What To Do When Your Pug Can’t Breathe? What You Should Know

Pugs tend to snort and pant heavily, especially, when they are in warmer temperatures. Pugs are prone to breathing problems and if you’ve ever wondered what to do when your Pug can’t breathe properly, you’re in the right place. Every Pug parent should know what to do when their puppy or adult dog struggles to breathe.

What To Do When Your Pug Can’t Breathe

As a Pug parent, you need to know the difference between normal Pug breathing and signs of Pug respiratory distress.

Just like a child, you will eventually learn all the sounds, your dog’s favorite foods, their potty schedule and etc about your dog. So eventually, you’ll know when your pooch has been out in the sun too much or just go overly excited.

what to do when your Pug can't breathe

If your pooch is having trouble breathing all of a sudden and you don’t know what to do, I recommend contacting your veterinarian.

How to Tell If Your Pug Is Having Trouble Breathing

Before you start panicking, it’s important to understand that this brachycephalic dog breed is prone to snorting, reverse sneezing and other sounds that may or may not sound adorable.

In fact, many people are drawn to these flat-faced brachycephalic dogs. They are prone to breathing issues because of their narrow nostrils and crowded nose and throat.

This video from Bondi Vet explains the signs to look for to help you know that your Pug isn’t getting enough air. You’ll find the signs that are discussed in the video below.

Signs Your Pug Isn’t Getting Enough Air

If you notice any of these signs, you will want to contact your veterinarian. I’ve also shared some of the most common reasons that can cause a Pug to have trouble breathing.

They will run a diagnostic test to see if your four-legged friend needs surgery.

The procedures will vary from widening the nostrils or removing excess nasal tissue. The costs will vary from vet to vet as well as the severity of the problem.

It’s important to take your Pug in for regular checkups to catch a problem before it becomes too serious.

As a Pug parent, you can’t go wrong investing in Pug dog insurance to help you offset any expensive veterinary bills.

Why Pugs Can’t Breathe Properly

Brachycephalic dogs like the Pug, Bulldog, Pekingese and etc all have flat faces and short noses that make it difficult to breathe. These dogs are prone to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome aka (BAOS), regardless of age.

The great thing is that you as an owner can take several precautionary steps to help ensure your pup is less likely to struggle from severe breathing attacks.

How to Help Your Pug Breathe Better

how to help Pug breathing problems
As a Pug parent, you can help your Pug breathe better

First of all, if your Pug struggles to breathe on a consistent basis, you will want to make sure they are not dealing with underlying health issues.

However, there are several things you as a Pug parent can do to ensure that your dog is as comfortable as can be. Below are some tips you can implement depending on the situation your pooch is dealing with.

Weight Management

Weight management is a must for all canines, especially, for Brachycephalic dogs. If your dog is carrying around more weight than their bodies are meant to, your dog is at a higher risk of suffering from breathing problems. In addition, the extra weight can also lead to joint problems and other health issues.

Most Pug owners can help their dog breathe better just by helping their dog shed some weight. Make sure you know how much a Pug should weigh before they become obese!

Obese dogs will struggle with breathing problems. In fact, they will breathe heavily when they climb stairs, run a short distance, walk, and etc. Regardless of what type of dog you have, you should always monitor their weight properly.

Trouble Breathing From The Heat

These brachycephalic dogs can’t tolerate heat at all. If you notice your dog is breathing heavy or struggling to breathe because they’ve been overexposed to the heat, you’ll want to grab a towel and an ice pack from your freezer.

Sit down beside your dog and wrap the towel around the ice pack and place it directly on your dog’s belly. This will help your dog cool down and start breathing normally.

We had to do this for our black Pug after she was out in the heat too long. It took about 10 minutes, but eventually, her breathing went back to normal. If you don’t want to use an ice pack, you can use a cooling vest for dogs to help keep them cooler in the hot weather.

Can’t Breathe When They Are Laying Down

It’s not unusual to hear a Pug breathing so loud when they are sleeping. If this is the case with your Pug, then you can try pressing its tongue down inside its mouth with your thumb or finger to their passageway.

Just like people, dogs tend to snore when their airway becomes obstructed and moving their tongue may help them breathe easier.

An easier way is to help your pooch breathe easier at night is to get a dog bed that positions your dog’s neck and head properly so the airway doesn’t become obstructed.

Difficulty Swallowing

If your dog is having difficulty breathing because you think they ate something they weren’t supposed to, you’ll want to clear your dog’s airway to help them out. You’ll know your dog is choking on something because they will look panicked, pace back and forth, and make retching sounds.

You will also notice that her chest is moving, but there are no airway sounds.

Once you clear their airway, their breathing should go back to normal.

Final Word On Pug Difficulty Breathing

The vast majority of short-snouted Pugs will have mild respiratory issues that won’t require surgery or an emergency trip to the vet.

Most Pugs will pant, snort, wheeze, snore, and breathe heavily at times, but it won’t be a major issue. Puppies tend to have fewer breathing problems than older Pugs, so keep this in mind as your dog ages.

Older Pugs tend to have more breathing problems that stem from their younger years.

It’s important to know what you as a Pug parent can do to help create a more comfortable life for your four-legged friend.

If more serious problems develop, you’ll want to contact your vet to discuss the different treatment options available. As long as your pet is happy and healthy, you can enjoy those cute cutes and loud snores.

References and Further Reading

Pet MD – Breathing Problem In Short-Nose Breed Dogs

American College of Veterinary Surgeons – Brachycephalic Syndrome

Black Pug Site