Honestly, to us, the stars of Men in Black 2 and 3 were not Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones; it was Frank the pug! These bundles of cuteness are fun and intelligent and can probably take over the world in a heartbeat; all they need to do is flash those puppy eyes at us and we’d surrender in an instant!
That being said, all pets, not just pugs, come with their own behavior and natural design, some of which may not be compatible with your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a neat freak or are allergic to fine hair, getting a shaggy dog or a heavy shedder may not be the best idea!
If you’re considering adding a pug to your brood, know that pugs are heavy shedders. Though they have relatively short hair, pugs shed. A lot and not just seasonally — they shed throughout the year!
Today, we cover the reason why pugs are heavy shedders and if you still want to welcome a pug after that, tips to keep clean and control shedding.
Why Are Pugs Heavy Shedders?
All dogs shed, just as humans lose hair. However, dogs shed faster as their hair goes through the three-step process of hair growth, rest and fall out (or shedding) much faster than humans do. Take that speed and multiply it by 5. Hello, pugs!
Exaggeration apart, pugs do go through the whole three-step-hair-process-thing much faster than other dog breeds. To add to that, most pugs are born with a double coat, which means that they have an inner layer of hair that’s soft and an outer layer of hair that’s short and thick.
This double coat means that pugs double the amount of hair that other dogs in one go as they have two layers to get rid of.
Even if you get a pug with a single layer, the problem won’t disappear or even greatly reduce, as pugs are born with very tightly packed hair. This means as many as 600 hair strands per pug square inch! (For relativity, other dogs only have 100-200 per square inch.)
Therefore, a double coat and this kind of hair density mean more shedding.
What Other Factors Affect Shedding?
Pugs shed for a lot of other reasons, apart from their anatomy. While some of these factors can’t be controlled, like their anatomy, some can. To know which ones you can control and how, it’s essential to understand all the factors.
As mentioned earlier, not all pugs come with double coats black pugs mostly have a single coat and therefore, moderate shedding (this is the case even if they do have a double-layered coat). Thus, shedding depends on the type of pug you have. Black pugs shed lesser than non-black pugs.
Though pugs are all-year shedders, some seasons, such as autumn, summer and spring, cause a substantial increase in shedding. This is due to the variations in temperature as well as the number of sunlight hours.
Let us explain. During the autumn season, the days are short and the sun shines for lesser hours, a phenomenon that pugs take as a signal to shed and grow a new thicker coat, in preparation for the cold winter ahead.
During summer and spring, when the days are longer and the sun is shining in all its glory for longer hours, pugs take it as a signal to shed the coat that they’d grown the previous autumn to reduce their body temperature and keep cool.
Shedding cycles can be triggered as a result of a female pug’s heat cycles. Extreme shedding can occur in female pugs that haven’t been spayed when they enter their heat cycles. It especially increases towards the fag end of the cycle.
This shedding occurs as a result of the hormonal fluctuation that female pugs go through in this period.
Your pug’s age can influence how much he or she sheds. As puppies, pugs don’t tend to shed much. It’s the year-and-a-half milestone that you have to look out for; this is when shedding increases to a much heavier amount.
The massaging motions that you use while giving your pug a good scrub down can trigger heavier-than-normal shedding in him or her. The motion acts as a hair loosener.
Additionally, dog shampoo aggravates hair shedding as it washes away the natural skin oils that hold down the dead hair down to the coat.
Therefore, don’t overdo the scrubbing and try to use dog shampoos that don’t break down the natural oils too much.
Controlling the Shedding
Shedding can get annoying, even if you’re not Monica Geller! After all, you don’t want to plop down on your sofa, all dressed up for the gala in your little black dress or black tux, to put on your shoes and then get up to find a bottom covered with a forest of pug hair!
Luckily, there are a few ways that you can control your pug’s shedding:
Brush Often and Brush Well!
Due to their thick coats, any hair that your pug sheds will more likely get stuck in the coat than fall off, leading to a build up or what can seem like increased shedding in one go.
To combat this, use a brush with long bristles that can get deep into your pug’s thick coat and remove the stuck hair. Not only will this reduce the shedding by removing dead hair, but it also keeps your pug healthy and odor-free. Stuck hair gets covered in natural oil, blocking hair follicles and restricting new hair growth, which eventually leads to a bad odor, if not removed.
Though this should be an obvious fact, groom your pug outdoors. While every day is a good frequency to be brushing your pug, even twice or thrice a week can be effective. Brush pre and post bathing for best results.
Additionally, ensure that you properly dry off your pug after a bath, ideally using a towel or a blow dryer (set to a cool temperature as heat can harm your pug). This will ensure that any excess hair left behind also falls off.
Poor nutrition can aggravate shedding as it leads to a poor-quality coat and hair breakage; therefore, ensure that your pug follows a healthy diet.
EPA and DHA are good fish-based supplements to try, though it’s always better to pick wild fish over farmed fish, as the latter is artificially fed and the feed can adversely impact the EPA and DHA levels.
Remember, these supplements won’t stop the shedding overnight, or ever, actually! They will only help reduce the amount of shedding.
No number of supplements can completely stop your dog’s natural shedding process and any product that claims to do so is either fake or extremely unhealthy for your dog.
Most importantly, get your vet’s advice before you start your dog on any supplements.
Apart from the methods mentioned above, there’s nothing left to do except damage control! By this, we mean the obvious, tried-and-tested methods of vacuuming and sweeping! If every day is not possible, though it would be ideal, aim to vacuum at least once a week.
Letting hair sit in your carpet or on your floor for a long time just makes it harder to get it out when you do decide to clean.
Also, get a lint roller. These handy devices are God’s next best gift to mankind, after dogs, of course! Lint rollers are great when you have to get hair off your clothes, sofa cushions, your blankets or your bed.
Try to invest in a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner. The ones with the detachable tools, especially, are great to hit those hard-to-fit-into corners.
There are also a variety of tools available in the market, such as de shedding tools, grooming gloves and bristle brushes.
A deshedding tool goes deep into your pug’s double-layer coat and gets out hair effectively. Highly durable (the stainless steel version, at least) with a great grip, this tool is meant for double-coated pugs.
Grooming gloves are also effective hair-removal devices. With 250 rubber tips attached to them, grooming gloves can reach far and deep into your pug’s coat and pull out dead hair. They’re also extremely easy to use — you just have to put on the glove and run your hand over the coat! Your pug feels good and the shedding reduces. “Two birds with one stone” much?
A bristle brush is a finishing tool and is most effective when used with one of the two tools mentioned above. It adds shine and gets rid of any dry skin flakes or dandruff on your dog, as well as any debris caught in the coat. They are also great options if you want to evenly spread any hair, dirt-repelling or anti-allergen products through your pug’s coat.
How do you know when you’ve got all the loose hair out? How long should you be brushing? How much is too much?
If you’re a pug owner, you’re sure to have encountered these questions at some point. And you’ve also probably realized that if you were to brush your pug until every last loose hair came out, you’d be brushing forever!
Aim to brush your pug once every 1-3 days and for at least 10-15 minutes. Though hair will still be shed after this, stick to this time.
Pay equal attention to all the parts of your pug’s body. Don’t just settle for the sides and neglect the belly just because it’s harder to reach. Ensure that you brush the neck, belly, tail, chest, and back equally well.
Lastly, make sure you rub along the direction of your pug’s fur growth, not against it. You want to remove the loose hair in a process similar to your pug’s natural shedding, regardless of which tool you’re using to do so.
The Parting Note
We hope this article answered any questions you might have had relating to pugs and their shedding. Remember, dogs are unbelievably cute but looking after them requires work, especially when they’re heavy-shedding pugs.
If you’re looking to welcome a pug into your family, know what you’re getting into with regard to the shedding. Don’t get carried away by a puppy’s cuteness only to get frustrated, irritated and disillusioned later, once he or she is grown up; that isn’t going to do you or the little one who trusts and loves you any good.
Pugs are also extremely heat sensitive because of their noses and small chests. Additionally, do your research and give articles that discuss pug mutations a read before you decide you absolutely want a pug.
If you already have a pug, remember that patience and persistence go a long way. Shedding is a natural process, so accept it. God knows pugs more than make up for their shedding with the love, trust and fun they give you, anyway!