If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll notice that I’m completely obsessed with any and all animals with a smooshed face. The technical term (if you want to be fancy about it) is brachycephalic, which roughly means having a broad, short skull. This includes Persian and exotic cats, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and of course the beloved Pug.
I’ve been considering adding one of these flat faced furries to my clan, and while I hate being a negative Nancy, one of the characteristics I consider first when researching an animal is health and longevity. I like to know that my new pal will be a part of the family for as long as possible.
A Dog’s Life
First, let’s touch on the lifespan of a dog in general terms. There are several things that contribute to the aging process of your pupster. According to Canine Journal, factors such as breed, size, spayed/neutered status, and indoor vs outdoor all play a part. On average, a domestic dog’s lifespan is 10-13 years.
However, since there are so many variables, it typically helps to convert the age of your dog into human equivalent years to get a feel for whether they are teenagers or more like senior citizens. To do this, Cesar’s Way suggests the most accurate calculation is to subtract two from the age, multiply that by four and add twenty-one (who knew there would be so much math in paw-renthood).
Long Live The Pug!
Curious how many numbers end up in the Pug’s equation? Luckily—and somewhat surprisingly—Pugs are actually among the top ten longest-living dog breeds, measuring in at 12-15 years.
In fact, Pugalug explains that while Pugs are a bit high maintenance when it comes to minor ailments such as overheating and allergies (the struggle is real for me too), they aren’t prone to many serious genetic diseases.
In addition to this fact, Pugs also enjoy an extra trip around the Sun due to their small stature. Breeds between 10 and 25 pounds generally live the longest.
Canine Journal makes this easy to understand by comparing the idea to that of human longevity. A person who weighs 400 pounds, for example, presumably wouldn’t live as long as someone who weighs 180. The same is true in the dog world. A Great Dane who can weigh up to 200 pounds has an average lifespan of 6-8 years whereas a Lhasa Apso (am I the only one who is never sure how say or spell that one) who weighs up to 18 pounds can live for over 18 years.
The Four Horseman of the Pug-ocalypse
While Pugs do live a long life, there are a few things to be on the lookout for. According to Pet Pug Dog, there are four main factors that can shorten your precious pooch’s life.
4. Congenital diseases (anything present at birth) include things like heart defects. There isn’t anything you can do to prevent these unfortunately, but the earlier the detection, the better the chance for proper management.
3. Infection, this doesn’t include common yeast infections and rashes that develop between skin folds. Although, care should still be taken to make sure that staph doesn’t infect any open sores or abrasions. A broad range of fatal diseases such as parvo, various tick spread infections, and fungal infections exist that your Pug can pickup from a simple romp in the yard. Making sure the Pug prince or princess is up to date on all vaccines is the best method of protection.
2. Cancer is yet another filthy bandit trying to steal precious paw-rent/Pug bonding time. More specifically, Pet Pug Dog reveals that 25% of all tumors found are skin cancer. Other common forms of cancer are mouth cancer, lymphoma, and testicular cancer. The leading cause of watermelons (all this talk of Pug fatality was bumming me out, so I’m going to say watermelons instead) in Pugs is a neurological disorder called Pug Dog Encephalitis.
1. Pug Dog Encephalitis is a fatal swelling of the brain that causes seizures, lethargy, loss of muscle control, and watermelons. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of research on this disorder since it is breed specific.
It can help to have veterinarian insurance for your Pug. According to the Pugalug website, Pugs are particularly prone to eye issues due to their smooshed faces, making this feature often the most prominent.
A minor scratch can escalate to a serious ulcer requiring an extremely expensive and complicated corneal grafting procedure in as little as 24 hours. The volunteers at Pugalug will advise potential Pug parents to expect to experience an eye related issue at least once. Having insurance can be a real blessing should your furbaby experience a health related emergency.You can check out the Pet Insurance website for more information and to compare rates.
On a lighter note, if you’re curious how to keep your Pug around for a long career of secret keeping and co-signing on your bad decisions, here are a few quick tips from Pug Village.
- Trips To The Vet: Just like you (are supposed to) keep up with yearly doctor’s visits for your own health, you’ll need to make sure to keep your Pug up to date on his or her vaccinations and vet visits as well.
- Neutering/Spaying: Making sure to get your Pug fixed is an important part of their long-term health. It eliminates the risk of developing fatal cancers of the reproductive organs.
- Stay Out of the Deep End: Pugs can’t swim, so make sure to keep an eye on them if you have a pool or other body of water nearby.
Bonus Fact: While you’re here, why not check out our article on the 18 Pug Instragram accounts you should be following. You know you want to.