11 Common Pug Skin Problems and Remedies

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Pugs are short-nosed beauties with playful personalities. Beloved by millions, this breed is quite popular despite its inherent health risks.

As a brachycephalic breed, most are familiar with the breathing problems that can occur. However, that’s not the only issue that Pugs have to deal with.

Skin problems are fairly common, too. It’s a lesser-known issue that continues to plague Pugs all over the world.

Unfortunately, these lovable dogs can encounter a wide range of skin conditions.

The good news is that many are treatable and easy to avoid with proper care. The key is understanding the risks and knowing what to look for.

Here are some of the most prevalent Pug skin problems and possible remedies you can use to treat them.

11 Common Pug Skin Problems and Remedies

#1. Food-Based Allergies

Food allergies are more common in Pugs than most think. While some dogs can eat anything without showing issues, others respond to several allergens.

The most common triggers for Pugs are grains. However, dogs can show aversion to a wide range of ingredients.

Even familiar sources of protein, such as chicken, can be a trigger!

When your Pug eats an allergen, it can respond in several ways.

Physically, dermatitis may occur. The skin can become red and irritable. The patches are usually itchy, too. As a result, dogs will continually scratch the spot until it bleeds.

Not only does this increase the risks of infection, but it can lead to some nasty scabbing. The severity of food-based dermatitis varies.

Regardless, it’s not something you want to ignore.

What You Can Do

To treat existing allergic reactions, vets may recommend using antifungal cleansers. Some will also prescribe antibiotics or topical ointments to alleviate symptoms.

Once the reaction subsides, you’ll want to narrow down the allergen and switch up your dog’s diet.

You can start with a limited ingredients diet and use the process of trial and error to find the offending ingredient. However, an allergen test at your vet’s office can make things much more manageable.

There are plenty of allergen-free dog foods out there. Specialty diets exist too. They utilize exotic meats to cater to dogs that are allergic to common ingredients.

#2. Environmental Allergies

Pugs can be allergic to many things in the environment. They can react negatively to pollen, grass, insects, and more.

Symptoms for environmental allergic reactions are pretty similar to food-based reactions. You might see irritation, tons of scratching, and eventual scabbing.

If a bug is involved, the symptoms may be more localized to wherever your dog was bitten.

Additional issues might come up, too. For example, dogs that are allergic to pollen often suffer from watery eyes and a runny nose.

What You Can Do

Sadly, there’s not much you can do here.

You can visit a vet to perform an allergy test. From there, you’ll have the knowledge you need to limit your dog’s exposure as much as possible.

Some supplements exist to support environmental allergies. But the most effective way to prevent reactions is to limit exposure.

#3. Skin Fold Dermatitis

Here’s a particularly nasty skin issue! It affects the many folds of your dog’s skin.

Pugs are wrinkly little creatures, so it’s an issue that occurs pretty frequently. You may notice signs of irritation around the nasal folds, under the armpits, or even around the tail fold.

Skin fold dermatitis occurs because of moisture and dirt. The folds trap moisture and dirt, leading to inflammation and redness.

In severe cases, the folds can start to produce a smelly discharge. If not treated, an infection can occur.

What You Can Do

The trick here is to keep your dog’s skin folds clean and dry.

Have a conversation with your vet. If your pooch is experiencing this kind of skin irritation, they’ll likely prescribe some medication to heal the skin and combat infection.

Moving forward, they’ll likely recommend using antifungal and antibacterial wipes. Use the wipes to clean your dog’s skin folds between washes.

The formula gets rid of bacteria and manages yeast.

#4. Hot Spots

Known as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, hot spots are a pretty common issue that can affect any dog.

In Pugs, they occur because your dog is paying far too much attention to one spot!

Most hot spots start innocently enough. They may begin as minor irritation or a small itchy site. However, these spots become serious because your pup continues to lick, bite, or scratch the area.

Over time, the skin becomes thick, scaly, and highly irritated. It may start to discharge pus and form scabs.

What You Can Do

Before things get worse, treat the hot spot with an antibacterial solution.

This skin condition is so common that many pet brands make hot spot sprays. Typically, they contain chlorhexidine or betadine to heal the wound and provide relief.

To speed things up, you can trim the hair back around the spot to promote better air circulation.

In serious cases, take your Pug to the vet. Vets will prescribe antibiotics to heal stubborn hot spots.

They may also recommend using an Elizabethan collar to stop your dog from licking the area.

#5. Pyoderma

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that plagues folds. While similar to skin fold dermatitis, pyoderma is characterized by infectious pus.

Interestingly enough, pyoderma is also somewhat contagious. It can spread from pregnant mothers to offspring.

This condition can affect all Pugs. However, it’s more common in pregnant or overweight dogs. The skin becomes red and inflamed before releasing malodorous discharge.

What You Can Do

In addition to topical ointment and antibiotics, your vet will likely recommend putting your pooch on a weight loss routine.

This condition affects obese dogs most. While losing weight doesn’t address other skin conditions, it can reduce the risks of pyoderma quite a bit.

#6. Lesions and Ulcerations

Skin lesions and ulcerations seem to appear out of nowhere. They start as a minor irritation. But over time, this condition can graduate to full-on wounds that bleed.

The reason lesions and ulcers affect dogs so suddenly is because they’re a product of autoimmune diseases. The body literally attacks itself.

There are many reasons why dogs suffer from skin lesions and ulcers. Sometimes, genetics trigger attacks. In other cases,

it’s because of medications or exposure to specific ailments.

What You Can Do

There are no at-home remedies here. If autoimmune disease is causing your dog’s skin to go crazy, you need to address the problem at its root.

Take your dog to a vet for a proper diagnosis. This usually comes after a skin biopsy and several tests.

From there, your vet can come up with a suitable treatment plan.

Usually, treating autoimmune diseases requires a cocktail of medications. While not ideal, it can improve your dog’s overall health and prevent future skin issues.

#7. Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange is a condition that can affect dogs of all ages. It’s most common in puppies, but exposure to infected dogs can lead to issues with adults, too.

Mange causes the hair to fall out. Pugs can develop large patches of hairless skin that take several months to recover.

Mites are to blame for demodectic mange. The tiny parasitic bugs burrow into the skin and cause severe inflammation.

Once the hair falls out, the skin usually looks pink and scaly.

What You Can Do

It’s crucial to treat demodectic mange as quickly as possible. This condition is highly contagious and can lead to a serious mite problem.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to provide relief. Several over-the-counter mange products are available.

They usually come in the form of sprays and shampoos. The active ingredients soothe the skin while also killing the mites.

If you need a more robust solution, you can also seek veterinary help.

#8. Ear Mites

Here’s another condition that’s caused by mites. However, rather than focusing on the skin around the body, ear mites prioritize the moist and dark space of the ear canal.

These mites are microscopic and nearly invisible to the naked eye. But, they wreak havoc on the ear tissue. They feed on tissue and fluids, causing irritation and discharge.

In time, the mites can migrate to other parts of the body and cause trouble.

What You Can Do

To address the mite infestation, go to your vet for insecticidal medication. Available in drop form, the solution will quickly eradicate the mites and promote healing.

From there, you’ll need to be proactive about your dog’s ear health. Mites gravitate towards dirty ear canals. Keep your pup’s ears clean to avoid any issues in the future.

You may also want to check on your dog’s immune health.

Like the mites that cause mange, ear mites tend to affect dogs with a weaker immune system. Please take it as a sign of something more serious and take a trip to the vet.

#9. Flea Infestations

Of course, we can’t forget about fleas! Fleas are one of the most common skin issues to plague all dogs.

In Pugs, flea bites tend to cause bumpy skin. The constant itchy sensation only makes things worse.

If you ignore the issue, your Pug could scratch to the point of breaking the skin. This leads to a condition called folliculitis. Folliculitis causes painful sores and unsightly scabs to form.

Not only does this cause more irritation, but it opens up a can of worms for bacterial infections.

What You Can Do

The best course of action is to get rid of the fleas. For the current infestation, use flea-killing shampoos and a fine-tooth comb to get rid of the bugs.

For ongoing prevention, your options are endless here. Try over-the-counter flea collars or drops. If that doesn’t work, you can also use monthly medication.

#10. Ringworm

Contrary to popular belief, ringworm is not caused by a ring at all. A fungus is to blame! The condition gets its name because of the ring-like lesions that appear on the skin.

The fungus infection often leads to hair loss, scaly textures, and patches of dry skin. The skin also becomes itchy and discolored.

Ringworm usually comes from the soil. However, it can spread from cats, other dogs, and animals.

The fungal infection isn’t reserved for just animals. Your Pug can easily give it to you!

What You Can Do

Both oral and topical medications are available.

Milder symptoms are pretty easy to treat with antifungal and antiseptic products. However, more severe infections may require veterinary intervention and stronger prescription medication.

#11. Pimples

Last but not least, we have pimples. Believe it or not, Pugs can get zits, too!

They usually appear around the facial area. However, those pus-filled bumps can form on the body as well.

You should never attempt to pop pimples. Not only are they painful, but the pus and oil can cause infections elsewhere.

What You Can Do

The best way to treat pimples is to clean them with medicated wipes. Premoistened antiseptic wipes work wonders to heal angry zits!


Most Pugs will encounter skin problems at some point in their life. However, it doesn’t have to be a chronic problem!

There are many steps you can take to keep these issues at bay. Adopt a strict grooming routine and clean your Pug’s body from head to toe regularly.

Pay special attention to those adorable folds and address any underlying health issues that might be occurring. With a little bit of preventative care, those bumps and rashes will be a thing of the past.

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