7 Pug Health Problems To Watch Out For

With their wide smiles, expressive eyes, and adorable wrinkles, it only makes sense that pugs are a popular dog breed globally. They’re not only affectionate but also cheekily willful and fun-loving.

Like other dogs, pugs require a healthy, balanced diet to keep their weight in check. Daily exercise is also necessary for pugs to stay healthy. Although they’re generally low-maintenance pets, it’s crucial to consult an online veterinarian, Bond Vet, for your pug’s overall health.

You should also be aware of the following health problems in pugs that may have an impact on their well-being:

1. Eye Infection And Eye Ulcers

Eye problems are one of the health problems to watch out for. In many cases, eye problems can be inherited, but pugs may run into trouble by themselves when playing around. The reason behind it is that their protruding eyes make it easier for them to get eye injuries, particularly given their tendency for mischief and fun-loving personalities.

Eye ulcers in pugs might also be accompanied by teary eyes and a red cornea. So, make sure to check out the symptoms and call your vet immediately once you detect them. Some eye issues include infections, dry eyes, and eye abnormalities like entropion, which is a hereditary eye condition.

2. Obesity

Pugs can become obese quite quickly. Obesity can increase the risk of other pug health issues. Excess weight may debilitate, and existing joint pain may worsen the effects of metabolic disorders and digestive distress. You can ask your vet about how much exercise your pug needs to maintain a healthy weight.

So, when treating your pugs with tasty rewards and kibbles, always be careful and keep the treats to a minimum. If possible, reward your precious pugs in various ways. For example, you can play with them, take them for a stroll, or give them their favorite toy.

3. Breathing Issues

Most pugs experience breathing problems. The most common breathing health problem in pugs is called Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS). It refers to the specific set of upper airway deformities that affect almost all brachycephalic dogs.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Snoring, choking, vomiting, and gagging
  • Stress
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Heat intolerance when exercising

Surgery is a common treatment for BAOS. During the procedure, the stenotic nares of dogs are surgically corrected by getting rid of a wedge of tissue from their nostrils. As a result, the dog will experience an improvement in airflow through its nostrils.

Unfortunately, BAOS can’t be prevented as pugs and other brachycephalic dogs are born with such health problems. Being aware of the symptoms and taking your pug to the vet regularly can make a difference in ensuring that your pet is healthy.

4. Skin Conditions

Pugs’ signature skin folds make them recognizable across the globe. However, they’re also prone to various kinds of parasites and bacteria. Pug’s skin condition like demodectic mange is caused by mites and shows up as skin lesions, resulting in hair loss and redness. To protect your pug from any skin condition, keep your dog’s skin clean.

5. Neurological Disorders

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a common neurological disorder and a debilitating disease in small dog breeds. It causes brain inflammation, and most pugs inherit this disorder, which can be fatal. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for PDE.

In terms of treatment, it’s only focused on improving your pet’s quality of life by minimizing symptoms, such as head pressing, disorientation, circling, seizures, and pain. Your vet may also prescribe some immunosuppressive drugs or steroids to manage the condition.

6. Joint Problems

Pugs have a unique musculoskeletal structure known for their small legs, which support their sturdy bodies. However, it can be prone to joint problems, like luxating patella. It’s a condition that causes dislocated knees. Pugs with this condition may experience difficulty getting down or up. You may also notice them hopping and jumping.

Serious cases may need surgery. More often than not, a luxating patella is due to excess weight. Therefore, make sure to feed your dog properly with a well-balanced diet.

7. Spinal Problems

Most pugs are also prone to spinal diseases due to hemivertebrae. It’s a congenital disease that causes abnormally shaped vertebrae in some areas of the pug’s spine or tail. These vertebrae may put pressure on the spinal cord within, often causing paralysis, incontinence, and chronic back pain.
In severe cases, dogs need spinal surgery to relieve the pressure on their spinal cord. To diagnose the cause of chronic pain, many pugs need scanning or X-rays.


Many pugs live happy and long lives, even if those health problems need to be managed through a dedicated treatment plan and appropriate vet care. Always visit your vet when you notice behavioral changes or signs of symptoms in your pugs. Taking immediate action will help ensure your pet can get back to being adorable and happy.

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