Pugs are wonderful dogs but they have a tendency towards a number of genetic health issues. Many of those issues are related to their short noses. If you are looking to get a Pug dog breed, you should know what some of the common health problems are and how to decrease the chances of your Pug having them.
Health Concerns Related to Dogs with Short Noses
Brachycephalic syndrome covers a number of more specific respiratory issues including the soft palate being abnormally long and/or the nostrils being too small for the dog to breathe properly. The issues can be as minor as only causing your dog to make noise when he breathes. But sometimes the issue can be severe enough to require surgery. Even if your Pug doesn’t have these health concerns in severity, it is important to remember that their short noses make it so that they can’t tolerate heat as well as longer-nosed dogs.
Other Health Concerns
Some dogs may develop Pug dog encephalitis which is a genetic disorder where their brain gets severely inflamed. Symptoms include seizures, abnormal gait, blindness, and even death. Two common eye disorders in Pugs include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and pigmentary keratitis. In PRA the retina gradually deteriorates while in pigmentary keratitis the retina develops dark scar tissue which eventually covers the entire eye, both which can eventually lead to blindness. Pugs also experience three common skeletal issues including hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (knee caps), and Legg-Perthes disease (femur hip bone).
How to Get a Healthy Pug
The Barron’s “Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual” has some very good advice on how to shop for a quality Pug dog breed. They address breeders, pet shops, animal shelters, and breed rescue clubs. One very good point they made is, “In general, the smaller the “kennel” the more friendly the puppies it will produce and the more healthy those puppies will be.” So don’t go to pet shops. Visit the breeders in person at their location. The breeders should be providing certain health guarantees which last longer than a year (especially since some issues may not become evident until after several years). Good breeders will have done a number of tests and will willingly provide you with proof. Read up on the common health issues previously listed and determine which tests the breeder should have done.
This is our final article on the wonderful Pug dog breed. If you missed the others, check out Parts I, II, and III. Part I talks about the history of the word ‘pug’. Part II is the history of the dog breed itself. And Part III is about the physical and behavioral traits of Pugs. Check out those posts, all written in May 2012, and check out our All Things Pug Store by clicking HERE or one of the pictures below.