Upon meeting your Pug, did you fall head over heels in love? Many pet owners have. The dog is irresistibly cute, with its searching gaze, wrinkled brows, and expressive face. Plus, the breed has a silly streak, delighting in entertaining.
Your friendly and loyal dog can live to 15 years, provided you shield against health risks common to this breed. Here’s how to help your pal feel and look their charming best.
Protect your Pug from overheating
Since dogs have few sweat glands, mostly in their feet, they can’t perspire as we do. Instead, they vent heat from their bodies through panting. Dogs with a long muzzle can pant effectively, drawing air over the length of their tongues.
However, the Pug breed is “brachycephalic,” meaning it has a short nose, recessed face, and small nostrils. Plus, soft tissue at the roof of its mouth crowds the airway. Together, these four anatomical features impede air intake, making it hard for a Pug to cool down. High heat and humidity can be lethal for a Pug, especially if they’re overweight. Below are ways to prevent overheating.
Prepare well for walks
In hot weather, walk your pup in the early morning and late evening, the cooler times of day. Since scorching sidewalks can produce paw burns, use shaded and grassy routes whenever possible. Another option is applying paw wax before heading out. Also, pack a water bottle and bowl, offering your dog a drink mid-stroll.
For a stylish take on staying cool, soak a bandana in water and loosely fasten it around your doggy’s neck. Here’s another walking tip. Rather than leashing Pooch to a collar, attach a harness. A collar puts pressure on a dog’s windpipe, narrowing it. However, a harness constrains movement by acting on the chest, shoulders, and back. Since the neck isn’t involved, your Pug will breathe easier.
Ensure ready access to water
Keep Pooch’s water bowl full at all times. For a cooling effect, periodically add a few ice cubes. Or, buy a water fountain bowl, supplying fresh water continuously.
For a fun way to hydrate your dog, offer chilled blueberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. From Dogster, here are cooling fruits your dog can eat safely, along with those to avoid.
Do you have a yard? If so, consider buying a small wading pool. Clamshell pools are inexpensive and perfectly Pug-sized. If you own a large pool, invite your dog to swim under supervision, provided the pool has a shallow end. This way, Pooch can gradually acclimate to water depth. Forestall overexertion by monitoring your dog’s breathing.
Keep your Pug cool inside
During summer, use air conditioning to maintain a comfortable home for your pal. Cooled air facilitates Pug respiration, and air conditioning outperforms fans. Also, place a cooling mat on the floor or line your dog’s bed with one. Self-cooling pet pads are non-electric, activated by animal heat and drawing it from their body. Air conditioning services are your best friend even when you aren’t home. The hot air makes it harder to breathe for your Pug and you don’t want to come home to them struggling to breathe or sick.
When driving with Pooch, such as to the vet, adjust the air conditioning to your dog’s breathing pattern. If you run errands with Pooch, drive with an adult who can stay in the car with your dog, manning the air conditioner.
Never leave your Pug in a hot car! Even if you park in a shaded area with the windows open, high heat can kill a dog in six minutes.
Groom your pooch on a schedule
Pugs are rather high-maintenance. One reason is heavy shedding, courtesy of the double coats on most fawn-colored and some black Pugs. Additionally, their fur is dense, trapping odors.
While the breed’s wrinkles are endearing, they tend to hold moisture and grime. Since bacteria and yeast thrive in damp and dark conditions, your dog’s skin folds can easily get infected. The following grooming tips can help you ward off canine illness and discomfort.
Provide daily eye care and facials
What Pug owner isn’t smitten by their dog’s soulful eyes? However, since they’re prominent, debris and discharge collect in the corners, especially overnight. If not removed, eye crust can cause irritation and tearing.
Each morning, use canine eye wipes to gently remove any gunk. Ideally, buy a natural formulation that eliminates tear stains. Whatever your product choice, avoid getting the solution in Pooch’s eyes.
Next, clean your dog’s wrinkles with canine facial wipes. Working systematically, stretch each fold and sweep a wipe across the crevice, repeating as needed until clean. Then, dry each wrinkle with a gauze pad.
To make pet hygiene pleasant and cooperative, throughout the process, coach your dog in a soothing voice tone. Then, reward Pooch with praise and a doggy treat.
Brush your Pug once daily
To control shedding, brush Pooch once daily for about 10 minutes. Be sure to include the fur on their legs, underbelly, and tail. For the most effective hair removal, use a grooming glove, deep-reaching brush, or de-shedding tool. Follow the direction of hair growth, rather than working against it.
Bathe Pooch every three weeks
This frequency should be adequate unless your dog has a skin or fur condition or gets into messy mischief. Without regular bathing, Pooch’s body oils will accumulate, blocking their pores and causing a foul odor. Bathing accessories you’ll need are pet shampoo and conditioner, a thin washcloth, soft brush, and absorbent towels. Some Pug owners give baths in the kitchen sink, using the handy sprayer.
Between baths, do spot cleanings with canine grooming wipes. This strategy keeps allergies at bay by removing pollen and other small particles from Pug fur. Here, Pet Pug Dog gives other helpful grooming tips, along with product recommendations.
Keep your Pug trim
- Chubbiness jeopardizes Pug health in multiple ways
- Since the breed is brachycephalic, surplus weight hinders respiration
- Extra pounds add stress to joints, making arthritis likely
- Microbes love heavy wrinkles, by which they can breed prolifically, causing smelly skin infections.
- Obesity raises the risk of canine heart, pancreatic, and liver disease
Love handles make walking a chore
A veterinarian can advise whether your pup is overweight. Schedule an exam to learn your dog’s ideal weight and daily food volume. For weight loss, the doctor may suggest prescription dog food, formulated to cut caloric intake and impart fullness. If not, Pug experts recommend dry kibble for obesity prevention.
Start a weight loss program by gradually tapering food portions. Also, serve meals twice a day. Leave the food out for about 15 minutes, then remove the bowl. This feeding system eliminates daylong grazing.
To monitor progress, weigh your Pug weekly, using a bathroom scale. First, weigh yourself. Then, hold your pup and step back on the scale, noting the number. To calculate your dog’s weight, subtract your weight from the larger number. Lastly, compare your dog’s weight to what your vet advises.
Aim for Pooch to lose one percent of their body weight per week. Note that dropping more than one percent can cause unwanted muscle loss. Tell your vet if Pooch doesn’t trim down as expected. The doctor may suggest blood work to identify any health-related causes of weight plateaus.
Exercise your Pug daily
Although Pugs have breathing limitations and exercise restrictions, they need daily walks and playtime to stay healthy. Physically, exercise boosts metabolism, muscle tone, immunity, and the function of vital organs. It also averts canine restlessness. Mentally, workouts rouse alertness and help sustain cognition.
Since Pugs crave attention and affection, playing makes them feel loved, affirming their bond with you. It’s also a means to indulging their amusing sense of humor.
Each day, engage your pup in moderate cardio, such as by playing “Fetch the Ball.” Also, aim for two daily walks, averaging 20 minutes each. If your dog is willing and breathing well, you can increase walk duration. However, promptly stop when Pooch’s energy wanes or breathing becomes labored. At that point, take a rest and offer water. Wait for respiration to normalize before heading home.
Help your Pug enjoy a long, happy life by keeping them comfortably cool, well-groomed, active, and trim. Partner with your vet by bringing Pooch in for regular checkups, the frequency determined by your Pug’s age.
A puppy should see the vet monthly until age 16 weeks, to receive a full series of vaccinations. Once complete, the next exam should be at 6 months, unless health problems arise sooner.
From age 1 to 7, schedule a comprehensive annual physical. Additionally, obtain booster shots every three years.
From age 7 and beyond, schedule vet checkups at least twice a year. During the interim, if you notice any troubling changes in Pooch’s habits, promptly arrange an exam.
May your precious dog thrive!