Pug Seniors

What is the Lifespan of Pugs and Practical Ways to Extend It

Pug with Colored Blanket

We all love our Pugs so much and want them to have an endless lifespan. Sadly, this is not going to happen. We don’t want to think about our Pug dogs leaving this planet before we do. 

Although we won’t sail off to heaven together, Pugs do live for a long time.

What Is the Lifespan of Pugs?

The life expectancy of a Pug dog is between 12 and 15 years. The average male Pug lives 12.8 years, and the average female Pug lives 13.2 years. It’s common to hear people say their Pug dogs live to age 16. I had two Pug dogs that both passed away at age 16. Many people say their Pug dogs are 14, 15, and 16 years old if you read on Reddit.com. Even 17 years old in some cases.  That is at the outer end of the lifespan of Pugs.   Click here to read on Reddit.

My first two Pugs (Wizard & Willow – may you rest in peace), did not seem to slow down at all until they were six years old. I felt like they slowed down to the point of being “normal dogs,” not slow. Six years old is about 40 years old as humans. They would tear it up like puppies regularly. They loved to pull on their leashes on walks and engaging in tom-foolery often. It took me some adjustment to start to realize they were getting older as they were pretty spry for a very long time. 

What’s the record for the Oldest Pug?

According to Guinness World Records, Snookie of South Africa lived to be 27 years old. That’s pretty amazing.

What about now? Who is the oldest living Pug that is still alive?

There seems to be a good amount of evidence that King Tug the Pug is the oldest living Pug alive today at 18 years old (2020). Check him out on Facebook.

Lifespan of Pugs

But, if you search the question out about lifespan of Pugs on Reddit, there are plenty of people that say their Pugs are 19 and 21 years old. Not sure if these Pugs are still with us, but let’s face it, that’s incredible.  Look on Reddit.

Changes in Your Senior Pug

Old Pug Lying Down

As your Pug dogs get older, he may slow down, have hearing or sight loss, and decrease muscle tone. Let’s look at some of the things our Pugs may have to deal with when they get older. And what we can do to help them live happier, healthier, and longer lives.

Joint Pain and Stiffness

As your Pug gets older, he may have difficulty walking up and downstairs. Getting up after he is lying down can be challenging.

Joint degradation is common at the end of lifespan of Pugs.  Dogs instinctively hide aches and pains. It’s not wise to look week out in the wild pack. 

So, symptoms may not be immediately apparent. As the joints deteriorate, your Pug may be less mobile. This is especially true in the morning or after a long walk.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

Ask your veterinarian about a glucosamine supplement that is right for your Pug.  This is very common as the lifespan of Pugs increases. 

Get an orthopedic bed that makes him more comfortable. These beds evenly distribute your dog’s weight. The right bed can help reduce stiffness and soreness.

Even though your Pug may be achy, he still needs to exercise. Find the proper balance of exercise for your Pug. Long, vigorous walks can make your older Pug sore and may even increase the joint degradation. Always remember if he has breathing issues. Shorter, more frequent walks are the way to go. 

If it’s warm outside, take walks in the early morning or late evening. No matter how cool you think it is or how short you think the walk will be, carry water. There are plenty of convenient water bottles for dogs that you can easily take with you.

Mix it up. Take your senior Pug to the dog park on some days. 

Just because he’s older, he still needs to socialize. Play with him inside on days that are too hot or cold. Give him a little cardio playing fetch down a long hallway.  This helps to extend the lifespan of Pugs.

Senior Pug begging

Weight Loss Or Gain

Obesity is one of the biggest problems with Pugs. Obesity is one of the biggest factors in decreasing the lifespan of Pugs. 

An adult Pug should weigh between 14 – 18 lbs. Don’t let those pounds creep up on him.

Older Pug dogs may gain weight easily or lose it. 

Because your Pug dog is getting less exercise, his calories may readily convert to fat. That’s the last thing his achy joints need. Carrying around too much weight can also contribute to his breathing problems.

Look at your Pug’s little legs. They are not meant to carry around a lot of weight. Make sure you adjust his diet to match his decreased physical activity. 

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

A Pug of the proper weight can live up to 2 years longer. 

Check out Senior dog foods with fewer calories and adjust his diet, so he doesn’t gain too much weight. Feed your Pug, high-quality food. Excellent commercial food with no animal by-products or fillers is great for your Pug dog. Good Senior dog foods will also have the nutrients and supplements your older Pug needs.  This helps to extend the lifespan of Pugs.

But Pugs love and benefit from variety in their meals. Some people opt to cook their food at home. One European study showed that dogs fed a homemade diet lived three years longer than those fed a commercial diet. If you have the time to prepare meals for your Pug dogs, I highly encourage it. 

Another option is buying a human-grade food like The Farmer’s Dog. It’s a little expensive, but I mix it half and a half with a high-quality kibble, I and Love and You.

Check with your vet if your Pug needs any extra supplements if you decide on home-cooked meals.

Whatever you decide to do, change your Pug’s diet gradually. You don’t want to upset their stomachs with a drastic change.

Feed healthy snacks like raw baby carrots, apples, strawberries, blueberries, and green beans. Remember, these are snacks. You don’t want to overload their stomachs and have them end up with a stomach ache.

Feeding a healthy diet will definitely extend the lifespan of Pugs. 

Supplements: Another Way to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

  • Omega fatty acids: Dogs need fats in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  These fatty acids will help to reduce inflammation and prevent painful joints. If you have young Pugs in your grumble, feed a good quality fish old to Pugs, both young and old. For omega-3, give your Pugs 500 mg of fish oil per day. For omega-6, give your Pug ½ teaspoon flaxseed or sunflower oil per day. 
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants destroy free radicals in your Pug. Free radicals cause aging in dogs. Feeding raw vegetables will help as will blueberries and strawberries. 
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria. They help our Pugs stay young. Gut health leads to a robust immune system and overall well-being. Check out yogurt or kefir with live cultures. Try feeding about a teaspoon, and if your Pug’s stomach tolerates, work up to 1 teaspoon/twice per day. 
  • Glucosamine: This supplement will reduce inflammation in your Pug’s joints and slow the aging process. My vet tells me that the Glucosamine at Walmart is just as good as any dog Glucosamine. As with any information on the internet, check it out with your veterinarian. In the past, I’ve used Glycoflex with my older dogs. There is some evidence to suggest that reducing inflammation extends the lifespan of pugs. It really makes a difference! 

Eye Problems With Your Senior Pug

The eye lens is usually translucent when we’re young. This is true for humans and dogs. When we age, the center of the lens becomes denser and looks a little cloudy. Some Pug dogs develop cataracts. This makes it difficult to see and sometimes causes blindness.  This generally happens as the lifespan of Pugs increase.

Pugs have large eyes, which makes glaucoma more common. This condition damages the optic nerve and can eventually lead to blindness.


How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

There is little to do to prevent these eye conditions, but make your dog more comfortable.

Cataract surgery in dogs is effective and safe. I had one Pug with glaucoma, got the surgery, and was glad I did!

Don’t move your furniture around. Your dog has learned where your furniture is, and his poor vision or blindness may be gradual. 

Talk to your Pug more often. Use your voice, so your Pug knows where you are. Talk to your Pug dog before you reach down to pet him, so you don’t startle him.

Don’t let your Pug retreat. Isolation is not good for your Pug. He may become depressed. Get out his toys. Play, encourage him, and make it fun. Remember, it must be scary if you can’t see. Continue to play through all stages of life, so he will be used to this as his eyesight becomes worse.  Interaction will extend the lifespan of Pugs.

All is not lost. Check out this blind Pug video here. These two brothers look very happy! 

Pug Grooming

Grooming and Examining for Bumps

Pugs are short-haired beasts. There is the obvious shedding problem, but why is this brushing so necessary for old Pugs? You will find any new bumps or fatty deposits when you are grooming every day. If you find any of these bumps, schedule with your veterinarian immediately. Finding a bump early on can extend the lifespan of Pugs.

Pugs have all those cute wrinkles. Pug parents need to be responsible to keep them clean and keep away any possible infections.

Clean the wrinkles often. Take a warm damp cloth or pet wipe and clean out those wrinkles at least every other day. 

Don’t Forget the Teeth Brushing

Most dogs over three years old will have oral diseases. Dental disease is prevalent in older Pugs.

Start brushing your Pug dog’s teeth now, no matter what his age. Gum disease can affect his organs, such as heart, lung, kidneys, and others. These complications can lead to life-threatening difficulties.

Poor oral hygiene lead to plaque, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Tartar and plaque are full of bacteria. Bacteria create toxins, and this can result in the condition. These infections in the mouth can spread to the bloodstream if not treated. As your Pug dog gets older, he will start to lose teeth, especially if you have not been brushing daily. 

It’s not that we forget to brush our Pug’s teeth, it’s just so difficult for us. If you want to extend lifespan of Pugs, brush daily.

The younger you start, the easier it will become. There was a lot of squirming when I first started brushing my Pug’s teeth. Eventually, they got more and more used to it. They still don’t like it, but they don’t act like I’m killing them!

A Mani and Pedi Are Musts for Your Pug’s Nails

When the lifespan of Pugs gets longer, your Pug’s nails may also become dry and coarse. 

Keep your senior Pug dog’s nails trimmed. As your older Pug is less active, his nails will not be worn down by the usual running and long walks. Your Pug’s nails may become brittle as he gets older. If they’re brittle, check with your veterinarian as your Pug may need a supplement. 

Clip your senior Pug’s nails frequently. It is uncomfortable on their toes when their nails are pushing directly on the ground. 

If they are brittle and splinter, that hurts. Take care of your Pug dog’s nails even if he’s not running around much anymore.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

Wrinkle Cleaning

Brushing him daily will keep you in tune with any new bumps that appear. This way, you can get your veterinarian quickly.  Vet visits extend the lifespan of Pugs. 

Wrinkle care is a must. It is easy for those wrinkles to get icky and infected. Keep them clean and dry.

Brushing teeth daily and yearly cleaning at the vet is going to keep your Pug’s teeth pearly white. More importantly, it will reduce gum disease and infection. This can definitely add years to the lifespan of Pugs. These infections can lead to other conditions in his organs. 

Take your Pug in once per year for professional tooth cleaning. Regular teeth cleaning will also expand the lifespan of Pugs.

Joint degradation is common at the end of lifespan of Pugs.  Dogs instinctively hide aches and pains. It’s not wise to look week out in the wild pack. 

So, symptoms may not be immediately apparent. As the joints deteriorate, your Pug may be less mobile. This is especially true in the morning or after a long walk.This gives your veterinarian a chance to examine your dog’s mouth for signs of disease. Regular brushing at home will help maintain your dog’s oral health. 

Veterinarians report that good oral hygiene for your dog will add four extra years to his life. Four years is a lot to add to the lifespan of your Pug.

Changes in Your Pug Dog’s Behavior

As your Pug gets older, he may experience less energy. He will probably be less enthusiastic about greeting you. Your Pug dog may be more cautious on walks and moving about the house.

There may be times when he is unwilling to go outside. His response time may be longer.

Avoid disturbing him if he is sleeping during the day. He needs more sleep to recharge.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

Take your Pug to the veterinarian if you notice his energy level is very low. He may be able to prescribe healthy aging supplements or something to help with his energy level.


When dogs get older, it is sometimes difficult for them to control their bladder. Take your older Pug dog outside more often during the day. Never punish your Pug if he has an accident in the house. 

He is probably already distressed about it.

There are many reasons that your dog may be experiencing incontinence. 

Your Pug dog maybe having accidents due to medical problems. He could have a disorder that increases her frequency of elimination. These include cognitive dysfunction, neuromuscular conditions, sensory decline, or brain tumors. Getting help for medical issues early can extend the lifespan of Pugs.

Older dogs have difficulty with change. If there’s a change in the household or her schedule, she may begin having accidents inside.

If your Pug dog only has accidents when you’re gone, it could be a result of separation anxiety.

Have your vet rule out medical problems. If your Pug has no separation anxiety, he may need medication to reduce his incontinence. 

Then start house training again as if he were a Pug puppy. Supervise him closely and confine him in a crate. Be sure that confining him in a crate is not causing anxiety. If so, you may have to forgo the crate and keep a close eye on him. 

Keeping a watch on him probably won’t be as difficult now as he is not a Pug puppy.

Be certain to give your senior Pug dog lots of trips outside. If you need to be away from home for long periods, consider hiring a dog walker. Train him again using a litter box or potty pads. If you do need to confine him while at work, consider an x-pen with potty pads.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

Getting a vet check will rule out or take care of any medical issue leading to incontinence. You and I may not be sure if medication will extend the lifespan of Pugs, but it will give then dignity.

Anxiety and Other Emotional Issues

Old Pugs are more likely to be prone to separation anxiety. This is especially true if they had these problems when they were younger. The stress of losing their eyesight and hearing can be a factor. They may be having cognitive deficits that make them confused.

Here are some signs of separation anxiety. When your Pug is left alone, he may:

  • Chew things up and destroy furniture.
  • Dig, scratch at windows and doors.
  • Howl, bark, or whine.
  • Pee or poop on the floor.
  • Refuse to eat while you are gone.
Worried Pug 1

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

If your Pug dog destroys things while you are gone, consider an x-pen. X-pens are not as confining as a crate. Besides protecting your house, you’ll keep your Pug safe. Eating couch stuffing could seriously decrease the lifespan of Pugs.

Leave some clothing in the x-pen that smells like you. This may comfort her while you are gone.

Many studies show that anxiety in humans leads to a lower life expectancy. I expect that anxiety in Pugs decreases the lifespan of Pugs.  

Dogs with general anxiety may exhibit the following signs:

  • Fear/aggression toward strangers and unfamiliar pets
  • More sensitive and irritable
  • Decrease tolerance for being touched
  • Demand more attention and physical contact
  • Being more sensitive to noise
  • Being more vocal: barking, whining or howling
  • Become more fearful of thunderstorms and other loud noises
  • Shaking
  • Pacing
  • Whining or barking
  • Panting
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Trying to hide
  • Pinning ears back

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

Have you ever met a person with anxiety? They are utterly miserable. They are always (and I mean always) looking for the next shoe to drop. They are always in their head about all the things that could go wrong and all the possible solutions. It sounds exhausting and cannot lead to a long and happy life.

Our Pug dogs must feel miserable also if they are feeling anxiety. I expect this decreases the lifespan of Pugs. At the very least, it will make their retirement years unpleasant.

Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior

Some senior Pugs exhibit anxiety by displaying Obsession Compulsive Behavior. This can include:

  • Spinning or tail-chasing
  • Staring at walls
  • Pacing
  • Air biting
  • Pica (eating inedible objects, like rocks)
  • Constant liking on one part of the body until it gets sore or infected
Woman kissing Pug

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

If your Pug is doing any of the above behaviors, stop the behavior as soon as you notice it. 

Speak calmly, pet, and massage your Pug dog. Distract her from this unwanted behavior.

If you know what is causing the stress, remove this object if possible.

Keep your dog mentally active with games. This will distract her from Obsessive Compulsive behaviors.

If your dog eats rocks, sticks, etc., this can land you in the vet with surgery for your Pug dog. No one wants that, especially if your dog is older. Worse yet, your Pug dog could die. Don’t risk decreasing the lifespan of a Pug by not dealing with anxiety and rock/stick eating behavior.

Obsessive-Compulsive behavior is a sign of poor mental health. This can reduce the lifespan of your Pug.  

Cognitive Dysfunction

As Pug dogs get older, they sometimes suffer from Cognitive Dysfunction. This is a loss of intellectual functions. It is reasoning and memory loss that interferes with daily functioning.

Here are some changes that your Pug dog may go through:

  • Confusion
  • Gets lost in familiar locations
  • Can’t figure out how to get around things and gets stuck
  • Goes to the hinge side of the door when he wants out

Relationships/Social Behavior

  • Less interested in other dogs and people
  • Less interested in getting pets
  • Other the other end, he may need constant contact, become overly dependent and clingy

Activity – Increased

  • Stares at objects
  • Paces
  • Wanders aimlessly
  • Licks people and things a lot
  • More vocal
  • Eats more or eats very quickly


  • Eats less
  • Investigates less
  • Responds less 
  • Grooms himself less

Anxiety/Increased Irritability

  • Restless or agitated
  • Anxious about being separated from others 
  • More irrational


  • Awake throughout the night/restless 
  • Sleeps more during the day

House Soiling

  • Accidents indoors in view of others or in random locations
  • Goes to the bathroom indoors after returning from outside
  • Soils sleeping areas 

Learning and Memory

  • Seems unable to recognize family members
  • Decreased responsiveness to known cues for obedience, tricks, sports, and games

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

Take some basic precautions, so you have a greater chance of extending the lifespan of Pugs.  

Keep things stress free for your dog. This includes keeping your house clear of clutter to prevent obstacles. Do not move the furniture around. Engage in short play sessions. Buy a new toy for your dog to play with.

Ask your vet, if there is a diet that will help improve memory. Ask your vet about Anipryl (Selegiline). This is a medication approved for dogs with cognitive dysfunction.

Even if years aren’t added to your Pug’s life, these things will help him live more contently.

Top Causes of Death in Senior Pugs

1. Old age. Pugs live anywhere from 10 to 17 years old. Most Pugs die at age 13. There is no way to get around this, as sad as it may be.

2. Cancer. Pugs that die of cancer are generally around age 10. The exact percentage of Pugs that die of cancer is unclear. One article stated the rate was 0.56%. 

Another article quoted 12.5%.

Many years ago, I had a little Pug named Willow. Around ten years old, I noticed a small bump on her back leg joint. I took her in to the vet, and they determined it was cancerous. 

They removed it, and the problem was gone. Early detection was the key in this case.

3. Cardiac Problems. Keep your Pug dog fit and trim! Cardiac problems occur around age 11.

Senior Pug at Vet

How to Extend the Lifespan of Pugs

It is important to have your Pug checked out at least once a year. When your Pug becomes older, she should go in every six months.

Don’t wait until you think something is wrong. The check-ups once or twice a year will give your vet a chance to spot potential problems early. The earlier it’s detected, the more likely it will be resolved, and your Pug will return to a picture of health.

Your veterinarian will also check weight and his heart to make sure he’s still on a good track.

Some say to begin the twice per year visits at age 7. Start early to extend the lifespan of your Pug.

Vet Checks for Small Bumps can Extend Lifespan of Pugs

If you see any kind of small infection or bump, have it checked out right away. I had a veterinarian insist that every bump be removed, cancerous or not. She would say, “You wouldn’t want to walk around with that bump on you.” True. 

No, she wasn’t doing it for the money. 

She was a country veterinarian that could have doubled her costs, and no one would have blinked. And all the follow-up visits were free. She knew that bumps and masses could lead to problems and that it was better to take care of them immediately.

Taking care of all those little bumps that pop out as Pugs get older will help to extend the lifespan of Pugs.

Keep her Mind in Shape

Like people, dogs that get bored can become depressed, anxious, and even ill. Keep your Pug dog mentally active. You can extend your Pug dog’s life by keeping her active. As she ages, continue to socialize her, train her, play games, and give her one-one attention.

Sign up for obedience lessons. You can teach an old dog new tricks. It might just take a little longer. If she’s still in good physical health, try agility training. Your Pug dog will love the added stimulation. And it will continue to strengthen your relationship.

These exams will help your Pug dog live a long, healthy life. Exams are a great way to extend the lifespan of Pugs.

Couple with Old Pug

Remember to Enjoy Every Moment

We will most likely outlive our Pugs. 

There are no miracle drugs to extend the lifespan of Pugs.  The best we can do is keep them healthy. Not only will keeping them healthy extend their lives, but it will also keep them comfortable and happy.

Do what your Pug dog likes to do. Is it going for a walk, playing fetch or going for a swim (with a life jacket, of course)? 

Like humans, every dog has a niche when it comes to exercise. 

Buy a dog puzzle where your Pug dog has to sniff out the hidden treat. This helps ward off cognitive dysfunction.


Pugs, like all mammals, may experience a variety of problems. They slow down, may experience anxiety or cognitive deficits. We want to extend the lifespan of our Pugs, and we also want to be sure their golden years are pleasant.

In their elderly years, make sure they get the proper amount of exercise. Keep them on a healthy diet. Keep their mind active with learning new tricks and playing games. 

Take care of their grooming needs. Especially brush their teeth daily as this extends the lifespan of Pugs by years. Take your Pug to the vet for wellness checks yearly and twice per year as they get older.

Take your Pug to the vet if you notice bumps, masses, or unusual behavior. Early detection is the number 1 key to dealing with problems that could be harmful or fatal to our Pugs. This directly extends the lifespan of Pugs.

And spend time with them. More than just your Netflix/popcorn buddy. Take them to the dog park. If you have a nearby restaurant that allows pets on the patio, take them there. Take them in the car with you if possible, but don’t leave them in the car.

We all want our Pugs to live forever. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Make their remaining years with you as pleasant as possible. Enjoy the time you have together, no matter how old or young your Pug dog is.