Have you ever heard someone say that Pugs are “so ugly they’re cute”? If so, it’s very likely that person has only encountered one or more of the unfortunate many Pugs that are overweight. It’s a safe bet to say that if you can see your dog’s waist and feel his ribs, he’s at a healthy weight. When a Pug, or any dog for that matter, is overweight, it can and will cause several other health problems such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and orthopedic problems. Pugs, potentially moreso than other breeds, have a voracious appetite for anything edible. This includes chap stick and gum, which is potentially fatal to dogs if it contains Xylitol, as most sugar free gums do. Gum is also not pretty coming out the other side, and your Pug will likely need your manual help to pass it! So, you have to be careful in what you leave lying on the floor or in your Pug’s line of sight. Since your Pug is the king (or queen) of your castle, this can really be anywhere in plain sight.
Pugs live to eat, they don’t eat to live. Although there may not be a documented case, it is a well-known belief that any Pug would literally eat until its stomach burst. That is why it is important to measure out your Pug’s food and feed him small amounts a couple times per day. You cannot simply leave food out and expect your Pug to eat it as his leisure, as you can with other dogs. From the second you put the food in the bowl, your Pug will eat until the food is gone. Pay close attention to your Pug’s food label on the recommended amount of food.
It is also a good idea to consider giving your Pug a light or diet food. There are several excellent brands that offer a “healthy weight” option, including Blue Buffalo and Science Diet dog foods. Both of these brands can be found at most pet stores in Ann Arbor, including the national chain stores, as well as local places like Huron Pet Supply and Wags to Whiskers. A lot of veterinarians carry these brands as well.
Another very important part of keeping your Pug at a healthy weight is exercise. Yes, your Pug would be perfectly content to lounge around on your/his bed all day with the occasional trip outside to use the facilities or going back and forth to his food dish. But, your Pug also absolutely adores physical activity. Get out your Pug’s leash and he will start screeching like an owl. If you already have a Pug, you know the sound well. Your Pug really does love to walk, but he also just wants to be with you and make you happy. Much to the surprise of many passersby, your Pug may also enjoy going for a jog with you or even going cross-country skiing. Yes, although he may despise the snow the rest of the time, Pugs have been known to enjoy winter sports! It is difficult to find skis to fit him, though. There are several recreation areas that allow you to bring your dog on the cross-country ski trails with you. They include Brighton Recreation Area and Lower Huron Metropark. Just be aware that same as he would do with eating, your Pug would walk/run/ski with you until he couldn’t anymore. You will have to ease him into his exercise routine – don’t make him run a 5K right off the bat.
So, yes, it is possible to keep your Pug at a healthy weight. Your loving companion – and your vet – will certainly appreciate you putting in the work and the desired result. Most importantly, keeping your Pug healthy will mean several more years you will have together!