The Secrets to Healthy, Well-Aging Pugs
Pugs are prone to heat exhaustion, so A/C in your house and vehicle are a necessity. Pay attention to your pug's breathing, especially during exercise and hot weather. Don't exercise your pug excessively in hot weather. Limit long term sun exposure in the heat.
When it comes to dog food, you get what you pay for. Don't skimp on dog food by choosing one with a lot of fillers (corn by-products). Pugs are prone to allergies, so the more pure, quality ingredients the better. Dogs have everything they need in a premium dog food and don't need your leftover or snacks. Unless you want to share a bite of a raw fruit or vegetable, keep your meal to yourself. Double check to make sure foods are safe for dogs before sharing, some foods that are harmless to you can be the kiss of death for your dog.
Keep that pug in shape! Just because most pugs are lazy, does not mean they don't NEED the exercise. A healthy pug should be able to put on 1-5 miles every day. Exercise is not only important for weight control, it helps maintain strength to prevent muscle wasting in older dogs, keeps the heart in good shape, and keeps arthritic dogs from becoming more stiff and sore. Exercise is essential for all dogs, so make time for it.
Pugs have a major brachiocephalic condition, meaning their face looks smashed which not only affects their airway, it jumbles up their dentition. When teeth get all crammed in to a smaller space than intended, abnormal crevices develop between teeth, making tartar and calculus build up more speedy. Dental disease contributes to heart problems, dental infections and loose or infected teeth mean pain for your pug. Get them in to your veterinarian for a dental prophylaxis every twelve to eighteen months. If you can't afford this, then you can't afford to own a pug. (Who am I kidding, our pugs own us!)
Pugs need a lot of routine grooming, so either be willing to fork over the cash to have a professional do it, or learn how to do it yourself. Many ear and skin infections can be prevented with regular grooming, saving your pug from discomfort and you from spending more money to fix the problems.
Many pugs shed like mad and are prone to allergies and dermatologic issues. Baths are essential to skin health and help immensely to cut down on shedding hairs getting all over the house. A bath every seven to fourteen days with scrubbing to free loose hairs then rinsing it and smelly dander away is key.
Nail trims, express anal glands, clean ears, clean facial folds - all of these need to be done every four to six weeks.
If your pug has a heath problem, take them to the veterinarian. Give medications as prescribed. Set up recheck appointments as recommended. Then, do what you can to prevent recurrence of the health problem.
We've all heard that pugs are notorious for pooping in the house and being difficult to house train. Get them on a schedule and kennel them while you are gone if they can't be trusted.
Fish oil and glucosamine are essential for pug health. Research and buy decent brands of both. Ongoing fish oil can prevent or decrease the severity of a multitude of problems such as ear infections, arthritis, skin infections, heart disease and eye issues. Glucosamine helps those little pug joints stay mobile and strong.
Keep your pug lean and don't let them become an asshole by giving them table scraps - no one likes a beggar. Pugs already have enough health issues and don't need them exacerbated by excess weight. Heavier dogs have a shorter life span, have more medical problems, and struggle physically. Obesity is one of the most factors in unhealthy pugs and it is completely up to you to manage it. You should be able to feel a pug's ribs with your fingers and not through a layer of fat. The tail does not need a fat roll at the base of it. Obesity is just as dangerous in dogs as it is in humans, so get it under control.
Keeping your pug happy and healthy will help you and them enjoy life more. Joint, weight, skin and dental issues are not only uncomfortable, but often painful and can lead to long-term problems if not addressed. Whether you have or are planning on getting a pug, be ready to put the effort, time and money in. If you can't afford these basics, choose a different breed.