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Feeding & Dietary Needs of Pugs

Source: PetWave, Updated on June 03, 2016

Overview of a Pug's Dietary Needs

Pugs are small, energetic dogs with ancient origins that love to play, and also love to eat. Many Pug owners agree their dogs don’t eat to live, they live to eat. In order to provide a Pug with the proper nutrition and energy sources they need to sustain a long and healthy life, they require a high-protein diet and the right portions to guard against weight gain.

What To Feed A Pug

Pugs can run all day and then run some more. While older Pugs may slow down a bit, they never quite lose their love of running, chasing and playing. Because they are such high-energy dogs, Pugs require a protein-based diet that is balanced with complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Always choose food that is sourced from natural ingredients. Take care to read those ingredients, rather than taking the word of the label on the bag. The protein in a Pug’s food should come from the muscle meat of animals or from fish. Never choose food that lists animal byproducts, as these contain little if any, lean meat and can even include parts like feet, beaks and feathers.

When examining the carbohydrates in a food, seek out brands that list ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes and brown rice. These carbs burn slowly throughout the day, offering Pugs a steady source of energy and guard against spikes and crashes in blood sugar.

Developing Healthy Skin And Coat

Excessive shedding can be a sign of poor skin and coat quality, but Pugs are naturally heavy shedders which can make it difficult to determine whether or not the dog is having issues. When dry skin is present and when the coat is dry and brittle, it is likely a sign that the dog is not consuming the proper level of healthy fats. Omega fatty acids are necessary in a Pug’s diet in order to help maintain skin moisture levels.

If a Pug is taking in a good amount of healthy fat but skin flakes or rashes persist, this could be a sign of food allergies. Dogs can have difficulty processing the fillers and indigestible grains found in many foods. Seek out brands that contain digestible grains like rolled oats, rice or barley.

Common Issues Relating to Diet

The body type of a Pug is compact and solid, but that bulk puts a disproportionate amount of weight on the joints. Thus, they are very prone to arthritis. Additionally, their short snouts can lead to breathing difficulties. Extra weight will exacerbate these issues and can put the dog at additional risk of heart disease, stroke and other issues. It is critical that owners maintain the exercise level of a Pug, and provide the dog with a high-quality, lean diet to ensure proper weight.


Feeding a Pug a balanced diet is critical for health, but their brachycephalic faces can make it difficult to breathe while eating. Offer food in a wide, low-rimmed bowl, which can help the dog get to his or her food easily without shoving their snouts down into the dish. Every Pug is unique, and their energy levels can vary significantly. The amount of food a Pug eats should depend upon caloric needs rather than volume, which may mean straying from feeding instructions on the package. Work with a veterinarian to determine just how many calories your individual dog requires at each stage of life in order to ensure health and happiness.

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