With their wrinkly faces, stubborn attitudes and sometimes labored breathing, pugs need special care from the time they are puppies. By taking care of your pug when she is a baby, you can prevent health and behavioral issues later on, making both of your lives easier.
Take your pug to the vet for a checkup when you first get her, and arrange for the necessary vaccinations. She needs periodic vaccinations as a puppy to prevent health problems down the line.
Train your pug to behave as early as possible. Pugs are an especially stubborn breed, and whatever behavior you encourage as a puppy she will keep up long into adulthood. As a grown-up, she won't want to break the habits she developed as a baby, so don't let those sad eyes and that wrinkly face tempt you into going easy on her now.
Clean your pug's face regularly. She may resist this as a puppy, but starting while she's young helps her go along with it throughout the rest of her life. Each day, gently wipe out her facial folds with a soft medicated pad or a moist, warm cotton swab. This keeps out dirt, grime and bacteria that can cause infections or make your puppy sick.
Elevate her food and water dishes. Like a bobblehead, a baby pug is all noggin, and when she bends down to grab something, she's liable to tip over. Funny as that may seem, your pug could end up faceplanting in a dish of food or water, which is both uncomfortable and dangerous.
Monitor your pug's temperature. Pugs are temperature-sensitive at any age, but when they are puppies, extremes in temperature are a serious health risk. Puppies may have difficulty breathing in hot and cold temperatures, and they are susceptible to chills and pneumonia when they aren't protected from nippy weather. Make sure that your baby pug has a sweater he can wear when the temperature drops, and if it's hot or humid, keep him in a climate-controlled environment unless he has to do his business outside.
Portion your puppy's food carefully, always adhering to the directions on the package. Puppy food is formulated for the needs of a fast-growing baby, so provide that for your puppy according to the instructions. And never give your pug table scraps, as this breed is prone to obesity—not to mention that she'll start to expect it, and those bulging, begging eyes don't easily relent.
Walk your pug puppy in a harness instead of using a collar. Because of their flat faces and internal makeup, pugs can have a tough time with breathing properly, so traditional collars pose a mild threat to their health. Harnesses are preferable with this breed.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.