Prior to getting my pugs Frank and Beans, I had no idea how dramatic pugs could be! I had spent plenty of time around other dogs, but never pugs. I always thought dogs basically could do a couple types of barks and whines and that was about it, noise-wise. It was surprising and funny to me to find out that pugs make all sorts of noises beyond just barking.
I love how expressive pugs are, I think it allows them to “communicate” with us better than most other dog breeds manage to communicate with people. It makes it easier to connect with them on a really deep level when you seem to know a lot of what they are thinking or feeling.
At times though, the ways pugs can communicate can be challenging or sad. Like when they cry. Not whimper or whine, but really cry, like what you would describe as bawling.
If you found this post and you were referencing more ‘regular’ crying, I also have a blog post on pug crying.
Pugs are more expressive than many other dog breeds, they can cry rather intensely at times. If your pug is bawling they are most likely either very afraid, or in a lot of pain.
Some videos of pugs bawling while getting their nails trimmed have gone viral in the last couple of years. If you look those up, those are a good example of the way pugs can cry when they are scared.
After one of those pug nail trimming videos went viral I had someone ask me if pugs really make sounds like that. My pug Beans never cried. Frank on the other hand was very vocal. He cried, screamed and bawled at different times. He really hated getting his nails trimmed so he would scream when they were getting cut sometimes.
The other time when we dealt with pug bawling with frank was when he was in pain. Sadly, he developed rear-end weakness that worked up his spine. We were able to get him on some pain medication that helped. However, when it first became painful, it happened almsot overnight. Suddenly he was bawling almost non-stop. It was like a really loud, intense, and constant whining. He would stare at us while making the noise, clearly trying to communicate to us that he was in distress.
How to cope with pug bawling really bad
If your pug is bawling because of being afraid of something, then avoid the source of their anxiety if possible. If it’s not possible, such as fear of getting their nails trimmed, you can try to do it more slowly, to let them adjust.
With frank’s fear of getting his nails trimmed, we’d trim just one nail at a time if that’s all we could do before he’d get super upset. This required us to make attempts frequently so that we could get all his nails trimmed within a few days. Of course, if we went too slowly then it would take weeks to get them done.
If your pug is bawling at night or while you aren’t home, that’s likely separation anxiety. Pugs are clingy dogs who want to be at your side 24/7. If you can let them be with you, that will help. If not, leaving an item of clothing or a blanket that smells like you may bring them some comfort. If you kennel them, putting a blanket over the kennel so they can’t see out may encourage them to stay more quiet.
It seemed to help him adjust somewhat to getting his nails trimmed if each experience was a bit less distressing. If we had pinned him down and forced him to cut all nails, it would have been a really distressing experience for him and he’d probably be more afraid of having it done in the future. So, we tried to find a middle ground between taking care of his nails without making it traumatic for him.
If your pug is bawling because of pain, get to the vet as soon as possible. I’d even consider going to an emergency vet if you can’t get an appointment the day that your pug is bawling. Their pain is probably quite severe if they are bawling so it’s important to get them care as quickly as possible.