Hi, my name is Teddy and I am a two and half years old pug who wants to tell you his story about how lucky and unlucky i am. Although I think of myself as an adult pug, in the eyes of my parents I am still a puppy. Mostly because I like to fool around and do silly things.
Before my mom and dad picked me up from the house i was born in I was bitten by a dog and I was very scared of dogs for a while so my parents decided to hire a trainer and a behaviourist to get over my fears. They really helped me and I realised that not all the other dogs are vicious. Although sometimes I must say some dogs really don’t like me and try to bite. But i am always cautious. I wait to see their reactions and then if they are friendly, I approach them to say hi and sniff their bottoms.
When I was 8 months old, I started to have reverse sneezing and would even choke on food. But once i got sick and couldn’t breathe and I fell unconscious. It was very scary for me and for my parents. I have made lots of emergency trips to the Vet. They even changed my Vet to have a 24-hour open one so I could get the best treatment anytime I needed. That is when my parents decided that something had to be done. I wasn’t even 1 years old when I had the BOAS surgery. They made my nostrils bigger and removed some of the soft palate so I could breathe easily. I think they did a very good nose job. I am still handsome.
But after a while my coughs have started. Whenever I would run or play after a minute or two, I would start to cough badly and my parents would try to calm me down and bring me the water bowl to drink.
My immune system is not very good either. I can’t bear cold weather. I can’t bear hot weather. Last winter I had the worse cold ever. I kept my parents up for many nights. When it is hot, I overheat. Every time my parents take me out for a walk, they take my backpack which they call the “Teddy Bag” in which I have my water, food, my fan and water spray to cool me down and some clothes... a winter jacket, a hoodie, a raincoat and my Hawaiian shirt. They would dress me up based on how the weather is and how it changes.
A couple of months ago I also had a hip problem. We went to a nice restaurant to have a meal and when we were done my leg wasn’t responding. I wasn’t able to walk and not even able to sit. The vet forbids me to have long walks and even said if i don’t listen to him I would have a cage rest.
I got better but because of the lack of exercise I put on weight and when the heatwaves happened my cough got worse. That is when they realised, I have irregular heartbeats. However, the ECG was normal for my breed and decided my constantly coughing might cause that. After a couple of more trips to the Vet and CT scans, an endoscopy and flushing my lungs, they found out that I have a collapsed Trachea. My parents didn’t want me to have another surgery unless it was absolutely necessary so my Vet gave me pills and a steroid inhaler which I have to use twice a day. I really hate taking pills. My parents struggled a lot with me. Sometimes I would pretend to swallow the pill but when they turn their heads or go to another room and I would spit it out. Now that they found out about it, they stare at me and sometimes even give me a little treat to make sure I swallowed my pill. My parents told me if the treatment doesn’t work or I get worse I might have a surgery but paws crossed.
Even if I need the surgery in the future, I am a very strong boy and I never complain about anything. But unfortunately, when it comes to health, I am very unlucky. Every month we are at the Vet sometimes even a couple of times a month. There is always something with me. Skin allergies, scratched eye, ear infection, paw injuries... But I am an optimist and I am not scared of the Vet. I am always happy when visiting even though they don’t have nice treats and told me I am fat. My mom keeps telling me “You are not fat. You are big boned”.
On the other hand, I am very lucky that I am a part of a very loved family who really care about me and would do anything for me.
There are a few things you can do to avoid some of health problems for your pugs.
- Keep them slim
Pugs can easily get overweight. In Teddy’s condition keeping him slim is a must. All that fat around his neck puts pressure on the trachea which makes it really hard to breathe. Even for a healthy pug it is highly recommended not to overfeed as we know they love to eat. By limiting the amount of food, treats you can reduce the chance of heart disease, respiratory problems. For a healthy diet recommendation please contact your Vet. Teddy is on a Royal Canin Vet Food Diet.
- Check your pug’s temperature
Pugs are very sensitive to cold and high temperature as they have shorter muzzles than other dogs and can easily suffer from heatstroke. In the summer try to walk them very early in the morning and late at night. You can also use a cooling jacket. Never leave your dog in the car or any closed small spaces. Always carry water with you. If a dog has a heatstroke the symptoms might be: Heavy panting, Pale gums, drooling, vomiting, mental dullness or loss of consciousness. If you suspect your dog is having a heatstroke rush to Vet As Soon As Possible!
- Use a harness
Using a harness instead of a collar puts less pressure on the trachea and it is always advised by the Vets not to use a collar for short muzzled breeds By using a regular old collar on your pug, you are increasing the chances of any of the conditions like: Collapsing trachea, Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome to occur which can decrease the quality of your pug `s life . Keep them comfortable
- Clean them regularly
Pugs have floppy ears, which causes the air not to circulate as easy like in other dog breads. A healthy ear is clean with no sign of redness or inflammation and no evidence of waxy brown discharge or a nasty smell. The wrinkles must be cleaned often as the dirt would go between very quickly. This way you will avoid infection and skin conditions.
- Keep your pug active
Pugs are not very active dogs. They need to be walked at least 30 min to 2 hours a day for a healthy life style. But they love to play and to run around and most important they love attention. They will be glued to you all day long apart from when they are sleeping, which is a big part of the day. At the same time try not to over tire your pug as it might lead to other conditions.
Well fellow furry friends and hoomans, that was my story and five tips on how pugs can stay healthy. We will be coming back with more weekly blogs. For professional advice always consult your Vet.