Pugs will win you over with their big bulgy eyes, their friendly demeanor, and their funny antics. They make the cutest puppies and if you have kids, they will absolutely melt for them. As they grow, you will start seeing that after hugging, playing with your Pug the cloth start showing hair stuck to them, at which point you may ask yourself;
How much do Pugs shed? They are not that large…
Pugs shed a lot, I mean, really a lot. Because of their metabolism, the thickness, density, and speed that their fur grows, you may find your Pug leaving fur around the house, on furniture, and on clothes in amounts that don’t seem to be proportional to his or her size. Pugs shed all year and will require care and grooming if you want to keep the fur situation under some form of control.
Not as simple as it seems
Every pug owner becomes aware of this issue sooner or later and has to come to terms with it and learn how to deal, cope and manage. We’ll see why these Pug phenomena happen and the various ways to control and live with it.
Why do Pugs shed so much?
Pugs are no that that large and have relatively short fur. So why is it really that they shed so excessively even compared to dog four times their size?
Whereas most dogs can have a short or long coat of fur, Pugs actually have a double coat. They have an inner layer called the Undercoat’ which is softer, fleecy type of fur some dogs grow for just the winter, and an outer layer called the ‘Guard Hairs’ which are slightly longer and coarser fur, meant to protect the skin and which will also include those darker hairs.
Not all Pugs have a double coat. The vast majority of fawn colored Pugs do; however, most black Pugs have a single coat. When you are hunting for a pup though, it may be impossible to tell how many coats the Pug is going to have if he still has his single ‘Puppy Coat’
Pugs are known to have been called, ‘Aa lot of dog in a small package’ and their coat lives up to it. Not only do they have a double coat, but it is also denser than most dogs. The average dog will have 100-200 hairs per inch and a Pug may have up to 500 or 600 hairs per inch, that is about 3-4 times more hairs.
Quick Growth cycle
Your Pugs hair, like most other dogs, has a growth cycle in which there are four stages. The growing faze, known as Anagen, is when there is active growth of the hair. Second is the Catagen stage, where the hair has reached its designated length and stops growing. Next is the resting stage, called Telogen, where no growing actually occurs and is more of a static faze. Finally, there is the Exogen stage where the hair falls and the shedding occurs. These cycles do not work simultaneously on all the hairs so your dog will not find itself bald between cycles. Pugs tend to move through this cycle quicker than most dogs and also have a very short Telogen stage. This means there will constantly be hairs growing and shedding at the same time.
What about seasonal shedding?
There may be slight variation due to seasons to get ready for growing the winter coat in the fall and to get rid of it in the spring, but after many generations of being an indoor dog who is not really exposed to the seasons and does not depends on a thick coat for warmth in the winter, there may not be a significant difference. Diet and health may actually make more of a difference than the calendar.
At what age do Pugs start shedding?
Even though Pugs have a double coat, they are not born with it. Pug puppies are born with a single coat and will shed it to grow their adult double coat. Since smaller dogs mature fairly fast this may start at 6-7 months old. Remember, at this point, your pup will be shedding only the puppy hair and this will not be a real indication of the quality or quantity of hairs you will be getting when the ‘real; shedding starts.
How to better manage your Pugs Shedding
Many first-time Pug owners find shedding frustrating and keep hoping for the ‘seasonal shedding’. Sadly, the frustration is not going to help and neither is your vet. There is no magic cure, your Pug is going to shed, generously.
Come to terms
The first thing you have to do, in order to rationally deal with the shedding issue, is come to terms with it. Although there some steps and measures you can take to reduce the phenomena and its effects, there is no way to completely eliminate it while still having a Pug at home.
Take care of the Fur
Brushing is probably the number one action you can take, to reduce the number of hairs that are accumulating on your cloth, furniture, and floor. Assuming the rate and amount of hair your Pug is growing and shedding, the more you will remove actively, the less there will be in other places. The bonus is that when brushing, you are moving the dead hairs from the Exogen stage. What that means is the fur will be comprised of more young and healthy hairs and as such will also be softer and shinier. It’s a win-win situation.
It is advised to brush your pug outside of your home, maybe in the park or an open area. If that is not possible do it in the bathroom or in the tub. Also, wear something which will be easy to clean. There is going to be a lot of hair involved. Some brushes have a vacuum accessory that may also help. Try and make it a pleasant experience for your dog, maybe combine the brushing with some back rubbing, you want your dog to like it and cooperate and not have to have to fight for it every time.
The more you brush the less hair you will have to deal with. Two to three times a week should give you a noticeable improvement, but you can brush your Pug daily. Try to work it into your daily playtime routine and your fluffy one might even look forward to it. If you spring a treat into the routine it might even be better.
To make the brushing effective you have to brush the undercoat as well as the guard hairs. Make sure you really get in there. There is a wide variety of brushes, gloves and other products you will want to try out, to find out what really works for you and your Pug. I have compiled a comprehensive list of brushes including the famous Furminator, the SlickPro (self-cleaning brush) the Pet Grooming Glove and more in our Recommended Gear page.
Take Care of the skin
Healthy skin will not improve your dog’s shedding, but unhealthy skin can surely make it worse. It’s sometimes hard to see the skin through the thick fur, but the belly can give a general sense of the health of the skin. Pugs are also known to be sensitive to certain foods and detergents and are prone to allergies
We used to clean our Pugs nose folds and paws with the same wipes we used for our baby. After a while, we noticed that these areas were always pinkish and irritated. Turns out our dog was more sensitive than my baby daughter’s bum… We switched to hypoallergenic wipes and the irritation disappeared.
Keep it nourished
Skin and coat health is probably most affected by nutrition. Aside from feeding you Pug quality dog food (Seriously, don’t get the cheap stuff) it is highly advisable to supplement whichever diet you are using with Omega 3 Fatty Acids. They come in a variety of shapes and products and are excellent not just skin care but many other medical issues (in humans too, by the way). They are commercially available from vegetable sources such as Flaxseed oil, Soybean oil, Canola or Walnut oil. However, dogs do not absorb and metabolize vegetable-based oils as well as we do and therefore it advisable to use deep sea fish oil such as Salmon oil. You only need small amounts (depending on age and weight) so make sure you get good quality oil and properly store it.
Do consult your doctor before giving any of those pills. The good ones are just multivitamins with Omega 3 masked as a treat. Some others have more of the treat and less of the vitamin. In any case, they may be too rich if given too often. Personally, I prefer to give my supplements as supplements, but regardless of personal feeding preferences, if your Pug is healthy and eating a balanced diet, these pills may do some good to the skin and coat, but they will not stop the shedding.
Keep it clean
Clean skin will also help keep it healthy. In most cases, a dog living at home will not really NEED to take a bath, hardly ever. We tend to project our hygienic standards to our pets and if you share your house and even your bed with a dog, it is understandable but, a dog is still a dog. Their skin needs to have its natural oiliness and constant cleaning may actually do more harm than good. Having said that, if you do want to give your pug a bath, make sure you use the proper products. That doesn’t mean you have to run and buy the most expensive organic, ‘by fairies and mermaids’ shampoo out there, but do get a product that is appropriate for your dog and be conscious and observant to any unwanted reactions or sensitivities. Your Pug doesn’t care how he or she smells (they may actually prefer to be smelly) and as pleasant as it is to snuggle with a fresh smelling dog it’s important not to overdo it. If you feel the need to wash your pooch on a weekly bases make sure to use a very mild and gentle detergent.
There is a huge variety of shampoos and detergents, catering to anyone from the frugal and practical to the most discerning and pampering dog lover. Most of them are concentrated enough that a few dabs may just be enough. Lucky for us Pug owners we can splurge on high-quality shampoos, they will last for a very long time.
What about all the hair everywhere?
If you can adopt a laid-back attitude towards the hair everywhere, your life will be easier, but as we know, we all have our limits and at some point (some sooner than others) you will have to do something about. As I mentioned before, your house will never be ‘hair free’ but luckily there are a lot of solutions for unwanted hair.
Hair on the floor
Wal to wall carpeting will certainly be challenging. If it is resembling your fawn Pug in color (or black), you may not see it as much… We have ditched rugs and carpets a long time ago. We live in a warm enough climate that a Granite floor is both comfortable and practical. Regardless, a good vacuum cleaner is an asset to any Pug owner. I can also recommend one of the robotic vacuum cleaners. Ours used to collect a large fistful of fur on a daily bases and made life a little easier. Be sure it is either strong enough to handle pet hair or even a dedicated set of brushes to better deal with the challenge.
Hair on your clothes
If you are planning to cuddle with your pug and watch a movie, just throw your clothes into the washing machine. But if you are in your way out and your black pants were just ‘Pugged’, Lint Pickup Rollers should be a quick fix. They come with multiple layers of adhesive and are excellent at picking up stray hairs or localized patches. The only downside is if
If you are planning on new living room furniture, it is a good time to consider both the type of material as well as color. Leather, for example, makes cleaning easy and vacuuming a breeze. Black leather with a fawn Pug could be problematic as every tiny hair will be visible. Try to find a fabric or a material to which small hairs don’t cling well, to make the cleaning easier. Consider a color or pattern which will camouflage the hairs between cleaning not to get frustrated the day (or a few hours) after thoroughly cleaning up. Additionally, there are a few more products which can alleviate the problem on a day to day base. ChomChom Roller Pet Hair Remover or ShedTek Pet Hair Pick-up Tool are just two of the many options. There are Mega sized Lint Pickup Rollers which will not get clogged as fast as the smaller ones, and brushes that work well on different surfaces. If there a larger concentration in her favorite spot the roller will get clogged very quickly.
There’s a comprehensive list of such products in our Recommended Gear page.
Do pugs Drool?
Pugs do love to cuddle and rub their head against yours, whatever is in the area, fortunately, Pugs are not serious droolers. They will lick you and rub against you to the point of somewhere between moist and wet, but usually, a drooling Pug will be an indication of a dental issue of sorts.
Do Pugs Bark a lot?
Pugs are generally not a breed that barks a lot. Some small breeds seem to try and make for their size with noise and will yap at anyone and anything for no apparent reason. Pugs don’t think of themselves as small dogs and will usually bark only when they deem it necessary and usually long enough to make a point and not much longer.