When it comes to a Pugs’ health, like any other dog, things can go wrong. In fact, based on statistics, you can pretty much expect at least one major health crisis in your Pug, usually two. There’s nothing you can do about these things. You just can’t change fate. But there are things, some obvious and others not so obvious, that you can do to give your Pug its greatest chance at a long, healthy life.
- Keep Your Pug Slim and Trim: Many people figure that a Pug is supposed to be fat, but that’s not true. Pugs are muscular and solid dogs, with round features. Stand above your Pug while it is standing up, and look down at his figure. If your Pug looks like a battery, it should drop a pound or two. What should they look like in “aerial view”? Narrow at the neck, broad at the shoulders, narrowing down from the shoulders with a slight broadening by the rump. It’s like an inverted hour glass shape. Follow these easier said than done food tips, and your Pug will be well on her way to being slim and trim: Don’t feed your Pug people food, use dry chow instead of canned, limit the treats and consult your veterinarian regarding how much your Pug should eat.
- Exercise Your Pug: Pugs sleep 14 hours a day on average and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t mean a Pug should always be sleeping. Pugs need daily exercise. In part because it keeps their weight down, and in part because it’s good for their heart and lungs. Now, don’t go out and run with your Pug, just walk him. Be aware of how he’s breathing and walking, and don’t push him beyond his limits. When he slows down, breathes heavier than normal or resists walking, it’s time to stop. Even if it only takes 5 minutes of walking for him to have had enough, you’ve done your job. Pugs don’t need a lot of exercise, just a little---daily.
- Don’t Smoke Around Your Pug: This isn’t an anti-smoking lecture aimed at smokers. If you want to smoke, then go for it. It’s your body. If you do smoke, do your Pug a favor and smoke someplace she isn’t. If she’s upstairs, smoke downstairs. If you have no upstairs or downstairs and she’s inside, go smoke outside. Get the idea? Pugs have enough trouble breathing as it is, and they really don’t need breathing to be more difficult.
- Fence Your Pug In: All dogs, (assuming you live in a house) should have a fenced in yard or run. There are many reasons why so I won’t get into all of them. But I will mention the most serious ones. Pugs and cars don’t mix. Pugs and larger dogs and other loose animals don’t mix. Pugs and strangers do mix, but that isn’t always good for the Pug. Pugs get lost, Pugs get kidnapped, and Pugs get excited when they see a stranger and lose sight of potential threats.
- Leash Your Pug: When you’re out of your house or fenced in yard, your Pug should be on a leash. Even if you’re carrying your Pug, that leash should be rolled up and wrapped around your hand, thumb in loop. Why? Because your holding your Pug is no guarantee he won’t get away from you.
- Check the Thermometer: Yes, you’ve heard this a million times but it bears repeating again and again and again. Why? Because at every single trip I made to the vets last summer, I saw Pugs being carried into the vets office suffering from heat stroke and all the horrible things heat exposure does to the Pugs heart, kidneys and major organs. I saw Pugs being brought in after suffering heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and seizures all brought on by heat exposure. Some of the Pugs recovered, some of them suffered permanent damage and some of the Pugs died. And, finally, please remember that just because your Pug doesn’t appear effected by the heat, does not mean he isn’t. Constant over-exposure to temperatures over the 80 degree mark can, and often does do unseen, long term damage. Show me a 7-year-old Pug with “mysterious” kidney problems or an unexplained damaged heart, and I’ll show you a Pug that is suffering the results of constant over-exposure to heat. Take it seriously folks.
- Care For Your Pugs Teeth: How does their teeth fit into having a longer, healthier life? A Pug with healthy teeth will digest her food better than one that gums her food, thus reducing the chances of intestinal blockages and stomach related illness. Rotting and unhealthy teeth lead to abscesses, which can cause an array of secondary infections, some of which can be serious. Often overlooked regarding teeth care is the fact that Pugs don’t react well to anesthesia, which is exactly what they’ll need if teeth need to be removed. So how do you care for their teeth? Make your treats of choice Milk Bones, or some other hard, mildly abrasive product. No, I’m not plugging Milk Bones per say. But I am suggesting that a Milk Bone or similar product is hard and mildly abrasive compared to something like Snausages. The Milk Bone type product reduces plaque and tartar, the meaty and moist Snausage like treats make fertile breeding grounds for plaque and tarter. On top of this, brush your Pugs’ teeth from time to time. It’s not that hard once you learn how and by all means ask your vet for advice on how to do this. Some helpful hints? Get liver flavored toothpaste from your nearest well-stocked pet supply shop. Wrap your Pug in a towel to prevent squirming, get someone in your house to help you keep your Pugs mouth open, and brush away quickly.
- Protect Your Pug From Parasites: Fleas and Ticks aren’t your only concern, though they are major concerns. You also need to consider worms, such as hookworms and roundworms. How do you protect your Pug from worms and other parasites? Consult your vet and use flea and tick repellent such as Frontline or whatever product you and your vet prefer. Don’t take ticks lightly either no matter where you live. As our PugVillage Administrator, who lives in New York City can attest, Ticks can indeed be found in the concrete jungle of Manhattan. To reduce the chance of worms clean up your Pugs’ poop immediately after he leaves it there. Worms such as Hookworms for example can be found in the stool, and their eggs can lay dormant in the grass for as long as a year so you want to make sure you reduce that chance as much as possible. Don’t forget about Mosquitoes either. Don’t spray your Pug with bug repellant when you take her outside, but do spray yourself and stay close to your Pug at night when the Mosquitoes come out.
- Take Your Pug on Some Special Trips: A happy Pug is a healthy Pug. Pugs love cars and you love being with your Pug, so why not take your Pug for a nice long drive once in a while? Do you know the two most common destinations for a Pug in a car? The vet and the nail clipper! Whether your Pug likes the vet or not (some do, but we all know none of them like getting their nails clipped), imagine the joy on your Pugs face when she gets out of the car and sees something other than the vets office. It’s good for their psyche and probably good for your mood too so come on, take your Pug for a nice ride!
- Give Your Pug Daily Attention: What do I mean? How could I possibly suggest there is a Pug owner on this planet who doesn’t give his Pug daily attention?! I’ll answer both questions at the same time: We’re people and because of that we tend to get overwhelmed by life every once in a while. Work problems, family crises, kids acting out, not enough time in a 24 hour day to do what we need to do. When you’re overwhelmed, and even when you’re not, remember you’ve got a little furry Pug just waiting to cheer you up, or make you happier than you already are. Not only will you cheer up by going to your Pug when you’re down, but your Pug will cheer up too. No matter what your mood, and no matter how busy you are, make sure you pay attention to your Pug every single day. Pet your Pug, play with your Pug, sit with your Pug and most often overlooked, talk to your Pug. They love your voice almost as much as they love food. Pugs need attention to be truly happy dogs, and a happy dog lives longer. It’s that simple
Photo of Parker submitted by pug forum member parkerpugsley.