Learn - About Dogs, About Pugs.
We at PugHearts of Houston have a passion for Pugs. We care very deeply about our
rescue dogs. Most of us have our own Pugs as well. We are devoted to this very special
breed and want to do everything we can to ensure that all Pugs are looked after.
This section is for both new Pug owners as well as people who just want to get a
little more information about their current Pug’s special needs. We will be updating
this routinely and adding new articles to cover a variety of topics.
Please check back frequently, and if there is a topic you think we should cover
please use our Contact form to give a suggestion.
ARE YOU REALLY READY TO OWN A DOG ?
So you think you’re ready to take the plunge and become a dog owner. That’s great!
We love dogs and we love it when people get excited about being a dog owner. But
unfortunately not everyone is meant to have a dog, especially a Pug. So before you
take the next step, make sure you’re really ready.
Do you have a plan?
Before you bring Fido home you want to make sure you’ve thought of everything. Some
things are pretty obvious – like buying food & water bowls, a doggie bed and
some toys. Don’t forget a harness – not a neck collar! Pugs are a brachycephalic
breed. If you do not know what that means then you need to do some research before
getting a Pug. There are some things that are different about this breed than other
breeds such as Labs or Shepherds and makes them a bit more “high maintenance.”
What food do you need?
Always check to see if a particular food is recommended for your new dog as he may
have allergies or food intolerance. Also, they may need a special formula due to
their age or medical condition. All dog food is NOT the same. Cheap dog food is
cheap for a reason. Be sure you are getting the appropriate one for your new roommate.
Is your house and yard ready for a dog?
Since Pugs are indoor dogs, the yard is not a necessity. Many people find that Pugs
are excellent apartment/condo dogs. As long as they are taken for walks several
times a day, they do very well. If you do have a home with a yard, make sure the
yard is dog-proof.
- Are there any plants that might be poisonous?
- Any holes in the fence that they could get out of or a neighbor’s dog could get
- Do you have a pool?
- How will you handle the dog being around the pool?
- Are you putting in a doggie door?
Where is your new baby going to sleep?
There is no “right” or “wrong” answer for this – every dog and every household is
different. Pugs are companion dogs. That means they want to be with you 24/7. While
that’s probably not practical, it explains a lot about their behavior. Usually pugs
will want to sleep in the same bed with their owner. Sometimes that’s okay and sometimes
- If they will be sleeping with you, how will they get in and out of bed?
- Doggie steps, a chest at the foot of the bed or a chair beside the bed are all
- If the dog won’t be sleeping with you on your bed, does it have an appropriate
- Will the dog bed be in your bedroom, in a child’s room or maybe the living room?
- Will someone be able to let the dog outside during the night if it needs to go?
- If your dog will be recovering from an illness or injury it may need to sleep
in a crate/cage for a short period of time.
Where will your dog stay during the day?
Most of us work outside of the home. While we are gone we need to have a safe place
for our dogs to stay in the house. We need to make sure the dog can’t get into something
it shouldn’t when we are not around.
If you have dog-proofed your house then your dog could have free run of the house
while you are gone. Many dog owners will “baby gate” areas of their house as off-limits.
You may not want your dog on carpet all day in case of accidents, so you might want
to consider an area like a kitchen, utility room or large bathroom as a “safe” area.
Or maybe you have a 2-story house and you don’t want the dog going upstairs during
the day – you can baby gate the stairs. Crating should not be necessary unless the
dog is on activity restrictions due to illness or injury.
Is your new dog housetrained or will you be doing the training?
- Consistency is the most important part of housetraining. The dog needs to know
it has a set schedule.
- Will you be able to come home during the day to let the dog out to do its business?
- If you aren’t able to come home during the day and your dog is still being housetrained,
have puppy pads out?
- Or maybe a belly band for marking issues?
- There will be accidents. Are you prepared to handle them?
Are you ready for the Vet bills?
Owning a dog is a responsibility. Just like caring for a child or an elderly parent,
they are dependent upon you for providing their health care. There are the routine
Vet bills such as immunization, flea/tick/heartworm prevention and possibly daily
medications for eyes, ears, etc. There are the one-time only costs, such as spay/neuter.
There are the occasional illnesses (UTI, ear infection, skin infection) that will
require a Vet visit and some medications. Then there are the emergencies. Maybe
the dog gets out while you have the front door open, runs into the street and gets
hit by a car. Maybe while you’re walking the dog it gets attacked by a neighborhood
dog. Or maybe the dog got into the trash while you were at work and ate something
it shouldn’t have. All of these are unexpected emergencies and you need to be prepared
for the costs. Some people take out Vet insurance. Some people keep 1 credit card
as their “Vet Card” to be used only for the Vet bills. And we know a lot of people
who keep an emergency fund – either in a bank or a cookie jar – where they stash
money throughout the year for emergencies.
If you cannot afford the basic care, how will you afford the emergencies?
Bottom line: your dog will cost money to keep healthy. If you are not prepared
for these costs then now is not the time for you to have a dog.
We know many people who have waited for years to get a dog. Just because you want
one does not mean you are ready for one. Take some time and be sure you are ready.
If not, wait. There will always be dogs in need of a home when you are ready. If
you are ready, and have done some prep work, then take the next step and find your
doggie! You’ll be glad you planned ahead.