Pugs and Weight Management

Originally Written for Pug Partners of Nebraska – Please visit their website to find out how you can help Pugs!

Every problem Pugs are prone to is magnified if they are carrying extra weight. Breathing issues become more severe. Joint issues become more painful. Even wrinkles become deeper!  Obesity may even worsen conditions that may seem unrelated, such as allergies and other immune problems.

Unfortunately, Pugs are also genetically prone to being overweight.  This does not have to become a hopeless cycle. Start now to keep your Pug fit and at an appropriate weight, and you will minimize and perhaps even eliminate many problems in the future.

Pugs should be broader at the shoulder and chest than most dogs, but their body condition should be muscular. They should have a slightly tucked in waist, and ribs that can be felt, but not seen.  Weight loss, if indicated, should be guided by your veterinarian and spread over several months.

Provide your Pug with a high quality diet, perhaps a low fat version of his normal food. Consult with your veterinarian as you formulate his feeding plan while he is losing weight and once he is in great shape.  Your veterinarian can also give you ideas on treats and between meal snacks.  Consider weight loss goals and your pet’s preferences. Some treats to consider are green beans, carrots, chicken and low fat commercial treats.

Walk your Pug as often as you can. Once or twice a day is ideal. Playing fetch, running in the yard and swimming, if he or she enjoys these activities, are also great, but walks will most likely be the crux of your exercise program.  Base the length and intensity of the first walks on your Pug’s fitness level. Do not push him or her beyond what can be done comfortably.

Remember that all dogs are prone to heat stress, and Pugs and other brachycephalic dogs are more sensitive than most. If your pet seems at all uncomfortable during exercise, be grateful that though they may be overweight, they are still portable and can be scooped up and carried home if needed! Have water available on your walk, and a cool place to rest inside after exercise.

Over weeks and months you can increase the duration and intensity of exercise until you are both in peak condition.

Stephanie Alford’s Typhoon

No beer for dogs in real life!  But you knew that, right?

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