Why Do Pugs Have Breathing Problems? How To Help Them Breathe Better

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Pugs are among the flat-faced breeds of dogs. They have brachycephalic syndrome, which is why they often experience breathing difficulties. It is why you hear their characteristic snorting sounds when they inhale or exhale.

So, why do pugs have breathing problems? Well, a pug’s airway may be too long, too narrow, or both, especially when compared to its body size. This makes it difficult for them to breathe easily. They are forced to work extra hard when they are playing or exercising.

why do pugs have trouble breathing

Pugs were bred specifically to have flat faces with short noses. It is believed that the breed came from China, where it was famous as a lap dog, although there are other theories why these dogs were developed this way.

Whatever the reason, pugs love human company. They cannot thrive outdoors because of their dependence on their owners, which is why you often see them sleeping in laps or curled up underneath desks.

Common Pug Breathing Problems

Some pugs may be born with respiratory issues because of brachycephaly syndrome. Still, others acquire breathing problems over time because of how they live their lives, especially if you keep them tightly confined.

Older Pug Breathing Problems

Older pugs are more likely to suffer from breathing problems, especially if they are overweight. Their respiratory system is affected by the weight of their bodies which is why you will often see them panting hard after just a few minutes of playing or running around.

Pugs older than seven should see the vet regularly so that any changes in their health can be caught early and treated before it becomes worse.

About the Pug Skull

The pug skull is small, sturdy, and relatively flat. The head is slightly longer than wide with high cheekbones and round eyes with dark eye rims. Ears are large in proportion to the skull, and they fold back when the pug is at rest or alert.

In order to better understand why pugs have breathing problems, you need to be able to differentiate between them since there are several types of respiratory problems that can affect your furry friend. It all comes down to how this system works in pugs compared to other breeds of dogs.

why do pugs have trouble breathing

Your pug’s health problems can actually affect the shape of his head. Still, it is more likely that he would develop a brachycephalic syndrome and why you will often hear them snorting when they inhale or exhale.

Some breeds of dogs, such as boxers and bulldogs, have been bred with this condition so they can suffer from breathing problems all their lives which is why you also see short, stifled noises in some smaller breeds like pugs when they are running around too much.

If your pug is having issues with his respiratory system, it could be something else such as allergies, tumors, or even heartworms.

Pug Breathing Problems Treatment

If your pug is already showing signs of distress while trying to breathe, immediate veterinary attention is necessary to help your furry friend breathe normally again. The vet can use simple methods to ease your pug’s breathing until you get home, such as putting him somewhere warm with little human disturbance and massaging his throat gently.

Pet Medications for Pug Breathing Problems

Some pet medications can be helpful when it comes to treating pug breathing problems. However, you have to remember that they only work temporarily and won’t do anything if your furry friend needs surgery.

Over-the-counter sprays and pills are available, but there are also more potent antihistamines that you can get from vets for particular pugs that have allergies. A lot of behaviors, including panic attacks, can make it hard for pugs to breathe, so don’t hesitate to ask the vet about which would work best.

What to Do When Your Pug Can’t Breathe

It can be alarming when your pug is gasping for air, starts coughing, or breathing heavily. You need to do some things at home before you rush him to the vet. These methods may not work for every pug, but they are generally enough to help your furry friend relax while you make some calls.

Try giving him some light exercise by playing with his favorite toy or taking him outside on a long leash. You can also try giving your pug some warm water very slowly using an eyedropper or spoon since dehydration is another common cause of difficulty breathing in dogs.

If nothing works based on what you tried at home, then it’s time to call the vet right away. Veterinarians will usually prescribe antibiotics if they think breathing difficulty is exacerbated by an infection.

why do pugs have trouble breathing

How to Stop Pug Breathing Problems

Pugs are also more prone to heatstroke, so make sure to take them out for a walk only in the cooler parts of the day. If pugs have breathing problems because of obesity, then it’s time to bring your furry friend to a vet and follow all their recommendations about how much and what kind of food he should eat as well as why exercising is essential for his general health.

How Do I Know If My Pug Has Breathing Problems?

It can be easy to confuse heavy panting with labored breathing. Still, there are clues like not wanting to play or go on walks, anxiety even when everything at home is normal, restlessness, high fever, and coughing, which can start as a dry cough and turn into frothy phlegm.


Surgery may be an option to correct more severe pug dog breathing problems. The vet will either remove excess tissue in the mouth cavity, throat, or nasal passages which are obstructing your pug’s breathing, or they will fit your pug with a pacemaker to help control his heart rate. Pug breathing problems surgery may sound scary, but vets are trained to take care of issues like this and will have your dog back on their feet in no time.

Wrapping Up – Why Do Pugs Have Breathing Problems?

Like humans, there are several reasons why pugs have breathing problems. Genetics and respiratory infections are pretty standard in pugs, especially in polluted areas. If your pug is overweight, over-excited, or anxious, it makes them breathe faster than usual (just like people!).

Hot weather and even brachycephalic syndrome can contribute to your furry friend having more trouble breathing than other breeds of dogs.

We hope that this article was helpful for you and that now you know why pugs have breathing problems and how to manage them properly.

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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.