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Do Pugs Have Breathing Problems?

Vet in blue scrubs with a startled face listening to a black pugs chest

Pugs are a brachycephalic breed. Brachycephalic is a big word that simply means shortened head. You can see this characteristic the moment you see a Pug puppy or adult. What this shortened head does is create a smaller windpipe in the dog making it tougher for them to breathe.

The good news is that it is the older dogs that will struggle more with breathing than the younger ones. The puppies seem to be fine and do not suffer from as many attacks as the older dogs in this breed do.

But there are other sources that contribute to these breathing problems and if you watch out and cure those sources, your dog should breathe easier.

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Do Pugs Really Struggle To Breathe?

Not all Pugs will struggle but their abnormal windpipe and the respiratory system do make it hard for them to breathe when they exercise or are playing. Most people point to the short muzzle and flat face as the main source of breathing issues.

However, it is not just the short muzzle or flat face that makes it hard for a Pug to breathe. There are other sources that influence the difficulty breathing in Pugs. One such source will be their weight.

If the dog is overweight, and this is especially so in older Pugs, then they will have difficulty in breathing. Walking may even make it a struggle to breathe. If your Pug is over 7 years of age, they need regular vet visits to catch any potential illness, etc., that would affect its ability to breathe.

When you see your pet struggling to breathe, take him or her to the vet for proper treatment. Sometimes keeping them from human interaction is all that is needed to get your Pug to breathe normally again.

What Percentage Of Pugs Have Breathing Problems?

4 Pugs on leashed standing in grass

It is only an estimate but about 50% of all Pugs will have to endure breathing problems. The figure may be more or it may be less than 50% but that is as close as anyone can get to in calculating the percentages.

That is a little good news because you have a great chance of selecting a Pug puppy that does not have any trouble breathing. If by chance you do get a puppy that develops breathing issues later on in life, there are medications that will help relieve their struggle.

However, those medications are not a permanent cure and only provide temporary relief. These medications are available over the counter as well as by prescription from your vet.

They may come in handy if you are on vacation and do not know a good vet in your area. Be careful as not all triggers to these breathing problems can be solved by using medication.

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Why Is My Pug Making Weird Breathing Noises?

Pug looking sideways at the camera

The good news is that many of these weird noises are normal behavior for a Pug. Nothing is wrong with them, they just make those noises doing everyday Pug things. The normal noises are as follows:

  • Gulp to catch their breath
  • Snore
  • Pass gas
  • Have reverse sneezing

The tricky part is learning the difference between normal noises and abnormal ones. The abnormal ones are sounds like:

  • Pant
  • Burp
  • Have loud breathing

However, some of those noises are normal for some Pugs but not all of them. This makes it hard to tell when your Pug is really struggling to breathe. If these sounds get too heavy, your Pug may be suffering from overheating, or too much exercise.

It takes a while to learn the difference between normal and abnormal breathing.

How Can I Help My Pug Breathe?

Woman exercising on a yoga mat with a  pug

Before you go to the vet, there are some home remedies you can try first. If these techniques work, then you have saved yourself a trip. If they do not, then take your Pug to the vet for professional help.

  1. Do some light exercises- Play with them a bit or take them for a short walk.
  2. Provide your Pug with some warm water- Dehydration is one source of difficulty breathing in Pugs.
  3. Do not let them get overweight- Keep them on a strict diet to avoid over-feeding your Pug.
  4. Keep their food and water dishes elevated- This keeps their head up making it easier to breathe as they eat.
  5. Keep the house cooler- Heat is not the Pug’s friend.

Some Final Words

Close up portrait of a pug in a ray of sunlight

Owning a Pug is not always fun and games. Not every owner will have to worry about the Pug’s breathing problem but every Pug owner should know how to recognize abnormal breathing and what to do about it.

That way if their dog contracts breathing problems, they know what to do. If all else fails, take your Pug to the vet.

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