How Long Do Pugs Live? Average Lifespan & Causes of Death

Pug lifespan how long do Pugs live on average

Pugs are one of the most adorable flat-faced pooches out there. Many dog owners admire this dog for its joyful spirit, curly tails, wrinkly coats, and loving nature. But have you ever wondered how long do Pugs live?

Does the Pug dog breed have a long life? What are the most common causes of death in Pugs? Most importantly, how can you help your Pug live a healthy and long life?

If you are interested in learning the answers to these questions, this guide is worth reading!

Here, you will learn everything there is to know about the Pug lifespan. We’ll also throw in a couple of fun facts about Pugs and tips on owning one!

Pug Life Expectancy: How Long Do Pugs Live on Average?

Three Pug dogs sitting on conrete road

Pugs are expected to live 12 to 15 years according to a recent study. This life expectancy is impressive, especially for a medium-sized dog. On some occasions, a healthy Pug that is well cared for can live past 15 years old.

But then again, compared to the lifespan of other breeds, the Pug’s lifespan is quite average.

As expected, this dog does not live as long as smaller dog breeds, such as the Chihuahua. However, Pugs live longer than most large dog breeds.

Interestingly, a Pug ranked fourth in the list of oldest dogs that ever lived. It trailed behind an Australian Cattle Dog, a Beagle, and a Welsh Collie. Impressive, don’t you think?

The Oldest Living Pug: How Old Is the Oldest Pug in the World? 

A Pug named Snookie is the world’s oldest recorded Pug. At 27 years and 284 days, Snookie lived an extremely long life, almost twice the average life expectancy of Pug!

If you’re not yet impressed, let’s further explain why this is such an incredible feat.

The Pug originated in 400 B.C in China. This breed is considered a Molosser breed, a group of dog breeds known for their beefy physiques, broad chest, and muscular legs.

Molosser dog breeds are not exactly known for their lifespan. While some Molosser dogs have long life expectancies, such as the Australian Cattle Dog and the Doberman, most are nothing out of the ordinary.

What’s surprising about Snookie is the fact that it managed to live a long life despite being a brachycephalic breed. Brachycephalic dogs are short-headed dogs that are predisposed to some respiratory issues.

That said, it is astonishing that the South African Pug, Snookie, proved to be unaffected by these health problems. Currently, Snookie ranks fourth in the list of oldest dogs to have ever lived.

READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Pug: What’s The Difference?

Factors That Determine the Lifespan of Your Pug

There are tons of factors affecting the lifespan of Pug dogs. However, it can be pretty jarring to list down all of them here. For that reason, we’ll focus on the ones with the most significant effect on your pooch’s life. 

As a pet owner, you must have a good understanding of these factors to help your Pug live its longest and healthiest life. In this section, you’ll also learn a couple of tips and tricks that are exclusive to Pugs!

Health and Genetics

Genetics is arguably the most critical factor affecting the lifespan of Pug dogs. Genetics dictates whether or not your Pug will develop a particular health issue later down the road.

If your Pug comes from a healthy bloodline with a good lifespan, there’s a pretty good chance it will have a healthy life ahead of it.

Unfortunately, the only way to ensure that your Pug has good genes is to get one from a reputable breeder.

Breeders that practice good breeding habits employ strict DNA screening tests for their dogs. They select parent dogs that are the healthiest and most compatible. As a result, litters turn out with impeccable health.

Here’s an insightful video about the health of Pugs and how long do Pugs live:

Things you should know about pugs! #8 Health Issues

Diet

Diet is a close second to genetics when it comes to determining the Pug lifespan.

Similar to humans, dogs need proper nutrition to ensure that their body functions well. A good diet also affects their immune system and overall behavior. 

For Pugs, it is most recommended to stick with a kibble diet. Make sure to pick the right kind of kibble for your pet’s age and activity levels. Of course, you can also throw in a few homemade dog food meals once in a while. 

White meat, vegetables, and fruit slices are generally safe to be fed to dogs. In terms of food portions, your safest bet is to provide your Pug with two to three meals a day.

Just make sure that you are giving the right amount and not too much or too little!

Exercise

Unlike other dogs, Pugs are not too demanding when it comes to exercise. Pugs are not as athletic and robust as other dogs, so frequent short bursts of energy are the best for them.

Ideally, a healthy lifestyle for a Pug involves a short walk three to four times a day. Alternatively, you can play catch for around 15 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and then at night.

Before taking your pooch out for a workout, it is recommended to give it water and a small snack first. Pugs can be prone to dehydration, so be aware!

Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and neutering is the process of removing an animal’s reproductive organ. Surprisingly, these processes are some of the few effective ways to increase Pug lifespan.

Compared to an intact Pug, a spayed/neutered Pug has a low risk of developing prostate cancers, bowel movement issues, pyometra, and more.

So unless you plan on breeding your Pug, it is recommended to have it spayed or neutered.

Having your dog spayed or neutered will cost you a one-time fee of around $150. However, if you decide to buy an adult Pug, more often than not, it has already been spayed or neutered. 

Living Conditions

A dog’s living condition is another important factor affecting its lifespan. Dogs that are kept indoors usually live longer lives than dogs kept outdoors.

Keeping your pup inside reduces its likelihood of getting involved in dog fights or accidents. 

A dog that lives indoors is also safer from harmful chemicals and fumes that it may otherwise come in contact with.

Despite its close ties with robust Molasser dogs, Pugs are fragile house dogs. You must keep this in mind at all times. 

Another tip that will go a long way in prolonging the well-being of your Pug is to invest in an orthopedic dog bed. This bed will prevent your Pug from developing joint and muscle-related problems such as hip dysplasia.

How to Identify the Age of Your Pug in Human Years?

Two Pugs of different ages sitting together

Many dog parents believe that a dog’s age in human years is just seven times its age in dog years. However, there is a recent study that aims to provide a better metric. 

In a 2019 report from Science Magazine, an allegedly more accurate calculation is presented. However, the catch is that you will need a calculator to use it.

The formula is something like this:

16 ln (Your Pug’s Age) + 31 = Human Age

Using your calculator, take the natural logarithm (the “ln” function) of your Pug’s age. Afterward, take the answer and multiply it by 16. Finally, add 31. Sound’s pretty straightforward, right?

This relatively new formula is based on the chemical changes that occur in dogs’ DNA. By comparing these changes to human DNA, researchers extracted a formula that correlates human age and dog age.

However, since this formula is new, it is not yet widely used in the pet community.

Most dog owners and Pug owners are still stuck with a somewhat run-of-the-mill approach. And because of that, as a Pug parent, you must learn about this as well.

Here’s the age chart for a Pug:

Pug YearsHuman Years
115
224
328
432
536
640
744
848
952
1056
1160
1264
1368
1472
1576
1680
1784
1888
1992
2096

From the table above, it is evident that Pugs age faster than humans. However, not all dogs age this rapidly. Some will age faster, while others will take a longer time.

As for the Pug, its development is fastest in its puppy years, specifically from birth to one year old. In human years, the lifespan of a Pug is approximately 68 to 76 years old.

An alternative way to find out your dog’s age is by using a dog age calculator. The only downside to this method is that it only works on purebred dogs.

READ NEXT: 10 Best Pug Rescues for Adoption (2021): Our Top 10 Picks!

What Do Pugs Usually Die From? 

Despite their relatively long life expectancy, Pugs also have their fair share of common health problems. Some of these health problems are due to their anatomy, while others are caused by environmental factors. 

Let’s take a look at the common causes of death in Pugs.

Common Causes of Death in Pug Puppies

Some conditions are more commonly diagnosed in younger Pugs. So if you decide to get a Pug puppy, there are some things you should watch out for.

Here are some of the common causes of death in Pug puppies:

  • Parvovirus: Parvovirus is an infectious virus that affects the immune system and gastrointestinal tract of a dog. A Pug that carries this virus will show signs of diarrhea and dehydration. This lethal virus can strike Pugs as young as six weeks! Luckily, preventive vaccine shots against parvovirus are widely available. 
  • Distemper: Canine distemper is another infectious virus that does damage to a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. A Pug’s nervous system and respiratory system may also suffer from this infection. If an unvaccinated Pug catches the distemper virus, there’s a pretty low chance that it will survive.
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in dogs. In Pugs, its early signs usually appear at around six months of age. Unfortunately, epilepsy is an incurable genetic condition and can prove to be deadly. However, it can be managed through medication and therapy.
  • Physical Trauma: As puppies, Pugs are pretty fragile. They are small and prone to being stepped on or kicked. A playful Pug may also get hit by a car or may fall down the stairs. Hugging a Pug too tightly may also cause its eyes to pop out. It is essential to be mindful of a Pug puppy at all times!

Most of the conditions mentioned above are preventable or manageable at the very least. All you need to do is to keep a close eye on the early signs.

The earlier you spot the onset of these issues, the better it is for your Pug puppy.

Common Causes of Death in Adult Pugs

As Pugs age, their physique develops and becomes a tad sturdier. This means they are less prone to physical trauma than when they are puppies. However, aging also means the onset of some life-threatening health issues. 

Here are some common causes of death in adult Pug adults:

  • Heat Stroke: In general, Pugs do not do well in extreme temperatures. Because of their tight coats, these dogs can feel the slightest temperature changes. Sadly, adult Pugs are very prone to overheating. In fact, Pugs are one of the dog breeds that are most affected by heat strokes.
  • Gastric Torsion: Gastric-dilation volvulus, also known as bloat or gastric torsion, is a deadly condition in Pugs. This health problem requires immediate medical attention as it can kill a Pug in a matter of hours. Bloat occurs when the stomach of a dog twists due to high volumes of food and water intake.
  • Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE): Pug Dog Encephalitis or PDE is a condition characterized by an inflamed brain. It is most common in the Pug breed, but it can also be diagnosed in other small dogs. Another name for this health condition is Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis (NME).
  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: The Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is a common predisposition in dogs with short skulls, such as Pugs. Due to their anatomy, brachycephalic dogs have an increased risk of developing respiratory problems like laryngeal collapse.

Sadly, most of the causes of death in adult Pugs are innate to them. Like we’ve mentioned before, many of these are consequences of their short-muzzled anatomy. 

It is wise to invest in some sort of health insurance for your Pug. Doing so will ensure that you have some kind of backup plan in case your pooch requires medical treatment. 

That said, regular vet checkups are still the best way to get ahead of these issues. Also, if your pooch ends up with any of these health issues, it’s worth noting that proper medication can help it live a full and happy life.

READ NEXT: How Much Does a Pug Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

5 Easy Tips to Help Your Pug Live Longer

Pug dog having a check up in his ear by a veterinarian

As a dog lover, you probably want your dog to live as long a life as yours; sadly, it’s just not possible!

The good news is that there are things you can do to help your Pug live its longest life. Do all of these, and your Pug will surely be with you for a long time!

Here are five tips to help your Pug live longer:

1. Visit the Vet Regularly 

Regular vet checkups are imperative for a Pug’s long life. Not only will this ensure that your Pug is in tip-top shape, but it will also be advantageous in spotting early symptoms.

It is recommended to visit the vet with your Pug at least once every three months. This applies to all Pugs (yes, even healthy Pugs!).

However, if you notice something is wrong with your pooch, an unplanned vet visit won’t hurt.

2. Give Your Pug a Healthy Diet

It’s no secret that a good diet equals good health, and good health leads to a healthy weight and longer life. Luckily, giving your Pug a healthy diet is actually relatively easy. 

All you need is the right kind of high-quality food, a few bags of healthy treats, and some veggies. If you want to give a homemade meal to your dog, raw baby carrots and white meat are some healthy foods your Pug will love.

The feeding portion is also essential. Make sure that your pet plate is just the right size for a single meal serving. 

Keep in mind that overfeeding is terrible for your Pug’s health. Excess weight leads to obese Pugs, which reportedly have a lower quality of life.

3. Learn the Proper Way to Groom Your Pug

The Pug is a distinctively wrinkled dog. Its face and body have wrinkles all over it! While this may look like a cute feature for this pooch, it takes a toll on grooming and maintenance.

The wrinkles of a Pug are places where bacteria build-up can occur. When left dirty, it may result in yeast infections and staph infections. These infections are detrimental to the appearance and well-being of your pup. 

Proper grooming of a Pug involves cleaning the areas underneath its wrinkles at least twice a week.

Bathing is not necessary for this; wiping with a damp towel will suffice. In fact, you should only bathe your Pug whenever it gets too dirty or stinky.

4. Do Not Overwork Your Pug

Pugs are not very robust dogs. They do not have the best stamina and muscular endurance, and their bodies are not built for intense physical activities. Often, too much exercise will only cause breathing difficulties to your Pug.

However, your Pug still needs some amount of physical exercise to stay healthy.

The best way to engage your pooch in such activities is by doing it in small batches. A 10 to 15-minute workout done twice or thrice a day is the ideal setup for a Pug.

5. Keep Your Pug Indoors

As mentioned previously, the Pug is not a very robust pooch. It may be a tough-looking pup at times, but this dog is definitely a fragile fur baby. 

Keeping your Pug indoors will prevent it from getting into accidents, especially if you are not on a fenced property.

Similarly, by keeping your Pug indoors, you are significantly minimizing its risk of temperature shocks.

READ NEXT: Best Pug Breeders (2021): 10 Places to Find Pug Puppies for Sale

Senior Pug Dog Care

When a Pug reaches six years old, it is already considered a senior dog. By this time, you should expect to see changes in your pet’s behavior as well as in its body.

For Pugs, the first thing you will notice is reduced energy levels. Your pooch will not be as playful or as excited to see you as before. Old age also means reduced endurance and interest in playtime.

As a Pug owner, you will also see changes in your dog’s sleeping habits and eating schedule. Senior Pugs are known to sleep for as long as 14 to 18 hours a day.

Here are a few ways to care for a senior Pug:

  • Consider giving your Pug food supplements.
  • Comb your Pug’s coat more frequently.
  • Schedule vet check-ups more often.
  • Reduce your Pug’s exercise intensity.
  • Keep your Pug healthy.
  • Make an effort to provide water and healthy snacks to your Pug more often.
  • Spend more time with your Pug.
  • Make sure your dog has pet insurance coverage.
  • Consider investing in dog diapers.

It is important to be patient with your dog, especially at the onset of its senior years. Keep in mind that these changes are often involuntary to them. You will also need to do things differently to give them the best care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Little funny Pug lying on a sidewalk in a summer park

What Age Is Considered Old for a Pug?

A Pug is considered a full-grown adult dog when it reaches two years old. At around this time, your Pug’s age in human years is equivalent to 24 years.

By the time your Pug is six, it is already considered a senior dog or 40 years old in human years.

What Age Do Most Pugs Die?

While the Pug has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years old, most Pugs die near the lower end of the range.

Male Pugs are said to have a mean life expectancy of 12.8 years, while most female Pugs die at around 13.2 years old.

Is 13 Old for a Pug?

Yes, 13 is a very old age for a Pug. In fact, a 13-year old Pug is at the same stage in life as a 68-year old human being. While a few Pugs live past 13 years old, most Pugs will die at around this age.

How Do I Know if My Pug Is Dying?

The common signs of a dying Pug are disinterest, labored breathing, and loss of muscle control and coordination.

A dying Pug may also exhibit failing bladder control and an increased risk of fungal infections. Most dogs showing these signs are near their death.

Final Thoughts

Pugs are the flat-faced charmers of the dog world. Other than their goofy nature, curly tails, and stable character, these balls of fur are full of surprises.

This healthy dog lives a pretty long life as well, which means it can be your fur baby for many, many years.

You should get a Pug if you want an indoor buddy and don’t mind regularly cleaning fur on your furniture.

However, you should be on the lookout for some of the common health issues in Pugs. There’s quite a lot, but they’re all manageable!

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

Recent Posts