Why Do Pugs Scratch So Much And Should You Worry?

As pet owners we tend to become nervous when we see our Pug scratching, licking, or barking more than usual. Unfortunately, there are several reasons that a dog will obsessively scratch. Let’s take a look at why your pooch has suddenly started scratching so much.

WARNING: We are not veterinarians or medical experts, so be sure to consult your vet if your pooch is scratching uncontrollably.

Why Do Pugs Scratch So Much?

Dogs scratch for several reasons and it could be because they are suffering from dry skin, allergies, skin infections, hormonal imbalances, pain, boredom, or parasites. It can be difficult to know what your pooch has, especially, if this is your first time owning a Pug.

why do pugs scratch so much

Don’t worry, we’ll share some insights about each possible reason that can be causing your pooch discomfort. We’ve already written an article on how to relieve your Pug’s itching, so be sure to read it.

Unfortunately, dogs can’t talk and tell us what is wrong, so it’s up to you as a pet owner to figure out what’s causing them to scratch so much.

Let’s take a closer look at why your Pug is scratching so much and what to do about it.


my dog is scratching but doesn't have fleas
One of the first things you should do is check for fleas. This is the most common reasons dogs scratch.

One of the first things you should do if your Pug starts scratching uncontrollably is check for fleas and ticks. They can be hard to see with the naked eye and will only cause more discomfort and can multiply rapidly causing serious illness if not eliminated.


All pet owners should use some type of flea treatment for your pooch, whether it’s flea prevention medication, flea pills or etc. These will help protect your pup while they enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Plus you won’t have to worry about bringing them catching a ride on your furbaby and coming into your home.

Talk to your veterinarian to find out what type of flea prevention they recommend for your four-legged friend.

Pug Skin Allergies

Another reason that Pugs scratch so much is because their skin becomes itchy due to skin allergies. Unfortunately, this brachycephalic breed is prone to allergies and other skin problems. If your dog suffers from skin allergies, you’ll notice an increase in their licking, chewing, or scratching behavior.


Allergies can be hard to address, especially in dogs. Your Pug can be allergic to their food, allergens in your home, environmental allergens, medications and etc.

Before you can treat your pup’s allergies, you first have to figure out what’s causing them. If you’ve noticed that your dog has started scratching more since changing their food, it may be that your dog is allergic to a specific ingredient in their new food.

If you still can’t tell what’s causing your dog discomfort, you will need to contact your veterinarian. The first thing they’ll probably ask is what has changed in your dog’s routine to help them determine what triggered the allergies.

Boredom or Anxiety

Some humans deal with anxiety and boredom by biting their nails, popping their knuckles, picking their hair and etc. Bored dogs can also pick up bad habits like scratching the walls, their ears, or biting and chasing their tails.

A canine’s bad habits can become so that your dog scratches themselves until they start to bleed.


If your Pug is bored, it usually means that they are inadequately stimulated. The easiest way to fix this is to ensure your pooch is receiving enough exercise, attention, and love. If your pooch spends a lot of time alone, make sure they have plenty of toys to play with.

After a few days, you should notice a difference in their behavior and hopefully, the excessive scratching has stopped. If not, then you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with your local veterinarian.


pug wearing a cone
It’s not uncommon for dogs to scratch, lick, or chew their wounds and sutures.

Most dogs will scratch uncontrollably if they are dealing with pain. For instance, if your dog just got surgery, they’ll probably lick, scratch, and chew their sutures to help make them feel better. Unfortunately, this is a common canine behavior after getting a wound or having surgery.


A quick scratch with a powerful hind leg can cause severe damage to a wound or tear open sutures easily. Therefore, you may want to consider having your dog wear an E-collar to prevent them from accessing the wound or sutures that need to heal.

Dry Skin

Just like humans, dogs can develop dry skin if you use the wrong products on your pooch. For instance, if you give your dog a bath and use the wrong type, it can cause your pup’s skin to become dry and itchy. Bathing your Pug too often can cause dry out their skin.

The cold weather can also wreak havoc on your dog’s skin.


When giving your pooch a bath, make sure you use a shampoo that is pH-balanced for dogs. Even though this breed smells pretty bad, they shouldn’t be bathed more than twice a month.

You may also want to consider protecting your pup with doggie clothes if they are going to be exposed to extremely cold weather for long periods of time.

Genetic Factors

Pug scratching face
If your dog is bored, they will scratch the walls, their face, ears and etc.

Unfortunately Pugs are prone to develop itchy skin issues that can cause them to lick, chew, and scratch uncontrollably. Those adorable wrinkles are floppy ears are known to develop yeast or bacterial infections, especially in moist, warm environments.


Even though Pugs are genetically disposed to bacterial and yeast infections, you as a pet parent can help decrease their chances of being affected. The best way to do this is to make sure you clean their ears and wrinkles on a regular basis.

We used to do a quick daily wrinkle cleaning with these wrinkle wipes. It’s really easy to do and only takes a few minutes each day.


It’s not uncommon for older dogs to deal with hormonal imbalances such as; hypothyroidism, which is caused by a decrease in their thyroid. Hypothyroidism causes your pup’s skin to become itchy, greasy, and foul-smelling.


You’ll want to take contact your veterinarian so they can diagnose the issue and help find the right treatment plan for your pooch.

Cushing’s Disease

This condition causes your pooch to experience thin skin, hair loss, and sometimes itching. It is a condition that is trigged by overactive adrenal glands.


This is a serious condition that will require veterinary treatment. They will examine your pet’s unusual skin problems to find the best treatment options.

Ear Mites

Dogs will ear mites tend to scratch excessively at their ears and shake their heads uncontrollably. Ear mites look like eight-legged spiders that are difficult to see with the naked eye. They feed on your pup’s oil and ear wax, while making your pooch extremely uncomfortable.

The most common symptoms of ear mites are; vigorous head shaking, ear scratching and twitching, and a dark waxy discharge from the ear canal.


Cleaning your Pug’s ears on a regular basis can help you spot the ear mites quickly. If your pooch has ear mites, you’ll want to take them to the vet to get them treated quickly, to help your pooch get relief and prevent reinfestation.

Final Word On Why Does My Pug Scratch All The Time

It’s not unusual for dogs to scratch themselves. However, if your dog is constantly scratching and it’s driving you crazy, it could be a sign that they are dealing with some underlying issue.

Monitor your dog’s scratching behavior closely and if you they’ve been scratching for several days or they’re starting to draw blood or tear through their skin, it’s time to speak to your vet.

References And Further Reading

Merck Manual Veterinary Manual – Karen A. Moriello, DVM, DACVD – Itching (Pruritus in Dogs)

VCA – Earnest Ward, DVM, Rania Gollakner, BS DVM – Cushings Disease in Dogs

Pets WebMD – Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Black Pug Site