Sometimes, we all need a little help from our friendsCredit: Flickr DaPuglet License: Creative Commons ShareAlike

Pugs are a wonderful breed. Their sweetness and big personalities make them loyal and entertaining companions. However, the breed does suffer from some common health problems. Here are some tips on how to avoid them.

Preventing Ear Infections

Pugs are very prone to ear infections, especially when they are young.  Between the exam and the cost of the medication, a trip to the vet to treat an ear infection can easily cost you $60. As with most things, prevention is the best cure.  You should clean your dog’s ears regularly using an ear cleansing solution and cotton balls or cotton squares. I find cotton squares work better. How often you need to clean your dog’s ears varies from dog to dog, but if you can see wax build up in your dog’s ears, it’s time to clean them. A bottle of ear cleansing solution costs less than $15 and typically lasts a year

Preventing Skin Infections

Another common problem for pugs is infections in the wrinkles of their face, particularly their “nose rolls”, the skin above their nose that is typically hidden by the folds of their face. If that area becomes red or you notice your pug rubbing his face on the ground or carpet, that’s a sure sign of an infection.  Once again, prevention is the best cure and luckily inexpensive. I wouldn’t want to use soap so close to my dog’s eyes. I tried wiping his face clean with a wet paper towel and baby wipes, but that wasn’t sufficient to kill the bacteria. My vet recommended Douxo Chlorhexidine Pads. I use them once or twice a week, and he hasn’t had an infection since.

An Easier Way to Trim Nails

While it may seem like a small thing, letting your dogs nails get too long can lead to serious health problems. If you let your dog’s nails get too long, they can break, which is not only painful but can result in an infection. Long nails can also cause an unnatural gait which over time can lead to skeletal damage. Despite knowing the importance of keeping my pug’s nails trimmed, in the beginning I often put it off because we both hated it. He would often bleed as a result of getting his nails trimmed even when I had professionals do it. I tried many different clippers and many different groomers but none of them worked for us. In the end, I started using a dremel. A dremel grinds the nail rather than clipping it so it’s much easier to avoid splitting the nail or cutting the quick. Since I switched, trimming my dogs nails has been a much less stressful experience for of us.


Pugs are very prone to obesity.  Pugs live to eat.  Legend has it that pugs will eat until they become so heavy that their legs break. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but having lived with pugs most of my life, let’s just say I wouldn’t completely rule it out.  Keeping your pug a healthy weight is no easy task, however.


If you dog is a healthy weight,  you should be able to feel his ribs when you put your hands around his chest. If you can’t, chances are your dog needs to lose some weight. Here are some tips:

  1. Measure your dog’s food so you know exactly how much your dog is eating. Pay attention to the label so you can be sure you are feeding the dog the right amount. The amount you feed your dog should be based on his recommended weight, not his current weight.  If you discover that you have been over-feeding your dog, it’s best to cut back gradually rather than all at once.
  2. Don’t “free feed” your pug, which means leaving food out and letting your dog eat as much or as little as he wants. While that may work with other breeds, pugs will eat it all. Every time. That means if you have other pets, you won’t be able to leave their food out either unless it’s someplace the pug can’t get to it.
  3. Choose the right food. Consider feeding your dog a “light” or “weight-control” formula even if he is not overweight. Read nutritional labels carefully. Many pugs have grain allergies, which are often the source of skin irritation. The trouble is many “weight-control” formulas are high in grain while many “grain-free” foods are high in fat. I had to try many different brands before I found one that worked for us.