Common Pug Health Issues

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Pugs are the most loyal and fun dog breed to be around. They’re gorgeous, clownish, and will follow you around to ensure you don’t feel lonely.

But will all these goodness, they’re also very delicate. So, before adding one to your family, it’s only right that you know the common pug health issues. Knowing this will help you decide if the pug is a suitable breed for your family.

Skin Infections

Pugs have folds and wrinkles in their skin that must be well-cleaned and aerated to stay healthy and free from infections. If you don’t clean them well, dirt and moisture will accumulate, leading to bacterial infections.

The most common skin infections in pugs are dermatitis and lip-fold pyoderma.


Dermatitis may occur due to food allergy, dirt, and moisture buildup in areas with skin folds such as nasal, armpits, and around pugs’ tails.

The symptoms include redness, skin inflammation, and pus in severe cases.

Your pug can contract two types of dermatitis, acute moist and nasal dermatitis.

Acute Moist Dermatitis

The skin rashes on your pug are sometimes itchy, and due to excessive scratching, your pug may create severe wounds on its skin. Soon, the hot spot wound will start producing foul-smelling discharge.

Nasal/Fold Dermatitis

The signs you should look out for are inflammation and redness under the pug’s tail and a smelly discharge.

Lip-fold Pyoderma

Since the skin folds at the pug’s lower jaw are always damp, bacterias find it easy to stay and multiply, causing lip-fold pyoderma. Look out for redness and smelly odor.

Take your pug to a qualified vet for examination and treatment. In most cases, the vet will prescribe some antibiotics. Also, ensure you regularly clean and dry your pug’s skin folds to avoid dirt and moisture buildup.

common pug health issues

Eye Problems

Eye problems are among the health issues pugs encounter in their lives. Their big eyes may be all cute and lovely but are prone to many issues. So, if you’re thinking of owning one, you should be aware of what awaits you in the future.

Cherry Eye

Pugs have a third eyelid located at the innermost part of the eye. When their eye’s tear duct is infected, the third eyelid moves out of its position to the corner of the eye. It sticks at the corner as a red or pink bump, looking like a cherry, hence the cherry eye.

Though this condition isn’t painful, you shouldn’t ignore it since it can lead to other eye conditions such as dry eye. Take your dog to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment, especially if the pug seems bothered with it.

Dry Eye

The pug’s tear duct doesn’t always produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated. As a result, their eyes become dry and irritated. This condition is excruciating for the dog and should get treated immediately.

Take your pug to a vet if you notice redness around its eyes, excessive blinking, rubbing, and sometimes discharge. Once diagnosed, your pug may use an eye lubricator for the rest of its life to keep the eyes moist.

Corneal Ulcer

This condition comes as a result of scratching or cutting to the eye, forming a corneal wound. It’s painful and irritating for the pug, easily leading to loss of eyesight.

You’ll notice your pug being very sensitive to lights, continuously pawing its eyes and producing discharge.

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)

Also known as Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis, PDE is a fatal brain disease, which is unfortunately incurable.

About 1.2% of pugs die from this condition, with the most affected ones being female fawn-colored pugs younger than seven years.

The cause of PDE is not clear, making it an idiopathic condition. Some vets believe this neurological condition is hereditary. That’s because it mainly affects pugs that are closely related to each other.

common pug health issues

Others argue, this health issue is immune-mediated, where a pug’s immune system mistakingly attacks its brain, thinking it’s a dangerous tissue.

Common symptoms of PDE include:

  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Neck stiffness
  • Behavior changes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Head-tilt
  • Blindness

A pug with this condition may live up to a month longer but will always succumb to it, mainly due to seizures.

Since the condition causes inflammation in their brains, your vet may prescribe some anti-inflammatory drugs when it’s detected early. These drugs will help reduce the swelling and seizures, relieving your dog of the pain.

Pug Allergies

Like other breeds, pugs suffer from different allergies, and the symptoms and severity vary from one allergy to the next. Here are the three common allergies that pugs deal with in their everyday lives.

Airborne Allergens

These are the things in the air that your pug can inhale. Examples include dust, mold, particulates, droppings, weed, and pollen. You only need to identify what affects your pug based on its reaction. Look out for constant coughs and sneezing.

common pug health issues

Food Allergies

Your pug may get affected by the additives in its food. It could be food colorings, flavors, or preservatives. Food fillers and some proteins may also not go well with your pug. Unfortunately, the only way to know what food affects your pug is to feed it and wait for the results.

Some of the symptoms of food allergies include skin rashes, inflammation, vomiting, diarrhea, ear infection, and itchiness.

Contact Allergies

Pugs love running around, and in the process, they may get into contact with several things in their surroundings. These things may seem harmless but are a real threat to the pug’s health.

The most common causes of contact allergies include toys, bathing shampoo, perfumes, plastic materials like bowls, and fabric.

You’ll see some rashes along pugs’ mouths and sometimes in the body. Other symptoms are eye rubbing, body and ear scratching, and paw licking.

The first step into treating your pug’s allergies is to identify the cause of the allergy, then remove it. You may also consider using a hypoallergenic shampoo to clean them and only feed them home-cooked meals.

Conclusion – Common Pug Health Issues

Keep in mind that your pug may not suffer from any of these issues and live a long, problem free life! But should you notice any symptoms of the above common health issues, please take your pug to a vet for diagnosis and proper treatment.

rachael barkzine

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.

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About PugFacts

PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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Expert tips, advice, and inspiration to keep your PUG healthy and happy

PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.