Pugs are a small breed of dog, belonging to the toy group in most kennel club registries. They are brachycephalic, which means they have short, flat faces. Though generally healthy, pugs can become obese, developing skin and other nutrition related problems. Because of this, it is important to feed your pug a healthy diet.
Quality, Lean Proteins
To prevent obesity, it is important to limit saturated fats in your pug's diet. At the same time, you should capitalize on healthy fats, such as the omega fatty acids found in fish oil. For this reason, it's recommended to feed lean, quality proteins such as salmon, whitefish, chicken and turkey. Though less common, duck, mackerel and sardines are also good choices. Avoid proteins such as beef and venison as these can often be too rich for the pug, resulting in gastric upset such as diarrhea and gas.
Skip the By-products, Glutens and Undefined Sources
When shopping for a food to feed your pug, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully. While good marketing may make the food appear healthy, a close look at the ingredients may tell another story. Be cautious of foods containing by-products as these are often indigestible products designed to add bulk and a false protein count. Likewise, glutens, such as wheat and corn gluten, are essentially added sugar and often a source of stomach upset and weight gain. Finally, if there is an undefined fat or protein, such as animal meat, walk away. This could literally mean anything.
Fresh is Best
When feeding your pug, remember, just like with humans, nutrient bioavailability is crucial. What does that mean? The fresher the food, the healthier it is. There are many dog food options these days. The Whole Dog Journal does an annual review of foods on the market for quality and freshness. Whatever food you choose, adding snacks of fresh food such as carrots, berries, steamed fish or boiled chicken can improve your pug's overall nutrition. Just remember that anything you add as snacks must be considered when computing overall calories for the day.
Probiotics and Supplements
One of the most common problems with pugs is digestive upset. These comical little dogs can sometimes suffer from anxiety and related digestive issues. To help alleviate problems, it's recommended to keep your pug on a quality probiotic. These supplements help keep the intestines balanced and functioning, staving off bouts of diarrhea, constipation and gas. Likewise, depending on your pug's age and overall health, you may want to consider a joint supplement.
Veterinarians and Nutrition Consultants
If your pug is suffering from a specific medical condition, it's recommended that you work with your veterinarian and a qualified nutrition consultant. Obesity, thyroid problems and allergies are just some of the conditions that can be addressed with a specially designed diet. Your veterinarian likely will want to confirm your pug's needs by running blood work. A nutrition consultant can help develop a diet that will address any special needs.
Shelly Volsche has worked as a professional dog behavior consultant, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and a diploma in canine nutrition. She has written for "The Chronicle of the Dog" and Lucky Dog Magazine and is currently pursuing her PhD in anthropology with a focus on pet parents.