Pug Health Problems: A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Your Pug Happy and Healthy

pug health problems

Everyone adores the charming and affable pug, known for its unique wrinkly face and exuberant personality, often referred to as man’s best friend. However, beneath their delightful appearance, pugs have a tendency to face specific health challenges that all owners must be aware of.

In this article, we delve into the common health problems that affect these delightful companions, providing valuable insights, expert advice, and practical tips to ensure your pug lives a long, happy, and healthy life.

What Are Common Pug Health Issues? (The Quick Answer)

  • The most frequently seen pug health problem is breathing difficulties due to brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BOAS). They also are susceptible to allergies, luxating patella, hip dysplasia, obesity, dental issues, health problems, IVDD, eye ulcers, and eye infections. The squashed faces of this short-muzzled breed lead to respiratory distress.
  • With proper care, your pug can live a good life.
  • The pugs’ life expectancy is 12-15 years.

Also Read: What Were Pugs Bred For

Do Pugs Have Lots Of Health Issues? 9 Common Pug Health Problems

Is the Pug Health Poor? What Problems Do Pugs Have?

Pugs, with their endearing charm, are beloved companions for many. However, their distinctive features come with a set of unique seriously compromised health challenges, making their well-being a matter of concern.

A 2017 study by Kennel Club registrations sheds light on these issues, debunking the notion that pugs are just like any other typical dog breed. Let’s pug pugs and explore the significant health concerns affecting this delightful dog from a health perspective.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Pugs’ flat faces, while adorable, can lead to inhalation-exhalation difficulties. BOAS or brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome common in brachycephalic breeds, restricts airflow, causing labored or loud breathing, especially largely worse after excessive exercise or in hot weather.

Breathing Difficulties

Their short noses, flat and round body shape, and elongated soft palates contribute to chronic respiratory problems. Pugs are susceptible to snoring, wheezing, stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, and even sleep apnea due to these anatomical issues.


Pugs often suffer from allergies like itchy skin from food allergies, along with redness, and discomfort. Allergens, ranging from food to environmental factors, trigger these reactions, demanding careful management.

Eye Conditions

Large, expressive bulging eyes are considered a typical dog- Pug hallmark, but they’re at increased risk to various eye problems like corneal ulcers, dry eyes, and entropion (inward rolling of eyelids), which can affect their vision.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia, a genetic condition, causes the improper formation of hip joints, leading to pain and mobility issues is one of the disorders recorded in the breed. Regular check-ups and a balanced diet can mitigate its impact.


Pugs have a penchant for food, making them prone to obesity body shape. Excess weight exacerbates existing health-related problems, emphasizing the need for portion control and regular exercise.

 Dental Problems

Their compact mouths often result in overcrowded or misaligned teeth, leading to dental problems. Regular dental care is crucial to prevent issues like gum disease and tooth decay.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Many pugs are predisposed to IVDD, a condition affecting the spine’s discs. Herniated discs can cause pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis. If you see these signs, take your pet to the vet immediately. Physical therapy could help manage some mild cases.

Heart Conditions

Some Pugs suffer from heart diseases, especially mitral valve disease. Regular heart checks can help in early detection and management, ensuring a better quality of life non pugs.

Other several severe health issues like pug dog encephalitis or PDE are also seen in the breed from time to time.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Common Pug Health Issues?

Yes, pet insurance typically covers common Pug illnesses, including brachycephalic syndrome, respiratory problems, allergies, eye conditions, and more. However, coverage can vary based on the insurance plan and provider. It’s essential for Pug owners to carefully review policy terms, considering breed-specific health concerns. 

While routine check-ups and preventive care are often covered, pre-existing conditions might not be. Therefore, choosing a comprehensive policy early in your Pug’s life ensures financial support for potential health ailments, providing peace of mind and quality healthcare for your beloved pet.

Check out our guide on How to Buy Pet Insurance for Your Dog

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Pug?

The average life expectancy of a Pug is around 12 to 15 years. However, the lifespan of a Pug can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, diet, exercise, and overall care. 

Responsible breeding practices and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as providing regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary check-ups, can contribute significantly to a Pug’s longevity.

Additionally, being mindful of their specific health concerns, like brachycephalic syndrome and obesity, can enhance their quality of life and potentially extend their years.

Are Pugs Generally Healthy? Can A Pug Live A Healthy Life?

Pugs, while charming and affectionate, are not considered one of the healthiest dog breeds. They are prone to various issues such as disorders recorded as brachycephalic syndrome, severe breathing problems, allergies, and obesity.

 However, with attentive care from pet owners, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and prompt medical attention, Pugs can lead healthy lives. Responsible breeding practices also play a vital role.

Despite their predisposition to certain health-related problems, pugs live a healthy life with a dedicated owner who understands and addresses their specific needs and potential challenges of their dog from a health point of view.

In some cases, surgery to fix stenotic nares and elongated palate can reduce breathing issues in the breed. Always seek immediate medical attention if your pet is making strange breathing noises for reduced risk of complications.

How Do I Know If My Pug Is Healthy?

Ensuring your Pug’s health involves vigilant observation and regular veterinary check-ups. Look for signs of a healthy Pug, such as a shiny coat, clear eyes, and a lively demeanor. Their breathing should be normal without wheezing or snorting.

Regular, solid bowel movements and a healthy appetite indicate good digestion. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, as obesity exacerbates many Pug health ailments. Also, observe their energy levels; a playful, curious Pug usually signifies good for health and welfare issues.

Beyond physical cues, monitor their behavior. A happy Pug is social, enjoys interaction, and displays affection. If your Pug exhibits changes in behavior, appetite, or activity levels, consult a vet promptly. Regular vet visits, vaccinations, dental care, and parasite prevention are essential.

Additionally, be aware of breed-specific health-related problems and attend to them proactively. Your vet can guide you on specific care and potential red flags, ensuring your Pug lives a long, healthy life.

Do Pugs Always Have Health Issues? Do All Pugs Have Breathing Problems?

As per the Kennel Club experts and companion animal epidemiology, pugs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have flat/squashed faces and shortened air passages, which makes them prone to inhalation problems. 

While not all Pugs have severe breathing issues, a significant portion of them do experience some degree of respiratory difficulty due to their unique anatomy.

Their flattened noses and elongated soft palates often lead to conditions like brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome(BOAS), which restricts airflow and causes breathing challenges, especially in hot or humid weather or during physical activity.

While breathing problems are common among Pugs, it’s inaccurate to say that all Pugs always have severe health perspectives. While they are predisposed to certain conditions like respiratory problems, allergies, and eye issues, not every Pug will experience these to a debilitating extent.

Responsible breeding practices, attentive care, a proper diet, and regular exercise can mitigate the severity of these issues.

 Early detection and management from a health perspective, along with a supportive and caring environment, significantly contribute to a Pug’s quality of life.

Regular veterinary check-ups and understanding their specific needs can help Pug owners ensure their pets live comfortable and healthy life despite their breed-related challenges.

What Dog Has The Most Health Problems?

It’s challenging to pinpoint a single dog breed with the most health-related problems, as health issues can vary widely within any breed. However, certain breeds (according to many a kennel club) are more predisposed to specific genetic conditions due to their breeding history. 

Brachycephalic Dogs

Brachycephalic breeds and other dogs such as Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and French Bulldogs, often face respiratory problems because of their flat faces.

Large Breeds

Similarly, large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards are prone to joint problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia.

Certain Purebred Dogs

Additionally, some purebred dogs are susceptible to inheritable health and welfare issues due to limited gene pools. For instance, Dalmatians are prone to urinary tract issues, while Boxers are susceptible to certain cancers. Purebred dogs, in general, can be more prone to genetic disorders due to selective breeding for specific traits.


However, it’s crucial to note that mixed-breed dogs, often referred to as mutts or hybrids, tend to have fewer genetic health-related problems. The diversity in their genes often results in hybrid vigor, reducing the risk of breed-specific issues.

Regardless of the breed, responsible breeding practices, regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle play vital roles in mitigating potential health-related problems in any dog.

How to Care for a Pug?

Regular Moderate Exercise

Pugs thrive with regular, moderate exercise. Engage your pet in walks and playtime, but be cautious, especially in warmer weather. Pugs are prone to one or more disorders like overheating (compared to other dogs) due to their short snouts.

Therefore, we strongly recommend potential owners exercise them during cooler parts of the day to prevent breathing distress and ensure they don’t overexert themselves.

Healthy Diet

Maintain a balanced diet tailored to their specific needs. Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, a common issue in Pugs. Provide high-quality food, rich in nutrients, and consult your vet for dietary recommendations. Proper nutrition supports their overall health and energy levels.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Regular vet visits are crucial. Pugs are prone to certain health-related problems, and early detection is key. Keep up with vaccinations, dental check-ups, and parasite prevention. Regular health assessments ensure your Pug’s well-being and address any concerns promptly.

Grooming and Hygiene

Regular grooming, including brushing their coat and cleaning facial wrinkles, is essential. Pugs are prone to skin infections, so keeping their skin folds and wrinkles dry and clean is important. Also, maintain their dental hygiene with regular brushing to prevent dental issues.

Emotional Well-being

Pugs are social animals and thrive on companionship. Their emotional well-being is just as vital as their physical health. spend time playing with your buddy to stimulate it mentally and keep it happy.

By following these Royal Veterinary College guidelines, you can ensure your Pug leads a healthy, happy life, full of vitality and joy.

Are Pugs The Right Breed for Me? Is Pug a Safe Dog?

Deciding if a Pug is right for you depends on your lifestyle and preferences. Pugs are affectionate, playful, and great companions, making them suitable for families, singles, or seniors seeking a loyal pet.

However, their unique physical characteristics, such as punched faces that reduce blood flow, make them susceptible to one or more disorders like breathing difficulties and other severe cases of BOAS. Always consider this when you buy brachycephalic breeds.

 If you’re prepared for potential health challenges and committed to providing them with proper care, including regular vet check-ups with higher veterinary costs, a balanced diet, and moderate exercise, a Pug can be a wonderful addition to your life. 

Buy or adopt your pug from a responsible breeder who follows Royal Veterinary College guidelines but does understand that unhealthy characteristics remain (curly tail, exaggerated features, body shape in most dogs) despite ethical breeding.

Pugs require attention and love; they thrive on human interaction and can be social and friendly with proper training. If you can accommodate their needs and are willing to embrace their charming quirks, a Pug can bring immense joy and companionship to your home.

What is The Right Diet to Feed a Pug?

A balanced diet is crucial for your Pug’s health. Choose high-quality dog food with lean protein to support their muscles, complex carbohydrates for energy, and essential fatty acids for coat health. Avoid overfeeding, as Pugs are prone to obesity. 

Opt for portion-controlled, regular meals for your furry friend to maintain a healthy weight. It’s important to pay close attention to the food ingredients; some Pugs are sensitive or allergic to certain foods. Consult your veterinarian for breed-specific dietary recommendations.

 To avoid excessive weight gain, limit treats. Always provide fresh water to your pet at all times. Regular vet check-ups can help monitor your Pug’s weight and adjust their diet if necessary.


Do pugs have lots of health problems?

Yes, Pugs are prone to various health-related problems compared to other breeds and nonpugs, primarily due to their brachycephalic (flat-faced) anatomy.

Common issues include severe breathing-related problems caused by narrow nostrils, skin allergies, and eye conditions, making regular vet check-ups crucial for their well-being.

Is it possible to have a healthy pug?

Yes, it is possible to have a healthy Pug with proper care and attention. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, controlled portions, and moderate exercise can help manage their predisposition to health conditions.

Responsible breeding practices as per the British Veterinary Association guidelines also play a vital role in ensuring a Pug’s overall well-being.

Are pugs high maintenance?

Yes, Pugs can be considered high maintenance compared to nonpugs due to their specific health needs. Their flat faces make them prone to respiratory problems, requiring careful monitoring in hot weather and difficulty exercising.

Regular grooming, dental care, and attention to weight management are essential, making them more demanding in terms of care compared to some other dog breeds.

Are pugs no longer normal dogs?

Pugs are not considered a typical dog due to their unique appearance, especially their flat faces, which has led them to a higher risk of specific health challenges.

While they make wonderful companions, their distinctive features require special care, making them different from breeds without such anatomical predispositions.

Why are pugs hard to take care of?

Pugs can be challenging to care for due to their brachycephalic (flat-faced) structure and extreme body shape, which leads to a higher risk of respiratory issues, skin problems, and potential dental complications.

Their specific health needs require extra attention, making their care more demanding compared to dogs without such anatomical challenges.


While Pugs are undeniably charming and affectionate pets, their health is a topic of concern due to their distinctive features. Brachycephalic syndrome, respiratory problems, skin allergies, and other common issues are challenges that Pug owners must navigate. 

However, with responsible ownership, regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and careful management of their specific needs, Pugs can live a long and happy life.

Understanding their unique health issues due to their extreme body shape is the first step towards ensuring their well-being, allowing these adorable companions to thrive in the right environment. 

By providing attentive care and addressing their specific health needs, Pug owners can enjoy the delightful companionship of these wonderful dogs while safeguarding their overall health and happiness.

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