How to Feed My Pug? What, and How Often?

Trying to figure out what how and how much to feed your Pug, you are probably bombarded with ads, promising perfect balance, ultimate health, breed specific, size specific and I wouldn’t be surprised if they made color specific food as well. You may find yourself on the dog food isle trying to make sense of all the ingredients, types of foods and categories. And all you want to know  is…

How often and what should I feed my Pug?

  • A Puppy (3-6 Months) should be fed 3 Times a day with 1/3 of a Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Puppy is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 4oz (113gr), and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %4-5 of the puppy’s body weight.
  • A ‘Teenage’ Pug (6-12 Months) should be fed Twice a day with 3/4 A Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Teen Pug is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 9oz (255gr), and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %3-4 of body weight
  • An Adult Pug (1-8 Years) should be fed Twice a day with 1/2 of a Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Pug is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 6oz (170gr) and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %2-3 of his or her weight
  • Senior Pug (8 -15 Years) should be fed Twice a day with 1/3 of a Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Pug is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 4oz (113gr) and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %2 of body weight

These are of course averages, and will give you a good starting point. Every dog is different, every type of food has its specific quantities and it even varies between brands.

Start simple and figure out all the details and methods.

I have collected information about the different types, brands pros and cons of dog feeding to try and give an unbiased (as much as I can) look, so you can make a better-informed choice which will be right for you and your Pug. Remember, people care deeply about their dogs and will often get very emotional about the health and feeding they chose. Having been the owner of a pet store, I have learned that although I have my personal preferences and very good reasons for them, others may have different choices and they believe they are the right ones for them. There are a lot of issues to consider. Let’s start with the easy ones.

How Many times a day should I feed My Pug?

A mature Pug can easily live a healthy life with one meal which provides all his nutritional needs. In most cases, it is more convenient for both us and the pug to split this to two meals. If your Pug had a full meal in the morning, be sure he will nag you like crazy in the afternoon. Puppies have smaller stomachs and need, relative to their size, a larger quantity of food so it is better to break it up to three or even four meals a day. If you are around your Pug all day and prefer to give 4 meals a day to a mature dog, there is no harm in it, as long as the overall daily quantity stays the same.

Free Buffet or Set meals?

Some dogs do well with an ‘Eat as you please’ policy and having a full bowl for them to nibble at will. PUGS DON’T. Pugs are notorious for becoming overweight and need to be limited to a set amount. If your Pug is not typical in that sense, you are welcome to put the full daily portion in the bowl and see how long it lasts.

One more reason for set meals is monitoring. You want to know how much you Pug eats. If you want your Pug to lose weight, you need to know how much he is eating in order to cut down. On the flip side, if your Pug is not eating the usual amounts it may be an indication of a medical condition.

What food do Pugs Eat?

Pugs love food. They love treats, dry food, wet food, table scraps, raw meat, cooked meat, spicy meat and meat gone bad. My raw fed Pug will gladly nibble my neighbor’s cats’ kibble.

Up until a few decades ago dogs ate our scraps, that was the definition of ’dog food’. In rural areas and farms, they may have also got more meaty scraps. Our Pugs who grew up with Emperors and Royalty were probably treated to high quality scraps. Today, dry bagged kibble or canned wet food are the standard for most homes, although there is a growing number of people (and companies) promoting more natural diets of either raw or cooked food for dogs. Every type of food claims to be the healthiest, more appropriate, tailored and nutritional.

Kibble

Kibble is the most common dog food available and has become the staple for the average dog.

Pros of Kibble

  • The makers of dry food claim it has the most balanced and scientifically based formulas to provide the best nutrition for a dog.
  • They also tailor these formulas to dogs of different size, breed, age or other needs.
  • Even the most discerning dog owners should be able a composition to satisfy them.
  • Convenience. It is hard to deny the convenience of dry kibble
  • Training is easy if using kibble as ‘treats’ for positive reinforcement

The cons of Kibble

  • The contents of commercial dog food are mostly the ‘scraps’ of the human food industry and are often suspicious at best.
  • The ingredient list is unclear and misleading.
  • Recalls. There are numerous food recalls yearly. There are websites dedicated just to keep up with the recalls.
  • Teeth are going to need cleaning. It’s oily and sticky. It’s like eating only ‘Cheetos’ without brushing your teeth.

Wet canned food

  • Aside from the meatier texture and the higher water content, there is little difference between kibble and the canned, wet counterpart. The ingredients can be similar and so are the health benefits.
  • Some dog owners report that wet food makes for softer stools when fed exclusively. Many dog owners will give a combination of wet and dry food.

Home cooked

As with human food there is a growing number of people fed up (Pun intended) with commercial and over engineered food. If it’s right for us, why not for the dogs.

The pros of homemade food

  • No preservatives, additives, fillers
  • Can be tailored to your dog’s needs
  • You control the quality of the ingredients. It can be Organic or even Vegan if you so choose (Not sure the dog will appreciate it)
  • You add the supplements you want

The cons

  • If you actually make it yourself, it’s work
  • You have to learn how to make it nutritional for your dog
  • Good ingredients are pricy (More of issue with larger dogs)
  • Buying home-made/ natural dog food is expensive.

Raw food

Also called the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods), the idea behind it is that the dogs digestive system has not evolved as their behavior, and much like wild dogs or wolves, they should eat the equivalent to small animals they would pray on in nature. Since dogs are also scavengers this diet will include some vegetables, berries etc.

The pros

  • As with the home-cooked diet, you have total control of ingredients and quality
  • No preservatives, additives, fillers etc.

The cons

  • You are dealing with raw food, so handling (for us humans’ sake) should be as such.
  • You need to learn how to make, takes time
  • Ingredients like bones and internal organs may not be available in your area.
  • Can be pricy. Even More expensive if buying ready and frozen.
  • Takes freezer space

Raw Disclaimer

I am a little bias towards raw food. I used to own a pet food store specializing in raw food for cats and dogs and I have been feeding my own Pugs raw food for over twelve years. Obviously, I am very happy with the raw diet and its outcomes as switching to dry food would have been easy and cheap.  I believe it is the better choice for myself and my dogs. I believe I have presented the facts fairly objectively as far as the other feeding options go.

General Nutrition

What to look for

  • Meat Proteins from known meat sources such as Chicken, lamb turkey, fish, beef
  • Fat from the same sources
  • Preservatives from natural sources
  • Natural flavoring

What you should avoid (or at least minimize)

  • Artificial Preservatives
  • Artificial Colors and flavors
  • ‘Animal By Products’ which can include parts such as fur, hooves and more. They are high in ‘useless’ protein (Protein that cannot benefit the dog but will show high protein levels in Lab tests)
  • ‘Meat Mill’ or Generic Meats, the source of which is unspecified and dubious.
  • Corn in all it’s forms, including ‘Corn Meal’, corn gluten meal, and corn bran
  • Grains, including wheat, oats, barley, hominy feed and more
  • Soy as beans or meal

Warning – Natural Ingredients

In the food industry, human or canine, the word ‘Natural’ is often thrown around as assurance of quality. It’s Not. There is no standard or way to measure what natural is and what the added value of it is other then the origin of it. Natural color could come from some secretion of an insect.

Special Needs

Puppies

These little ones need the most nutritious and high-quality food you can find. If you want to find an economic way to feed your dog, please do it later in his life. A puppy pug needs higher levels of good quality protein, and considering the size and the amounts a puppy will consume, it’s worth the extra cost.

Allergies

Pugs are relatively sensitive to allergies. In some cases, this is due to an external source such as home detergents, but more often than not it has to do with their diet. The first thing a lot of Vets recommend is to try a Low Carb and Grain Free Diet. There are a few brands that you can try with low, or no grain. If you are feeding your pug home cooked food or a raw diet, taking the carbs and grain out would be easy.

Our Pugs were and are on a raw diet from day one and we never had any issues with allergies, except for one time. We started noticing that Preston had pinkish skin around his paws and around the nose fold. Since we owned a pet food store specializing in raw food, at the time (convenient, I know) we tried different types of meats, but nothing helped. It took us some time to realize the cause. We had our baby daughter at the time, and since she was very close and intimate with Preston, and he was eating raw, we made sure to wipe his mouth and feet with baby wipes after every meal. The baby wipes were the culprits. Turns out our Pug’s skin was more sensitive than our babies tushy. We switched them both to hypo-allergenic wipes and the skin went back to normal…

Hip Dysplasia

Pugs are ranked as one of the breeds with the highest chances of suffering from Hip Dysplasia. In fact, over %60 of Pugs will have Hip Dysplasia to some extent. In simple terms it means the ball and socket of the hip joint don’t fit as well as they should and the motion may not be as smooth as normal. This can lead to trouble in walking and running and arthritis may follow as well. If your Pug is suffering from Hip Dysplasia to any extent you may want to either supplement their diet with Chondroitin and Glucosamine or to choose a brand that is made for joint support.

Vets and nutrition.

I will begin by saying that I believe no one goes to veterinary school if they don’t like animals, and they probably only have the best intentions. Having said that, if I needed nutritional advice, I would go to a nutritionist and not to my Doctor. The nutrition training vets get in many schools is provided by agents of the commercial food companies who are bias at best. I am not saying you shouldn’t listen to your vet’s advice, but if you are considering alternative approaches, there is a good chance your ‘conventional vet’ would not have all the facts you are looking for.

Skipping meals

Dogs will sometimes skip a meal. It is natural for them as food is not something that was always available on daily base. It is not typical for Pugs but it may happen. If it happens it will probably be a one meal deal. If your Pug misses a few meals in a row you may want to consult a vet.

Treats and snacks

I try and think of treats and snacks the same way I think of candy for my daughters. It’s good and fun, but should be limited to quantities that don’t have an advert affect on the diet as a whole. If the amount of treats your Pug is rivals the actual food, in quantity, you should reconsider or at least re calculate it. If you are using kibble both at meals and as treats for training, and your stubborn Pug ends up consuming a lot of treats, just take it off the next meal. The same goes for snacks. They should be a part of the total daily feeding and not extra.

How long can a pug go without eating?

An adult Pug can probably survive many days without food, but no Pug would stand for it. Unless your Pug has a medical condition, he will surely let you know he is hungry. Do make sure that your Pug is not deprived of fresh drinking water at all times. More so if the weather is hot and if he is on a dry food diet and has no other source of hydration.

What if my Pug is overweight?

Pugs love to eat and have a tendency to eat too much. We on the other hand have a tendency to give in to their cuteness and their shenanigans and ‘reward’ them with too much food. A chubby Pug is very cute, but at some point, it becomes a health issue. Overweight Pugs may suffer from a wide range of conditions and or aggravate others.  If you are feeding a controlled amount of food, (including the treats and snacks) it should be fairly easy to just reduce %10-15 for a couple of weeks and then re-asses the quantity.

Conclusion

Food is an important part of your Pugs life and will directly affect his health and well-being. Do make sure you know what your Pug is eating, the quality as well as the quantities.

Additional questions

Can a Pug’s eye pop out?

Actually, yes. This is an actual condition called Eye Displacement or Proptosis. It is not a common occurrence but with extreme trauma or circumstances it may happen. In most cases the condition is treatable. More on the condition here… 

Are Pugs Loving?

Pugs have been bred as companion dogs for over two thousand years. Being with people is almost in their DNA. So yes, Pugs love to cuddle, snuggle and just be in contact or as close as they can to their human friends. More on Pug Love here.

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How to Feed My Pug? What, and How Often?
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How to Feed My Pug? What, and How Often?
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A Puppy (3-6 Months) should be fed 3 Times a day with 1/3 of a Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Puppy is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 4oz (113gr), and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %4-5 of the puppy’s body weight. A ‘Teenage’ Pug (6-12 Months) should be fed Twice a day with 3/4 A Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Teen Pug is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 9oz (255gr), and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %3-4 of body weight An Adult Pug (1-8 Years) should be fed Twice a day with 1/2 of a Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Pug is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 6oz (170gr) and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %2-3 of his or her weight Senior Pug (8 -15 Years) should be fed Twice a day with 1/3 of a Cup of dry food per Meal. If the Pug is fed Wet Canned Food, he needs 4oz (113gr) and if feeding Home Cooked or Raw, it would be %2 of body weight
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