A Pug’s lifespan is 12-15 years, which is a relatively long life for a dog. Before you buy a Pug you should familiarise yourself with any health issues they could be prone to suffering from so you can make an informed decision and be aware of how to manage these. All the details can be found below.
What can affect a pug’s lifespan?
A pug can be afflicted with several health problems and these are mainly due to the structure of its body. Some are preventable and some can be managed. A pug owner should make sure they know how to spot the signs of problems should they arise. Let’s look at these in detail.
Elongated Soft Palate
The soft area at the back of a dog’s mouth is known as the soft palate. If this grows further back than normal it can extend into a pug’s larynx (voice box). This condition is referred to as an elongated soft palate and can block the entrance to the dog’s windpipe. It is one of the most common reasons for a pug suffering from breathing problems.
This condition is generally alleviated with surgery to shorten the elongated palate and so freeing the airway from blockage. The operation usually necessitates a stay in a veterinary hospital for 48 hours and the healing process can take several weeks. A full recovery is usual, especially in younger dogs.
This is commonly known as pinched nostrils and is a condition where the nostrils are smaller than usual. This makes airflow to the lungs more difficult. This condition is very common with the pug. A vet can easily diagnose this condition with a visual inspection. Surgery to widen the nasal passage can rectify this problem.
In puppies, this condition can seem worse when they are teething and in some cases, surgery is postponed until the teething phase has passed. This condition generally goes hand-in-hand with the elongated palate issue in which case both issues are corrected at the same time.
The windpipe is surrounded by rings of cartilage. If one or more collapse inwards, this is referred to as collapsed trachea. A pug with this condition makes a very distinct honking sound which can worsen when the pug exercises, gets excited or in hot and humid weather. Breathing is usually labored and the gums may turn blue because of the lack of oxygen. The pug may also find it difficult to eat and drink. Vets can diagnose this ailment from the distinct honking cough. An X-ray is used to confirm if the tracheal rings have collapsed.
If it proves to be a minor case, anti-inflammatory drugs and cough suppressants may be prescribed and these should give a satisfactory relief and improvement. A harness-style lead should be used to prevent pressure on the neck. in fact, is always recommended with pugs to prevent this condition from developing.
If it is a severe case medicine will not help and surgery is necessary. Prosthetic polypropylene rings are inserted into the exterior of the dog’s trachea by a specialist veterinary surgeon. The success rate is about 80% and is more successful in pugs under 6 years of age
Everted Laryngeal Saccules
The soft tissue masses located in the folds of a pugs larynx are known as laryngeal saccules. Everted laryngeal saccules is a condition where these tissues swell and cause an obstruction to the airway. The signs are coughing and breathing difficulties. This condition can have a sudden onset and within just a few days it can become life-threatening.
Mild cases may initially be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs but moderate to severe cases will need corrective surgery to remove the problematic saccules.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
This term is used when a pug has stenotic nares, collapsed trachea and everted laryngeal saccules all at the same time. Having all 3 of these conditions puts a lot of stress on a pug. In most cases, all three conditions can be corrected during operation.
This is the name for the condition where a pug’s knee cap slips out of place. The weakening of knee ligaments is assumed to be genetic but it can also occur through injury.
A pug might feel pain as the slippage occurs but then may not display signs of distress for several hours or sometimes days when swelling develops causing great discomfort. Signs of this injury are:
- A sudden yelp of pain followed by a limp and then a quick recovery quickly
- Reluctance to go for a walk
- Yelping if you try to manipulate the area
A vet can confirm this condition with an examination or an x-ray Sometimes, the knee can be eased back into place. Sometimes it may slip back naturally. The ligaments and surrounding tissue will need time to heal in order for the kneecap to remain back in place. Lots of rest and anti-inflammatory drugs will be required. The resting part may require keeping the pug in a cage (or a playpen) full of toys.
This is a genetic condition that involves the degeneration of the hip joint and socket. Although pugs are born with this, the signs may only materialize months later. Pugs are barrel-shaped with a lot of their weight carried over the hip area. Because of this, the condition can worsen quickly.
Look out for:
- Limping – difficulty walking, trouble getting up from a laying-down position and reluctance to move too much
- Clicking – The hip may make a click during movement
An x-ray is used to determine the extent of the dislocation and there are many non-invasive treatment options to aid recovery to the extent that the pug regains pain-free mobility.
The 4 top causes of death in adult pugs
These are the top cause of death in pugs and refer to any disorder of the dog’s nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
The most frequently seen and fatal neurological disorder is seen with the Pug breed is Pug Dog Encephalitis. This causes an inflammation of the brain which in turn causes seizures, lethargy and loss of muscle control.
Pugs can suffer from skin tumors, mammary tumors, testicular tumors, mouth cancer and lymphoma. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in pugs. Hey, cancer sucks, one day this will be a thing of the past though, right?
This includes a range of diseases as follows: viral disease (parvovirus, distemper), bacterial infection (leptospirosis and most tick diseases), fungal infections (blastomycosis, histoplasmosis) and protozoal disease (babesiosis and leishmaniasis).
This is any disease or illness that is present at birth including heart defects, septal defect (improper blood flow) and stenosis (abnormal narrowing of a passage in the body).
Extending the Lifespan of a Pug
Pugs are prone to obesity and this can lead to heart problems, breathing problems and affect the hips and joints. It is important for a pug to maintain a healthy weight to live a long and healthy life. Here are some tips:
- Buy good quality food
- Avoid unhealthy snacks
- Stick to a meal plan.
- Give a daily vitamin and mineral supplement
A sedentary pug will not be healthy but too much exercise can lead to health issues and breathing problems
On hot days walk your pug early in the morning and in the evening when it is cooler. Ensure it drinks plenty of water.
Proper grooming is essential, paying particular attention to the wrinkles to maintain healthy skin and avoid skin infections.
Dental care is important too since infections in the mouth can spread to the bloodstream if they are not treated. As a pug ages, it will lose its teeth if good oral hygiene hasn’t been administered over the course of his life.
A Stress-Free Life
Like us, a stressful like does us no good and nor does it do animals any good. You should know the things that stress them out now but try not to leave them alone for long periods. Give them lots of attention, play with them and do all the things that you used to do with them when they were a puppy. They have short lives compared to us (but longer than a lot of dogs) – help them have the best of lives by giving them attention when required and providing them with the environment to have the best of lives.
Where did the name ‘Pug’ come from?
Pug. It’s a funny little name, isn’t it? The dictionary definition of the word pug is: a dog of a dwarf breed like a bulldog with a broad flat nose and deeply wrinkled face. Hmm, it seems to me that someone looked at a pug dog and wrote that definition to match.
Looking back in time at the origin of the word, it was first used in the 1560s as a term of endearment when talking about people. Jumping forward 100 years from then, the meaning became imp, sprite, demon or monkey and it was in 1750 that it was used to describe the cute little dog with a flat nose and wrinkles. The Latin word pugnus means fist so some believe that as the pug’s head is a bit like a clenched fist this is why it was so named.
So what is a pug’s lifespan?
I think it is safe to say that the lifespan of this cute dog is dependent on many factors some of which are in your control and some that are not. All you can do is carefully monitor a pug’s health to give it the best chance of leading a healthy and happy life! However, on average, their lifespan is between 12 and 15 years.
Finally, if you’re wondering what I consider to be ‘the best‘ dog, do check out my article – you may disagree!