Common Pug Health Issues

by Nancy Boland

With their distinctive looks, comical expressions and big personalities, pugs are an incredibly popular dog breed. Sadly, years of selective breeding have meant that pugs are more prone to a variety of illnesses and health conditions.

It’s incredibly important to understand any potential problems that you could encounter with owning a pug, so the following is a Here is a rundown of some of the more common pug health issues and what to expect if you’re thinking of taking on the breed.


The distinctive human-like eyes of the pug come with a wide range of issues, including but not exclusively;

pug 2

  • Entropion of the eye, where the eyelid rolls inwards, is a genetic condition requiring surgical intervention to correct.
  • Pigmentary keratitis results from inflammation or irritation of the cornea, and leads to brown pigmentation and spotting in the white of the eye.
  • Corneal ulcers are relatively common in pugs, due to the degree of protrusion of their eyes. Visible scratches, squinting and cloudy eyes are all symptoms.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy or PRA is a degenerative disease of the vessels around the retina.
  • Dry eyes caused by lack of sufficient tear production or blocked tear ducts, and presents with red, painful eyes and discharge.
  • Cataracts, which give the eye a milky appearance and can eventually, lead to blindness if untreated.
  • Distichiasis is a condition where some eyelashes grow inwards towards the eye, causing irritation and usually ulcers.

The face

Pugs are brachycephalic dogs- which mean that their muzzles are short, and they have the typical squished appearance that pugs are famous for. This can cause a variety of problems such as;

  • Snoring- this is due to their elongated soft palate, which often obstruct the airways. While this is common to nearly all pugs, if the snoring is particularly laboured or the dog has other breathing problems, surgical intervention is often required.
  • Stenotic nares; this means that the nasal tissue is particularly soft. If your pug breathes through its mouth as a matter of course, or has a foaming discharge from their nose, take note because surgery may be required.
  • The folds of skin on the pug’s face can leave them susceptible to bacterial growth and infection. Creases should be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth.

Back and Legs

  • Luxating patella is the dislocation bone in the knee held in place by ligaments. This  condition is prevalent in  overweight pugs so maintaining a healthy weight and getting adequate exercise is crucial.
  • Pugs are also prone to hip dysplasia. Abnormal gait, stiffness, soreness and lameness in the back legs are all signs.

While this list covers some very common issues, it is by no means exhaustive and just like any other dog breed, your pug can be at risk of various other conditions and illnesses as they age. However, pugs in particular can have a lot of breathing related problems and these problems should not be taken lightly when deciding on whether to take on such a potentially high-maintenance dog breed.   Ultimately, monitoring your pugs health is crucial in identifying any problems, and like everything, the sooner you receive help with any concerns,the sooner and easier they will be resolved.

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