It is often said that small dogs live longer than large dogs. In this case, the Pug, with its miniature dimensions, should have a good life expectancy. But is this really the case? Find out below!

The Average Lifespan of a Pug

The average life expectancy of a Pug is about 11 years, but can be up to 15. This is actually a rather short lifespan for a dog this size; it’s quite similar to much larger dogs, such as the Golden Retriever or the Australian Shepherd. In reality, the Pug's life expectancy is sometimes threatened by health problems inherent to the dog's physical form.

The Problem with Brachycephalic Dogs like the Pug

Brachycephaly is the scientific word for a skull that is shorter than usual, in other words, “flat-faced”. It comes from the Ancient Greek brachy βραχύς, meaning "short", and kephalē κεφαλή, meaning "head". Brachycephalic dogs are very easily recognised by their squashed noses. They can be large dogs, like the Boxer, as well as medium or small dogs, like the French Bulldog and the Pekingese. The Pug is also a brachycephalic dog. Brachycephalic dog breeds have historically been selectively overbred for their particular physical peculiarity, leading to a phenomenon known as “hyper-types”. This sort of human intervention in dog breeding has unfortunately caused significant health concerns in hyper-type dog breeds. In the case of the Pug, for example, the snout was originally much longer and dogs with more squashed noses were crossbred to exaggerate the characteristic. This often prevents modern Pugs from breathing properly. These days, the situation is such that some airlines have even banned this type of dog from their flights after several tragic accidents. This is something to be aware of before proceeding with an adoption.

How Can I Increase My Pug's Life Expectancy?

There are a few precautions you can take that will help improve your dog’s quality of life and thus extend and protect their life expectancy.

Choose a High-Quality Diet

The good health of your dog is dependent on their stomach. As such, it’s important to provide your Pug with a high-quality diet, adapted to their needs. Low-quality dog food will have a direct impact on your Pug's health, and vice versa. You can offer your pup dry dog food, wet dog food, homemade dog food, or even a BARF diet. Whichever you prefer, be sure to select dog food that contains at least 25 to 28% animal protein. Remember that your Pug's dietary needs will change over time: a puppy’s food requirements will be different than an older dog, for example. Stick to the recommended daily quantity of dog food and go lightly on the treats!

Prioritise Dog Training

Training your Pug also contributes to their good health and longevity. By properly training and socialising your dog, you help to protect them from accidents. Coming to you when they’re called and walking calmly to heel are essential learnings that allow you to keep control of your Pug and keep them safe at all times.


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Limit Physical Activity

The Pug is not a great athlete and is also quite sensitive to high and low temperatures. As such, you need to be especially careful not to let your pup overdo it when the temperature rises. Brachycephalic dogs do not tolerate heat very well and heatstroke can be fatal. Likewise, do not put your Pug outside to sleep. This is an indoor dog, perfectly suited to apartment living.

Get Serious about Vet Check-Ups

Finally, take your dog for regular veterinary check-ups. Adhere to your dog's vaccination schedule and keep their antiparasitic treatments up to date to protect them from fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms. Brush your Pug regularly, and clean their teeth, ears, and eyes every week. When your Pug starts to get older, be sure to visit the vet at least once a year for a general check-up.

What are the Most Common Health Problems for Pugs?

Like all dog breeds, the Pug is predisposed to certain health problems:

  • Eye Problems: The Pug's protruding eyes are prone to redness and inflammation. Pugs can also be affected by cataracts, which is a gradual thickening of the lens of the eye, accompanied by decreased vision, or even blindness. Take good care of your dog's eyes in order to maintain their health.

  • Obesity: Pugs gain weight easily, thanks to their greedy nature. This excess weight can lead to obesity, which will have significant consequences on your dog's health, especially over a prolonged period. Obese dogs live an average of two years less than normal and often suffer from heart and respiratory problems. Be careful not to overfeed your Pug. Don’t give them scraps from the table, for example, especially as some human foods are very toxic to dogs!

  • Skin Problems: The folds and wrinkles of your Pug’s face require special attention. They are hotbeds for bacterial infections. Inspect your dog’s face regularly and clean it whenever necessary, drying the skin thoroughly afterwards.

  • Meningoencephalitis: Meningoencephalitis is a neurological condition involving inflammation of the brain. It particularly affects the Pug, as well as the Maltese dog. The symptoms are varied: seizures, behavioural disturbances, depression, etc. The disease progresses rapidly and the prognosis is quite poor, as not all dogs respond well to treatment.

  • Hyperthermia: Also known as heatstroke, this condition can be fatal in Pugs due to their breathing difficulties. As such, it’s important not to take your dog out during the hottest hours of the day in summer and to make sure that they’re properly hydrated at all times. Heatstroke is a veterinary emergency. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from it, contact your vet immediately.

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