Common Pug Skin Problems And How To Treat Them

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Pugs are adorable, but they’re also prone to some common health issues, including a variety of skin problems. If your pug has been scratching a lot, has red skin, or is losing hair, he may have one of these issues. Learn about the most common pug skin problems and how to treat them. By knowing what to watch for, you can help keep your pug’s skin healthy and happy.

How to Tell if a Pug Has Skin Problems

Much like humans, when a pug has a skin issue flare up, you’ll likely notice some physical or behavioral changes. For example, some physical symptoms of pug skin problems include:

  • Redness
  • Flakiness
  • Hair loss
  • Scabs
  • Lumps
  • Textural changes

Accompanying these physical skin attributes, you might also notice:

  • Biting at the irritated area
  • Frequent scratching
  • Frequent licking
  • Head shaking

pug skin problems

6 Common Pug Skin Problems

If you notice any of the physical or behavioral reactions in your pug, they might have succumbed to a common skin problem, such as pyoderma, fleas, mange, dermatitis, and ear mites. If you want to know more about what condition your pug faces, keep reading below. 


Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that can develop in the folds of your pup’s face, like around their lips and underarms. It might also flare up around the pug’s groin but is most commonly known to affect the folds of their skin around their sweet little faces. This condition often occurs due to the moist environment around these areas.

In addition, pug’s who are or were pregnant or suffer from obesity have an increased likelihood of contracting polyderma because of the extra fatty folds they develop due to their weight gain. 

Polyderma displays itself as irritated, red spots. Typically, you can treat it with over-the-counter antibacterial creams and specialized shampoo. However, you should consult with your veterinarian before treatment to ensure you use the best possible products that won’t harm your pup and correctly identify the condition.

Ear Mites

While pugs’ fold-over ears might appear cute, they can harbor some nasty bacteria and grime if you neglect cleaning them. Since the ears don’t have as much hair as the rest of the pug’s body and the ear’s fold to cover the barren inside, dirt and bacteria like to hide in them, which attracts ear mites. 

pug skin problems

Ear mites are actually pretty common in dogs with exposure problems such as being outside too often. So if yours has ever spent time near lots of other furry friends, he might already have these microscopic pests living on his delicate skin cells. To prevent your pug from getting ear mites, you’ll do your best to clean their ears regularly. 

If your pug has this condition already, you’ll likely notice a bad odor around their ears, excessive scratching, and frequent head shaking from your pug. Internally, your dog’s ears will show signs of discharge and discoloration. If that’s the case, take your little one into the vet for an insecticidal prescription to get rid of those ear mites. 


With fleas being one of the most common skin issues to plague all dogs, it is no wonder that pugs can get really bad bites. 

The constant itching only makes things worse, and if you ignore this problem, your pug could scratch at the bites until they break their skin, which leads them into folliculitis territory. Folliculitis is where painful sores form along with unsightly scabs and potentially harmful bacterial infections. 

Just as humans use shampoo to kill and rid themselves of lice, you’ll want to use a similar insecticidal shampoo on your pug to exterminate the fleas in the event of a present infection. If you want to take preventative measures regarding fleas, you might want to invest in a monthly preventative treatment, like Frontline, NexGard, or Sentinel

Demodectic Mange

There are many different types of mange that can affect dogs, but demodectic mange is one the most common. It’s primarily seen in puppies and adults who have been exposed to infected animals before. The little mite parasites burrow under your pup’s skin until severe inflammation causes hair loss and excessive scarring that can take months to heal.

The Demodectic mange is a serious condition that can lead to an infestation. It’s highly contagious and needs immediate treatment, which includes using over-the-counter products like shampoos or sprays for relief.

Skinfold Dermatitis

Skinfold dermatitis is one of the nastiest skin conditions a dog can get. Signs include irritation around the nose, underarm, or tail fold. This condition thrives when moisture and dirt get trapped in these creases. Unfortunately, since pugs are so wrinkly, the breed is most likely to contract dermatitis. 

As a result, the affliction causes redness and inflammation. If left untreated, dermatitis can lead to an unfavorable odor and infection. 

Fortunately, you can purchase pug-friendly antifungal or antibacterial wipes from your local pet store to regularly clean and treat your pug’s folds. However, if your pug already shows signs of dermatitis, you might want to take them to the vet for an antibiotic prescription and professional cleaning advice. 

pug skin problems

Allergic/Atopic Dermatitis 

Unlike skinfold dermatitis, which occurs as a result of dirt and grime in your pug’s fold, allergic dermatitis (otherwise known as atopic dermatitis or “atopy”) is a result of your dog’s allergies. Typically, pugs get this condition from common allergens, such as pollen. 

If your dog suffers from allergic dermatitis, it might excessively lick, scratch, gnaw, or rub the affected area(s). If your pug pesters the area enough, allergic dermatitis can lead to hair loss, patchy skin discoloration, and scabbing. If left untreated, these raw areas can contract infections. 

You can visit your local vet for help in treating allergic dermatitis. Treatment may include allergy testing, vaccination, allergy shots, medicated creams, and shampoos, or other effective treatment depending on what causes the flare-up.

A Final Note About Pug Skin Problems

If you have been noticing any of the signs listed above, it’s a good idea to bring your pug in for an exam. With proper treatment and care from a veterinarian, you can help prevent these issues from becoming chronic or worsening. You will be able to recognize other warning signs as well so that if they do come back, you know what steps should be taken next time.

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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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.