One of the things everyone should know about when deciding on getting a dog are the health issues specific to the breed of dog they’re considering buying. Pugs, like most other breeds, have their share of breed specific health issues, and this article, though not complete, should serve as a primer to understanding what those more common issues are.
Luxating Patella: Commonly referred to as “trick knees”, Luxating Patella is fairly common in Pugs, and other breeds of small dogs. In simple terms, it is the dislocation of the small movable bone in the knee called the Patella, from the femur where it is normally held in place by ligaments.Mild and severe cases are differentiated by the Patella falling back into place on it’s own in mild cases. Whereas in severe cases, the Patella will fall out of place frequently, even after being popped back in by a veterinarian. Severe cases cases normally require surgery, not only to correct the problem and relieve pain, but also to prevent the onset of arthritic conditions associated with Luxating Patella. The surgery is delicate and expensive, though frequently successful.General symptoms of Luxating Patella can be seen in the dog favoring the affected leg when he runs or walks, placing it down only after several steps. In addition, Pugs affected by it may also have difficulty sitting down and getting up, and run in a bunny hop style, lifting both legs up at the same time, and jetting them outward.It is important to note that while Luxating Patella is a genetic issue found often in Pugs, it can also be brought to the forefront by excess weight. As Pugs often battle weight problems, it’s also common to see Luxating Patella aggravated in overweight Pugs. Keep in mind as well that a Pug diagnosed with Luxating Patella may or may never have a problem requiring surgery. Some Pugs can and do live their entire lives with Luxating Patella trouble free, others require surgery. Only time can tell.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Essentially, PRA is the degeneration of the vessels around the retina. It usually begins with night blindness in younger dogs, and their vision deteriorates progressively leading to blindness.
Pigmentary Keratitis: The deposit of pigment on the white surface of the eyes, PK is the result of many factors that either irritate or inflame the cornea. If the factor causing the inflammation or irritation can be identified, PK can be corrected with surgery.
Elongated Soft Palate: Common in short muzzled breeds, ESP is the obstruction of the dogs’ airways. The standard snoring of a Pug is a degree of ESP in action, though more severe cases can be heard through sounds such as honking, gasping for air and the blocking of the dogs’ vocal box. ESP can be corrected through surgery.
Pug Dog Encephalitis: Commonly called PDE, Pug Dog Encephalitis is as the name implies, unique to Pugs. Little, if anything is known of the causes of PDE, which is essentially an inflammation of the brain. PDE tends to affect young to middle aged Pugs and feature seizure as it’s primary symptom. Lethargy or listlessness and loss of muscle coordination can precede the seizures. Accompanying seizures are several symptoms ranging from aggression to pacing in circles to pressing their heads against objects such as walls and people. PDE appears to come in two varieties: Slow Progressive and Rapidly Progressing. The Slow Progressive form features seizures that recur in a matter of days, or weeks, where the Pug will, after the seizures, return to normal. Rapidly Progressing PDE features seizures, often more frequently, and disorientation in between seizures. While Phenobarbital can be used to control the seizures, and Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation, there is no cure for PDE and the result is generally the same as PDE progresses. It is important to note however that seizures are not necessarily a sign that your Pug has PDE. Pugs can, like many dogs, have epileptic seizures that can be treated with Phenobarbital and have absolutely nothing to do with PDE.
When you receive your new Pug puppy, he/she will be accustomed to eating 3 times a day (morning, noon, and evening). Because we feed more than one puppy at the same time (the rest of their litter mates), we put a large bowl full of their puppy food in their kennel and let them eat until they are satisfied. Once all of them walk away from the bowl we know they are done, and we take it away.
Puppies are changing and growing rapidly, and they need to eat more frequently (at least 3 times a day) to provide all the proper nourishment and nutrition for their rapidly growing bodies. Make sure your Pug always has access to fresh water through out the day.
Once your Pug is older, he/she can taper down to one or two feedings a day. Your vet can help you determine the frequency and amount you should be feeding your Pug based on the needs of your Pug, size (over/under weight), activity level, etc. You can either feed him/her on a set schedule (which will help you know when he needs to poop) or you can have food available at all times. Just be sure to only give what he/she needs for that day.
There should be a guide on the food bag that tells you how much to feed the puppy at each weight. This is only a rough guide depending on activity level, etc., and you may need to decrease or increase the quantity based on how quickly your pup is gaining weight and whether he/she finishes all the food at one time. It’s hard to say exactly how much your Pug pup will need, but the amounts on the bag will give you an idea of where to start.
You should use a puppy formula until your Pug is at least 1 year old. While he/she may look like a fully grown dog, your puppy is still finishing his/her growth and bone formation and needs those extra calories and nutrients. When they are 1 year they should transitioned to a high quality, small or medium dog, adult food.
If all is going well with your puppy after being in your home for a month or so, you can start transitioning over to another high quality, small or medium dog, puppy chow if you choose. If you plan on changing dog food brands we advise making the change gradually so the sudden change does not cause any irritation to the digestive tract, which may result in loose stools and diarrhea. If you decide to change brands of dog food, mix the new brand with your existing brand on a 1×3 ratio. If he/she tolerated this well, mix half and half for a few days. If he/she is still doing well, mix the new brand to the old brand on a 3×1 ratio for a few days. If things are still going well after a few days, switch over completely to the new brand.
The Pug makes a very good companion dog. She is playful and fairly easy to care for, but she needs plenty of human attention. She is generally good around other pets and loves children. As a reminder, never cleave a child unsupervised around a puppy or dog.
The approximate adult size (two years old or older) of the Pug is about 10 inches to the withers (highest point of the shoulder). There are two weight classes, 14 to 18 pounds and 18 to 24 pounds.
She should visit the veterinarian several times in the first year for shots, boosters and check up. Then, as an adult, she should visit the veterinarian yearly for shots and check up. As she gets older, six years and on, she should visit the veterinarian twice a year for check ups and shots. Remember; avoid feeding your dog sweets.
Grooming - The Pug has a short, smooth, fine and brilliant coat. She is an average shedder and should be brushed regularly. Brushing will help her maintain a clean and healthy coat, avoid mats and help you keep a closer eye on her health and strengthen your emotional bond with her.
Her teeth should be brushed at least twice a week with toothpaste and toothbrush designed for dogs. Brushing removes the accumulation of plaque and tartar which can cause cavities (rarely) and periodontal disease. Dog periodontal disease can lead to pain, loss of teeth, bad breath and other serious disease.
Her toenails may need to be examined for growth and clipped regularly. The toenails of the rear feet grow slower than the toenails of the front feet. Generally a guillotine type trimmer is the best for this chore and competent instructions to accomplish this can be found on the net.
Training requires time and patience. It can be different for all dogs, but we do have to keep this in mind and take the time and energy to train our Pug.
Another common mistake (also because of the lack of patience) is to give up. Many people think that they have already tried everything but the dog doesn’t want to learn. In this case, maybe the methods are not the best, or they need more time. There are no dogs who wouldn’t be able to learn at least a few commands. Giving up is never a solution.
TrainingPug puppies should not begin too early however, as there is evidence to show that before a certain age, the brains of puppies are not significantly developed enough to process complex learning. Please remember, Pugs are slow learners.
Professional dog trainers are best when it comes to training your dog as they will ensure that the proper habits are set for life, including how to behave around strangers. For the safety of your dog, it is your duty as an owner to ensure that he or she is well trained.