Skip to Content

Pug Lifespan: What Affects a Pug’s Longevity & How to Extend It (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

pug life spanAs a pug owner, you can expect your furry friend to live 12-15 years on average. Smaller pugs tend to live longer, while those bred for appearance rather than health may face more issues. Mixed-breed pugs often have a lower risk of genetic conditions.

To maximize your pug’s longevity, provide a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper grooming, and timely veterinary care. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential, as obesity is common in pugs and can aggravate other health problems.

By understanding the factors that affect pug lifespan, you can take proactive steps to extend your companion’s golden years.

Key Takeaways

  • Pugs have an average lifespan of 12-15 years, with smaller pugs tending to live longer.
  • Proper care, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, grooming, and veterinary care, can help extend a pug’s lifespan.
  • Breeding practices, such as selectively breeding for specific physical characteristics, can lead to health issues and shorten a pug’s lifespan.
  • Common health issues in pugs, such as obesity, respiratory problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, skin disorders, and lip-fold pyoderma, can be managed with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups.

Pug Lifespan

Pug Lifespan

Pugs are renowned for their endearing countenances, but their life expectancy can be impacted by diverse factors. On average, pugs live between 12 to 15 years, which is marginally longer than the customary life expectancy for canines.

However, their breeding lineage for specific aesthetics can result in health complications, such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), pug dog encephalitis (PDE), skin infections, hemivertebrae, and obesity.

To safeguard a pug’s longevity, it’s paramount to maintain an appropriate weight, provide nutritious sustenance, offer regular physical activity, and adhere to meticulous grooming practices. Routine veterinary examinations and vaccinations are also indispensable for the early detection and prevention of health issues.

Factors Affecting Pug Lifespan

Factors Affecting Pug Lifespan
As a pug owner, you should comprehend that your dog’s lifespan can be markedly influenced by aspects such as stature and lineage. Smaller dogs like pugs generally live longer, while those reared exclusively for their appearance, rather than practicality, often confront more health concerns that can diminish their lifespan.


Pug lifespan and health issues are closely linked, with the breed’s smaller size contributing to a longer lifespan but also making them prone to health problems due to their breeding history. Size is a significant factor in a pug’s longevity, as smaller dogs generally live longer than larger ones. Here are three key points to keep in mind:

  1. Smaller dogs live longer: Smaller dogs age more slowly and live longer than larger dogs, as observed throughout the animal kingdom.
  2. Breeding for looks: Pugs are bred for flat faces, short muzzles, and wrinkles, which can lead to health problems.
  3. Genetics and body type: Genetics play a significant role in a pug’s lifespan, with predispositions to certain health conditions that can affect their longevity.

Understanding these factors can help pug owners provide better care and extend their pets’ lives.

Breeding for Looks Vs. Jobs

Breeding practices play a significant role in the health and longevity of Pugs. The breed’s unique physical characteristics, such as flat faces and short muzzles, have been selectively bred for, leading to health issues. These breeding practices have resulted in a higher prevalence of certain health problems in Pugs compared to other breeds.

Pugs are prone to brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which is a condition that affects their ability to breathe due to their short snouts. This condition can lead to respiratory distress, which can shorten their lifespan. Additionally, Pugs are susceptible to Pug dog encephalitis (PDE), a fatal neurological disorder that affects young Pugs.

Responsible breeders are aware of these health issues and endeavor to breed Pugs that are as healthy as possible. They prioritize genetic diversity, which can aid in reducing the risk of health problems. Breeding for jobs, such as working dogs, can also lead to healthier animals, as the focus is on functionality rather than appearance.

Mixed breed Pugs, such as Puggles (Pug-Beagle crosses), can inherit a mixture of genes from both breeds, which can result in a lower risk of health issues. However, it’s paramount to ensure that the breeding is done responsibly, with the health and welfare of the animals being the top priority.

As Pug owners, it’s vital to work with responsible breeders, feed high-quality food, maintain a healthy weight, provide health-promoting supplements, and offer regular exercise. Regular check-ups and vet visits are also essential for early detection and treatment of health issues. By taking these steps, we can aid in improving a Pug’s life expectancy and ensure they live a happy, healthy life.

Purebred Vs. Mixed Breed Dogs

When choosing a pug, you might wonder if purebred longevity trumps mixed breed health. Here’s the scoop:

  • Mixed breeds often outpace purebreds in the health department.
  • Breeding impact on pugs can shorten their lifespan.
  • Genetics play a dicey game with appearance health.
  • Regular pug hygiene and veterinarian visits are non-negotiable.

Common Health Issues in Pugs

Common Health Issues in Pugs
As a Pug owner, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your furry friend’s health. Obesity, respiratory problems, Legg-Perthes disease, skin disorders, and lip-fold pyoderma are all common issues that can affect a Pug’s wellbeing and longevity.


As a responsible Pug owner, it’s essential to comprehend the significance of weight management in preserving your furry friend’s health and lifespan. Pugs, like many breeds, are predisposed to obesity due to their love for food and tendency for weight gain. However, with proper diet, exercise, and regular check-ups, you can help your Pug achieve a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related health issues.

Firstly, verify your Pug is receiving a balanced diet rich in protein and moderate fat content. High-quality dog food specifically formulated for Pugs can provide the necessary nutrients while avoiding excessive fillers or artificial additives. Remember, portion control is critical, so consult your veterinarian for personalized advice on feeding amounts.

Secondly, regular exercise is imperative for maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, such as brisk walks and playful activities. Be mindful of weather conditions, as Pugs can struggle in extreme heat due to their breathing issues.

Thirdly, consider feeding your Pug smaller, more frequent meals instead of one or two large ones. This can help regulate their metabolism and prevent overeating. Use a measuring cup or scale to precisely control portions.

Fourthly, opt for healthy, low-calorie treats and chews. Fruits and vegetables safe for dogs, like small pieces of apple or carrot, can be used as treats. Be mindful of the quantity of treats given and ensure they make up only a small percentage of your Pug’s daily calorie intake.

Lastly, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring your Pug’s weight and overall health. Your vet can guide the ideal weight for your specific Pug, suggest dietary changes, and check for any underlying health issues that might be contributing to weight gain. They can also recommend a customized exercise regimen and monitor your Pug’s progress.

Respiratory Problems

Respiratory problems are common in Pugs due to their flat faces and short muzzles, which can lead to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). BOAS is a condition where the bones of the skull shorten, but the soft tissues (palate, muscles, nasal tissues or turbinates, and tongue) fail to similarly reduce in size, causing upper airway breathing problems. This can result in exercise intolerance, noisy breathing, difficulty thermoregulating, and regurgitation of food or saliva. Pugs are also prone to laryngeal collapse, which is more common in this breed than in other brachycephalic breeds.

To manage respiratory problems in Pugs, it’s essential to maintain a healthy weight and avoid overeating, as obesity can exacerbate breathing difficulties. Regular exercise and playtime can help prevent obesity and improve overall health. Grooming and hygiene, including regular brushing, ear cleaning, and dental care, are also vital for maintaining respiratory health. Regular check-ups and vet visits, including annual check-ups and vaccinations, can help detect and treat respiratory issues early. If your Pug experiences heavy or distressed breathing, contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic immediately. In some cases, surgery to widen the Pug’s narrow nostrils or correct an elongated soft palate may be recommended.

Legg-Perthes Disease

Legg-Perthes Disease, also known as avascular necrosis of the femoral head, is a condition that affects the hip joint in young dogs, particularly small breeds. It’s caused by a disruption in the blood supply to the head of the femur, which is the ball portion of the hip’s ball and socket joint. This disruption leads to the death of the bony tissues and the collapse of the overlying cartilage, resulting in a poorly-fitting hip joint that can be very painful.

The symptoms of Legg-Perthes Disease include pain and lameness, with the dog crying out when stretching the limb or trying to bear weight. As the lameness continues, the muscles of the hip and thigh region begin to shrink from lack of use. The disease usually involves only one hip, but approximately one out of every six or eight cases will involve both.

Treatment for Legg-Perthes Disease typically involves surgery, such as a femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHNO), which involves the surgical removal of the diseased femoral head and neck. Post-operative physiotherapy exercises are recommended to help strengthen the muscles. The best solution for most small to medium size dogs is a FHNO, which results in a pain-free return to good function in the vast majority of cases.

Skin Disorders

A Common Health Issue

Pugs are prone to various skin disorders due to their breeding history and genetic predispositions. These issues can have a substantial impact on their quality of life and overall health. As a responsible pug owner, it’s imperative to be aware of the common skin disorders that affect your furry friend and take proactive measures to prevent and treat them.

Maintaining proper skin hygiene is vital for preventing skin disorders in pugs. Regularly clean your pug’s facial folds and wrinkles using unscented baby wipes or a soft, damp cloth. Handle gently while cleaning to avoid irritating the sensitive skin. Dry the folds thoroughly after cleaning to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to bacterial and yeast growth.

Pugs are susceptible to allergies, which can manifest as constant scratching or biting. Common allergens include food, environmental factors, and certain materials. To minimize the risk of allergies, feed your pug nutritious food and avoid exposing them to potential allergens.

Genetics play a pivotal role in skin disorders in pugs. Some breed-specific conditions, such as Pug Ringworm and Demodectic Mange, are more prevalent in this breed. Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring can help identify and address these issues early on.

If your pug develops a skin disorder, consult with a veterinarian to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. This may include specialized shampoos, topical therapies, or oral medications, depending on the specific condition.

Lip-fold Pyoderma

Continuing from skin disorders, lip-fold pyoderma is another hiccup for your pug. This infection nestles in the cozy folds, turning your pup’s charming wrinkles into pesky, problematic pockets.

Main Causes of Death in Pugs

Main Causes of Death in Pugs
Your Pug’s life may be cut short due to respiratory issues and the fatal neurological disorder known as Pug dog encephalitis. Understanding the primary causes of death in Pugs is paramount to ensuring your furry friend lives a long and healthy life.

Respiratory Issues

As a devoted Pug owner, it’s essential to grasp the health hurdles your furry companion may encounter. One of the most prevalent issues is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which affects numerous brachycephalic breeds owing to their flat faces and short noses.

This condition can result in breathing challenges, snoring, and even fainting during physical exertion. To aid your Pug in breathing more freely, guarantee they uphold a healthy weight, steer clear of demanding exercise, and consider utilizing a harness rather than a collar.

Furthermore, BOAS can be addressed with surgery or other remedies advised by your veterinarian.

Pug Dog Encephalitis

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a severe and incurable condition that affects the brain tissue of some small breed dogs, including Pugs. It’s an inherited autoimmune disorder, and the risk of developing PDE is associated with genetic markers.

The disease primarily affects young adult Pugs, with most being diagnosed before 7 years of age. Symptoms of PDE include seizures, behavior changes, weakness, stumbling, blindness, and abnormal gait.

Diagnosis involves a combination of physical examination, blood work, imaging, and genetic testing, which can identify dogs with two copies of the genetic markers of NME, making them 12.75 times more likely to develop PDE in their lifetime.

Treatment typically involves managing symptoms with steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs. Unfortunately, PDE is always fatal, and there’s no cure.

Improving a Pug’s Life Expectancy

Improving a Pug
Guarantee that your Pug adheres to a nutritious and well-balanced diet rich in protein. Engage your Pug in regular activities, such as daily walks and playtime, to avoid weight gain, which can have a substantial effect on its longevity.

Diet and Nutrition for Pug Dogs

To improve your Pug’s life expectancy, focus on their diet. Serve high-quality meals that are low in fat and high in protein. Balance their meals with nutrients to maintain a healthy weight. Monitor their weight regularly to prevent obesity. By providing balanced meals, you’re ensuring your Pug stays healthy and active, contributing to their longevity.

Exercise and Physical Activity for Pugs

Engage your pug in regular exercise to improve their life expectancy. Daily walks, playtime, and agility training can help maintain a healthy weight. Socialization is essential for their mental well-being. Enrichment activities like puzzles and toys stimulate their minds. Remember, a happy, active pug is a healthy pug.

Grooming and Hygiene for Pugs

Just as daily walks keep your Pug’s tail wagging, regular grooming guarantees their health stays on track. Nail trimming frequency avoids painful overgrowth, while wrinkle care prevents pesky skin fold infections. Don’t overlook ear cleaning importance; it’s key to dodging discomfort. And remember, dental care for Pugs is a cornerstone of cuddle time!

Regular Check-ups and Vet Visits for Pugs

Regular Check-ups and Vet Visits for Pugs

Regular check-ups and vet visits are essential for preserving your Pug’s wellness and prolonging their life. Yearly checkups and vaccinations guarantee early identification of possible health concerns, enabling preventive care.

Health screening can pinpoint issues before they worsen, sparing your Pug from needless distress. By giving priority to these visits, you’re not only safeguarding your furry companion’s health but also assuring their longevity.

Our Responsibility as Pug Owners

Our Responsibility as Pug Owners

As a Pug owner, it’s essential to prioritize responsible breeding practices, preserve genetic diversity, and offer appropriate care based on their age. Making end-of-life choices can be difficult, but they’re part of our duty. Consider pet insurance, which can assist with unanticipated veterinary expenses. By taking these measures, we can enhance our Pug’s lifespan and ensure their well-being and happiness.

Pug Dog Encephalitis: Fatal Neurological Disorder Specific to Pugs

Pug Dog Encephalitis: Fatal Neurological Disorder Specific to Pugs

As a conscientious Pug owner, it’s essential to comprehend the potential health issues that could impact your beloved companion. One such concern is Pug dog encephalitis, a fatal neurological disorder exclusive to Pugs.

This condition can present itself as seizures, tremors, and other neurological symptoms, frequently occurring in young Pugs. Routine check-ups with your veterinarian can assist in detecting early signs and guaranteeing timely treatment.

By remaining knowledgeable and alert, you can contribute to your Pug living a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Skin Cancer: Leading Cancer in Pugs

Skin Cancer: Leading Cancer in Pugs

Skin cancer is a leading concern for Pugs, as they’re prone to this type of cancer due to their breeding history and genetic predisposition. Prevention is key in managing skin cancer in Pugs.

Regularly check your Pug’s skin for any new, changing, or unusual lumps or bumps, and consult your veterinarian if you notice anything suspicious. Protect your Pug from the sun by providing shade and using specially formulated canine sun cream.

Keep your Pug at a healthy weight to reduce the risk of obesity, which can contribute to skin cancer. Regular grooming, ear cleaning, and dental care are also important in maintaining your Pug’s skin health.

Mast Cell Tumors: Common in Pugs

Mast Cell Tumors: Common in Pugs

Mast cell tumors, a form of skin cancer, are no strangers to Pugs. These tumors are as unpredictable as a weather forecast, varying in appearance and behavior. While some may stay put, others decide to spread to other areas.

Imagine these tumors as uninvited guests at a party, popping up unexpectedly on your Pug’s skin. However, there’s a silver lining: early detection and treatment can often send these party crashers packing, helping your Pug live a longer, happier life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What factors contribute to the longer lifespan of pugs compared to larger breeds?

While larger dogs age faster, pugs have the advantage of their small size, which allows them to live longer on average. Their compact frames and low body weight contribute to their impressive longevity compared to bulkier breeds.

How does the breeding history of pugs affect their health?

The breeding history of pugs has sadly led to health woes. Their flat faces, short snouts, and wrinkly skin – prized features – come at the cost of respiratory issues, skin infections, and other problems. Responsible breeding is key to improving pug health.

What are the most common health issues in pugs, and how can they be prevented or managed?

Did you know Pugs are prone to obesity, which cuts their lifespan? Manage this by feeding high-quality food and providing ample exercise. Also, tackle their breathing issues early for a healthier, happier pup.

How does a balanced diet and regular exercise help improve a pugs life expectancy?

A balanced diet and regular exercise keep your pug at a healthy weight, strengthen their lungs, and support their overall health, boosting their lifespan. Proper care helps your pug thrive for years to come.

What are the top causes of death in pugs, and how can they be prevented or managed?

The top killers for pugs are respiratory issues and neurological disorders. But don’t worry – a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proactive vet care can help your pup thrive well into its golden years.


As the sun sets on your pug’s golden years, remember that their longevity is in your hands. By providing a balanced diet and ample exercise, you can help extend your pug’s lifespan.

Maintain a healthy pug life span by vigilantly monitoring their weight and addressing any underlying health concerns. Attentive veterinary care is also crucial for your pug’s well-being.

Your pug’s well-being is a reflection of your dedication as a responsible owner, ensuring they can make the most of their precious time by your side.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.