I’ve talked plenty of times about how amazing and rewarding it is to adopt a pug. I’m not wrong, it is incredible. But there are negatives too. With highs, there are lows. So let me tell you about the downside of adopting a rescue pug.
Most rescue pugs will have come from a neglect environment. They could have been locked up in a dark, cold cage. They could have been used as a puppy breeding machine. Their owners could have piled all sorts of abuse on them from raising voices, to loud abnoxious sounds and even physically causing them whether it be hitting or kicking them to severe neglect that they have become physically hurt. With any one or even worse, all of these occurring to a dog, the number one problem once they have been rescued is that they are really nervous and anxious dogs. You’ll often find that when you adopt of rescue pug, they’ll already be on some sort of anxiety medication to help them adjust to the new life. Some will be worse than others. You might find a short term run or a low dose will be all they need before they can be weened off. Others might need a high dose or on it for the long haul. A lot can been weened off the meds once they get settled in a safe loving home. It’s usually all it takes. Did you know, on average 1 in 8 pugs that come into rescue have anxiety issues and need to be medicated? That’s a lot!
It is sad but it happens so often. Pugs that go into rescue have some sort of physical ailment. And it can be anything really because of the horrendous conditions they have been left in or just plain old neglect for an issue that would have been so easily fixed with basic medical treatment. A rescue pug could have joint problems from being grossly overweight. Poorly bred pugs with bulging eyes are more susceptible to eye conditions. And more often than not, poorly bred pugs suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome which is almost always exacerbated by being overweight. More than 65% of pugs going into rescue have some sort of physical ailment that requires treatment before they can be adopted. It can be short term treatment but it may be life long too. The top 3 physical ailments of pugs coming into rescue are eye problems such as dry eye and pigmentary keratitis, arthritic joint issues usually due to being overweight and brachycephalic airway syndrome. Most pugs also need to lose weight which goes a long way to helping them be healthier, happier pugs.
Costly Ongoing Vet Bills
A lot of people have a tendency to think adopting a rescue pug is a cheaper alternative to getting a pug puppy. Sure the initial outlay of phyiscally getting the pug is cheaper. For example here in Australia you’d spend $800-$1500 on a rescue pug, which doesn’t even cover the medical costs of the rescue, whilst a pug puppy will cost $2500-$4000. But the ongoing medical care of nearly half of all rescue pugs is costly as they require life long treatments for their health. Think of it this way, a well bred pug from an ethical breeder will only need their vaccinations and annual check ups whereas a rescue pug needing ongoing joint care will require quarterly visits to the vet and that’s just for their arthritis injections and doesn’t take into account any other health issues they may have. I am experiencing this first hand. In the 2 years I’ve had Serina, she has been to the vet more times than Ref has in his 8 years. In the past 2 months alone, I’ve been to the vet 7 times. 5 of those were just for Serina in a 6 week period for the one problem which we are still trying to manage. Of the other 2 visits, 1 of those required Serina to be checked out for the ongoing problem again whilst Ref had his annual check up. Without doing the exact math, I’ve probably spent almost as much on Serina’s vet bills in 2 years as I have Ref’s in 8 years. And I’m sure Serina’s vet bills will overtake Ref’s in no time.
It takes someone special to be able to take on a rescue pug with all of the problems they have. It is not an easy ride and whilst it is amazing to give them the new life they deserve, the stress and worry that they bring you isn’t easy. Not everyone is up for the task. But everyone should know what it is really like to adopt a rescue pug. The downside of adopting a rescue pug.
***Please note: statistics provided in this article is based on the number of pugs rescued by Pug Patrol Rescue Australia in NSW during the 2017/18 financial year.