Is My Pug Underweight? Is It Bad and How to Tell

There are tons of people offering advice out there about what to do if your dog is overweight. But what do you do if you find yourself asking, “Is my pug underweight?” 

Your Pug may be underweight if you can see their ribs, they are not eating a healthy diet, old age, they have worms or other parasites, or dealing with other health issues.

You might even find yourself wondering why your pug can’t jump onto the bed, and if they should even be able to. The answer is some can, and some can’t. It depends on your pug, and weight is only one factor to consider.

is my pug underweight

Some Pugs are tall and skinny, especially, if they are not a full-breed Pug.

For everything you need to know about your Pugs weight concerns, just keep reading. This article explains how much a Pug dog should weigh.

How to Tell if Your Pug Is Underweight

If you’re thinking you can just put your pug on a scale and that will tell you if they are underweight, you’re going to be a little disappointed. While typical pugs weigh between 14 and 18 pounds, your pug might weigh less and still be completely healthy.

Instead of looking at the scale to determine if your pug is healthy, try one of these two methods instead. If you still can’t decide if your pug is underweight after reading below, check out this helpful tool released by PetMD.

Check the Rib Cage

If your pug is standing normally, you should not be able to see their ribs. If you can, your pug is underweight.

However, if you are petting your pug you should be able to feel their rib cage. It’s a delicate balance that keeps your pug in a healthy weight range.

It’s All in the Waist

If you look at your pug’s waistline – the area between their ribs and hips – they should have a small indent. A pug’s waistline should not be as evident as other dog breeds, and if it’s more than a slight indent, they are underweight.  

Figuring Out Why Your Pug Is Underweight

why is my pug tall and skinny

While it’s good that you’ve finally answered the question of “Is my pug underweight,” you still have to answer the equally important question as to why your pug is underweight.

Some of the most common reasons for your Pug being underweight are:

  • Parasites
  • Diabetes
  • Medications
  • Insufficient diet
  • Disease
  • Teeth Issues


It doesn’t matter how much your Pug is eating if he has a belly full of worms. While it might not be fun to think about, it’s one of the most common reasons dogs are underweight.

The parasites steal the nutrients from their food, leaving your dog without the nutrients that they need. If you suspect that your dog has a parasite, you need to take them to a veterinarian.


Diabetes is one of the primary reasons a dog might be underweight. This can be an expensive condition for your dog to have, but the good news is that it’s treatable with medication, and your Pug will be back to a healthy weight in no time.


Just like human medications, medications for dogs can have unintended side effects. It might be a loss of appetite, or it might make them lose some weight even if they are eating. While you can’t stop their medications, there are some things you can do to help them put on some weight.

Insufficient Diet

It might seem like a no-brainer, but if your dog isn’t getting enough food or the food they are getting isn’t high quality, that might be the problem.

Ensure that you are feeding your dog the recommended amount of food and that it is from a great brand.


If your dog is sick, they might be losing weight as a result. There are tons of conditions that can lead to your dog being underweight, but cancer is the most common.

Teeth Issues

If your dog has inflamed gums or painful abscesses in their mouth it might be painful for them to eat. This might lead to your pug eating less food, causing them to lose weight. 

You Have An Older Pug

As your Pug ages, so does their diet. An older Pug requires different vitamins and nutrients than a younger Pug. If you’ve noticed that your senior Pug has lost their diet, you should check their food.

Consult with your veterinarian to make sure you’re feeding them the right food. Here are some of the best dog foods for senior Pugs.

Is It Bad If Your Pug Is Underweight?

You’ve probably heard of the health concerns related to an overweight dog, but the truth is that the health concerns of having an underweight dog are just as bad, if not worse.

Some common problems of an underweight dog are:

  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Reduction of bone density
  • Skin and coat problems
  • Hair loss
  • A weakening of the immune system
  • Muscle loss

The good news is that these concerns are primarily a concern if your dog stays underweight. If you can get it under control, you shouldn’t have to deal with any of these problems in the future.

How to Help Your Pug Gain Weight

The first thing you should do is talk to a veterinarian. You don’t want to be trying at-home remedies if your dog has a parasite or a serious disease that you need to address.

Once your vet has ruled out an underlying condition, there are a few at-home tricks you can try. The first thing you need to do is switch to a quality dog food. Pugs can be particular about their food, but a high-quality dog food from Blue Buffalo, Hill’s Science Diet, or a similar brand could do the trick.

From there, you need to feed them small meals often. Give your pug a chance to digest the food it’s already eaten before feeding them again. You can supplement these meals with some healthy weight-gain snacks to speed the process along.

Finally, you should carefully exercise your pug. It might sound counterproductive, but exercise will help them put on muscle and increase their appetite.

Be sure to check out our article on how to get a Pug to gain weight for more tips and advice.

One Last Trick

If none of the above things are working, Revival Animal Health recommends feeding your dog some chicken broth and parmesan cheese on top of their regular dog food. Feeding them small amounts of this won’t hurt them and might be just what your pug needs to put on those pounds!

Final Thoughts 

It can be frustrating trying to know whether your furbaby isn’t a healthy weight. Everyone is concerned about a dog weighing too much, but there’s not as much advice out there for a dog not weighing enough.

The good news is that it’s entirely treatable, although you might need to take a trip to the vet. With a little hard work and a lot of love, you’ll have your pug back to his healthy weight in no time!

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