The pug dog is distinctly characterized by its wrinkly face. It is also commonly referred to as a toy dog because of its small size. It has a well-developed, short, and square body. Pugs possess strong and sturdy pairs of legs. They come in an assortment of colors from brown, fawn, silver and even black. Their coats are covered with a glossy sheen. Other distinguishing features of the pug are its ears and tail. Its ears can be classified either as rose ears, which are very small and folded back against the side of the head, or button ears, slightly bigger than rose ears, but still folding forward toward the head. The tail is also referred to as a corkscrew tail, and it is short and twists back over the hip. Pug dogs were native to China, but were introduced into Europe around the 16th century, and became very popular all over the continent, especially in England and Italy.
The pug has also been a member of the American Kennel Club Toy Group for more than a hundred years. Being diminutive makes them utterly cute and delightful, hence people, especially those living in apartments and have space constraints, opt for pugs as pets, since they are not overly messy and do not require a whole lot of exercise and training. So before you set out to get a pug pup from the nearby pet shop, read up on these health issues faced by pugs, so you will be better equipped to deal with any problem that may arise.
Pug Dog Health Concerns
Although considered to be a fairly healthy dog which can live up to 10 years and sometimes well into its teens, there are certain health problems a pug faces, as described below.
Due to the highly wrinkled nature of the skin on its face, the pug can become prone to skin infections which can arise between its numerous folds. Pet owners should take extra care to clean the folds of the skin on a regular basis to get rid of any disease-causing germs, and promptly take the pug to a vet at the first sign of a skin infection.
Eye problems also arise in part due to the shape of the pug’s face which is pushed up and devoid of prominent snouts. Proptosis, which can cause irregular bulging of the eyes, and entropion, which causes the lower eyelid to fold inward are common eye infections a pug may face. Entropion, if it goes unchecked, may lead to irritation in the cornea because of the eyelid constantly rubbing over it, and the cornea might get damaged permanently, blinding the pug, if proper care is not taken.
Pugs are prone to ear infections, and as an owner, you should diligently clean the pug’s ears with an ear wash. Symptoms of ear infection include discharge, redness, and foul odor emanating from the ears, and the pug may shake his head violently if it is in pain. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to make an appointment with the vet.
Pugs can eat a lot, much more than what they ideally should, hence you may find your pug becoming overweight. This problem is easy to solve, do not overfeed your pet! If you can feel your pet’s ribs and are able to view the waist clearly, then the pug is not obese. Regular exercise and a controlled diet are just the things needed to overcome this problem.
With a scrunched up face, a small snout, and bunched-up respiratory passageways, pugs may find it difficult to breathe especially if the weather is too hot and muggy. Take care to see that the pug does not overheat and its body temperature does not exceed 105 °F. If this happens, immediately place the pug in a cool, well-ventilated area so it can cool down instantly.
A pug has an unusually long roof of the mouth, which is a commonly seen attribute in short-snouted dogs. Because of this, pugs suffer from what is known as backward sneezing. When that happens, a pug unknowingly breathes rapidly and it may look like it is short of breath. It can happen if the pug is overly excited about something, or if something is stuck beneath the palate which can obstruct the breathing. This is not a serious health concern, and most dogs suffer from it quite frequently. To ease your pug’s discomfort, lightly rub his throat or pinch its nostrils until the breathing returns to normal.
Hemivertebrae is a common spinal problem seen in a large number of pugs. If it occurs in the spinal cord, it can cause paralysis in the hind limbs. This is a serious condition, and the pug may have to undergo surgery to rectify the disorder.
The other commonly seen ailment is hip dysplasia. It is characterized by an unusual formation in the hip socket, causing the joints to wear out faster than usual, and in the long run some dogs may eventually suffer from severe joint pain and even arthritis.
Some pugs may also suffer from patellar luxation, a genetic defect where the patella, or kneecap gets dislocated, coming out of its usual position. In severe cases if the animal is in pain and unable to walk, surgery may have to be performed.
A life-threatening condition, encephalitis, also known as necrotizing meningoencephalitis, causes inflammation of the brain and the membranes surrounding it. Almost all pugs who inherit this deadly disease succumb to it, and some may have to be euthanized which will end their suffering. As this disease is believed to be inherited genetically, it would be wise to inquire with the breeder/seller of the pug you intend to buy whether any of its ancestors have ever suffered from this fatal disease.
Some common things to keep in mind while taking care of your pug is to clean their teeth regularly. This is slightly tricky since pugs have such a small face. The teeth may appear uneven, but do it without fail to prevent the buildup of tartar. Allowing your dog to chew on bones will keep plaque and tartar at bay. Trim their nails regularly. Take your pug to the vet for checkups on a regular basis. Always buy a pup from a reputed pet shop or breeder, which will ensure that the newest member of your family is not prone to any sickness.
Pugs do not necessarily make good watchdogs, but they are terrific companions. Extremely social and fun-loving, they can be easily trained, and exhibit a loving disposition. So if and when you get a pug home, take very good care of it, and you will be the proud owner of a wonderful breed of dog that will truly be your friend for life.