My Pug Died Suddenly [Causes & How to Cope With A Sudden Death]

Welcoming a new Pug into your home is one of the most exciting and vulnerable things you can do in your life. It’s exciting because Pugs are loyal companions that will bring you years of joy. However, dogs like humans are vulnerable to conditions that can cause health problems or even sudden death.

There are many reasons why a pug may suddenly die. Knowing the risks allows you to better protect your beloved pet.

Why Did My Pug Die Suddenly?

Pugs are well known for their flat face and short snouts; sadly, these characteristics make Pugs prone to breathing difficulties, which can lead to heart issues and obesity which can lead to health problems and even death. Other issues that can cause sudden death in all dogs regardless of the breed are; internal bleeding, bloat, and toxin ingestion.

my Pug died suddenly

You likely already know this, especially if you’ve done your due diligence before getting a dog. However, losing a life companion is never easy.

Can Pugs Die Unexpectedly?

Pugs will generally live a long lifespan, however, according to a study at the Purdue University Small Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, nearly 10% of dogs died unexpectedly over a five-year period.

As a pet owner, it’s essential to know what can cause unexpected death, signs, and symptoms to look out for, and how to handle the sudden death of your four-legged friend.

Unfortunately, sudden death can affect Pugs of all ages, even puppies.

We are NOT veterinarians and if you suspect your Pug is experiencing any health-related issues, consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to provide health-related advice and treatment your four-legged friend requires.

We are NOT veterinarians and if you suspect your Pug is experiencing any health-related issues, consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to provide health-related advice and treatment your four-legged friend requires.

Causes of Sudden Deaths for Pugs

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Brachycephalic syndrome is a condition that arises when a dog’s face is too short. The most common cause of this condition is a lack of room in the facial anatomy to accommodate the large eye, nose, and mouth.

This condition is extremely common in breeds such as Pugs, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and Boston terriers.

Brachycephalic Syndrome Death from heatstroke is the most common cause of death in brachycephalic breeds, but that’s not all they’re at risk for.

In fact, breathing problems are also very serious because they can lead to heart problems.

Believe it or not, when these vital organs overcrowd the skull, it can lead to suffocation when the animal starts panting heavily. In worst cases, Brachycephalic Syndrome can also go undetected until the Pug passes away.

The pain that results from this syndrome is so severe for pugs because it restricts their ability to breathe and even bark.

BOAS is one of the most common reasons Pugs die early.

Heart Problems

One of the more common causes of death in Pugs is heart problems. Dogs with heart problems may show symptoms including sudden weakness, fast breathing, coughing, difficult breathing, lack of coordination, collapse, and a blueish purple tongue which usually means they’re having trouble breathing.

Sometimes Pugs are born with heart problems, but sometimes they are caused by something else. Heart problems also can worsen if an infection is left untreated or pressure on the body isn’t relieved.

It’s not always easy to tell if. your Pug is having heart problems. Therefore, the best thing to do is have your vet give your Pug a physical exam so she knows what her current condition is and the risks factors for your Pug.

Once it’s determined your pooch does have a bad ticker, the veterinarian will be able to suggest different treatment options, medications, etc.


Pugs, just like many other breeds of dogs, can suffer from obesity. They have a very deep and broad chest and upper body and short legs. Obesity is a silent killer for both humans and dogs.

Extreme weight gain can cause heart disease and high blood pressure, which are also linked to breathing problems. Pugs are prone to more prone to obesity, therefore it’s important to ensure you’re feeding them proper portions of high-quality dog food.

Pugs that suffer from obesity are more prone to laryngeal paralysis and a collapsing trachea which are respiratory conditions that block the airway.

It’s important to keep your Pug at a healthy weight so they don’t face any serious health complications. You can find out what your dog weighs by visiting their vet every six months.

Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if your pooch is overweight, as well as recommend the right food, snacks, and portion sizes to feed your pet.

Other Reasons for Sudden Death

Internal Bleeding

While not a very common condition, internal bleeding can lead to death. It is important for any pet owner to know the warning signs of internal bleeding in a dog, and what could potentially cause it.

Signs of internal bleeding in a pet include an enlarged abdomen, suffering from shock, excessive lethargy, lack of appetite, and pale gums or tongue.

External factors that may contribute to an internal injury in animals might include eating or swallowing small items that could damage other organs such as teeth and foot pads which are also found in the mouth.

Ingesting poison can also result in digestive system damage that leads to internal bleeding because toxins irritate blood vessels.

Bloat (GDV)

Bloat is a disorder that causes digestive system distention. The stomach fills with gas and twists and stretches the stomach, cutting off blood flow which leads to a slow death.

Symptoms include intense pain, retching, an enlarged abdomen, and a painful belly.

The cause of bloat is unknown. All that is known is bloat occasionally happens in elderly small dogs. Without treatment, your Pug can go into shock, and eventually die.

If caught early, veterinarians will likely perform surgery to deflate the stomach and turn the internal organs into the correct position.

Toxin Ingestion

Toxic ingestion is when a dog eats anything poisonous. This can be, for example, Nicotine (cigarettes), chocolate, grapes/raisins, xylitol (sugarless gums and candy) onions, or garlic (in larger quantities).

Toxin ingestion is especially dangerous to small dogs like pugs because they don’t have enough body mass to dilute the substance ingested which can lead to poisoning.

A Pug’s instinctive behavior is to eat things they find on the ground which can make them easy targets for ingesting toxins, so you should always be looking out for any toxic substances in your home or yard that could hurt your dog. If he ingests something poisonous then take him immediately to the vet for care and treatment.

There are several different things that can cause toxic ingestion, and some of the treatments depend on the type of toxin.

Signs Your Pug Is Dying

Now that you are aware of the common reasons a Pug can die early, it’s important to be aware of the signs. Some of the most common signs are:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of coordination
  • Loss of interest in everything

I’ve written an in-depth article that the 10 signs to look out for, to help you spot the signs.

If your dog is ill and their condition is becoming worse, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

How to Handle The Loss of Your Pug?

The loss of a pet is never easy. It’s a difficult time for you and your family, but there are ways to cope. Grief is an intrinsic part of the process, so it’s important to know that this will come naturally.

Allow yourself the time needed to grieve and keep your pug’s ashes close as you go through the process. When my Pug Mindy passed away, I had her body cremated and purchased an urn to keep her ashes nearby. It may sound weird, but it makes me feel better whenever I look at it.

You can also find comfort in sharing your experience with others who have gone through the same thing; remember that someone out there has been there too.

You may feel like you’re grieving all over again when another pet dies or you visit a shelter to adopt a new pup, but reaching out and sharing your experience helps, and knowing that someone else has been there can help greatly.

Final Word

If your Pug has died suddenly it’s likely due to one or several of the reasons above. I know this doesn’t make you feel better, but just like a human can die for no apparent reason, so can dogs.

Even if you’ve done everything right, there are still risks. Knowing what can cause a Pug’s death can help you better protect your beloved pet and hopefully avoid the heartbreak that comes with losing a life companion.

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