Is My Pug Underweight? How To Tell If Your Pug Is Too Skinny

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Many dog breeds are prone to weight issues, and pugs are no exception. A common query among worried pug owners is how to help their overweight pets shed extra pounds. 

What is less typical is concern about being too skinny. However, if you notice your dog is leaner than usual, and this weight loss is unexplained, you might be asking yourself, “Is my pug underweight?”

It’s never fun to worry about your pet’s health, so today, we’re going to address all your pug weight concerns. Keep reading to learn more. 

How Do I Know If My Pug Is Underweight

is my pug underweight

First things first: what is the average weight of a pug?

Most healthy pugs fall somewhere between 14 and 18 pounds. However, these numbers are just a guideline; some dogs weigh more or less and are still considered healthy. Determining whether your lean pug is too lean will require more than just sticking them on a scale. 

The good news? The following two methods are a relatively straightforward way to figure out if your dog is underweight. If you’re still unsure whether your dog is too skinny, you should consult your vet. 

Look at Their Ribcage

Pugs in the healthy weight range should not have visible rib cages. If you can see theirs, it’s a strong indicator your pup should put on some weight.

Check Their Waistline

A healthy pug should have a small indent in its waistline—in other words, the part of its body between the ribs and hips. While it may be less evident than other breeds, you should still see their waistline. However, your dog’s waist should not have an extreme indentation. 

Why Is My Pug Skinny?

If you’ve determined that your pug is indeed too skinny, the next question to answer is, “Why is my pug losing weight?” Let’s look at some common reasons a dog might be underweight. 

Insufficient Nutrition

The first thing you should take a look at is diet. Specifically, you should check the feeding requirements for your dog’s food of choice. It may seem like a cup of kibble should be the same from brand to brand, but there can actually be a lot of caloric difference. It’s easy to think your dog is getting the proper nutrition when they are actually way below their daily calorie needs. 

Not sure how many calories a day is suitable for your pup’s age? Consult your vet for guidance in this area. A vet can also recommend high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog foods to help your dog gain weight. 

is my pug underweight


Yes, dogs can get diabetes too. So if your pug has recently lost a lot of weight for no reason, diabetes may be the culprit. 

The bad news is that managing this condition in canines can be expensive. The good news is that it’s easy to treat with medication. Once you get your diabetic pup on the proper treatment, they should quickly get back to their normal weight. 


It’s not uncommon for dogs to get parasites, and as you can imagine, these unwanted critters can wreak havoc on your pug’s digestive system. A dog can eat and eat, but if their tummy is full of worms, it’s impossible to get the nutrition they need. 

Your vet will have to confirm that your dog has parasites, but fixing the condition should be relatively straightforward. 


Plenty of other illnesses besides those mentioned here may cause weight loss in dogs. Cancer is one of the most common.

Tooth Issues

As you can imagine, if your dog has issues with its teeth—such as inflamed gums—eating is probably less than pleasant. As a result, the dog will eat less and lose weight. 


Age might be another reason for your dog’s unexplained weight loss. As pugs get older, they experience changes in their body just like humans do. They may have less appetite, lose muscle mass, or experience digestive issues—things that all can lead to weight loss.

If your pug is getting on in life (when they’re around nine years old) and seems skinnier than usual, it’s probably time to change them to a senior-specific food. Foods specially formulated for older dogs are easier to digest and provide the calories needed for this age group.

However, if your senior pug has lost a lot of weight in a short period, it may have a health issue that requires treatment. 

Health Concern for Underweight Pugs

Dog owners know that being overweight is dangerous to pug health, but so is being too thin. Underweight dogs may suffer from an array of health conditions, such as:

  • Muscle loss
  • Hair loss
  • Issues with their skin and coat
  • A weaker immune system
  • Reduced bone density
  • Shorter life expectancy

While these health conditions are alarming, the good news is that you can avoid them by getting your dog to a healthy weight. 

is my pug underweight

How Can I Fatten Up My Pug And Get Them To A Healthy Weight?

Here are some steps you can take to get your pug to a healthy weight.

Visit Your Vet

A vet visit should be your first order of business. Your vet will determine whether your dog has an underlying health condition that needs treatment. Otherwise, they can give you advice about the healthiest way for your furry friend to gain some pounds. They may recommend switching to high-calorie food for a short period. 

Adjust Their Food 

After your vet visit, it’s time to make some changes to your pup’s meal plan. Most importantly, you should look for high-quality dog food to help them gain weight. You should also check the feeding instructions to ensure your dog gets the recommended number of calories per day. 

And while it may be tempting to do so, avoid feeding your pup human food or table scraps. You may inadvertently cause nutritional imbalances that can lead to further weight loss. 

Conclusion – Is My Pug Underweight?

It can be stressful to wonder why your pug’s skinny, but the good news is that this problem is easy to fix. A vet visit and some extra attention will go a long way towards improving your dog’s health.

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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.