What every Pug Parent needs to know about Pug Pet Insurance
Look! Just look! What could be sweeter than a pug?
Indeed, do you know that when you connect with a Pug, your oxytocin levels go up? This is because that adorably wrinkled, flat face pushes buttons on a primeval level that remind us of babies. In it's simplest terms, looking a pug triggers your nurturing instincts.
A Man Made Problem
However, the Pug breed has changed over the years...and this is all down to us. Because we love that smoosh-faced look, breeders have selected those dogs with the flattest faces to parent the next generation. Over the decades and centuries this has led to a somewhat disasterous (from an anatomical standpoint) developments.
If you need proof of how the breed has changed, take a look at a painting by the famous Georgian artist, William Hogarth, of his own pet Pug (somewhat topically called Trump). This dog has a much longer nose than the modern day dog, and is what 'true' pugs of yesteryear looked like.
Why Pug Pet Insurance is Important
That flat face makes it difficult for a Pug to breath. Whilst the bony case that is the skull is fore-shortened, the soft tissue structures within remain the same size. Thus, there's not enough room for the tongue, soft palate, and tonsils, with the result that they block the back of the throat.
So be aware that to keep your Pug fit and well, its possible they may even need corrective surgery to open up their airway. This is often done at a specialist center and comes with a hefty price tag attached. Thus, the best way to sleep easy at night is to have pet insurance which covers your pet for life.
Pug pet insurances helps you both sleep well at night
Find out about Pug health problems
Please don't misunderstand. We're not trying to alarm pug parents, but rather trying to alert you to the risks so you can put provision in place to meet the cost of treatment should it become necessary.
Pug Health Problems and the Costs Involved
Breathing Difficulties due to BOAS (Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.)
Reluctance to exercise
Occasional courses of antiinflammatory drugs
Specialist surgery from £3,000
Rubbing the eye
Consultation and eye drops £50 - 100
Specialist appointments £200
Corneal graft £2,000+
Thick, glue-like discharge from the eye
Itchy, uncomfortable eye
Brown pigment deposited on the cornea
Regular application of artificial tears
Eye ointment which inhibits the immune system
Artificial tears £12- 25 per tube
Optimmune £75 per tube
Excessive fat over the ribs
Poor general health
Weight loss diets
Prescription weight loss diets £22+ per bag
Lameness on a back leg
Diagnostic x-rays £150 - 400
Pain relief £1 per day
Corrective surgery £700 to 5,000 depending on the procedure
Skipping on a back leg
Diagnostic x-rays £150-400
Pain relief £1 / day
Corrective surgery £500 +
Greasy feeling skin
Medicated shampoo £22 + per bottle
Consultation and antibiotics £50 - 120
Now do you see why a pet insurance policy is pawtentially invaluable?
Lets considerside these issues in detail so you know what to look out for in your Pug’s pet insurance policy.
Nature never intended dogs to have flat faces. The wolf, the dog ancestor, has a long nose which is all the better to breathe through. When mankind selectively bred from dogs with flatter faces, the result is cute but flawed. You see whilst the bony casing (the skull) shrank in size, the soft tissue elements (tongue, soft palate, and tonsils) did not. Thus the Pug face is likened to trying to fit a size 10 foot into a size 2 shoe.
In reality, there’s too much crammed into the back of the throat and the Pug is prone to blocking off their own air supply. The most obvious signs of this are the snorting, snoring sounds a Pug makes and their heavy panting.
This means Pug’s find it difficult to exercise and to keep cool in hot weather. Many a Pug has been known to collapse from heat stroke in moderately warm conditions.
To improve the picture and allow the dog to lead a more active life, this often requires corrective surgery. Those procedures most commonly performed include:
* Widen narrow nostrils
* Trim back an overlong soft palate
But this is costly surgery. In order to know your precious pup can have the best treatments available, pet insurance could be the answer.
Those big brown eyes have a design fault. They are so large and round that there’s more than an average amount of cornea exposed to damage, which means the Pug is prone to eye ulcers.
An eye ulcer is the equivalent of a burst blister on the surface of the eye. Ulcers are sore and have the worrisome tendency to deepen, with the potential to cause irreparable damage.
Prompt treatment from the vet can make all the difference and possibly save the dog’s sight. However, some ulcers are particularly troublesome and sometimes specialist treatment is needed to graft a piece of healthy cornea and use it to patch the hole.
Another eye problem the Pug is prone to is dry eye. This is exactly what it sounds like, and is the result of the glands that produce tears failing to work.
It’s the way of the world that it’s not until something isn’t there any more that you miss it…as with tear fluid. It moisturizes the cornea and keeps it comfortable. Without lubricating tear fluid, the eye becomes hot and itchy, and over time scar tissue forms on the surface of the eye. A bit like wearing a dirty contact lens, the scar tissue makes it difficult to see and the dog can become blind in that eye.
This is a case of control rather than cure. The dog requires life-long medication to try and encourage the glands to start producing tears again. Plus, it’s often necessary to place false tears into the eye every few hours.
One of the drawbacks of treatment is the cost. One small tube of ointment that lasts 2 – 6 weeks, depending on the dose, cost an eye-watering £75 plus!
A pawfect example of why pet insurance that covers for a condition for life is a sight saver under such circumstances. [To understand the different types of cover head over to A No NonSense Guide to Finding the Best Pet Insurance for Dogs.)
Sorry for the unpalatable subject, but we had to slip this one in somewhere.
Pugs love food! In fact, Pugs do not have any concept of what the word “Full” means. If faced with free access to the food bin a Pug will eat until they can’t move and look like they’re about to give birth. The point is that it’s the easiest thing in the world for those beseeching brown eyes to dupe you into giving extra treats and second breakfasts. Don’t do it!
Obesity leads to all sorts of problems including mobility problems, heart disease, and worsened breathing. Save you and your dog a whole load of angst by being the voice of the conscience and controlling portion size.
It’s kinda cute that a problem affecting the hip has the word ‘leg’ in the name, but that’s where the cuteness ends.
Legge-Perthe’s disease is a disabling condition affecting young Pugs. It’s the result of the blood supply shutting down too early to the developing thigh bone (femur). This causes the head of the thigh bone to crumble from lack of nutrition, which makes it grate in the joint and cause horrible discomfort.
Hind leg lameness in the Pug is not uncommon, not least because they are also prone to slipping kneecaps. However, Legge-Perthe’s is an especially painful condition which makes it even more important to identify the problem and treat it.
Diagnosis is made by x-raying the hips. Treatment involves pain relief and ultimately an operation, to remove the head from the top of the femur. This is a delicate operation that carries the risk of permanent nerve damage in the hands of an inexperienced surgeon. With this in mind, you may want the reassurance of referral to an orthopaedic specialist to reduce the chances of this occurring.
Did someone mention slipping kneecaps?
You may well have spotted this condition on other small dogs, and not realized what it was. This is the result of a subtle twist in the bones of the back leg, such that the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) don’t line up properly. It goes hand in hand with other problems such as a stretched joint capsule and the groove in which the kneecap (patella) sits being too shallow. The upshot is that when the dog takes a step the kneecap slips, causing the dog to skip on the leg.
Mild cases may not trouble the dog too much and just require occasional doses of pain relief. However, there is a range of severity and many do require surgery especially as there is a risk of early arthritis setting in.
And last but not least, those adorable wrinkles can cause problems all of their own.
A deep wrinkle means that furred skin rubs against furred skin, which irritates the skin and causes inflammation. It’s also warm and moist in the deep furrow, making a great breeding ground for bacteria. The perfect storm ensues where weakened skin meets lots of bugs, and infection results.
In addition, Pugs are particularly prone to yeast infections in their armpits and groin. Signs of this include a greasy feel to the coat and the skin becoming black and thickened.
Whilst treatment isn’t rocket science (medicated shampoo and antibiotics) it can become costly because it’s long term. Another argument for having Pug pet insurance in place.
Pug Pet Insurance
The penalty of being cute is a predisposition to health problems.
Don’t put yourself in the position of not being able to afford the treatment or surgery your fur baby needs to get well. Instead, take control and investigate health insurance so that your decisions can be based on what’s best for the dog, not your pocket.
Don’t delay: Protect your Pug today!