Why Do Pugs Get Fat? What Causes It & How to Prevent It

Even at a normal weight, pugs already look pudgy because of their body structure. This explains why some owners won’t notice that their pugs are getting fat until it’s too late. 

Why Do Pugs Get Fat?

So, why do pugs get fat? These ravenous pets eat whatever food their owner puts before them and engage is as little activity as possible.

Obesity in pugs causes various health complications, some of which are fatal. The good news is that the pug owner can prevent this before it becomes difficult to handle. Let’s look in detail at why pugs get fat, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

why do pugs get fat

Overeating

Every pug owner knows that pugs love to eat. They have a high appetite and don’t realize when they are full. One of the reasons pugs overeat is because of continuous food stimulation. 

When you cook a meal, and your pug smells it, their natural canine instincts will kick in, and it will want some. You might mistake this for actual hunger and continue feeding it, whether it’s hungry or not. 

If your pup is overweight, here’s how to get your Pug to lose weight.

Pugs will overeat if you’re serving them small meal portions. They’ll gobble up lunch quickly and get hungry shortly afterward because they’re not full. Then, most owners will give their dog one or two treats at this point. 

The same will happen at dinner time, and within a few weeks or months of this pattern, you’ll notice the pounds packing on. What’s worse is that most times, they overeat unhealthy treats with excess sugar and fat. A health condition like diabetes is also a trigger that causes overeating.  

Limited Exercise

Pugs are prone to obesity because they are not physically active dogs. They engage in little to no activity, mostly preferring to lay around or occasionally play with their owners. Pugs are not lazy; rather, they have natural hindrances like short legs and inherent breathing problems that restrict their activity.

Their short noses and narrow air passages limit oxygen flow, making it difficult to breathe. Physical activity that demands more oxygen than they can take in will make them tire quickly. It can also cause overheating and fainting. The risks are higher during hot weather.

Age

The metabolism of a pug decreases as it grows older. An old pug will have the same appetite as another adult pug, but with a slowed-down metabolism, it won’t be able to lose as many calories. This will lead to weight gain over the years. 

Consequences of Pugs Getting Fat

fat Pugs
A fat pug is an unhealthy Pug that will need to be put on a diet.

Getting fat is a huge risk for pugs because it aggravates underlying health conditions. Pugs will suffer these health conditions:

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome

Pugs have this asthma-like syndrome due to their narrow nostrils, which makes it difficult for them to breathe. Getting fat narrows the airways further, making breathing even harder. It gets worse if they engage in any extended physical activity.

  • Arthritis and Joint Problems

Dysplasia is an inherited disease in pugs that affects their elbows and hips, resulting in arthritis. As they grow older, their joints become stiff, making movement painful. Overweight pugs will develop arthritis before normal weight ones.

  • Heatstroke

Pug owners should be concerned about their dogs’ health during hot weather. Naturally, pugs aren’t in a position to regulate their temperature to cool down. This puts them at risk for heatstroke, which is fatal within a few minutes. Fat pugs will have a harder time with little to no chance of survival.

  • Diabetes and Liver Disease

Pugs are more at risk of diabetes than other breeds. They can’t naturally regulate their blood sugar and metabolism and may need insulin daily. Unhealthy eating and obesity increase the risk of diabetes and, eventually, liver disease.

  • High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

These complications are a result of excess weight.

  • Short Life Expectancy

All the above health issues reduce the quality of a pug’s life. Unfortunately, fat pugs lose an average of two years from their life.

How to Prevent Pugs from Getting Fat

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is the best way to keep a pug healthy. Since they eat a lot, it’s best to load them with nutritious food at the right proportions. It can be confusing for pug owners to determine the best food to buy with all the food available on the market. 

It’s best to consult with a vet if you’re not sure so that your pug is getting all the nutrients it needs. Some healthy options include homemade food if you can afford it. This can include ground beef, chicken, or lamb mixed with cooked carbohydrates like potatoes. Freeze the cooked food so that it doesn’t spoil. 

Some vegetables, like green beans and carrots, are harmless and great for your pug’s health. Stay away from toxic fruits like currants and grapes, the pits of plums and peaches as they can cause kidney and heart complications. 

Other harmful foods include onions, garlic, mushrooms, and avocado. Sometimes, they like sniffing the trash can. Spoiled food may not be toxic, but it can make your dog sick.

Occasional Treats

Most treats are generally unhealthy and fattening. However, there’s no harm in having a treat once in a while. Many pet stores sell a variety of treats, including hot dogs, cheese, and meat bites. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises dog owners that treats should be no more than 5 – 10% of the daily food intake. 

Pugs also love fruit for treats. These include bananas, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and apples (without the core). Not only are they nutritious and hydrating – perfect for warm weather, they are also tasty. 

Create A Meal Plan

Before creating a meal plan, consult with a qualified veterinarian on the types and quantities of food and treats your pug should have to stay at a healthy weight. The veterinarian will help you with the meal plan to ensure that there’s adequate daily nutrition.

Having a meal plan will help you and whoever you live with to stay on track with your pug’s healthy eating plan. Take it a step further by measuring the food for each meal into portions to eliminate any chances of overfeeding your pug.

Mild Exercise

Pug running with ball
Playing catch can help prevent your Pug from getting fat.

Pugs need daily exercise to keep the extra pounds at bay. Exercise also helps to strengthen their respiratory and circulatory systems. The idea is to make sure the exercise is light, doable, and fun. During the hot months, it should be early in the morning or later on in the evening when it’s cool.

Pugs benefit more from short daily walks than one long walk over the weekend. Two to three short walks per week are also good if you can’t make it every day. This can be at a nearby park or around the neighborhood block.

Each pug is unique, so the owner should observe how far their furry friend can walk before they get tired. Generally, a maximum of 25 minutes at their own pace should suffice. However, if they start slowing down or over panting, it’s time to end the walk. 

Other exercise ideas for pugs include playing with other dogs, playing with toys, and playing catch in the backyard.

Weigh Frequently 

Weighing your pug helps you know whether it’s still within a healthy weight range or if you need to change something about the diet. Here’s how much a Pug should weigh.

You can do this on your visit to the vet or at home with your weighing scale.

Final Thoughts

Pugs are susceptible to various health conditions, and getting fat only puts them at a higher risk. Owners should make sure their dogs are physically fit by giving them healthy food, fewer treats, and regular, short bursts of exercise. 

Preventing excess weight is better than struggling to lose it. It will be harder for them to go on a diet or exercise when they are heavier. Regular visits to a qualified veterinary doctor and involving them in the meal plan and general wellness of the pug is also beneficial.