Q. I am thinking about purchasing a Pug, and I am researching them so I can be sure that they are the right breed for me. I am wondering what kind of grooming Pugs need, specifically in their facial wrinkles.
A. Pugs are among the most endearing of dogs. They were bred for one purpose only – to be companions to humans. Pugs adore their owners and become their little shadows, happily following them from room to room. Some may find them too needy because they do crave lots of attention. They get along well with other pets but their humans are their best friends.
No matter how bad a day you are having, one look at that wrinkly Pug mug will put a smile on your face. You always know when they are around because they snore, snort, sneeze and snuffle, all part of a unique repertoire of Pug sounds. While some might find these noises annoying, they are music to the Pug lover’s ears.
As far as grooming goes, they are surprisingly heavy shedders. For short-haired dogs, they require quite a bit of maintenance. If fuzz on your furniture, on your clothing or in your car would be a major concern, this would not be the right dog for you. In the salon, we use a rubber curry brush to whisk away that downy fluff that they drop all over the place, giving them a good brushout before and after we bathe them.
Most of our Pug-owning customers bring their babies in every four weeks to help keep all that shedding at bay and to keep them smelling fresh and clean. Since Pugs love to snuggle on the sofa and cuddle up beside you in bed, they do require frequent baths.
They do not get haircuts. In fact, having your Pug shaved is a big no-no. That double coat protects them from heat and cold. If winters are harsh where you live, your Pug will need a nice warm coat. They don’t tolerate heat and humidity well either. In fact, they should never be left outdoors unattended; these are mainly indoor dogs. Because of their pushed-in faces, they have shortened nasal passages, making them highly susceptible to breathing problems, especially life-threatening heatstroke if they become overexerted in warm weather.
Between visits to the groomer, you will need to brush your Pug frequently to minimize all that shedding. Their facial wrinkles should be cleaned on a weekly basis to keep them smelling fresh and preventing skin irritation and crusty buildup in their eye corners. You can use pet wipes, baby wipes or moistened cotton balls to do this, but do not to get any cleanser into their eyes.
Because those big beautiful eyes do protrude, they are highly susceptible to injury. If you bathe your baby at home, make sure not to get shampoo in them either. Use a mild shampoo and a fresh-smelling conditioner to make your Pug nice to be near. You may also give them a spritz of coat polish to add sheen as a finishing touch.
Don’t expect your Pug catch a Frisbee or run alongside of you when you go jogging. If you are a highly active outdoorsy person, this may not be the pet for you. They are active with short bursts of energy when they play and they do enjoy a nice walk around the block. Their nails need to be trimmed on a monthly basis because these little guys will not wear them down by running on pavement. Some are prone to having their anal sacs filled so they need to be emptied each time they get a bath, a chore that can be done by your groomer, your vet or yourself if you are taught how to do it safely and properly.
Pugs like the good life with lots of sleeping and eating, so much so that you must be careful not to overfeed them because they can easily become overweight. On the upside, they are lovable little clowns, relatively clean, good with children who are taught not to be rough with them, travel very well and are not big barkers nor overly aggressive, getting along with most other animals, especially other Pugs. In fact, some devoted fanciers of these little treasures from China compare them to potato chips and simply can’t have just one!