The pug's a cute little booger. Undeniably unique, the breed has a brachycephailc face, a choosy temperament, a hearty appetite and skin folds, all of which are factors to consider when selecting a diet that will contribute to his optimal health and well-being.
Loving and Loyal
Pug parents agree their wrinkle-faced friends are loyal and affectionate, and their loyalties include diet. According to Regina Woodruff, an AKC-registered pug breeder from Sweetwater, Tennessee, "Pugs have hearty appetites, but they can be picky about what they eat." Her pugs prefer lamb over chicken and beef. She feeds her adult pugs strictly dry food, and canned food to her puppies. "Experimenting with different flavors will help determine their favorites," Woodruff says.
Feeding the Folds
A pug's skin wrinkles are notoriously adorable, but they are prone to skin allergies. One dietary measure that can help prevent a pug's skin from itching is to increase the amount of omega-3s and omega-6s he eats. These combined nutrients are called EFAs. They're derived from fish oil and have been reported to enhance the skin by strengthening the top layer for protection. You can provide additional EFAs in supplemental form, or you can find higher-EFA formulas from some specialty-diet dog food manufacturers. Speak to a vet before you make changes to your dog's diet, regardless.
Your pug has a brachycephalic jaw, and a strong grip on anything he bites into. The shape of his jaw affects the way he grabs food, the way he chews and the way he swallows. The most ideal kibble for him to eat is smaller and flatter in size. This helps him to ingest less air when he's eating, and improved absorption of the nutrients in his food.
Because he loves to eat, your pug is at risk for obesity. As tempting as his bulging eyes may be, feeding your pal from the table and adding those extra calories is not recommended, at least not by Regina Woodruff, who says, "I have cut pug treats out of the daily schedule." A diet that contains the appropriate calories per cup should be measured and fed daily. Avoid diets that do not include a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Referring to the American Animal Feed Control Officials guide of nutritional standards is helpful, as is having a conversation with your veterinarian.
- Regina Woodruff, AKC-Registered Pug Breeder, Pug Dog Club of America, Falling Waters, West Virginia
- U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Laboratory for Dermatolical Research: Analysis of Epidermal Lipids in Normal and Atopic Dogs, Before and After Administration of an Oral Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Feed Supplement, a Pilot Study
- WebMD: Malocclusions in Dogs
- RoyalCanin: Kibble Science
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
Based in Chicago, Jennifer Lutz has extensive experience in the veterinary field including writing, editing, consulting, education, sales and clinical work. Her articles have appeared in "Chicago Tails Media," The Nest Pets and Webvet. She has a Bachelor of Science in zoology from Michigan State University, and certification in medical writing and editing from the University of Chicago.