How To Help Your Pug Lose Weight

boogiethepugBlog, Pug Health14 Comments

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. 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 we read the paperwork wrong, and that messy number 1 was actually a 2. He was 27 lbs!! 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.

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.

The vet confirmed our concerns – Boogie was overweight. He would have to lose at least 6 lbs. Thus began a long journey to get healthy and lose the extra chub. 6 lbs may not sound like a lot, but when you’re only 27 lbs 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.

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

How To Help Your Pug Lose Weight

Photo by Pets by Petra

1. Make Homemade 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.

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

2. Daily Walks

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.

3. Easy on the 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

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

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.

6. Spread the Word

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

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!

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.

About Boogie

Hi! This is our dog Boogie, the traveling pug. He's been on over 20 flights to three continents. We're here to show you how to travel with your dog. Join us as we take planes, trains, and automobiles to different parts of the world.



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14 Comments on “How To Help Your Pug Lose Weight”

  1. Pingback: The Cost of Adopting a Dog - Boogie the Pug

  2. Pingback: 20 Things Only Pug Owners Would Know - Boogie the Pug

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!

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