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How to Help a Pug Lose Weight: 11 Vet Approved Tips & Tricks

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

fat pug sitting on sidewalk

How to Help a Pug Lose Weight: 11 Vet Approved Tips & Tricks


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Have you allowed your Pug to pack on the pounds? You’re not alone. Pugs are happy couch dwellers, so it’s no surprise that obesity is a very real possibility for this breed.

Research from the Royal Veterinary College in the UK, has indicated Pugs are at the highest risk of obesity out of all dog breeds. Unfortunately obesity causes many issues for our Pugs, shortening their lifespan and making them at higher risk of health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and breathing problems. The increased risk of breathing issues is especially concerning for brachycephalic (short nosed) dogs like the Pug.

We have 11 tips to help your Pug melt that stubborn fat.

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The 11 Tips to Help Your Pug Lose Weight

1. Schedule an Appointment With Your Vet

Your veterinarian can provide helpful insight into your dog’s health through diet, exercise, and body condition scores.

A thorough examination (and some blood work) can help your veterinarian determine any underlying health concerns causing weight gain, too. Your veterinarian can prescribe a prescription diet to help your Pug burn fat faster without agitating other health ailments.

pug dog in a veterinary clinic
Image By:, Shutterstock

2. Look at Your Pug’s Body Condition Score

The best way to assess how overweight your Pug is, is to look at your dog’s body shape and body fat. Can you easily feel your dog’s ribs? Does your dog have a waist and a ‘tummy’ tuck? Body condition scoring is an easy technique that you can learn at home that helps you assess this and also monitor their weight loss.

3. Look at your Pug’s Current Diet

Look at your dog’s current diet and treats and extras. Sometimes people feel their dog isn’t eating that much and keeping a food diary for a few days can be revealing, especially if there is more than one family member feeding! Little treats and table scraps add up very quickly and learning to resist those puppy dog eyes with all family members on board is an important start!

pug dog eating from feeding bowl
Image By: Tanya Dol, Shutterstock

4. Weigh their food

Measure portion sizes, the most accurate way to do this is by weight. Consider dividing the daily food into several small meals which can make your dog feel like they are getting more!

5. Table Scraps Are Off Limits

Cooked human food is often loaded with calories and bad ingredients for dogs. If you’re feeding your Pug table scraps, keep your dog out of the dining room and kitchen during dinner. Clean up the floor, and don’t offer any table scraps to your dog.

female hands throwing food scraps into the trash bin
Image By: hurricanehank, Shutterstock

6. Avoid Treats

Treats add more calories to your dog’s overall diet. You can always offer treats when your Pug drops some pounds.

7. Or Offer Healthier Treats

If you must offer treats, offer healthy snacks, like:

  • Carrot sticks
  • Apple slices
  • Boiled chicken
  • Broccoli
  • Snap peas
  • Dehydrated sweet potato
  • Reserve some of their daily kibble allowance to use as treats
apple slices
Image By: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

8. Utilize Slow Feeders and Food Puzzles

Slow feeding will help your dog eat slower and feel full faster. Plus, it’s a fun game that kills some time.

9. Exercise

If your dog’s health allows it regular exercise expends energy, builds and maintains lean muscle mass and takes their mind off food!  You’d be surprised by how many calories you and your dog can burn with a simple daily walk. Walks are easy, can be done on a simple lunch break, and mentally stimulate your Pug.

Because Pugs are brachycephalic, they do best with moderate exercise in the early mornings to late evenings when the day is coolest.

pug on a leash walking on grass
Image By: oleg_mit, Pixabay

10. Try New Toys

Dogs go ham on new toys for several minutes, sometimes hours. This is an easy way to make exercise fun if you don’t have time to take your dog for a walk or the weather isn’t permitting.

11. Make Gradual Changes

Weight loss involves a complete lifestyle change which may shock your Pug, make gradual changes. It will be easier on your Pug, and you’ll be more likely to stick to the new habits.

For exercise, you can do this by adding one extra weekly walk, extra mile, or a living room play session to part of the evening routine.

With diet, mix the new kibble into the old kibble gradually until your dog fully transitions to the new kibble.

Patience and consistency are the keys to success! Weight loss should be slow and steady at around 0.5-1% loss per week. Any weight loss can make a big difference to a Pug’s breathing.

apricot pug dog stands on a field with dandelions
Image By: e-Kis, Shutterstock



Fat loss takes time, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see your Pug making much progress in the beginning. Remember that the key here is a lifestyle change and not a quick fix. Over time, you and your Pug will notice the changes and feel happier and healthier.

Featured Image Credit: studio37th, Shutterstock

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