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Pug Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues in Pugs

Pugs have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, but this can vary depending on their overall health and the care they receive. As a brachycephalic breed, pugs have short, flat faces, which can lead to a condition called Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. This syndrome affects their ability to breathe properly, making them more prone to respiratory issues. Pugs are also predisposed to various other health problems, such as hip dysplasia, eye problems (e.g., corneal ulcers, dry eye), skin allergies, ear infections, obesity, dental issues, patellar luxation, heart disease and Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE).

10 Most Common Health Problems & Issues in Pugs

1. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: 

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome refers to a set of respiratory conditions caused by the brachycephalic facial structure. It includes elongated soft palate, stenotic nares (narrowed nostrils) and everted laryngeal saccules (protruding tissue in the larynx).

  • Symptoms: Pugs suffering from this syndrome may exhibit excessive snoring, wheezing, shortness of breath and exercise intolerance.
  • Causes: The flat-faced structure of pugs leads to restricted airflow, causing the mentioned conditions.
  • Treatment: Severe cases may require surgery to correct the structural issues and improve the dog’s breathing.
2. Hip Dysplasia: 

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, causing instability and pain.

  • Symptoms: Pugs with hip dysplasia may experience difficulty standing up, reduced mobility and hind leg lameness.
  • Causes: Genetics play a significant role in the development of hip dysplasia, but environmental factors, such as excessive weight gain, can worsen the condition.
  • Treatment: Management techniques include weight management, physical therapy and surgical intervention in severe cases.
3. Eye Problems (e.g. Corneal Ulcers, Dry Eye): 

Pugs are prone to various eye problems due to their prominent eyes and shallow eye sockets.

  • Symptoms: Signs of eye issues may include excessive tearing, redness, squinting and cloudiness in the eye.
  • Causes: Environmental irritants and genetic predisposition contribute to these eye problems.
  • Treatment: Treatment options may include topical medications, eye drops, or, in severe cases, surgical intervention.
4. Skin Allergies: 

Skin allergies are common in pugs and can be triggered by various allergens, including food, pollen and environmental factors.

  • Symptoms: Pugs with skin allergies may experience itching, redness, hair loss and skin infections.
  • Causes: Genetics can predispose pugs to allergies, but environmental factors also play a role.
  • Treatment: Managing allergies involves identifying and avoiding triggers, dietary adjustments and possible medication.
5. Ear Infections: 

Pugs are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears, which trap moisture and debris.

  • Symptoms: Signs of ear infections in pugs include head shaking, ear scratching, foul odor and ear discharge.
  • Causes: Moisture and trapped debris create an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to grow.
  • Treatment: Treatment involves regular ear cleaning, ear-drying solutions and medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
6. Obesity: 

Pugs have a voracious appetite and are prone to obesity, which can lead to various health issues.

  • Symptoms: Obesity in pugs is evident by excessive weight gain, difficulty moving and labored breathing.
  • Causes: Overfeeding, lack of exercise and genetic factors contribute to obesity.
  • Treatment: Weight management through portion control, regular exercise and a balanced diet is essential to combat obesity.
7. Dental Problems: 

Pugs are prone to dental issues, including periodontal disease and tooth decay.

  • Symptoms: Bad breath, swollen gums and difficulty eating are common signs of dental problems.
  • Causes: Poor dental hygiene and genetic predisposition contribute to dental issues in pugs.
  • Treatment: Regular teeth brushing, dental treats and dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining dental health.
8. Patellar Luxation: 

Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and lameness.

  • Symptoms: Pugs with patellar luxation may display intermittent limping or an inability to fully extend their hind leg.
  • Causes: Genetics and physical strain on the joint can lead to this condition.
  • Treatment: Mild cases can be managed with rest and physical therapy, while severe cases may require surgical correction.
9. Heart Disease: 

Pugs are susceptible to various heart-related issues, including mitral valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy.

  • Symptoms: Common signs of heart problems include coughing, lethargy and difficulty breathing.
  • Causes: Genetic factors and aging can contribute to heart disease in pugs.
  • Treatment: Regular veterinary check-ups and potential medication are essential for managing heart conditions.
10. Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE): 

Pug Dog Encephalitis is a fatal neurological disease that affects the central nervous system.

  • Symptoms: PDE symptoms may include seizures, behavioral changes and loss of coordination.
  • Causes: The exact cause of PDE is unknown, but it is believed to have a genetic component.
  • Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no cure for PDE and supportive care is the main focus.

Precautions & Preventative Measures

Ensuring the health and well-being of your pug requires proactive care and preventive measures. By taking the following precautions, you can minimize the risk of health problems and provide your pug with a happy and healthy life:

  • Regular Vet Check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of health issues.
  • Responsible Breeding: Choose a reputable breeder who conducts health screenings and follows responsible breeding practices.
  • Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight for your pug to prevent obesity-related health problems.
  • Proper Nutrition: Feed your pug a balanced and high-quality diet to support their overall health.
  • Dental Care: Regularly brush your pug’s teeth and provide dental treats to promote good oral hygiene.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage your pug in daily exercise to keep them fit and mentally stimulated.
  • Environmental Considerations: Create a safe environment for your pug, free from potential allergens and hazards.
  • Attention to Breathing: Be cautious during physical activities to avoid overexerting your pug’s breathing.

What do Pugs Usually Die From?

Pugs usually die from age-related health issues, including heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders like Pug Dog Encephalitis.

Pug Health Problems – 10 Most Common Health Issues in Pugs