5 Main Causes For Pug Breathing Problems

Throughout their lifetime pugs seem to cope with breathing problems more than other dog breeds. While this is something partly related to their body conformation or birth defects, there are also other factors that can affect their respiratory system.

In this rundown, we’ll cover five of the most important issues that bring about breathing problems amongst pugs that every pug owner should know in order to be able to take cautious measures when they occur. 

Pinched Nostrils or Stenotic Nares 

Having pinched nostrils or the medical term for this condition, Stenotic Nares, pugs experience difficulties in inhaling the air as it puts pressure on their respiratory tract. As a result, they present symptoms such as loud and heavy breathing, particularly when drawing in the air.

The occurrence rate of this condition is 50%, and the good part is that it can be resolved through a surgical procedure that is known to have a great success rate and the recovery is usually quick, without further complications. 

Elongated Soft Palate 

The elongated soft palate is another factor causing respiratory issues and it emerges because the connective tissue lining the roof of the mouth has too little surface to support it so that its tip rests on the epiglottis and prevents air from entering the larynx or windpipe.

And in this case, the dog puts extra effort into breathing, which leads to a number of complications such as inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, the collapse of the larynx, tonsillar hypertrophy, etc. This also is why they snort and gurgle most of the time. 

Just like with Stenotic Nares, if the problem gets severe, surgical intervention should be considered for removing the tonsils. They may feel pain and discomfort during the first days of recovery, but it gradually diminishes. 

Accumulation of bacteria in the nose area 

Given that these dogs have a compact nose and also the skin folds around it, it appears that it is an area favorable for bacteria to accumulate in, thus resulting in infections. This part of the face should always be maintained clean so as to prevent the development of breathing problems in the long run. 

In the event of a bacterial infection in the nose area, you should take your pug to a veterinarian. Adequate hygiene should be paramount with pugs, considering their predisposition to various problems. 

Certain allergies and reactions to the environment

Although we may believe that we humans mainly develop reactions to certain allergens, this can be the case for a pug too. When they get an allergy to something in the air, in the food, or fleas bites, they will also deal with breathing issues, by having a hard time drawing in enough air, and their skin will also get itchy and make them more irritated and restless.

They may make a lot of effort due to this discomfort and agitation, and hence they’ll start panting. If you notice this behavior in your dog, give them some anti-allergy drugs or antihistamines, in order to help them regulate their body reactions and adjust their breathing. This should work just like it does for us. 

Overheating and Overweight 

If your pug deals with obesity or is overweight, breathing issues can occur. This happens because movement requires more effort for them and as a consequence, they will have trouble inhaling the air. Moreover, excess weight puts a lot of pressure on their body, slowing down most of the vital functions, including blood flow and breathing.

Since this is something that can get worse along the way, it is recommended to adopt for your pet a balanced diet and an exercise plan, but be mindful that they should not be exposed to too much effort a day. On the other hand, being too hot makes breathing harder for pugs. 

They don’t have the ability to regulate their body temperature, so they’ll try to take more air at once in order to feel cooler. It is better to walk them in areas protected from heat and where the air is cooler. Another thing is to adjust the room temperature to a value that is favorable for them, not too hot or cold. 


These are just five of the most common causes of respiratory problems that you need to be aware of when deciding to have a pug as your pet. All these issues can be prevented if you signal them on time and you undertake regular checks on your pug. In addition, you should be prepared to take action when they happen and you need to know what practices you can follow in order to keep your pug safe and healthy.

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