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Hip Dysplasia in Pugs

Although it is not very common to find hip dysplasia in Pugs, it still is one of the diseases that a Pug owner should be aware of.

Meet the Pugs

Pugs love to relax on your couch or favorite chair, whether you’re around or not. They’re alert and attentive pets and will follow their owner from room to room, always ready to play or go for a short walk.

Pugs are friendly to everyone, especially so to any person who pays a lot of attention to them. They relish being cuddled and petted and often become jealous or troubled when an owner devotes attention to someone else. Pugs are generally patient dogs and get along well with children. They love being around people and are not happy when left alone. They are curious and intelligent dogs and make good watchdogs. They have a strong bark rather than a “yappy” one like many smaller breeds.

Pugs like moderate temperatures. In cold weather they can easily catch a cold, and in hot weather they can overheat and die if not kept in an air-conditioned home. They adapt well to living in apartments because they don’t need a yard or lots of room to run around in. They do need plenty of exercise or they can become obese which results in health problems and a shorter lifespan.

Pugs are short and stocky, with a round head, flat muzzle, and round, dark, bulging eyes. Their wrinkled brows make them look continually worried or bothered by something. They have velvety dark ears and long straight limbs that gives them a spry step. Their coats are smooth and soft and come in black, silver, fawn and apricot colors.

Because Pugs have flat muzzles, they tend to snort, wheeze and snore when fluid gets caught under their palate. You don’t have to worry when you see them displaying this behavior as they are capable of handling the situation on their own.

Pugs are one of the world’s oldest breeds, although no one is sure just how old. The predominant belief is that Pugs were short-haired versions of Pekingese dogs that were favored by royals in the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.). Another popular theory is that they are a smaller version of the French Mastiff or Bulldog.

Their name is also mysterious. It is commonly believed that the shortened name came from a nickname for marmoset monkeys or possibly from the Latin “pugnus” meaning a fist.

Hip dysplasia in Pugs

Pugs are also known to be susceptible to developing hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis.

Hip dysplasia in Pugs is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.

A normal hip joint:

Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

An abnormal hip joint:

Most Pugs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia in Pugs cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

The amount of calories a dog eats, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.

Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.

Too much exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.


Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

If people insisted on purchasing a Pug whose parents and grandparents were certified to have good or excellent hips, and if breeders only bred these first-rate animals, then the majority of the problems caused by hip dysplasia would be eliminated. If you are looking to purchase a Pug now or in the future, the best way to lessen the possibility of getting a dog that will develop hip dysplasia is to examine the incidence of hip dysplasia in the dog’s lineage. If at all possible, try to examine the parents and grandparents as far back as three or four generations.

There are different beliefs on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Pugs. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.


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