Everything You Need To Know About Owning A Pug In Singapore

Pugs are small dogs characterised by their round heads, large eyes, short muzzles and wrinkled faces. Though they often sport a sad expression on their faces, pugs are actually affectionate dogs that are gentle with their pawrents!

Learn more about their personality traits and how to care for them with information on training, grooming and socialising them below!


We’d like to thank the following contributors for their valuable input towards this topic:

  • Dr. Pedro M. Aponte (DVM, Ph.D.) from Animal Hackers,
  • Dr. Linda Simon (MVB, MRCVS) from FiveBarks and
  • Dr. Sarah Wooten (DVM, CVJ) from Pumpkin Pet Insurance.

  • *Disclaimer: All content published in this article is for general knowledge. It should not be deemed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Please consult a vet for an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s health condition.

    Infographic of how to take care of a pug in Singapore

    Key Traits of Pugs

    Weight6 - 8kg
    Height25 - 30cm
    Life expectancy12 - 15 years
    Fur coatDouble-coated, short and smooth coat
    Common coat coloursFawn, black, silver

    Personality of Pugs

      Gentle

    Pugs are gentle canines that can interact and play well with children. They don’t usually bite or bark and can get along well with other dogs given sufficient time and proper supervision at the beginning!

      Affectionate

    Pugs enjoy being around their pawrents and aren’t afraid to show their affectionate and loving side. Additionally, these adorable dogs are often eager to please their pawrents.

      Stubborn

    Training adult pugs can be a handful due to their stubborn personality and it often requires much patience. Thus, pawrents are recommended to train their pugs when they’re puppies.

    How to Care for a Pug in Singapore

    Staying in a HDB Flat

    Pugs are one of the many breeds of HDB approved dogs in Singapore. Their lack of inclination towards barking makes them great apartment dogs!

    Grooming Needs of a Pug

    Pug in laundry basket

    Though pugs are a short-coated breed, they shed all year round and nearly on a daily basis! Hence, these dogs may not be suitable for aspiring pug pawrents who are prone to allergies.

    Here are some guidelines on the frequency of the common grooming activities for pugs:

    Grooming activityFrequencyReason (if any)
    BathingEvery 3 weeks
    BrushingDaily
    Ear cleaning
  • Earflaps: A few times a week
  • Ear canals: Every 6 weeks
  • Removing earwax is important in preventing ear infections.
    Face cleaningDailyWiping your pug’s face to remove any food debris, dirt or saliva will aid in preventing infections and skin irritation.
    Nail clippingEvery 2 - 3 weeks
    Teeth brushingDaily

    If you’re grooming a dog for the first time, check out some additional grooming tips that’ll make this process an easier and smoother one for you and your dog!

    Exercise Needs of a Pug

    Black and fawn pug exercising

    Recommended duration: Up to 1 hour/day

    Exercise is crucial in preventing dogs from becoming obese and pugs are no exception. However, they tend to require more attention and care when exercising, especially in tropical climates like Singapore.

      Breathing difficulties

    Pugs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning that they have a short snout. This causes them to experience difficulties breathing and getting sufficient oxygen. If you notice them having breathing difficulties, slow down and let them take a rest!


    Note!

    Pawrents should watch out for signs such as hypersalivation, regurgitation and vomiting as they signal that your pug is experiencing heavy respiratory distress.

      Heat tolerance

    Pugs are less tolerant to heat and have difficulties regulating their body temperature. Therefore, it isn’t advisable to bring them out for exercise when it’s sunny! 

    Instead, Dr. Linda Simon (MVB, MRCVS) from FiveBarks recommends bringing them out in the early mornings or late evenings and sticking to areas with lots of shade.

    To help pugs keep cool, Dr. Pedro M. Aponte (DVM, Ph.D.) from Animal Hackers shares that pawrents can bring a bottle of water and some ice cubes when going out to exercise.


    Exercise tip!

    Instead of bringing your pug out for a long walk, spread it out into short walks throughout the day to prevent them from overheating or getting too exhausted!

    Diet of a Pug

    Pug puppies eating in a field

    Recommended calorie intake: 75 – 112.5kcal for every kg of their weight

    The estimated daily calorie intake as recommended by Dr. Pedro (DVM, Ph.D.) is 75 to 112.5kcal for every kg of your pug’s weight. This means that an adult pug weighing 8kg should have approximately 600 to 900kcal daily. However, this is dependent on how active your pug is as more active dogs will require a higher calorie intake.

    Dry kibble is recommended for pugs as it promotes healthier teeth and helps to prevent runny stool. Pawrents who enjoy cooking can also opt to feed their dogs with home cooked food!

    In general, your pug’s diet should consist of:

    • Protein (18 – 25%)
    • Crude fat (approximately 14%) 
    • Crude fiber (3.5 – 4%)
    • Carbohydrates (57 – 64.5%)

    To ensure a balanced diet, Dr. Sarah Wooten (DVM, CVJ) from Pumpkin Pet Insurance ​​recommends that dog treats should make up less than 10% of your pug’s daily calories.


    Note!

    Pugs are typically less active than other breeds of dogs. Hence, it’s important not to overfeed them to prevent obesity and related health conditions. Consult a vet if you’re unsure of the amount of food your pug should be consuming!

    How to Train a Pug

    Pug on a leash tilting his head

    Pugs are sensitive creatures — they can feel hurt when their trainers are harsh with them. Hence, adopting a more patient and loving approach towards training is often ideal.

    Additionally, as pugs can be stubborn, it’s important to train them as puppies to ensure that they grow up to be well-behaved dogs!

      Crate training for pugs

    Crate training is a crucial part of house training and should be started when they’re young. The crate offers a safe space where your fur friend can rest and this training makes it less challenging when bringing them on your overseas travels.

    This form of training will also help in:

    • Keeping your pug and other people safe
    • Preventing them from ruining furniture and other decor items
    • Reducing stress and anxiety

    How to Socialise a Pug

    Pug with another dog in a field

      Get vaccinated

    Ensuring that your fur friend has received all his necessary vaccinations will allow him to socialise with other dogs safely. 

    As vaccinations require some time to take effect, make sure that you wait for an appropriate period of time and consult with your vet before beginning your socialisation training!

      Begin socialisation training early

    As pugs are relatively friendly animals, socialising them is often less of a challenge. You can start socialising your pug puppy as young as 3 to 4 months old as long as he’s fully vaccinated!

      Start with controlled environments

    It’s always a good idea to start with a controlled environment for the first few times your pug comes into contact with other dogs. 

    One way is to bring him over to another pawrent’s home (and it’s best if their dog is sociable and well-behaved!). This will teach your pug how to behave when in the territory of another dog and how to welcome other dogs into their own territory.

    Once your fur friend starts to get along well with other dogs in controlled environments, you can try bringing him to a dog run!

    Common Health Conditions Found in a Pug

    Sad-looking black pug lying on the floor

    While pugs have many positive traits that make them good companions, they aren’t necessarily easy to care for. In fact, they’re prone to a significant number of health conditions that could adversely affect the quality of their lives. As such, it’s essential to visit the vet yearly for a health checkup.

    Note: This list is non-exhaustive and merely lists some of the common health conditions pugs face. Pugs, in particular, face a wide range of eye and skin problems.

    Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

    Due to their short snout and muzzle, pugs are likely to suffer from BOAS. In fact, according to Dr. Simon, about 50% of adult pugs suffer from this condition.

    BOAS causes pugs to experience breathing difficulties and a lack of air, and this is often worsened by their narrow nostrils.

      Symptoms

    • Constant panting
    • Noisy breathing
    • Regurgitation of food and/or saliva
    • Sleep disorders
    • Snoring

      Treatment

    • Dieting to manage weight
    • Regulating their body temperature (i.e. keeping them in an air-conditioned environment)
    • Medication
    • Surgery (if necessary)

    Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)

    PDE is a rare condition that affects the brain and is the result of attacks from the immune system on the brain tissue.

    It’s a hereditary condition where pugs with 2 copies of the Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis (NME) genetic markers are 12.75 times more likely to suffer from this condition than those with 1 or none of the genetic marker copies. 

    This condition can occur anytime between the ages of 6 months and 6 years old, though it typically surfaces around 2 to 3 years of age.

      Symptoms

    • Abnormal gait
    • Behavioural change
    • Blindness
    • Disorientation
    • Seizures
    • Weakness

      Treatment

    There’s currently no treatment for PDE. Instead, vets will typically prescribe immunosuppressive drugs or steroids to help reduce the immune system’s adverse response, inflammation and seizures.

    Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)

    CHD occurs when the ball and socket of the dog’s hip joint fail to fit properly. This causes the joints to grind against each other and this eventually compromises the dog’s ability to move.

      Symptoms

    • Lameness in the hind legs
    • Limited range of motion
    • Stiffness and pain
    • Troubles with running, jumping and climbing

      Treatment

    • Supplements for the joints
    • Physical therapy
    • Medication
    • Surgery

    Patellar Luxation

    Patellar luxation is another common health condition in pugs. It occurs when the kneecap becomes misaligned and is typically the result of genetics or old age.

      Symptoms

    • Inability to bend knees
    • Limping
    • Refusal to run or jump
    • Swelling
    • Weakness in the legs

      Treatment

    • Dieting to manage weight
    • Physical therapy
    • Medication
    • Surgery (if necessary)

    Dry Eye

    Dry eyes, otherwise known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), occurs when the cornea becomes dry from the lack of tears.

      Symptoms

    • Discharge around the eyes
    • Excessive blinking
    • Keeping eyes shut
    • Red eyes
    • Squinting

      Treatment

    • Medication
    • Surgery (if necessary)

    Corneal Ulcer

    Due to their large, bulging eyes, pugs have the tendency to develop corneal ulcers. Other health conditions such as dry eyes and eye infections can also lead to this issue.

    Corneal ulcers can be painful and can deteriorate quickly if left untreated, causing the eye to rupture or even blindness to occur.

      Symptoms

    • Avoidance of bright light
    • Cloudy eye
    • Discharge around the eyes
    • Excessive blinking
    • Hole/indentation on the eye’s surface
    • Red eyes
    • Rubbing of the face/eye area
    • Squinting

      Treatment

    • Eye drops
    • Medication
    • Surgery

    Skin Infection

    Skin infections such as pyoderma, caused by bacteria, are common in pugs due to their folds. When these folds remain moist for extended periods of time, it allows bacteria to thrive and develop into infections.

      Symptoms

    • Circular crusts
    • Hair loss
    • Dry/flaky skin
    • Itchy skin
    • Lesions on the skin that look like pimples

      Treatment

    • Medication

    Price of Owning a Pug in Singapore

    Happy pug running in a field

    One-off Costs

      Licensing

    Licensing your dog is mandated by the National Parks Board and the cost will differ based on the number of dogs owned and the type of license. It can cost anywhere from $15 to $230 per dog.

      Sterilisation

    Sterilisation helps to reduce the chances of a dog contracting certain diseases and infections. This procedure will cost up to $350 depending on your dog’s gender and clinic.

      Microchipping

    Microchipping increases the chances of locating your fur friend in the event that he gets lost. This will cost anywhere between $50 to $90.

    Recurring Costs

    Some recurring costs that you’re likely to incur includes:

    • Food: $100 – $120 per month
    • Dental and healthcare: $50 per month
    • Grooming: $50 per session
    • Vaccinations: $30 – $60 per vaccine

    Pet insurance, beds and toys are other additional costs that you may also incur as a parent!


    If you just got your Pug, sign up for Pet Lovers Centre’s Puppy Bonus Plan* to receive a free Puppy Pack worth up to $85!

    Pet Lovers Centre Puppy Bonus Plan

    The Puppy Pack contains gifts for your dogs including both dry and wet food, treats, odour and stain remover, shampoo and a poop bag. New members will also receive a 1-year VIP membership!

    *Puppy has to be younger than 12 months.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Owning a Pug in Singapore

    Do pugs bite?

    No, pugs don’t usually have the tendency to bite. However, they may do so when they’re afraid or become agitated. Hence, it’s important to socialise them when they’re puppies and shower them with adequate love and attention.

    Do pugs bark a lot?

    Pugs are typically quiet dogs and don’t bark often. This trait, combined with their gentle and loving personality, make them great apartment dogs and companions for children!

    Can pugs get along well with other dogs?

    Yes, pugs can get along well with other dogs given sufficient time to adjust. Furthermore, with proper supervision at the start, this sociable canine can even get along with cats!

    Can pugs be left alone?

    Pugs are affectionate dogs that don’t appreciate being left alone at home for extended periods of time. Though house training can help with this, you can opt to engage a pet sitter to care for your fur friend while you’re away (especially if you’ll be away for 8 hours and more)!

    What is the difference between pugs and bulldogs?

    Pugs and French bulldogs are often mistaken for one another due to their short stature, short snout and face wrinkles! However, they do have certain differences:

     PugsBulldogs
    Height25 - 30cm30.5 - 35.5cm
    Weight6 - 8kg18 - 22kg
    Lifespan12 - 15 years10 - 12 years
    HeadRoundSquare and broad
    EyesLargeMedium-sized
    Lower jawLess prominentMore prominent

    In general, pugs are smaller in size and lighter, with a softer look due to their large eyes and round head as compared to bulldogs. They also have a slightly longer lifespan than bulldogs.

    Owning A Pug In Singapore

    Pugs are wonderful companions with an incredibly loving side. However, they require significant care when it comes to their health. Therefore, if you’re an aspiring pug pawrent, you can reach out to a vet for more information and advice on whether you’ll be suitable to care for one!

    Article by:
    Emilia
    Bubble tea and sleeping are two of Emilia's favourite things. She also enjoys cooking and loves to experiment with new recipes for different cuisines.
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