If you’re considering getting a pug, knowing how hard it is to look after a pug is really important. Or maybe you’re considering dog-sitting for your friend or family member who has a pug. In either case, it’s a great question to ask.
Are Pugs Easy To Look After?
Adult pugs are fairly low-maintenance dogs. They want to be near you often, and they require a daily walk, daily food and fresh water, and regular nail trimming and baths. Their wrinkles need to be kept clean and dry, but that’s about the only unique care that pugs require versus other dog breeds.
I’ve blogged before about how pugs are clingy and how pugs don’t do well when left alone a lot. These are both very true, and if you’re asking yourself if you are a good match for a pug, it is important to consider how much affection you like to give and receive from pets. If you like a really independent dog who will do its own thing most of the time, a pug is not a great choice. They aren’t independent dogs.
Which many may assume to mean that pugs are high maintenance dogs…but that isn’t really true. They are clingy, but not needy.
What I mean by this is, you just have to be comfortable with your dog following you around, sitting near you or on your lap. As long as you’re happy with that? You don’t have to give them special care. They just want to be close to you as often as possible. They don’t necessarily need to be played with or given more one-on-one attention than other dogs. They just want to be close by you.
Pug Basic Daily Needs
Like all dogs, pugs have some basic daily needs. They should be given constant access to fresh water for drinking, and they need to eat at least once a day. Puppies need to be fed multiple times a day. Pugs should be taken outside multiple times a day to go to the bathroom. Pug puppies need to be taken outside more frequently.
Pug Activity Needs
Pugs are relatively low-energy dogs. Mature pugs are usually couch potatoes, and even younger adult pugs are usually pretty low energy. Pug puppies are a different story. They don’t have excessive energy when compared to other puppies, but don’t get a pug puppy if you want a couch potato – get an older pug.
Pug puppy activity needs.
Pug puppies will need a couple of short walks a day, and you’ll want to play with them regularly and try to keep them mentally focused, too. I got my pugs when they were adults, so I don’t have experience with pug puppies yet.
However, I’ve seen others say that the trick with pug puppies is to keep the from getting bored mentally, rather than tiring them out physically. Giving them their meals in a kong or slow kibble dispensing toy will help calm them down better than giving them tons of exercise.
Sometimes people think pugs are unintelligent dogs. I think the crossed-eyes and general “goofy” cartoon style that pugs are often drawn in contributes to this misconception. Pugs are not low-intelligence dogs, they’re considered to be pretty average intelligence compared to other dog breeds. As puppies, they need to be given “brain food” to calm their energy.
Adult pug activity needs.
Adult pugs are low energy dogs. They should still be given a walk each day, and playing with them, taking them to the park or dog park, etc is all great for their health. Some pugs are even athletic! However, they aren’t high-strung dogs who need tons of exercise. This is good news for apartment dwellers because pugs make good apartment pets.
I have a whole blog post about pugs activity needs if you want to learn more.
Pug Hygiene Needs
Like all dogs, pugs have some hygiene needs. They should be bathed at least monthly. Pugs have thick fur and shed year-round, so they require regular brushing. They need their nails trimmed frequently enough to keep them from getting too long. Pugs often have excess skin that results in wrinkle folds in their face or in other places on their bodies.
Any areas where their wrinkles form creases, they should be cleaned more regularly (in some cases, as frequently as daily) to keep bacteria from growing in those folds. Their ears should be cleaned about once a week. Some pugs have a lot of ‘eye boogers’ and those may need cleaned as often as daily. One of my pugs needed their eyes cleared of boogers a couple times a week, the other only had eye boogers on rare occasion.
Pug Training Needs
Pugs are known for being hard to train. This isn’t a result of their intelligence (they aren’t intelligent, though it’s a common misconception). They can be hard to train because they are stubborn! So they may know what you want them to do, but they may not want to do it. Potty training in particular is a common struggle for pug parents.
I got my pugs while they were adults, and they were house trained and had good manners, so training wasn’t necessary. However, if you get a pug that is a puppy or isn’t well-trained when you get them, you may have to invest a lot of tie into their training initially. Once a pug is well-trained, then their behaviors are usually easy to maintain.
Pug Health Needs
If your pug doesn’t close their eyes while sleeping (some don’t due to their eye and head shape) they will be prone to excess eye-boogers and dry eye. These pugs usually need daily eye drops.
As mentioned earlier in this post, pugs need a small amount of regular exercise, such as a daily walk.
All dogs should see their vet at least once a year for a regular check-up. Whether your pug will need o see the vet more often will depend on if they have any health conditions or illnesses.
If you’d like to learn about what health issues you may have to assist with if you get a pug, check out my blog post common health problems in pugs.
Like other dogs, it’s important to get them vaccinated, and to keep up with flea and tick and heartworm preventative medications.
Pug Emotional Needs
Pugs were bred to be lapdogs. As a result, they live to be at your side! They do not do well if left home alone, or not given much attention. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be direct attention such as playing fetch with them for hours a day.
They are quite happy to get ‘attention’ from you by sitting near your feet while you do the dishes or work on an art project, or sitting on your lap while you watch a movie or play a video game.
Are Pugs Expensive To Look After?
How expensive pugs are to care for really depends on the specific pug. Some pugs can be sensitive to skin issues unless they are on high-quality, more expensive dog food. Some pugs will have medical problems that require frequent vet visits, which can be rather expensive. Other pugs may do well on affordable dog food and may have no health concerns. It really varies.
Personally, my pugs were not very expensive to care for until they were 14+ years old, when they started t have health issues due to old age. I bought them mid-level dog food which was around $60 for a 20lb bag but that would last over 3 months and would feed both dogs, so overall it was still quite affordable thanks to pugs being small and not eating a lot of food.
The other expense we had for them was flea and tick medications (averaged out to $20 a month total for both dogs), and the occasional vet visit, probably $300 or less spent at the vet each year. Overall, this meant the necessary expenses of owning both dogs was under $500 a year some years.
In their final years, we spent much more time and money at the vet, tripling or quadrupling those expenses.
Are Pugs Hard To Look After?
Pugs aren’t particularly hard to look after. Many pugs have a few unique hygiene needs (cleaning their eyes and wrinkles). Most pugs need to be around their people frequently (not left home alone too much). In all the other areas of dog care, pugs are either easier to care for than other breeds, or as-hard, not harder. Overall, I’d say pugs are a low to average maintenance breed.
Are pugs hard to dogsit?
Most pugs aren’t hard to dog sit. If you’re unsure about a specific dog and its needs, it’s best to ask their owner if they have any medical conditions/needs. You can also just ask their owner if they have any problem behaviors or unusual needs.ac Puppies are almost always higher maintenance than adult dogs. As long as an adult pug has been house trained, they are usually pretty easy to watch over.