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Common Health Issues Pugs May Face

If you are considering getting a pug, you are probably researching all aspects of the breed, such as personality, intelligence, and health issues. For pugs, the most common health problem is with their legs, face, or eyes. Remember that every individual dog is different, so your dog may not have any of these problems or may develop an entirely different problem. A healthy pug can live 12 to 15 years. Some of the more common problems include:

Eye Injuries

Due to their short noses and bulky eyes, pugs can scratch or even puncture their eyes easily. Keep them away from sharp objects when possible.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is common and potentially, developing from reduced tear production. Treatment is drug therapy or surgery.


Cataracts involve dense spots on the eye, which can cause partial or total loss blindness. Surgery may help in some cases.


Entropion is a problem when the dog’s eyelashes irritate the surface of the eye.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is when the vessels around the retina deteriorates. It usually begins with night blindness, but it can lead to total blindness.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal Collapse is narrowing of the windpipe. Symptoms include coughing, harsh breathing, and gagging.

Elongated Soft Palate (ESP)

ESP is the obstruction of the airways. Symptoms include gasping for air and blocking the pug’s vocal box. Surgery can correct ESP.

Stenotic Nares

This is a birth defect where nostrils are too small, causing difficulty with breathing through the nose. This condition puts a strain on the Pug’s entire body and can lead to an enlargement of the heart, tracheal collapse and chronic bronchitis.

Hip Dysplasia (HD)

Hip Dysplasia is caused by a malformed hip joint. It causes stiffness, pain, and could lead to lameness.

Patellar Luxation

Kneecap dislocation happens when the kneecap slides out of the groove. The dog can sometimes limp or walk on three legs, but surgery is often the treatment.

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)

PDE is an inflammatory brain disease that often causes seizures.

Demodectic Mange

This is a parasitic skin disease caused by mites, causing hair loss and irritation. Demodectic Mange requires veterinary treatment, but it is easily cured.

Portosystemic Shunt (PSS)

A PSS is an abnormal vessel which lets blood bypass the liver, causing the blood to not get cleansed properly. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, hunger for non-food substances, depression and intolerance of protein-rich food.

Other common health problems include heat stroke, obesity, skin allergies, arthritis, heart disease, and back problems.

12 Responses to “Common Health Issues Pugs May Face”

  1. angie says:

    my male pug cannot stand or walk with his back legs what should I do he is wetting and soiling on himself

  2. admin says:

    I’m very sorry to about your pug, poor little guy. I would recommend talking him to a veterinarian to see if medication could help him out. If medication isn’t option, perhaps a doggy wheelchair?

  3. kathy hubner says:

    our 16 year pug got a couple of extra years from chiropractic and acupuncture treatment along with holistic meds

  4. D.Son says:

    That’s great to hear! I’ll work on getting an article up about using alternative healing practices for your pets. Thanks for the comment.

  5. D.Son says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I did some research and put together an article to help guide other people with chiropracty for their pets. Chiropracty for Your Pug.

  6. d. meyer says:

    What is the best way to clean the face?what is best to use?

  7. D.Son says:

    Hi D. Meyer,
    Pug’s facial wrinkles are really important to keep clean as a dirty pug face can cause foul odors and lead to infections. In the past I have used a wash-towel with warm water with good success. I’ve also heard of people using antibacterial baby wipes or malaseb shampoo. Amazon.com has malaseb wipes designed for dogs which may be worthwhile trying out. Malaseb shampoo is a treatment for dermatitis in dogs, cats and horses which contains miconazole an antifungal ingredient. If your pug gets an infection I would recommend talking to your local vet.
    Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by,

  8. R. Ubels says:

    My pup is just over a year and she will sometimes limp on 3 legs, but it is only while in the snow. She acts as though she has frostbite but when you check the pads all seems ok. I never leave her out long in the winter. Once in the house she is back to her regular spunky self. Any ideas??

  9. D.Son says:

    If you’ve been walking on the street or even the sidewalks it could be that some of the de-icer chemicals such as salt are irritating your pups paws. If your pup is a Pug, another possibility is that she just has some of that notorious pug attitude and doesn’t believe that her princess feet should be getting cold.

    If she isn’t limping once back in the warm comforts of your home, I wouldn’t think too much of it. But, maybe she would appreciate some dog booties.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  10. my pug, spencer is still going in the house, i have tried everything, could you help with this, he is 3 mths. old.

  11. linda wheeler says:

    my pug spencer is still going in the house, i have tried everything, could you help with this, he is 3 mths. old

  12. Lisa says:

    Have you tried crate training?? 3 months old isn’t that old and you might have a few accidents. Crate training is a wonderful thing as long as the crate is never used as punishment. You can leave your dog in the crate no longer than one hour per month of age plus an hour. So for a 3 month old dog 4 hours max but you should build up to that. :) Good luck

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