Kentuckiana Pug Rescue encourages you to carefully read through the information on this page before you make the decision to adopt a Pug.  Before you bring a Pug home and make them a part of the family, you should be familiar with the health issues and concerns of Pugs. 

Health problems are one of the key reasons that so many Pugs are surrendered to rescues.  Another is the time, money and effort it takes to care for a Pug properly.  Many people don't truly understand the level of commitment that these dogs require.

You will also find information here that will be helpful after you bring your Pug home, such as housetraining tips.

REMINDER - We are not Veterinarians and we cannot answer your medical questions. If you have a medical question about your Pug, please contact your Veterinarian.

© mpa photography


If this is the first time you've visited the Caring for a Pug page and you have never owned a Pug, we recommend you scroll down and read all of the information we've provided.  However, if this is a return visit, or you are only interested in a certain topic, we've provided the index below to make it easy for you to choose a particular subject.

The Essentials

  The information below is courtesy of
     The Humane Society of the United States , although some changes
        have been made to gear the information specifically to Pugs.

Outfit your Pug with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, current address, and current telephone number.  No matter how careful you are, there's a chance your Pug may become lost and having an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned home safely.

Follow local laws for licensing your Pug and vaccinating him for rabies.  Check with your local shelter or humane society for information regarding legal requirements, where to obtain tags, and where to have your Pug vaccinated.

Off property, On Leash.  Even a Pug with a license, rabies tag and ID tag should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard.  Keep your Pug under control and safe at all times.

Give your Pug proper shelter.  For a Pug, this means to keep them as an indoor dog and provide a fenced yard for times when they are outside to go potty or play.  A Pug should NEVER be left outdoors for any length of time.  They are not outdoor dogs.

Take your Pug to a veterinarian for regular check-ups.  It is important that your Pug receive regular check-ups.  It is also a good idea to know where the nearest emergency animal hospital is located for any health issues that may arise when your regular vet is not open.

Spay or neuter your Pug.  Pugs who have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier and have fewer behavior problems (e.g. running away, marking).  By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation.

Give your Pug a balanced diet, including constant fresh water.

Give your Pug enough exercise to keep him fit, but not exhausted.
Pugs can't tolerate strenuous exercise, such as long runs or hiking.  They do not have the stamina.  But, they will benefit from short walks and simply playing with their owners.

Be loyal and patient with your Pug.  Make sure the expectations you have of your Pug are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems can be solved. 

Pug Health Issues

Pugs are a Brachycephalic breed, meaning that they have a short nose. Because of this they have greater chances of having breathing problems such as: elongated soft palate, pinched or undersized nostrils, and other respiratory ailments.

Stenotic Nares is a condition often found in Pugs.  It it a narrowing or restriction of the nostrils.  This puts a strain on the dog's system and can lead to an enlarged heart.  Signs of this condition are that the Pug tends to mouth breathe or have a foamy nasal discharge.  Surgery can enlarge the nostrils and fix this problem. 
Elongated Soft Palate
is when the palate is too long and it restricts air flow into the lungs.  It can also be surgically corrected. 

© mpa photography

Changes in heat can be very difficult on Pugs and they should NEVER be left outside in either cold or hot (greater than 70 degrees F) weather.  It is also important to note that not only does heat play a factor, but also humidity.  So, there may be days when you don't consider the temperature to be "hot", but because it is humid, a Pug may have a difficult time breathing and be quite uncomfortable.

Pugs should always be kept inside the house with their family.  Air conditioning in the summer months is essential.  Signs of heat prostration are common in Pugs and include difficulty breathing, wheezing and heavy panting.  Pugs in heat distress should be cooled with water and taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Most Pugs also have lots of facial wrinkles.  The nose wrinkle should always be kept dry and also be cleaned regularly. No air can get in to dry moisture and Pugs consequently can get bacterial or fungal infections.  You can wipe the fold around their nose using an antibacterial baby wipe.  And while you're cleaning, don't forget the ears...they need wiped out too. 

Pugs, because of their slightly undershot jaw, can also develop tooth and gum problems.  You need to check the mouth for any signs of problems, mouth tumors, retained baby teeth and should brush your Pug's teeth regularly.


The Pug's large eyes can develop many problems.   It is important to get in the habit of checking your Pug's eyes and if they seem dirty or wet, put an eye wash in and clean them whenever necessary.  A Pug's eyes can get scratched easily and they can have eyelid or eyelash abnormalities. 

is ingrown eyelashes of the upper eyelid, which causes irritation of the eye and can be surgically corrected. 
is a double row of eyelashes that normally are on the lower lid and cause irritation.  This condition also requires surgery. 
is an inward rolling of the eyelids which usually causes the eyelashes or hairs to rub against the surface of the eye, causing scratches, irritation and ulceration.  This is most critical and needs to be caught early and surgically corrected to prevent complications. 
Dry Eye
is an eye condition resulting from lack of tear production.  The eyes will appear dull and textured instead of lusterous and shiny.  Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the condition. 
Bilateral Cataracts will appear as opaque spots on the lens of the eye.  These spots can cause partial or full loss of vision.  Sometimes surgery can help. 
Corneal Ulcers
can occur after any scratch or injury to a Pug's eye.  Ulcers need to be treated immediately or there will be some loss of sight. 
Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy
is a hereditary eye disease causing the gradual breakdown of cells of the retina and causing blindness.  Pugs can be screened for this condition. 
Pigmentary Keratitis
can first appear as a small black or dark brown blob on the white of the eye in the inside corners.  It will gradually spread across the eye, completely covering it and blocking the Pug's vision so that the Pug is blind.
There are various leg problems that can occur in Pugs. 

Slipped Stifles
(patellar luxation) is when the patella (kneecap) slips out of position due to hereditary or injury.  Generally you will notice your Pug limping, carrying the leg off the ground or hopping when running.  If the problem is severe it can necessitate surgery. 
Hip Dysplasia
is a hereditary condition that causes the hip joint to be malformed so that it is not properly aligned.  Your veterinarian can x-ray your dog's hips for evaluation. 
disease is a conditon caused by improper blood flow leading to the destruction of the hip joint.  This most often occurs between the ages of six months and one year. 
Pugs have a high incidence of Demodectic skin mites (often called demodectic mange), especially when they are still puppies. Mange does require a veterinarian to treat it. In regards to the localized form, it usually occurs when Pugs are under one year old and you may notice small patches of hair loss exposing healthy looking patches of skin. Often they appear on the face or forelegs.  It appears gradually and after the patches reach their maximum size, the hair begins to re-grow.  It is important that if you see these signs that you get your Pug to a vet immediately.  The generalized form of this condition can occur in Pugs of any age and the exposed skin often becomes infected.  This type can be very difficult to treat and often is fatal.  Again, it is very important that you seek treatment at the first indication that your Pug may have any type of this condition.
Pugs also have high incidences of skin and inhalant allergies, seizure activity, and recently we've begun to see more cases of spinal problems as well. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain which can cause seizures.

For a more comprehensive list of common Pug ailments, please visit

General Pug Information

-  Pugs are a toy breed and it is believed that they were first bred for the royalty of China sometime before 400 B.C.E.

Appearance - According to the breed standard, Pugs should be "Multum In Parvo," which can be translated to mean: A lot of dog in a small space. They weigh between 14 and 18 pounds, but it is quite common to find Pugs that weigh either more or less than that. Their bodies are shaped like little squares and they are as tall as they are long.

Pugs come in two colors, fawn or black. Fawns will have a dark mask of rich black covering their faces and ears and maybe even some black going down their back in what is called a "trace." The blacks are solid black all over, but it is common for white hairs to sneak in.

The eyes of the Pug are large and have a beautiful dark brown color and their little tails curl jauntily over their backs. Then of course, there are all those Pug wrinkles and a flat little nose. In China, Pugs were valued for their wrinkles because the owners could sometimes make out shapes in them that were reminiscent of Chinese Calligraphy.

Personality - The Pug's personality is most people's favorite part of this delightful little dog. They are always inquisitive and playful, often seeming to be more like little people than dogs. Pugs have a wonderful sense of humor and always seem to know what their humans are thinking...usually turning it into an excuse to beg a treat or two. They love people and other pets, are very easy going, and hate to be left alone. Pugs like to be a part of everything that their families do.



Pugs shed year round and they shed A LOT!  A good diet and weekly grooming can help control the amount of hair that ends up in your house, on your clothes, etc.  But, there is no way to stop a Pug from shedding.  You should comb/brush your Pug at least once a week, as well as bathe them once every 3 to 4 weeks.  This will also help control parasites and keep their skin healthy.  If your Pug really hates the comb/brush, and just will not tolerate could always use your fingers and give them a massage, scratching all around to remove the dead hair. 

Reverse Sneezing

Many Pug owners have experienced their dog having what appears to be a "breathing attack". It can be quite frightening to see for the first time. Reverse sneezing is characterized by a series of forced inhalations, and snorting through the nostrils (gasping inwards). It may last for a few seconds or up to 1 minute or more. These attacks often occur on a sporadic, unpredictable basis.

Pugs usually have the head extended forward and stand still during the attack. There is no loss of consciousness or collapse. Many Pugs and other dogs have these attacks throughout their lives. The exact cause of reverse sneezing is unknown, but it may be associated with sinusitis and other upper respiratory disorders.  Many believe affected dogs are consciously removing mucus from the nasal passages. In fact, many dogs swallow at the end of the attack.

Occasionally another possible cause is a foreign body lodged in the nostril or it could be an allergy to something causing/exacerbating the problem. Whatever the cause, the condition is usually not serious. If the condition appears suddenly in an older dog or if episodes become more severe or frequent, the nasal passages and throat should be examined by a vet.


Treatment is not necessary when the episodes occur infrequently on a random basis.  Calming your Pug during an attack may shorten the episode. Massaging the Pug's throat gently may help.  Worsening episodes may need to be treated medically. Consult your vet for advice if you are worried.

Watch for these Signs:

1. The severity or frequency of the reverse sneezing changes.
2. Your Pug develops a discharge from the nose or a cough.
3. Your Pug appears sick.

Remember though, your vet is the best person to help diagnose the problem and advise you on how to best manage it.

Information courtesy of  Sharda Baker


Pugs and Swimming Don't Mix

Pugs do NOT make good swimmers.  They are heavier in the front, causing them to sink.  If you plan on taking your pug with you on your boat or to another water activity, please have them wear a doggie lifejacket.  Even if you keep them n the very shallow water along the shoreline, please supervise them 100% of the time. 

Potentially Poisonous Foods and Household Items 

NEVER GIVE YOUR PUG CHOCOLATE.  Chocolate is poison to your dog. 

According to The Humane Society of the United States, the following are all potentially poisonous to dogs:

alcoholic beverages
cherry pits
mushroom plants
peach pits
tea (caffeine)
tomato leaves and stems
apple seeds
macadamia nuts
mustard seeds
rhubarb leaves
apricot pits
moldy foods
onions and onion powder
yeast dough



The best way to keep your Pug safe is to have a fenced in yard or an area of your yard especially for your Pug.  A fence will help keep your Pug safe from getting hit by cars, attacked by larger dogs, kidnapped by strangers or getting lost. 

Anytime you are outside with your Pug and it is not in a fenced area, you will need to be there to supervise your Pug and keep them on a leash to protect them.  Please be sure that you can get two fingers comfortably between the collar and the neck of your Pug.  When walking your Pug, it's best to use a harness that doesn't wrap directly around the neck.  Pugs are prone to collapsing trachea, so using a regular collar for walks (especially if your Pug walks ahead of you and/or pulls) can put unnecessary pressure on this area.

Introducing Your new Pug to Other Pets

It is difficult to predict how your new Pug and current Pugs or other pets will get along.  Problems are more likely to occur between 2 adult animals. Adult Pugs usually will tolerate the clumsiness of puppies and juveniles, but this is not a guarantee. A lot will depend on the personalities of the animals.  Of course, you also will need to take into consideration the sizes, ages and breeds of the animals.

Your current Pug/dog may be very laid back and easy going on his/her own, but when a new Pug is brought into the home they may view the newcomer as a threat to their "place in the pack".  When introducing your new Pug to current Pugs/other pets, they should be supervised at ALL times until you are confident that they can cohabitate peacefully by themselves.
Some pets will become best friends, inseparable companions.  Others will merely learn to tolerate each other.  And there are those that even with the utmost patience, will simply not be able to coexist peacefully and will need to be permanently separated.

Introducing a Pug to another Pug/dog -

Controlled Environment - Chose a place to introduce your Pug where you will have control.  Reduce stress as best you can by selecting a calm setting.  Outdoors, you will definitely want to use a leash.  Even indoors, leashing may help.  Introductions done at a neutral area are best...even if it's in your own yard, just choosing an area of the yard that your current Pug/dog doesn't frequent.  It can also be beneficial, if you are introducing your new Pug to multiple current Pugs/dogs, that you do so on a "one on one" basis.  Once your new Pug has had a chance to meet their new housemates individually, then you can do a group introduction.

Constant Supervision - This means keeping your new Pug confined to a separate room or in a crate when you are not able to be there to supervise them.  It can take days, weeks or even months before all can be left alone without supervision.  Even Pugs that seem to get along fine during their introduction, may have disagreements or fight days later when you least expect it.  A new Pug may not show his/her true personality until they are fully settled and comfortable with their new surroundings

Getting Familiar - It can help to confine your current Pug/dog to a separate room, letting your new Pug have a chance to explore his/her new home on their own before making introductions.

Patience - Don't force your new Pug and current Pug/dog to interact.  Let them check each other out at their own pace. 

Problem Solving - If disagreements and scuffles occur and you are not comfortable with the animals being together, even when supervised, there are steps you can take to make the introduction smoother.  You can put up a baby gate and keep your new Pug on one side and your current Pug/dog on the other.  This lets them smell and see each other without being able to get at one another. 

Special Tips for Introducing a Pug to a Cat -

When attempting to introduce a Pug and a cat, it's always best if they are both young...or if they are adults, that they have both had positive experiences with the other species in the past.  When you have a cat and are adopting a Pug, your best bet is to chose a Pug that has a good history of getting along with cats.  It also works the other way.  You don't want to adopt a Pug if you know that your cat does not tolerate dogs.

When making introductions between a Pug and a cat, you will definitely want to keep your Pug on a short leash.  Again, you want to make sure you have complete control of the situation.  Do not tolerate any aggressive behavior from your Pug.  Do not let them chase or corner the cat.  If a Pug has a strong predatory instinct, it can attack with little advance warning.

Most people may only be worried about the Pug hurting the cat, BUT please be aware that a cat can just as easily injure a Pug by scratching or biting them.  A cat that still has its claws, even if only playing, can do permanent and severe damage to a Pug's fragile eyes.


Weight Management -

The AKC Pug Standard says that a pug should weigh between 14 and 18 pounds.  However, there are many Pugs that weigh between 20 and 24 pounds and are healthy at this weight.  The best way to find out your Pug's ideal weight, is to ask your veterinarian.  They will be able to examine your pug, and based on bone structure, height, etc. tell you the ideal weight range for your Pug.

Although Pugs can't tolerate hard, strenuous exercise such as running or long walks, that doesn't mean that they don't need exercise.  Exercise will help your Pug maintain a healthy weight.  You can take them on short walks, just monitor your Pug's breathing...if it seems labored, you can pick your Pug up and carry them for awhile.  You can also purchase a dog stroller for your Pug.  That way, they can enjoy longer walks with you by hopping in the stroller to take breaks along the way.  Be aware of the weather also.  Do not walk your Pug on very hot or humid days. 

Don't overfeed your pug or feed them table scraps.  Pugs love to eat and it is hard when they look at you with those big, sad eyes and beg for food.  But, an overweight Pug will face added health concerns, such as kneecap issues, hip dysplasia, as well as heart and breathing problems.

Some healthy treats include carrots, fat free yogurt, cheerios, apple pieces (NOT the seeds), and cooked green beans.

Housetraining a Young Pug or Puppy -

You will need to buy a crate to confine your pug when he can't be supervised.  The crate should only have enough room for your pug to stand up and turn around in.  If it is too large, he will be able to relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other.

Never leave the puppy to run the house unsupervised. If you are not watching them every minute, they can have an accident and you might not even know it...until it is too late. If the puppy is having little accidents around the house that you are unaware of, that means you aren't cleaning them up and the puppy will be drawn to that spot the next time they need to relieve themselves. If you aren't able to supervise your puppy 100%, then you should put him/her in the crate or somewhere they are safe and contained.
© mpa photography

If you are like many people, you often feel guilty having to put your Pug in his/her crate.  It helps if you utilize the crate only for long periods of time, such as at bedtime.  You can use a play yard enclosure, which is more open and gives your Pug more freedom when you need to contain your Pug for short periods of time.  Maybe you are cooking, need to make a quick trip to the bathroom or to take a shower, etc. You can place the enclosure on a vinyl or linoleum floor and line the bottom with newspapers in case of an accident.  Often people will gate off a kitchen, bathroom or other small area for use to contain their Pug.

Keeping to a schedule is very important.  You should take your Pug outside when they wake up (not 20 minutes after they wake up, but immediately when you notice they are awake). They should also be taken out after eating or after drinking a lot and after they've been playing hard.  In other words, you will be taking them outside at least every 2-3 hours.  After several days, you should be able to get into a pretty good schedule for potty times.  Always take your Pug to the same area.  You should use a 'trigger words' such as "go potty" or "hurry up" to let your Pug know what you expect of them.  Be sure to take a snack with you...keep it in your pocket.  As soon as you see your Pug start to relieve himself, praise him by saying "good boy" and as soon as he is finished, give him the snack. 

Do not play with your Pug when you take him outside.  This will confuse him.  You want him to only relate the act of going potty with going outside right now.  When he's older and you are sure he is 100% housetrained, then you can begin taking him outside for play time too.

Even after your Pug seems to have the hang of going potty outside during the day, he may still have problems at night.  Don't expect a puppy to be able to "hold it" all night long.  Some dogs are 6 months or older before they are able to accomplish this.  To make it easier for him, try not to give food or water after 8 p.m. 

Sometimes, just when you think they have the hang of it and you start bragging that they are potty trained...your Pug has an accident. The best advice patient...and be even more patient.

You will not be able to housetrain your Pug by merely leaving it in the play yard or crate all the time and taking it outside every couple of hours. A Pug needs socialization...needs to be out of the play yard or crate when you are there to supervise them. Pugs need this interaction.

Accidents will happen, even to the best Pug and best Pug trainer.  If your Pug does happen to have an accident in the house, and you catch him in the act, you can shout a firm "NO", pick him up and take him outside to the designated area.  Proceed to give the 'trigger word(s)' and if he does finish outside, be sure to praise him. 

When you clean up the accident, don't let him see you cleaning it up.  Be sure to use an odor neutralizing cleaner.  Simply blotting it up with some soap and water, or sprinkling on some carpet fresh will NOT work.  Your Pug will still be able to smell the scent.  There are a lot of products on the market designed especially for removing/neutralizing pet stains.

If you find an accident after the fact, there is no need to scold your Pug.  He won't know what he's being scolded for.  Yelling will only make him confused and afraid.  

If you are able to utilize a doggie door that leads into a fenced area, then your next step is to introduce the doggie door.  The time frame here really depends on the Pug, i.e. whether you feel he understands what is expected of him when you take him outside and say "go potty", etc.   When you are ready to introduce the doggie door, the best way is to have someone on each side of the door.  Sit the Pug inside, beside the doggie flap, and have the person on the outside attempt to coax him through.  You may have to use treats.  You may want to push the flap open and show him that it leads to the outside.  If he absolutely will not use the door to go outside...then put him on the outside, and try coaxing him in...this may be easier. 

If you have a Pug that was previously housetrained and they start having urine accidents, you should take them to your veterinarian to be checked for urinary tract, bladder, kidney infections or bladder stones.


Marking -

Urine-marking is not a housetraining problem. It is considered territorial behavior. In order to stop marking, you have to find out why your Pug feels the need to mark his territory.  If you are sure that your Pug is potty trained and you have ruled out a medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection or bladder stones, then your Pug is most likely marking.  Although you hear mainly about males marking, females will do it also.

Males that have not been neutered, and females that have not been spayed, are more likely to begin marking, so getting your Pug neutered / spayed as early as possible is important (usually before 5-6 months, but ask your veterinarian for the ideal age).  Pugs that were neutered / spayed after they had already reached maturity and had already begun marking, may be in the habit of doing so and continue even after they are neutered. 

Marking often occurs when introducing an older Pug into a new home.  Everything is new to them and they may feel the need to "mark their territory" or "stake a claim".  It is possible to stop a Pug's marking behavior if you are vigilant and scold him every time you catch him getting ready to mark or in the act of marking.  You may also want to utilize a belly band for males or a diaper for females to help stop the behavior.

For more information on marking, please visit The Humane Society of America.


Housebreaking an Older Pug -

Maybe you've brought an older Pug into your home.  You should follow the same process, crating the Pug when he can't be 100% supervised, taking him to one designated area, using praise and snacks and developing a schedule.  With an older Pug, they won't need to go out as much as a puppy because their bladders are larger and they have more control.  Even if you adopt a Pug that is completely housebroken, it is a good idea to follow these guidelines until the Pug is accustomed to their new home.


Breeding -

If you are considering getting Pugs so that you can breed them, please consider all the facts.  Pugs have a high incidence of C-sections. This means that having a litter of Pug puppies can be quite expensive and very time consuming for you. A female who has had a C-section may not be willing or able to care for her puppies in the first few days.  You will have to do it, including bottle feeding and keeping them warm.  Even if your female is able to deliver naturally, she should be supervised (especially first time mothers).  Do you have the time to make sure things go smoothly with the delivery and after care?  You may have to take time off work.  Puppies can be born with health concerns.  This means more expense and a sick puppy can mean even more time off work.  In other words, if you think breeding Pugs will be fun or a way to make a lot of money, you're wrong.  It can cost you a lot of money and/or end up being a heartbreaking experience for all involved. 

Kentuckiana Pug Rescue will not adopt out an unaltered Pug and will not allow someone who has any unaltered pets adopt a Pug.  KPR has very strong feelings about the pet overpopulation and feels that all pets should be spayed and neutered to prevent overpopulation problems.

Why do Pugs end up in Rescue?

Many Pugs are surrendered to a Rescue due to circumstances beyond their owners' control.  Relocation from one home to another (where dogs aren’t permitted), divorce, major illness, and other lifestyle changes may cause someone to be forced to give up their Pug.  A Pug's illness, coupled with the owner's financial difficulties is another reason Pugs are often surrendered to a Rescue organization.

Sadly, their are other reasons Pugs end up in Rescue.  Sometimes, it's because people didn't do the necessary research before bringing home a Pug.  They bring home a cute, cuddly puppy, only to find that there is Pug hair everywhere because Pugs shed 365 days a year, and they decide this isn't what they wanted.  Often, they don't realize how much responsibility is involved in owning a Pug, or the amount of time they have to invest to properly care for a Pug, and they decide they no longer want him/her. Others get Pugs as gifts for their kids, expecting their kids to take care of it and when they don't, the Pug has to go.  Then there are the people who simply get "tired" of their Pug...the novelty wears off...and they just decide to get rid of the dog.

Suffice it to say, for whatever reason, many many people treat their dogs like disposable objects and throw them away without hesitation, care or concern for what happens to the dog, or for their own inhumane and selfish behavior.

Pug Rescue organizations exist to help these Pugs end up in loving, appropriate homes. Their efforts are a labor of love to be sure, but the ultimate goal of all Pug Rescue groups is to see a day when there is no longer a need for them to exist.

Kentuckiana Pug Rescue • PO Box 2773 • Indianapolis, IN 46206 • • 877-784-7988