Is My Pug Underweight? Is It Bad and How to Tell

Pugs are known for their stocky, muscular physiques; it is part of their charm! That’s why it’s easy to spot when your Pug has recently dropped a few pounds.

So does your Pug look a little thin? Did you, at some point, ask yourself the following questions: is my Pug underweight? Is this bad for his health?

In this guide, we answer these questions and more.

Image credit: @_busterthepugster_

How To Tell If Your Pug Is Underweight

Here are some simple tips on how to tell if your Pug is underweight.

Look at your Pug’s waistline. 

How do you know if your Pug has lost too much weight? It’s easy; take a look at their side profile. An overly thin waistline indicates that the dog has lost muscle mass and needs more calories to regain the necessary weight.

Check your Pug’s ribs.

Another way to tell if your dog is underweight is to look closely at the ribs. If they are easily visible or protruding significantly, your Pug is not getting enough nutrition and needs extra calories to help him reach a healthier body weight.

Alternatively, place one hand on the back of their neck and the other along their spine. Gently but firmly press with your fingertips until you can feel their ribcage beneath the fur. If you can easily feel each rib without pressing too hard, then your Pug may be in danger of being underweight.

Feel your Pug’s spine.

Don’t forget to assess the spine as well. Place one hand on each side of the spine and press lightly with both hands. Your pup should have an even layer of fat covering the vertebrae on both sides of its spine. If it feels bony or narrow, your pup may be too thin — time for more meals.

Reasons Why Your Pug Is Underweight

This section of the guide enumerates possible explanations for why your Pug is underweight and what you can do about them.

Poor Nutrition

The reality of poor nutrition can affect all animals, including your beloved Pug. It’s essential to recognize why your pup may be underweight and take actionable steps to improve their diet. 

For example, if you’re feeding them low-quality food or not providing a balanced meal with enough calories for their level of activity, then it could be causing them to shed pounds over time.

For starters, ensure you’re feeding your pup a nutrient-rich diet with lots of proteins and carbohydrates. If you’re unsure what food is best for them, consult a vet or pet nutritionist for the right food for their size and breed. Additionally, if you’ve recently switched dog food brands, try returning to the original one or consult a vet on alternatives that could meet their nutritional needs.

Advanced Age

Advanced age can be a delicate stage in life, even more so for Pugs. As they age, their metabolism slows down, and their agility declines, which can contribute to weight loss if not managed properly. Furthermore, age-related health conditions such as arthritis or joint pain may cause discomfort during eating or physical activity leading to a lower appetite and less exercise.

You can do several things to ensure your old pup gets enough food and nutrients. 

Firstly, try feeding them smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, as this will help encourage their appetite. You can also try warming up their food before serving it, increasing its smell and making it more attractive to them.

Moreover, adding wet or canned dog food into their diet might also help since these foods tend to contain higher amounts of moisture, making them easier to consume than dry kibbles.

Dental Problems

Image credit: @gizmomygremlin

Dental problems are often overlooked when it comes to causes of weight loss. Pugs, like other dogs, need proper nutrition to stay healthy. However, if your pup’s teeth are in bad shape, they may not be able to get the proper nutrition they need.

Bacteria can accumulate on their gums and teeth, leading to inflammation that affects their appetite and energy levels. In addition, plaque buildup on their teeth can make it difficult or painful for them to chew food or swallow properly.

To keep your Pug’s teeth healthy and clean, brushing them regularly with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs is essential. Additionally, you can give them crunchy treats that help scrape plaque from their teeth and specially formulated chew toys that will help reduce the bacteria in their mouths.

Underlying Health Conditions

If you’ve noticed that your Pug has been looking a little too skinny lately, underlying health conditions may be at play. For example, gastrointestinal disorders can cause poor absorption of nutrients, diarrhea or vomiting, leading to malnutrition and weight loss in dogs.

Diabetes can also be the culprit for your Pug losing weight without any discernible cause. It can manifest itself in many ways, with one common symptom being an unexpected decrease in body weight. Changes in appetite and increased thirst are also telltale signs of canine diabetes.

Other diseases that typically make dogs lose weight include metabolic, maldigestion, and malabsorptive disorders.

You may also want to check the medications that they’re taking. Medications can majorly impact a Pug’s weight, and sometimes it can cause them to become underweight.


Your Pug may also be carrying something preventing him from getting the proper nutrition he needs to reach his ideal weight: parasites. Parasites can wreak havoc on your Pug’s health, leaving them weak and underweight. Here are a few reasons why your Pug could have parasites and what you can do to help get them back in shape. 

One of the most common reasons a pet becomes infected with parasites is contact with wild animals or other pets outside the home. Fleas, ticks, roundworms and tapeworms are all common offenders when it comes to infecting our furry companions.

Your Pug may be susceptible if they’re allowed to roam outside without supervision. Additionally, contact with contaminated soil or water can cause them to become infected. Check for signs of itching and biting around their tails or belly; these are signs that something’s wrong.

If you suspect that parasites may be the reason behind your Pug’s underweight issue, it’s best to consult a veterinarian who can diagnose the problem and provide treatment options.

Is My Pug Underweight: The Takeaway

Awareness of the signs of an underweight Pug is essential for any responsible pet parent. If you notice your pup has any of the signs mentioned above, such as an overly thin waistline and protruding ribs, review your Pug’s diet, medications, activity levels, and health condition. Your vet can provide the necessary guidance and advice on how to help your Pug reach their ideal weight.

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