Pug health problems

Breathing problems

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) results from a range of health conditions that occur due to Pugs' shortened muzzle and flattened face. Some of the factors that contribute to this condition include narrow nostrils and an elongated soft palate. These cause breathing problems in affected dogs, which then results in overheating, intolerance to exercise, and  snorting and snoring, as well as other health issues.

The dog’s breed, clinical history, symptoms, and a physical examination will allow a vet to determine a diagnosis and provide a treatment plan depending on the severity of the syndrome.

Skin problems

Skin Fold Dermatitis

Skin fold dermatitis is often found in pugs because of their wrinkly skin and occurs when an infection forms between their rolls of skin. A pug’s skin is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, yeast and fungi - which then leads to the inflammation and infection of the skin - but this can be prevented.

As a pug owner, it’s important to keep your dog at a healthy weight and to clean and dry the skin folds regularly, to keep them free from this condition.

Eye problems


Entropion is an uncomfortable condition in which the eyelid folds inward towards the eyeball, causing the eyelashes to rub against, and cause damage to, the eye itself. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage and affect a dog’s sight.

Ointments might be able to ease some discomfort and decrease damage to the cornea, but surgery is required to fix the eyelid.

While any dog can have entropion, it can also be caused by a dog’s genetics, meaning it’s not always preventable.


An eyelid ectropion occurs when the eyelid droops or rolls away from the eye, and you will be able to see the red or pink tissue below the whites of the eyes. Ectropion is often an inherited condition, but can be a symptom of another condition or occur as a result of an injury.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and will often be managed by ointments, but surgery may be required for the more serious cases.

Corneal ulcers

Eye ulcers are damage to the cornea, or the surface of the eye, and can vary in size and severity. Pugs are more susceptible to this condition but it can also be caused by trauma, infection or disease, meaning there are certain ways to prevent your pet from developing a corneal ulcer.

By protecting your dog’s eye and avoiding long grasses, undergrowth and bushes you will be helping prevent an injury that would result in an ulcer.

Joint problems

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

Dysplasia is when a dog’s elbow or hip joint develops abnormally, meaning that the ball and socket don’t fit properly, resulting in deterioration and pain for your dog. Pugs will usually show signs of this painful condition between six to 12 months of age as it’s often caused by the dog’s genetics, but it can develop from improper exercise when their joints are still developing as they grow.

Treatment for this condition depends on the severity of the condition but can vary from anti-inflammatories to surgery.

Luxating Patella

Luxating patella is when a dog’s kneecap doesn’t stay where it should and dislocates from its groove. With its abnormal positioning, it’s usually characterised by a sudden lameness. Owners might notice their pet skipping or hopping while walking or running, and then return to normal as if nothing happened.

It is often a genetic condition in pugs and is so varied between patients that vets have developed a grading system based on how mobile the kneecap is.

Treatment for a luxating patella can depend on a dog’s grading but while some can be left and monitored, others will be given anti-inflammatories or even corrective surgery.

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