5 Health Problems that Pugs Face

Pugs, like most breeds, are relatively healthy dogs. However, just like any other breed, pugs can have certain health issues.

Pug Health

Wheelchair pug and his best friend

Pugs are brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs, which garner them more health problems than other breeds. From luxating patella to weight problems, the list goes on. And, as a Pug grows older, they’ll start showing signs of such symptoms.

In this article, we’ll talk about five of the most common health problems that spell trouble for your furry friend.

NOTE: This article is NOT meant to replace professional medical advice. Always consult with your veterinarian for more information on Pugs and common health problems.

1. Coprophagia

Coprophagia refers to a dog’s nasty habit of eating feces. But don’t worry! It’s a common issue that most breeds might have, usually not because of a dietary deficiency, nor anxiety… but because dogs LOVE tasting their own – or other dogs’ – droppings.

Discouraging this behavior as soon as possible is essential, or your dog will think that eating poop is normal. Plus, this behavior can cause infections like intestinal parasites.

Make sure that your dog is tested for intestinal parasites, if they’re eating feces. Plus, make sure that all droppings are removed from the yard as soon as possible. As you discourage this disgusting behavior, your dog will grow to have suitable habits, and treat their condition.

2. Luxating Patellas

Dog wheelchair for paralyzed pug

Normally, Pugs are born with shallow stifle (knee) grooves and patellas (knee caps) that move either to the outside (laterally luxating patellas) or to the inside (medially luxating patellas).

In mild cases, that may not be painful, and observation is all that’s needed. In moderate cases, your pug’s luxating patella can be treated with joint protectants or anti-inflammatories. However, severe cases need surgery, so that future arthritis – a condition that can affect their mobility – can be prevented.

Pets whose mobility is limited by their knee injury, may need additional mobility support to stay active. A dog wheelchair helps to support a pug and lessen weight bearing. This helps to eliminate strain and pain in the knee, allowing for easier, natural mobility. A pug wheelchair promotes continued mobility, allowing the pug to walk on their injured back leg without injuring the knee further.

3. Interdigital Cysts On Paws

Pugs are more prone to interdigital cysts. The types of cysts are normally caused by stepping on wire grating, which is NEVER an appropriate substrate for sensitive pet paws.

And sometimes, interdigital cysts can occur without prior foot trauma, but mimic other diseases (i.e. tumors or foreign bodies). If a “cyst” is growing, or isn’t healing, consult your veterinarian.

When looking for interdigital cysts (which can be resolved without treatment), see if your Pug is favoring one paw over the others. Also, watch for discomfort, discharge, enlargement of the cyst, and failure to heal in 10 to 14 days. Or, your veterinarian can remove or lance the cyst and/or prescribe antibiotics or foot soaks to treat it.

4. Weight Problems

Walkin' Scooter an indoor pet mobility solution.

Pugs, genetically speaking, are prone to carrying extra weight, which leads to:

  • Breathing problems
  • Painful joints
  • Jeopardized mobility (being bedridden)

Fortunately, you can break the cycle by having your Pug exercise regularly, and stick to a suitable diet. And, this weight loss should be monitored by a veterinarian, to get the best results and advice.

When placing your dog on a high-quality diet, think low-fat food. With your vet, you can create a feeding plan, and get ideas on appropriate treats and snacks (especially treats like green beans, carrots, chicken and low-fat commercial treats).

For exercise, you can take your Pug for walks once or twice a day. Playing fetch, running in the yard, and swimming are also good activities for your dog. However, make sure that your dog is comfortable doing exercises. Never push your dog to do more. If they’re tired it’s time to stop. And, as always, have water available, and a cool place to rest inside after exercise.

5. Ear Infections

Ear infections are common, especially for Pugs. A condition called Otitis Externa infects one or both ears, with common signs including:

  • Discharge (brown or black, or bleeding)
  • Redness (especially in the ear canal)
  • Swollen ears
  • A strange odor coming from the ears
  • Your dog shakes their head, showing that they’re in pain

Therefore, owners should clean their pug’s ears with an ear wash, as part of grooming. Or, if Otitis Externa gets overwhelming for your dog, then your vet will prescribe antibiotics.

Mobility Loss in Pugs

Paralyzed pug uses Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair

There are many reasons why a pug may experience changes in their mobility. Senior pugs are prone to arthritis and hip dysplasia which can slow them down and make walking painful.

Conditions that Impact a Pug’s Mobility:

  • Slipped disc
  • Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Paralysis

Does My Pug Need a Wheelchair?

Pug in dog wheelchair goes for a walk

Every dog wants to stay active, and your pug is no different. Inability to walk leads to frustration and canine depression. Keeping your dog moving is beneficial to their mental and physical health. If you see any of the following signs of mobility loss in your pug, it’s time to consider a dog wheelchair:

  • Struggling to stand
  • Difficulty maintaining balance
  • Tiring easily on walks
  • Paralysis
  • Hind leg weakness


Just with any dog, Pugs often suffer from various health issues. Therefore, it’s important to care for your dog, and to watch for signs of abnormal behavior and any illnesses. These five common pug health issues are avoidable and can be treated. Always consult your veterinarian for advice on how to better care for your furry friend.

Katherine Rundell is a writer at Adelaide Writing Service. As a professional writer, she specializes in veterinary stories and dog health. And, she’s a proud owner of a pug named Pillow.

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