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Pug Information: Health

By Lauren Leonardi . July 05, 2012 | See Comments

Pug Information: Health

The Pug is a toy breed popular for a great big personality. Learn about this breed's specific health needs here.

The Pug is a toy breed, bred as a companion dog, with its origins likely in China. It’s a breed popular for its miniature physical stature and oversized personality. As with many flat-face breeds with compacted airways, the Pug is subject to heat intolerance as well as breathing difficulties, including brachycephalic syndrome. Obesity is common, which can lead to all sorts of other health issues, so food must be moderated, and exercise must be plentiful. These usually playful, amiable dogs have a lifespan of about 9 to 11 years.

Primary Health Conditions of the Pug

The Pug is a brachycephalic breed, meaning that it has its characteristically shortened face.This shortened face and its compacted airways can lead to breathing problems, especially when the dog is hot or excited. Pugs should be given time to rest after exercise, especially in extreme weather. Dry eye may sometimes occur, a condition that results from a lack of moisture in the eye. The Pug may paw or scratch at their eyes. This condition is common among some breeds, and can be treated relatively easily with drops once or twice a day - though these drops can be expensive.

Necrotizing meningoencephalitis, or NME, is a largely mysterious illness common in Pugs as well as Chihuahuas. It’s characterized by seizures, blindness, and trouble walking. Other signs may be an odd tilting of the head, or facial paralysis. This disease is typically fatal. Doctors often have a hard time diagnosing and treating this illness, and death may occur as quickly as 2-3 months after symptoms present. The disease can occur at just about any time during a Pug’s life.

Secondary Health Conditions of the Pug

As with many short faced breeds, the Pug has a curly tail. While this provides some aesthetic balance, it may also indicate potential spinal problems. Hemivertebrae may occur early in a Pug’s life, or in any dog with a short face and curly tail, if portions of the dog’s spinal discs don’t properly fuse. If a Pug’s back becomes curved, it can be more susceptible to painful spinal injuries. Many spinal problems can be corrected with surgery, but this can be both painful and expensive.

Pug Exercise and Walking Needs

The Pug has fairly low exercise requirements. One to three short daily walks should do the trick to keep a pug content, fit, and low-anxiety. These dogs should not be taken on long runs or overexerted.

Pug Nutritional Needs

As with any dog, the Pug should be fed a high quality food with without an abundance of grain fillers. As the dog ages, its activity levels may drop, and feeding should be scaled back accordingly to prevent weight issues.

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