Pug butt: It’s something no one loves to talk about, but all of us face. In fact, if you own a pug, chances are you face pug butt more than you’d like to. Due to those cute, curly tails, pug’s nether-regions are pretty much ALWAYS prominently on display. Plus, pugs are notorious for poop problems and dog anal gland issues.
Unless you want to invest in a Twinkle Tush (yes, that’s really a thing invented for cats, but I’m sure it could cover pugs too), there’s no way to get around the less-cute part of your pug. But, all pug parents face questions and issues with pug behinds. So let’s get real and jump in for some potty talk.
One disclaimer--pug’s digestion and health should always be addressed by your vet. While we’re experienced pug owners and have done our research, we aren’t as well-trained as “dogtors.” ALWAYS put the health of your dog first. If you have any serious questions or worries, take your fur-baby to the vet!
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1. Dog Anal Gland Issues
Nothing is quite as horrific as the weird rotten fish smell that comes from dog anal glands. Located just below the anus, these two little glands are at 4 and 8 o’clock. When your pug poops, these glands secrete a brown substance that smells um...strong. From an evolution standpoint this scent was used to mark territory. Ever wonder why dogs are so interested in sniffing butts? It’s because of anal glands.
Now, for pugs, anal glands can become an issue in several ways. Pug puppies and older pugs often have weaker muscles in their sphincter and anal glands can occasionally leak or express onto the couch, your shirt, or pretty much wherever you don’t want a fishy brown stain. Treated quickly with a oxygenated cleaner, these usually come out pretty easily.
Some pugs, especially if they’re overweight have frequent dog anal gland issues. This can also be a problem if your pug has less-than solid poops. Occasionally anal glands can become impacted or clogged for seemingly no reason. This results in the famous butt-dragging across the floor.
If your pug is itching, sniffing around their behind frequently, dragging their bum on the floor, or constantly has a fishy smelling butt, get them to a vet! Vets can take a look and treat an impacted anal gland, which typically remedies the problem, or at least alleviate some of the issues. Anal gland impaction can lead to infection and abscess, so it’s definitely a vet-needed issue.
If you don’t suspect impaction but notice more brown stains on your clothes and furniture, try giving your pug some pumpkin, sweet potato, or carrots as a treat. These add more fiber to their diet and bulk up their poo (helping push out any anal “juice” when they potty).
You can also have your groomer express their anal glands. This is one of those services that some pug owners go for and others avoid. While many groomers are trained to do the expression, doing it wrong can lead to more anal gland problems. So, if you have any concerns, it’s best handled by a vet.2. Diarrhea
Pug poo can be a little weird from time-to-time. Pugs are voracious to say the least and often they obey a rule of “eat first, ask questions later.” This can lead to some moments of, “I’ve made a terrible mistake,” and yes, diarrhea.
The occasional runny poop may be normal. As you get used to your pug’s potty situation, you’ll know what’s normal for your dog. If you notice frequent runny poops, or if it’s watery, loose stool (especially if your pug didn’t make it outside), it’s time to visit the dogtor for a checkup. Bring a stool sample.
Pugs beg for and LOVE food, but treats like turkey, bacon, ham and rich meats can result in upset tummies. Other treats like table scraps may contain dairy, fat and other ingredients that may disagree with your pug’s stomach. Sometimes it’s also a matter of pugs simply overeating, as they’re prone to do. Sticking to your pug’s regular food regimine will keep them from most stomach issues.
If you run into loose stools every so often, you may need to try a bland diet of cooked rice and plain chicken (not canned--too high in sodium) for a day or two. Watch for any new treats or other causes and eliminate them from your pug’s plate. Provide your pug with plenty of water so they don’t become dehydrated.
Poop accidents, diarrhea or otherwise, should never be punished. It’s frustrating of course, but usually if your dog is pooping in the house, they’re letting you know something is wrong with their health. Punishing your dog will only make them afraid of you and won’t correct the behavior. Clean up accidents with a steam cleaner and an oxygenated cleaning solutions (check to make sure it’s color safe in an inconspicuous area first). Pugs with upset tummies might need to go out very frequently. Walk them every hour, just in case until they’re feeling better.
If your pug is a puppy, a senior, seems lethargic or experiences diarrhea for more than a day, it’s time to go to the vet. Also take them to a vet if they seem uncomfortable, bloated, have a fever or you notice blood in their poop. Diarrhea can indicate other concerns, so it’s best to treat it seriously.3. Constipation
Sometimes constipation happens. If your dog is straining to go, dragging their butt on the floor or producing little “rabbit turds” then you may also need to enlist the help of a veterinarian. Constipation happens sometimes (especially if it’s snowy or rainy and your pug goes on “poop strike”) but it can lead to serious health issues.
Sometimes the weather or lack of exercise can contribute to constipation. Taking your pug on regular walks is important, even though pugs seem a bit more sedentary than other dogs. They still need to walk at least a block or two to get things “moving along.” Pugs who maintain a healthy weight (you should be able to see a slight waistline when you’re viewing your pug from the top) often have fewer digestive issues than overweight pugs.
If your pug is straining to go, or if their poop seems very hard and small, make sure they’re getting enough water. If you feed only dry kibble, you may want to include some plain canned pumpkin in their diet which can add to the fiber and water content. Most canned broth has too much sodium for your pug, but they may enjoy chicken boiled in unsalted water.
Just like humans, too much straining to poop leads to hemorrhoids and irritation. If your pug hasn’t pooped for more than a day, it can also indicate a serious concern like impaction. So, get to your vet right away. Like diarrhea, it’s especially important to visit a vet if your pug is very young, a senior, seems lethargic, bloated or visibly uncomfortable.4. Parasites
When we got our adorable, sweet puppy Pee Wee from his rescue, he was the cutest little creature we’d ever seen. Imagine our horror when he produced what was arguably the most horrific and un-cute thing I’d ever experienced: poop that was literally crawling with hairlike worms.
Being the gift that just kept on giving, Pee passed the parasites on to his brothers as he was being treated. What followed was at least two months of stool samples, trips to the vet and tummy-upsetting medication.
Worms and parasites are serious, serious issues. They can kill puppies by robbing them of nutrients in their diet and leading to anemia and blood loss. Aside from being absolutely gross, they’re extremely dangerous. Even older dogs can experience permanent GI damage and yes, even death from worms and parasites.
If you notice ANYTHING moving in your dog’s poop, get it to the vet along with the stool sample right away. This is also important if you notice little white, rice-like pieces in the poop, blood or tarry black stools. A stool sample should be part of your regular annual checkup as well. Most vets are comfortable with testing one dog’s stool as a marker for the whole house, but always defer to your vet’s expertise.
While we’re talking parasites, treat your dog with a heartworm preventative as well as a flea and tick preventative. Parasites and creepy crawlies are nothing to mess around with. Pugs are very vulnerable to the health hazards of parasites (as are all dogs) so don’t wait it out.5. Pinching Problems
Some pugs are just bad pinchers. Yes, this means they leave a little “cling on” hanging around their butthole. Because their anus is so prominently displayed, chances are high you’ll notice and the offending poop particles will get on you, your couch, your kids or somewhere you don’t want it.
There’s no harm in very gently wiping your pug’s butt after they go potty. Use an unscented baby wipe or a moistened tissue. Don’t rub or wipe hard, but dap gently to remove the offending particles. The skin on their anus is sensitive and rubbing or wiping too hard can result in bigger problems.
Keep your pug regularly groomed. We often think because of their short fur they don’t need grooming but it’s not true. Pugs should be groomed professionally once every 8-10 weeks at least. Plus a bath every 2-4 weeks will keep your pug smelling fresh and clean. Use special soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to avoid drying their skin or triggering allergies. When bathing be sure to really rinse off their nether-regions.6. Poo Eating
The scientific name for poo eating is coprophagia. No matter the term, this is yes, probably the grossest of gross poo issues. There are many reasons why your dog shouldn’t eat poo (as if you need reasons) but safe to say it’s not a good idea. Ever.
Dogs can contract many illnesses from eating poop. Parasites are commonly spread through poo-eating, as are diseases from other animals like toxoplasmosis from cats. So if you house cats and dogs together, it’s critical you keep your litter box clean and scooped (we use the Litter Robot to keep the litter box smell and poop-free).
The evolutionary reason for poop eating stems from mother dogs desire to keep the den clean. Some dogs will eat the poop of elderly or sick housemates, because their instinct is to protect the “den” from predators. Female dogs are more likely to eat poop than male dogs, and most dogs don’t like to eat their own poop.
If your dog has been snacking on poo it may indicate a dietary deficiency such as low iron, anemia, or increased appetite or thirst from steroids or diabetes. So, if you suddenly notice a change in your dog’s appetite for feces, you should get to a vet to have them checked out.
Otherwise, poop-eating can be remedied by always keeping your pug on a leash outdoors (a good practice for many many reasons) and by training your pug with the “leave-it” command. Keep the yard clean and pick up poop every time your dog goes.
There are household remedies ranging from adding pumpkin to bananas to meat tenderizer (not recommended) to their food to make poop less appealing. Some people sprinkle lemon or hot sauce on poop to cause their dog to build an aversion to feces. Since most dogs don’t eat their own poop, these methods aren’t terrific.
The best way to combat an appetite for poo is to train your dog and keep them under close supervision. Keep their surroundings clean and consult with a vet for dietary reasons or in the case of any behavioral changes.
Dog anal gland issues, poop eating, diarrhea and pug butts might not everyone’s favorite topic, but it’s an issue every pug owner faces. It’s the least-cute part of your adorable pet, but those little curly butts can tell us a lot about their health.
Avoid poop problems by paying close attention to any changes. Report any concerns to your vet and keep your sweet pug, clean, healthy and as pampered as they deserve!