Pugs make a wonderful and loving companion. But as with all dogs, pugs get older and require special care and attention to keep them healthy, safe, and happy. Pugs can live to be between 12-15 years old, and senior pug dogs become “senior” when they reach about 10 years old. At this time, pug owners should schedule semi-annual vet visits rather than annual visits to keep an eye on their senior pug and catch any health conditions early.
It can be daunting to care for an aging pet because their needs change with time, but with a little help, caring for your senior pug can be a rewarding experience! We’ve compiled a basic guide on caring for senior pugs to help you as a loving pug owner get started on improving your senior pug’s quality of life.
Schedule Regular Vet Visits
Like people, senior pugs need regular check-ups with their vet to ensure their health and catch any medical conditions early as they develop. Your vet will be sure to help guide you through caring for your senior pug by recommending appropriate diet and exercise regimens and keeping an eye on the common health problems pugs encounter.
Your vet will keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of some common health concerns for older dogs, such as cancer, heart and kidney disease, and arthritis. They will also watch for breed-specific health concerns: mainly skin conditions, eye conditions, and infections.
Infections can be especially dangerous for older dogs because their immune systems slow down, making it harder for them to fight off infection and disease. Regular trips to the veterinarian can reduce these threats to your senior pug’s health and ensure they remain their happy, loving self.
Check for Behavioral Changes
Senior pugs, like any dog, may display behavioral changes as they age. Pug owners should note any drastic behavioral changes and discuss them with their vet. Often, these behavioral changes indicate an underlying medical condition. Behavioral changes to look for in your senior pug include changes in eating habits, lethargy, and confusion.
Some of the behavioral changes to look out for are similar to the typical signs of aging in your senior pug. It is important to notify your vet of any persisting changes. Signs of arthritis, for example, are persisting changes to your pug’s mobility. It’s more than just “slowing down” with age. Your vet will check for common causes for concern in your pug, but it’s important to remember that you know your pug best!
Keep Up With Grooming
Grooming for senior pugs looks similar to grooming younger pugs. Be sure to get into those adorable wrinkles! Pay special attention to the wrinkles around the face and ears, because dirt build-up in those places can lead to infections. During grooming is a great time to check for signs of skin conditions, dry eyes, dry noses, or debris lingering in their folds.
Generally, depending on activity, clipping your pug’s nails every 1-2 months will suffice. However, as your pet slows down and spends less time running around, you may need to adjust your grooming habits.
There are a few different products that can make cleaning your senior pug’s wrinkles a little easier. If you’re concerned about your pug’s grooming, you don’t have to wait for bath time! A tissue or special pug wrinkle wipes can help keep your pug’s wrinkles clean between baths and brushing. For more grooming tips, check out our guide Pug Care 101.
Adjust Your Older Pug’s Diet
Senior pugs may need specialized diets to maintain their health. As your pug ages, they may need food that is more easily digested, contains specific calorie counts, or includes nutrients your pug’s diet may lack. Talking to your vet about the specific dietary needs of your senior pug will help you determine what to feed your best friend.
There are plenty of brands and age-specific food mixes out there that can be beneficial to your senior pug. Be sure to get vet-recommended brands with the specific nutrients and vitamins your pet may need.
If your vet recommends vitamin and nutrient supplements, a regular feeding schedule is key. A set routine will help your pug’s physical and mental health. Just like people, dogs can also show signs of senility, and regular feeding is a great time to observe your pug’s behavior and appetite.
Plenty of Exercise
Just like any dog, exercise is critical to maintaining your pug’s health and mobility. As they age, exercise becomes important to ensure that they are using their muscles and joints. A fine line exists between enough exercise and strenuous exercise, be sure not to over-stress your pug. Wear and tear on their aging joints can lead to arthritis, and their short snouts can make it difficult for them to breathe. Short, gentle bursts of exercise will work just fine.
Exercise is also key to maintaining a healthy weight for your senior pug. As they get older, your pug may gain weight as their metabolism slows down. It’s important to monitor your pug’s weight and adjust their exercise and diet regimen to their needs.
Pugs are especially prone to obesity. Diet and exercise are key factors in helping your pug maintain a healthy weight even as they age. For more information on weight-related concerns for pugs, check out our article on pugs and healthy weight ranges.
Final Thoughts On Senior Pugs
Like any dog, as they age, your pug may exhibit behavioral changes, changes in appetite and exercise, and even changes in their mental health. Maintaining a routine and adjusting their diet, exercise, and grooming regimens can help you keep up with your senior pug’s health. Regular vet visits twice a year and making note of any persisting, or drastic changes can help catch health concerns early and keep your pug going for as long as possible.
We all love our pug companions, but as they age their needs change and it is important to adapt your senior pug care to meet those needs. Caring for senior pugs can present unique challenges, but keeping a close eye on your pug and understanding the changes their body and behavior may go through will help you ensure your pup’s health, safety, and happiness.
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.