How to Care for a Pug
Pugs are a friendly and goofy dog breed that love attention almost as much as people love their folded-up faces. Those folds need special care, though, to keep your pug happy and healthy. Create a consistent routine of meals, play time, and quiet time for your pug, and make sure you provide them with regular fold cleanings, ear cleanings, nail trims, and baths. It can take a little extra work, but with some attention you can care for all of your pug’s unique needs.
EditSetting Up Initial Care for a New Pug
- Schedule a vet check. The pug’s distinct physiology makes them susceptible to a number of health problems including breathing and joint issues, so it is important to schedule a vet check as soon as you bring your new pug home. Your vet will be able to check for common pug health complications and recommend a regular check-up schedule.
- Younger pugs may need to see the vet more often until they are spayed or neutered and have completed their first course of shots. After that, a healthy pug should get a checkup every six months.
- Your vet will also help you work out a preventative care schedule for things like annual shots and teeth cleanings, both of which are important parts of keeping your pug healthy
- Enroll in an obedience class. Regardless of whether you bring home a pug puppy or an older rescue, enrolling in a training class is an important part of introducing your pug to your home. This will help both of you learn a shared set of commands and provide a designated time each week for the two of you to bond.
- Pugs, especially young pugs, are energetic and eager to please. Enrolling in training will help them learn how to channel that energy into constructive behaviors and help you learn how to manage destructive tendencies.
- Create a space especially for your pug in your home. Pugs require attention, but should also have a space of their own in which they feel comfortable when you are not home or are otherwise occupied. Provide your pug with an area of its own including a bed and blankets, some toys, and easy access to food and fresh water.
- Consider putting the space in the corner of a well-used area in your home. This way, even if you cannot pay attention to your pug for a moment, they do not feel alone.
- Remember that pugs are sensitive to very hot temperatures and rapid temperature changes, so avoid setting up their space in areas with continued direct sunlight or near heating and cooling vents.
EditEstablishing a Daily Routine
- Feed your pug an age and size-appropriate diet. Pugs love to eat, so it’s easy for them to become overweight. You need to monitor their diet closely to ensure proper portion control. Choose a quality small-bite dry food appropriate for your pug’s age, and feed them consistently once or twice a day according to the manufacturer’s serving size recommendations.
- Remember that food packaging indicated the maximum your pug should eat for a day. If you feed your pug twice a day, divide the maximum serving in half to get the proper meal size.
- If you follow the manufacturer’s portion size suggestions and notice your pug gaining unhealthy weight, talk to your vet. They can help you modify meal sizes or switch to a more appropriate food for your dog.
- Limit treats. Treats can be an important part of training, as well as a way to reward your pug for good behavior. Remember to factor their treats into their daily diet, though. Too many treats could cause unhealthy weight gain, which could cause or exacerbate respiratory and joint problems.
- Stick to small treats with your pug, such as training treats. Treats meant for larger dogs should be broken or cut into pieces.
- Try to use treats consistently for one or two behaviors, such as after a walk or a bathroom break. Avoid giving your pug extra treats outside of these times.
- Offer them several shorts bursts of exercise throughout the day. Pugs are active, but often in short bursts, since their facial folds make it hard for them to cool down when running and playing. Help your pug exercise by offering one or two moderate walks during the day, along with periods of playtime such as playing fetch, tug-of-war, or chase in the home or in your yard.
- Avoid relying on a collar while walking your pug, as this could limit breathing. Attach their leash to a harness, instead.
- Ideally, a healthy adult pug should get two 15-20 minute walks a day, along with smaller play times with toys throughout the day. If your pug has health problems, walks may need to be shorter.
- In warm areas or seasons, adjust your walks so that your pug isn’t out during the hottest part of the day. In cold climates or seasons, consider getting your pug a coat for outside time. Avoid walks during very windy or excessively rainy days, as these can cause eye problems.
- Be consistent in your daily schedule. Pugs are prone to nervousness and anxiety. You can help them calm down by being consistent in your daily routine. This means scheduling feeding times, walks, play times, and quiet times as close to the same time every day as possible.
- Your personal schedule may change, but it is important to you try to keep your pug’s schedule the same. Ask a friend or neighbor to help you out with feeding and walks on nights you know you’ll be home late.
EditGrooming Your Pug
- Give their facial folds a weekly clean. Your pug’s facial folds can hold onto food, saliva, dirt, and other debris that may be smelly and irritating to your pug. Use a cotton swab dipped in warm water and run it along the folds around your dog’s nose and eyes, being careful to not let the swab make contact with their eyes, nostrils, or mouth.
- Don’t leave the folds damp as this could cause further irritation. Dry them with a towel or a dry cotton swab.
- While this is recommended as a once-weekly routine, you can do it as often as necessary if you notice your pug starting to smell.
- Brush your pug one to two times a week. Pugs shed, there is no way to avoid it. You can help keep their coat healthy and their hair off of everything you own, though, by brushing them once or twice a week with a slicker brush or a specialty shedding brush.
- Clean their ears with a specialty solution once a week. Those cute little pug ears are just the right shape to trap dirt and debris, so they should be cleaned regularly with a cleaning solution meant especially for dog’s ears. Squirt the ears with the solution, then wipe the inside down with a cotton ball.
- Do not push the cotton balls into the ear canal or use cotton swabs, as this could damage the ear. In you notice deep wax blockages, talk to your vet.
- Bathe them once a month. Regardless of whether your pug is dirty or smelly, a once-monthly bath is recommended. Be sure the bath is shallow enough for your pug to stand, and use a shampoo formulated for dogs, which is available from most local pet stores.
- Make sure to rinse your pug thoroughly after shampooing them. Their folds will hold onto soap, so check carefully to make sure your pug is completely rinsed. Be sure to cover their sensitive eyes while you rinse, them, too.
- Trim their nails as necessary. Pugs don’t wear down their nails the same way some more active dogs do, so regular nail trims are important. You can take your pug to a groomer or your vet for a nail trim. If you decide to trim at home, make sure to use clippers meant for dog nails to avoid cracking and splitting, and always cut below the soft center of the nail, called the quick.
- Injury to the quick can be very painful for your pug. If you cannot see the quick because your pug’s nails are dark or opaque, it is best to have a professional trim your their nails instead.
- Don’t leave a puppy by itself. Pugs are curious creatures. There is no telling what they might get into.
- Due to their short muzzles, pugs sometimes breathe loudly, snort, and snore. Remember this before letting a pug get used to sleeping in bed with you.
- Pugs are prone to heat strokes if the weather is hot enough, so be sure to never keep them out in the heat on an especially sunny day.
- Improper breeding can easily result in poor health, so be sure to do your research and adopt a rescue pug or a pug mix instead of supporting disreputable breeders.
EditSources and Citations
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