Fat Pug: How to Help Your Pug Lose Weight

Pugs, the lovable butterball little dog breed, are prone to many things: snoring, cuddling, and bringing their family an insane amount of joy. But they’re also prone to some unhealthy habits, like overeating, being obsessed with food, and having a face it’s hard to say no to. It’s easy to overfeed a pug, and it’s easy for a pug to amass extra chub under their rolls and wrinkles. 

But overfeeding your pug can have dire consequences. It will make their sensitive breathing even worse, and will shorten their lifespan. It’s best to keep your pug fit and healthy, and keep their weight under control.

Unfortunately, it’s not only pugs suffering from these problems. 

Pet obesity is an epidemic in the United States. According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese. That translates to over 100 million pets.

>Does your pug need to go on a diet? Here’s what worked for us, and how we got Boogie, our own pug, to shed the weight.

a pug meme.

Our pug obesity story:

Before we adopted Boogie, we were given his stats by the rescue. He was a pure breed pug, one year old, and he weighed 17 lbs. He sounded perfect and we were super excited to be adopting a pug!

The morning of the meet and greet, we got up early and headed to Brooklyn. Boogie, then named Milo, would be arriving with a bunch of other adoptable dogs from South Carolina. Brooklyn was the last stop on his road trip.

We got there, and lined up with the other adoptive and foster parents as the van pulled up. Out jumped Boogie and my eyes widened. He was….big! Much bigger than the 17 lbs we were imagining.

It turns out the paperwork was wrong, and that stick straight number 1 should have actually been a 2. He was 27lbs!!

We took him for a walk to get to know him before signing the adoption papers, and quickly fell in love. We officially adopted him that day, and promptly made a vet appointment.

The vet confirmed our concerns – Boogie was overweight. He would have to lose at least 7lbs.

Thus began a long journey to get healthy and lose the extra chub. 7lbs may not sound like a lot, but when you’re only 27lbs it’s more than 20% of your body weight.

After months and months of research, trial and error, and patience, we made it to our goal.

Photo by Pets by Petra

Here is how we got our pug to shed the extra pounds, and how you can do it too:

1. Make homemade dog food

homemade dog food

Food was our biggest hurdle on our quest for Boogie to lose the extra pounds.

He was allergic to some grains, and we couldn’t find a dog food we liked. Diet dog food is expensive, and sometimes hard to find (especially if you travel!).

After speaking to the vet and other dog parents, we decided to feed Boogie homemade food. It was the best decision we could have made. Not only did it help him lose weight, but his chronic ear infections and fold irritation cleared up.

While many pet parents are lead to believe that feeding dogs human food, or table scraps, is bad, it doesn’t have to be. By making your own dog food, you’re in complete control of what your dog is putting in their mouth. That means fresh vegetables, proteins, and organ meat, and no harsh chemicals and preservatives often found in commercial dog food. 

You can check out a recipe and video of how we make his food, if you’re interested.

2. Daily Walks

We asked the pug community: what's the best harness you've used for your pug? Here are the harnesses most pug parents swore by. 

Opening the back door to let your dog out, or bringing them downstairs for a quick pee isn’t enough.

Although Boogie goes out 3x a day to do his business, we make sure that at least one of those is a longer walk. That means running an errand around the neighborhood, or just taking a nice stroll together.

On these outings, I make sure we’re walking at a good pace and not just stopping to smell every hydrant. He gets to stretch his legs and spend a good amount of time outdoors.

If you want to step it up a notch, bring your dog to the park or go on a doggy play date. Promoting physical stimulation and play will help them stay active and fit. 

3. Easy on the Treats

Frozen homemade dog treats.

Pugs love treats! They’re fun to give as a reward. In fact, every time I open the fridge or a cabinet door, Boogie perks up in the hopes of getting a tasty snack.

We never fully cut treats from his diet, as they’re such a good motivator (especially when training!). But we did limit how many he received, and how frequently.

Sub out regular dog treats and use carrots or blueberries instead. They’re just as tasty, but much healthier. You can also try low calorie treats.

Don’t forget: always make your pug work for their reward!

4. Weekly Dog Park Visits

five dogs at the dog park

Going to your local dog park will keep your dog active and social. They’ll have an opportunity to be off leash and around other dogs who will motivate your pug to run and play.

We went to the dog park weekly, and while Boogie doesn’t play much, it was still a great opportunity for him to be around dogs and walk around a safe space on his own. Being active is important, both to burn calories and to make sure your pug doesn’t have the opportunity to nap all day long. Plus, it’s a great way to bond. 

If there isn’t a dog park near you, you can always go to a local park, and if it’s too hot or cold to go outside, organize a puppy playdate.

Other ways to be active include:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Playing fetch

5. Work Out

A girl and dog pose at the top of Dois Irmãos.

Did you know that doggy push ups are a thing? Yup! If your dog knows the sit and lie down commands, they can do them.

Here’s how: make your dog sit, then lie down, and then come back up to a sit. You can give them a treat after each push-up to motivate them when they start. Then start mixing it up, with a treat after two push-ups, four push-ups, and so on. Work them up to doing them faster, and in unison. Don’t forget lots of praise!

This doggy work out helps your pup focus and burn some physical and mental energy.

Besides physical working out, there’s also mental work outs that can help your dog. Enrichment is important because it stimulates your dog, keeping them happy and entertained. It’s like exercising their brain.

You can make mealtime fun, challenging and interactive, and stop your dog from gobbling down food super fast by using slow feeders. They’re a great way to satisfy your dog’s innate instincts and curiosities.

Plus, they slow your dog’s eating time by 10 times, and allow for proper digestion. Here are some slow feeders we love:

6. Spread the Word

A grumble of pugs.

We love going to pug events or hanging out with other dog people, but sometimes, that can be tricky. People love to bring treats and shove them into little dogs’ mouths to make them happy.

While they tend to have the best intentions, they’re hurting anyone whose pet is on a diet or has allergies. Not all treats are created equal, and whatever they’re feeding your dog could be helping to pack on the pounds.

Spread the word that your pups diet is restricted and they aren’t to be fed any treats, no matter how healthy. Your dog can help get the word out too, with this “Don’t feed me, I’m on a diet” dog tag.

7. Weigh-In

If you're new to the pug life, then you might be surprised to learn that pugs shed an insane amount. Here are tips to help manage pug shedding. 

There’s no way to know if what you’re doing is working unless you do weigh-ins from time to time. They’ll help you keep track of the weight lost, and let you know if you’re on the right path.

Make sure to record your weigh-ins and weight, so that you can compare from week to week.

Don’t have a dog-friendly scale? Try this pet scale for easy weigh-ins.

Does your pug need to go on a diet? Share your journey in the comments!

Learn more about pug stuff here

Pin for later!

Pet obesity is an epidemic in the United States. Here’s how to help your pug lose weight, so they can stay healthy and live longer.

Pin for later! 

Similar Posts


  1. Hi I’m from iran and my dog is fat , his 4 years and I don’t know what can I do he has ear problem and more things , drs don’t know how to helm him , I’m so worried, I took him to the dr more than 35 time at this year but they didn’t help , I hope share everything with us , pug , male , 4 years

    1. Hi Sanaz,
      I would go to a vet for help. I’m not a veterinarian, but I suggest looking into what you’re feeding your dog (if he is overweight, perhaps change his diet). I know that changing my dogs diet not only helped him lose weight, but it cleared up some other issues too (folds, ear infections, etc). Diet is important!
      Good luck!

  2. Hey Dian, my pug is extremely obese. Her name is maggie and she is five years old. When my parents, brothers, and I adopted her we had no idea how sensitive pugs are with weight gain and she quickly started to gain weight. She is 36 pounds. I’m in highschool and my parents love to give maggie food from the table. I’ve been concern for her health ever since I was told how overweight she was when we went to the doctor. My mother and father don’t do well with self discipline around the dogs. However, this past week I got them to commit to helping me help maggie to loose weight. I had them verbally commit to stop feeding the dogs off the table. This past week I cut her food (Science diet) from two meals a day totaling 1.5 cups of food along with treats to two meals a day totaling 1 cup of food and replacing treats with miniature carrots. To add, I began to walk her every night and totaling 1.5 miles. Monday’s are her weigh in days. Last week she weighed exactly 35.5 pounds and today she weighed exactly 35.5. My goal was for her to loose a half of pound per week, but that wasn’t the case after one week of hard work. Do you have any advice or suggestions?

    1. Hey Kevin!
      Congrats on adopting Maggie. Pugs are a great addition to any family. 🙂
      It’s great that you want to help Maggie shed a few pounds and stay healthy.
      I think the first thing to do is schedule a vet visit and speak to a vet about the next step. Find out what a good goal weight is for Maggie (all pugs are different!).
      See if the food you’re feeding her is the best option. I make food for my pug and that really helped him with his weight.
      Carrots are a great treat for pugs! great idea.
      Also, be careful with the exercise. 1.5 miles is a long walk! Make sure she isn’t overheating and her breathing is ok.
      Best of luck with Maggie.

  3. My pug is Dexter. His weight last night was 34.4 lbs. I started him on your homemade dog food yesterday. He is 10 years old. I am starting him on short walks today. How much should I feed him. He does love it. Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Cris,
      I feed my pug about a cup and a half for breakfast and dinner. I no longer include the rice in my recipe, so it’s all veggies and chicken. Don’t forget the supplements!
      Good luck with the weight loss journey!

  4. hi, my pug is called maya and she is 1 years old and she is going to be 2 years old in a month she is weights 11.5kg, we have bought very expensive food so she loses weight but it didn’t work she is just getting fatter, please we don’t know what to do next I’m really worried!

  5. Hi my pug is six years and 40 Lb, I’ve always fed her dog food, table food, but last week made an emergency visit to vet for breathing problems and overheating. I weighed her today 40 lbs yeah very concerning to me. So we are starting on a diet, no more table foods and scheduled eating, we did start the carrot snack, she seems to love them. I was feeling alone in this until I seen others going thru this. This is the first day of a healthier life for my fur baby.

  6. Hi my pug is Jagr and he’s four. We go on walks every day and he loves to swim and play. He’s 35.10 pounds and I’m trying to help him with the weight loss. He seems more tired lately and less motivated. I give him half a cup of dirt food a day along with green beans. Plus he gets low calorie treats here and there. He loves a bit of peanut butter in a rope but just a small bit. He’s allergic to chicken. Could I please have a recipe to your homemade meals and how much should I feed him a day? Thank you so much!!

  7. Try asking your vet for thyroid check, they could possibly have a slow thyroid. They also can be gassy, which is some of the weight.

  8. Hi there, I have Gizmo. He’s 4. He lives to eat. Death stare for treats and all. He is a large side pug anyhow, but he is grossly overweight at 39 pounds. NO food I have tried, including the vet food is helping him lose weight. He is walked 3-4 times a day for potty, and a longer one in the evening.

    My last resort, I want to make his food. Could I please have a recipe to your homemade low calorie meals and how much should I feed him a day? Thank you so much!!

  9. I need help like yesterday! My pug needs to loose about 15 lbs. she is breathing harder, she eats off the table and some weight loss dog food.i need to know exactly what to buy, how to serve it, how to mix it what all I need. I will get it, she is only 7 and can’t get around too good, already had her a physical and she is good to go. I beg you please help me, I want this pup to live a long time,please, please help me, I can’t find anyone who will help me, vet says get it off and just starve her, he says a half cup dry in the morning should do her for the day. Cruelty, I me I,m despirate! Thank you soooooo much.

  10. My pug Neko is 37 lbs. I have cut the amount of food. He eats homemade. I added more veggies and gave cut way back on treats. We go to dog park several times a week and walk daily. How soon should I start seeing a lose? Katryna

  11. Hi, my Pug Jake is 19 lbs and overweight to travel on all airlines. I wanna take him with me to Europe to visit friends and family and unfortunately new airline regulations only allow dogs and a bag / cage together totaling 8 kg or 17.64 lbs. He is healthy and happy and exercises every day, we walk together and he loves running and catching frisbee. When it comes to food he has a bottomless pit. If any of us eats he stares at us with judgement, until we give him a bite. I have decided to put him on broth cooked chicken with veggies hoping he can lose at least 2-4 lbs in one month. Unlikely but let’s hope! However, my question for you is how did you deal with airlines and which airline did you have the most success with? Did your dog travel with you in the cabin or was put in hold or was transported by cargo plane? Jake is very attached to me and i’m afraid if he’s put in hold or cargo he won’t survive. What do you recommend ? Thanks !!

  12. Get a letter from your doctor stating you have need for emotional support animal. Your dog can travel with you on your lap or under your seat. Do check airline requirements for shot records and such.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.