Caring For Your Pug
Be sure that everyone in your family reads and understands how to take care of a Pug before bringing him into your home. The better you care for your Pug, the longer, happier and healthier he will live.
- TRAINING: At first, this may not seem like a care issue, but an untrained dog presents a great hazard to itself and to others. If your dog is not trained to come or stay by your side, he may run into the road and get killed; or at an extreme, cause someone to swerve and hit another car resulting in the deaths of two families. We recommend starting a training routine at home with basic commands and then going to a basic obedience training class when your pup reaches 4 months of age. If your trainer makes use of choke collars, don't be fooled by the myth that they are cruel. While the word choke is in the name, you will never choke your dog with them. A good trainer will probably make use of them and teach you how to properly use them. We do not, however, advocate the use of shock collars for training (underground fences, however - not portable - are a great means of containment). Visiting your local library is a great and free way to explore the various training methods available.
- HEAT EXHAUSTION: The most important special care consideration for a Pug is their susceptibility to heat exhaustion. Because of the short muzzle, the soft palate (the soft part of the roof of the mouth) can obstruct breathing, that combined with a shorter tongue makes it more difficult for them to rid themselves of excess heat. A few hours outside on a overly hot day can kill a Pug. When taking your Pug for a walk on a hot day, be sure to take a container of water with an ice cube or two. Each Pug is different in their tolerance of heat, so start out slowly, keep an eye on your buddy and learn his limits without exceeding them. Also keep in mind that his limits will probably change with age. Signs of heat exhaustion are staring, weakness, protruding eyes and holding the head high as if trying to get more air. In extreme circumstances, he may lose consciousness and stop breathing. If you suspect heat exhaustion, give your dog a nice drink of water, pour some on his head and feet, and allow him to rest in the shade or carry him back to the car and let him enjoy the AC. Its best to walk during the cooler hours.
- EXERCISE: Like any dog, Pugs require exercise. We made use of local parks, and the school football fields. We try to take our dogs for a walk several times per week, but as with everything, there are times when the weather or other considerations get in the way. On a mild day, your pug will be willing to walk a couple of miles and still have energy, but on hotter days, you'll want to reduce the time out and keep it to the morning or evening. As with humans, more exercise will result in a healthier, happier, and more well behaved dog. Just be sure to keep them in a travel kennel when driving them to a park; an excited pug in a car can be a serious driving hazard : ) As a side note, exercise as a puppy is important in having a nicely curled adult tail. The adult will still need exercise to keep the tail tightly curled, but the greatest benefit is drawn from the puppy stage.
- BRUSHING: Pugs do shed quite a bit and need to be brushed every week. It is also wise to brush your dog prior to taking a warm weather walk to make sure that there isn't excess hair keeping in extra heat. Of all the brushes we've tried, we found the rubber zoom groom one to be the most effective.
- EYES: The eyes of a Pug are generally at greater risk of injury than other breeds because they lack the protection of a long nose. Any change in the color of the eye should be examined. This can be due to injury, allergy or infection. Pugs are susceptible to allergies which can be treated with medicated eye drops prescribed by your vet. Other signs of infection are redness of the inner part of the eyelid or mucus discharge. Anything unusual should be looked at by your vet.
- NOSE ROLL: The smooshed nature of the Pug's face creates a wrinkle above the nose that needs special attention. Pugs are always sticking their noses into things when exploring. This pushes dirt and grime into the wrinkle which, if not properly cleaned out, can lead to an infection. The nose wrinkle should be cleaned at least once each week and whenever obviously dirty. The wrinkle is cleaned using a damp, soft cloth, cotton ball or baby wipes (don't use q-tips as pugs generally squirm when getting cleaned creating a risk of eye puncture).. After cleaning, it is important to thoroughly dry the wrinkle to prevent infection. Also, apply a very small amount of petroleum jelly to the nose when dry.
- EARS: The ears should be cleaned every week or two to prevent wax build up. Your vet can recommend a medicated solvent such as Nova Cleanse which is dripped into the ear and then shaken out by the dog. After that, massage the ears and wipe with a cotton ball or towel. Again, do not use q-tips because of the high risk of ear puncture.
Please see the bottom of the INFORMATION pages for info about genetic disorders, eye care, poisonous plants and other important info.