One of the things I am contacted about the most is Pugs! I am often asked questions about how I found Lily and Lola and what they're like as pets so I thought that a blog post FAQ could be useful to those of you thinking about adopting/buying a Pug (from the perspective of someone who has owned 2 for the past 3 1/2 years).
I hope I have covered the main type of questions below but if you want to know anything else please leave a comment or send me an email and I'd be happy to answer.
Where did you get Lily and Lola from? Do you know any Pug breeders? Where should I get my Pug from?
I get asked these questions the most and I can't help too much unfortunately. I did a blog post a while ago explaining that I found Lily and Lola at the Dogs Trust in Leeds (click here to have a read).
If you're looking for a dog I would strongly recommend trying the Dogs Trust or your local animal rescue centre first as the dogs in there are truly in need of a good home, however you have to be on the ball. L&L had been living at the Dogs Trust for just 3 days when I went to visit, and shortly after I arrived a queue of other people turned up wanting to adopt them.
Animal rescue centres often have puppies and smaller dogs as well as larger breeds so it really is worth having a look to see if there's a pet that would suit your lifestyle/circumstances. I personally found it very rewarding adopting as opposed to buying but of course it's a very personal decision to make.
Alternatively you could register with a Pug rescue society and get on the waiting list for any that may need rehoming in the future.
If you do want to buy from a breeder I would recommend reading this.
How did Lily and Lola end up at the Dogs Trust?
The story goes that one day a woman turned up at the Dogs Trust with a car full of small dogs saying that her Mum had died and she wasn't able to look after them. A few days later the same woman brought in some more small dogs to be rehomed (including Lily, Lola and their fellow Pug friend Lulu - who was adopted in less than 24 hours!)
Obviously there is something not quite right about this story which makes me think L&L had been at some sort of puppy mill. They are very small for the breed and, at 18 months old, hadn't been toilet trained or trained to walk on a lead. Also Lily is mostly blind in one eye due to an eye infection which had not been treated. I also think Lily is slightly brain damaged as she can be quite slow and confused at times. Taking this into account, the Dogs Trust insisted that L&L should be adopted together and, although many people had asked, they would not seperate them.
How much did it cost you to buy everything you needed for Lily and Lola? What other costs are there?
Before Lily and Lola came home with me I paid a visit to a pet shop and spent around £90-£100 on a dog bed, bedding, 2 collars, 2 harnesses, 2 leads, 2 tags and toys. In hindsight I should have gone easy on the toys as L&L aren't really that interested and don't tend to play with toys or balls (they can't fit them in their mouths!) They do however like small teddies so if I do buy them new toys I tend to go for those.
The Dogs Trust ensure dogs are spayed/neutered, microchipped, up to date with vaccinations and have any outstanding medication before you adopt them, but obviously if you go via a breeder you would need to factor in these costs which your vet would be able to advise about.
Monthly costs are mainly food and treats, then on top of that there is regular flea/worm treatment and yearly 'booster' vaccinations at the vets. The annual vaccinations cost me approximately £30 per dog.
What is their temperament? Do they make good pets?
Yes, they make great pets! The personality of a Pug is rather special indeed. They are cheeky, greedy, loveable little things and love nothing more than being near people, and if possible sat right on top of them.
Lily and Lola have huge personalities for such small dogs, but they're both very different. Lily is gentle, loving and a little bit needy. Lola is confident, independent, naughty and protective of her Sister. She is also extremely greedy and goes absolutely mad at dinner time.
L&L follow me around everywhere I go, and yes, that means on trips to the toilet. It was strange at first but now it just seems normal to have 2 shadows following me round no matter where I go.
Pugs sleep on average 14 hours a day and L&L produce a rather loud volume of snoring for 2 small things.
Do they need a lot of grooming/looking after?
Pugs shed a lot of hair due to their double coat. Jonathan and I have learnt to accept that our house is always going to be full of Pug hairs and that our black clothes will never be the same again. Regular brushing and using a "furminator" type comb can help but I haven't managed to find a solution as yet.
Pugs have bulbous eyes (as if you hadn't noticed) and folds/wrinkles which need to be kept clean to avoid infection. I use cotton wool pads or a clean cloth with warm water to carefully wipe inside the wrinkles, and then I dry them thoroughly. I try to do this every day if I can or at the very least every other day. Failure to do so can result in infection and a very smelly Pug! I also try to clean the inside of their ears as often as I can to avoid any waxy build up.
Pug nails grow rather quickly so regular nail cutting is a must. Walking on the pavement can help to keep them filed down, however Lily has flat feet so her nails don't touch the ground when she walks so the only option for her is taking her to a groomers on a regular basis to have her nails trimmed.
Do they need a lot of exercise?
From my experience my 2 are happy with walking little and often. Lily gets out of breath very quickly so I try to avoid really long walks, especially in extreme hot or cold weather as they don't cope well with it. If you want a dog you can take running, jogging or hiking then Pugs are not for you.
Can Pugs develop lots of health problems?
Unfortunately there are a few health conditions that Pugs can develop. An internet search will highlight various different problems that they can face, but I think it's important to say that of course all Pugs are going to be different. Therefore I wanted to just tell you about the problems L&L have faced.
As I mentioned earlier, when Lily arrived at the Dogs Trust she was half blind in one eye due to an eye infection which had not been treated. This left her eye scarred and her vision blurred. Thankfully she has one eye which works perfectly well, however a couple of weeks after I adopted her she developed an ingrowing eyelash in her good eye. This was causing ulcers to form on the eye and it was really uncomfortable for her. Lily had a series of eye drops before she was referred to see an eye specialist where a 15 minute appointment cost around £120, followed by an operation to remove the hair which cost just under £700. Therefore I would strongly recommend taking out pet insurance as I was able to claim this back minus the excess.
Apart from that (*touches wood*) Lily and Lola haven't experienced too many problems with the exception of some reverse sneezing which lasts for a few seconds at a time and causes them a bit of discomfort.
I hope reading this hasn't scared you off too much! I think as well as telling you how brilliant, funny and loving Pugs are, and how much I love Lily and Lola to bits, it is important to be honest about what it's like looking after Pugs, and any kind of pet come to that!
As I said at the beginning, if you would like to ask me anything else do feel free to leave a comment or contact me via email/Twitter and I'll get back to you straight away.