Pugs are happy, playful little animals often called the clowns of the dog world--and further good news is that Pug care doesn't take a great deal of work. On this page you'll find plenty of details on how to take care of a Pug, including puppy care, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, living environment, and much more. So anyone who's getting a Pug can consider this page the definitive Pug maintenance and care guide!
As a toy-sized breed, Pug growth stages from birth to adulthood usually span 12-14 months. Physically, Pug puppy development is relatively rapid for the first 4-5 months, then slows some until the adolescent matures at about 12 months of age. Socially, these dogs develop a bit more quickly; they usually reach sexual maturity by 6-7 months of age, and though they may retain their clownish, puppy-like behavior well into adulthood, Pugs are typically considered fully developed socially by 10-11 months old. For specific development milestones, see this puppy growth chart:
|Dog Age||Development Milestone|
|10-14 Days||Eyes open|
|4 Weeks||Old enough to be separated from mother for short periods|
|2 Months||Socialization period; introduction to solid food; can begin exercise and training|
|3 Months||Adolescence begins; increased disobedience; teething; vaccination/de-worming needed|
|6-7 Months||Sexual maturity|
|8 Months||Can be switched to adult food|
Overall, Pug exercise needs are moderate, and should include lots of playtime since these dogs are playful to begin with. You can begin exercising Pug puppies as early as two months of age by taking them on short (10- to 15-minute) walks; a mature Pug will need about an hour of physical activity each day, which can be fulfilled by two 20-minute walks combined with a prolonged play period.
As with most breeds, certain precautions should be taken when exercising your Pug. For one thing, because of their short muzzles (which don't cool the air they breathe as well as dogs with longer muzzles), Pugs can overheat easily. If you choose a 90-degree day for an outdoor workout, a Pug will be miserable and may even suffer heatstroke. So it's best to either choose milder days for exercise excursions, or simply exercise your Pug indoors when the temperature is high. Using a leash for your Pug when in public is also recommended, especially if walking near traffic; these dogs don't have very good "road sense," and may suddenly dart into a busy street without a second thought.
So ideally, how much exercise does a Pug need? Enough to keep the dog happy and healthy--and enough to keep it from going nuts. Not only are Pugs highly prone to obesity, but they're also naturally playful and fun-loving; an under-exercised Pug will easily exhibit behavior problems like disobedience and destructiveness. Proper physical activity will keep the pounds off, ensure emotional stability--and best of all, it will cause your Pug to sleep well at night. A few exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 20-minute walks per day is a good target
- Fetch: Can be done indoors or out
- Dog Park: Pugs are social animals, and enjoy the company of other dogs
- Hide and Seek: Good indoor activity on hot or rainy days
- Swimming: Pugs are good swimmers; keeps them cool on hot, sunny days
As playful little dogs, Pugs will love having a ball or chew toy to play with when inside. It's also recommended that you have a consistent daily exercise routine for your Pug, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period every afternoon.
Maintenance for Pugs in terms of drooling and shedding is moderately high. These dogs don't drool excessively (though more so than most toy breeds)--but unfortunately Pugs shed like crazy. And these dogs are not in the least bit hypoallergenic, so they're not a good mix for allergy sufferers.
Pugs drool some in anticipation of food, but they also drip saliva when they become too hot or, interestingly, when they're suffering motion sickness (which can happen from prolonged time in a car). The drooling is not extremely frequent, though, so an excessively drooling Pug may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case veterinary care may be necessary.
And do Pugs shed a lot? Without question, they do. Though short-haired, a Pug's coat is double-layered, meaning the undercoat loses hair frequently. The coat sheds moderately year-round, but a Pug's shedding is heaviest during the summer, when the dog loses its winter coat. Owners say there are two main Pug shedding solutions: brush, brush, brush--and bathe, bathe, bathe. Frequent brushing (4-5 times per week, if not daily) and bathing (at least once a month) help some, but don't eradicate the problem entirely. So every Pug owner will need to vacuum the floor and use lint rollers on clothes and furniture regularly.
The Pug diet, just as it is with all breeds, is essential to the dog's health and well-being. These dogs have greater tendency for obesity than most other breeds, so it's important that the Pug's food is high-quality and contains a lot of natural meat proteins (which inexpensive foods don't have). While many owners believe a diet consisting entirely of home-prepared food is best, for convenience's sake the best choice is feeding dry kibble (like Royal Canin) to a Pug.
In terms of portions, for puppies the "ounce-to-pound" ratio is a good guideline: feed a puppy one ounce of food for each pound it weighs, divided into three meals per day. After six months of age, an adult Pug should eat half an ounce per pound daily, with two meals each day once it fully matures. For more info, see this Pug feeding chart:
|Dog Age||Dog Weight||Food Type||Amount||Frequency|
|8 Weeks||3 lbs||Dry||1 oz||3x/day|
|3 Months||5 lbs||Dry||2 oz||3x/day|
|6 Months||10 lbs||Dry||2 oz||3x/day|
|9 Months||14 lbs||Dry||4 oz||2x/day|
|12 Months+||17 lbs||Dry||5 oz||2x/day|
Unfortunately, the fat Pug is an all-too-common occurrence. These dogs can become overweight very easily, which can lead to digestive and additional breathing problems, not to mention a shorter lifespan. So it's important to give them plenty of exercise--and under no circumstances are they to be "free-fed" (leaving food in the dog's bowl all day, in other words, so the Pug can eat anytime it wants). It's highly recommended that you pick up the feeding dish 15-20 minutes after the Pug begins eating, and not put it down again until the next meal.If you're concerned about your Pug getting fat, simply run a hand along the dog's side; if you can't feel any ribs, it's time for a diet. Decrease the Pug's dog food portions by one-fourth, and add another walk or an extra play session to its daily exercise schedule.
Opinions are mixed over what's the best dog food for Pugs. Some owners feed their Pugs only home-prepared meals that include white-meat chicken, lean beef, fish, and various green vegetables; others prefer high-quality dry food (like Royal Canin, Orijen, or Wellness CORE). Either is fine, but it's recommended that you try both, then stick with whichever one your Pug likes best.
As social, playful little animals, Pugs definitely prefer living inside with their families. And if provided with some daily outdoor exercise, Pugs in apartments are just fine. Temperature-wise, though, they're not very adaptable. In winter, a Pug will get cold very easily, so it's a good idea to stock up on Pug coats for the winter months. And as a brachycephalic breed (meaning it has a short, flat nose), a Pug in summer heat will suffer greatly. So in a nutshell, a Pug will be happiest if it can live inside--where there's both a good A/C and a powerful furnace.