Pugs are great and I mean really GREAT, but if you’re going to be a responsible owner you have to be committed to treating that pug right, and that takes A LOT of time and effort! It’s best to know all the ‘problems’ you might encounter right from the outset so you can decide whether a pug is right for you, and whether you’re right for the pug!
I spent a lot of money at the vets when Hugo first came to live with us. I don’t know whether this was because I was an anxious first time pug mama or because he was a pug but we probably spent about £500 in that first year!
Pugs are prone to eye problems, the most common being eye ulcers and because of their short muzzle they’re more at risk of eye scratches. When they’re puppies this might be from litter mates but as they get older, and become more inquisitive, any number of things can cause a small scratch which can lead to bigger problems. Hugo is a sniffer, he’s always got his head in some plant or bush, or box in the kitchen, and for a pug, where ever the nose goes the eyes are dangerously close behind! At Hugo’s first vet check, the day after we brought him home, we also had his eyes checked because they looked a little cloudy. That involved a 10 second check with some orange dye in his eyes and a £60 bill! Everything was fine and the vet said it looked like an old injury that had been treated, which was great news, but health issues cost even if there isn’t really a problem!
Not all pugs have health issues but many do so if you’re not prepared to commit time, money and effort for the next 12 or so years then don’t get a pug!
Pugs shed their hair. A lot! Really, A LOT! They shed so much that you just have to sit on my sofa and you leave looking like a pug! I’m not joking! On the carpet (and nope it doesn’t matter how many times a day you vacuum!) on the furniture, in your food, on your clothes, in your car, at work (yes the pug hair travels with me to work!) You will find pug hair in places you didn’t know existed!
Hugo sheds a lot, Holly not so much. You could be lucky but if pug hair is going to be a problem for you, don’t get a pug!
Pugs are people dogs. Hugo and Holly follow me around the house, literally from one side of the kitchen to the other, they just want to be with me and go where I go. Don’t get me wrong, they stay home when I’m at work and they love being able to snooze all day but if I’m home and Holly’s tired she’ll paw me to say ‘come sit on the sofa because I want to snooze’ or if I’m cooking tea Hugo is right there behind me waiting for me to turn round and fall over him! They just love being by your side and being part of what you’re doing (or maybe they’re just hanging around for the food!) Either way if you don’t want a clingy dog then don’t get a pug!
Pugs are a low activity dog, they can sleep up to 14 hours a day! They are playful but in short bursts so don’t expect them to join you on a long run or a big bike ride! Hugo knows when he’s had enough and sometimes on the way home from the park he’ll look up at me and I know he’s asking to be carried! If I don’t pick him up he’ll just stop in his tracks and sit down for a rest! So if you’re an active person looking for a companion to share your lifestyle, don’t get a pug!
Pugs don’t like the heat. Hugo and Holly don’t even tolerate the British summer heat and it doesn’t get very hot here at all! They have breathing difficulties and they tire quickly in the heat so in the summer months we take them out very early morning, before it gets even remotely warm, then we stay indoors when the sun is at it’s hottest. If you do need to walk your pug in the warmer weather a good rule of thumb is if you can’t hold the back of your hand to the pavement for at least 5 seconds then it’s too hot for your pugs paws. If you love the heat and like being out on sunny days, don’t get a pug!
Some say pugs are difficult to train, both house and obedience. Hugo was a dream in obedience classes and our trainer said he was the cleverest pug she’d ever met! Proud pug mama moment!! He passed his Kennel Club puppy foundation and has his Bronze award and rosette! Holly didn’t like the other dogs at the obedience class and really stressed herself out there so we train at home with her and so far, with both of them, we’ve had good results. We’ve chopped the chicken reward treats and put the time in every week and they’re mostly obedient.
House training on the other hand hasn’t turned out so well. Having said that, both are very well house trained and from an early age realised that treats were given aplenty if they went outside for a wee! However…. having a bitch and a dog causes all sorts of problems!! Hugo loves to pee on things to mark his territory and on walks that’s not a problem, we stop and let him sniff and pee but when Holly’s in season that means he’s peeing on the sofa legs, peeing on the kitchen cupboards, peeing on their toy box and once he even peed on Holly! If you don’t like cleaning up pee and poop then don’t get a pug!
Pugs need a lot of grooming (to try get rid of the pug hair!) but they also require a decent amount of general care too. Depending on your aversion to the pug hair you need to brush their fur at least every week. We’ve found the furminator curry comb to be the absolute best for Hugo! Pugs also have facial folds that need cleaning, yep those cute little wrinkles need looking after! With some pugs you might need to do this every day, every other day or every week. Their nails grow fast too, very fast indeed and they need to be trimmed often. If your pug is a wriggler like Holly you’ll need help pinning them down and if they’re like Hugo they might end up needing an operation to repair a broken dew claw. Then there’s ears to be cleaned, bottoms to be washed and baths to be had. Pugs also tend to need their anal glands emptying more than other dogs and that is not a pleasant job, believe me! If you don’t want to do that yourself then when they start scooting on the carpet every few months, you’ll need to visit the vets office! If you want a low maintenance pet, don’t get a pug!
Pug eating habits
Pugs are greedy dogs and will generally eat anything and everything you give them, hence their tendency to be overweight! You need to be strict with what you feed them and you need to be prepared for the sad puppy dog eyes when you’re eating and they’re not! Hugo just needs to inhale and his food has gone! Holly is a good eater but she’s also fussy, sometimes she’ll bark at Hugo because he’s eating and she’s not (but her food is right there!) and sometimes they’re distracted from their own food because I’m eating and they want that! If you don’t want to watch what you eat as well as what your dog eats, don’t get a pug!
I love my pugs, I love them a lot and I put up with all of these things because I love them so much. This post is meant in a light hearted way but it also has a serious message that pugs are hard work and you need to know what you’re getting yourself into!
Feel free to comment and share your pug hair horror stories, any training tantrums or how many times you’ve given in to the sad puppy dog eyes and shared your toast with them! I love hearing about other pugs!