedy. Whilst I can feed my other dogs together with no issues, Eric has to be fed on his own. He also doesn’t know when he’s full, so it’s down to you to make sure your pug doesn’t get fat. Overweight pugs are at even more risk of getting heatstroke and obesity also affects dogs joints and will shorten their life.
Slow feeders can be used, but I found the bowls with the high edges are unsuitable for pugs due to their flat faces and Eric couldn’t use it. The flat variety of slow feeders (like this) are better for pugs. Eating quickly is dangerous for any dog and can cause a condition called bloat. Teach your pug to sit and stay before calmly walking to their food bowl and slow feeders will stop them from bolting down their food.
Eric isn’t much of a scavenger, but some pugs are when out and about. Having said that, Eric does steal the rabbit’s breakfast given half a chance. It’s a good idea to teach your pug the ‘leave it’ command. when you are out and about, you really don’t want your pug eating things from the floor as it could hurt them. Teach them this command to keep them safe.
You have to clean their skin folds
Pugs have folds of skin on their face which need cleaning daily with special wipes to prevent a build-up of dirt, which could leave to an infection. It’s not Eric’s favourite thing in the world, but it has to be done and an infection would be painful. Again, it’s good to get your dog used to this at a young age and use reward-based training, rather than force so they associate cleaning their ‘pug-flaps’ (sorry) with good things.
I thought my husband snored loud until I got a pug. Eric snores so loud, he is banned from sleeping in our room, sometimes it feels like the room is shaking – not really, but they are loud.
The reason pugs snore so loud all comes back to their squished airways, meaning it’s harder for them to take in air and breathe than a dolichocephalic (long-nosed dog, think Whippets) or a mesocephalic which is a medium length nose, like a Border Collier.
If your pug snores particularly loudly or seems to have trouble breathing, it’s worth speaking to your vet. Some pugs need surgery to remove some of the excess skin to make breathing easier or have their nostrils widened. I actually spoke to my vet about this for Eric, but he didn’t feel it was necessary.
Pugs are funny
Eric honestly makes us laugh at least once a day. He has such a can-do attitude, he loves to wrestle and his flat face makes him have such human-like expressions he always looks surprised. Pugs have such a great personality, and as well as being fun, they are great cuddle bugs and love a snuggle on the sofa under a blanket with you.
Pugs are smart
Pugs are probably not well known for being smart, but they are actually clever little dogs. Eric will do anything for food, which makes training him to do simple tasks such as sit and stay pretty easy. Eric is pretty good at food puzzles.
They also love to please which makes them good training buddies. We have recently been training our dogs to stop barking before a walk, and Eric picked up the training the quickest (Sorry Nacho, but it’s true…)
Pugs are heavy
Pugs are a stocky breed and although small, can be heavy. This is worth thinking about if you struggle to lift heavy, deadweight objects like a stubborn pug. You can get steps to help them get onto the sofa and ramps to help them get in and out of cars. Try to avoid encouraging them to jump on and off things as it can damage their joints.
As I said before, Eric loves to cuddle on the sofa, but if I let him sit on my lap, I think he would break me.
Pugs are prone to health issues
As I have already mentioned, pugs are prone to obesity, infections in their skin folds and overheating, but that’s not all. Eric had a luxating patella on both hind legs meaning he had to have surgery twice. Hip dysplasia is common in pugs too.
They are also prone to skin issues, many need hypoallergenic diets. So if your pug is itchy or has flakey skin, you need to take him to the vet.
Their bulging eyes also mean they are prone to eye ulcers – Eric has had a few in the past and as the eyes are exposed and not protected within the skull, a slight bump on knock can result in an ulcer. So if your pug is squinting or their eye is running, get them to the vet quickly as they are painful. They are also prone to a condition called Entropian which is where the eyelashes roll in and scratch the surface of the eye. This is as painful as it sounds but can be fixed with surgery.
Their dome-shaped head can cause neurological issues too, and some may not be noticed until your pug is an adult. If your pug has tremors, flickering eyes or seizures, you must take them to your vet ASAP.
I love all my dogs, and I wouldn’t be without Eric. He has such a big character and adopting him was one of the best decisions we ever made. Do you have a pug? We would love to hear about them!