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How to Groom a Pug: 10 Expert Tips

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

brushing pug with double sided brush

Some dogs’ grooming needs can be pretty hefty, requiring monthly grooming trips and daily brushing. When you see a picture of a Pug, you’ll notice its shorts and thick coat. So where exactly do their grooming needs lie?

Ultimately, Pugs fall somewhere in the middle. They definitely require coat care, but it is less extensive than some longer-haired breeds. Here, we will go over how to manage your Pug’s coat, keeping it healthy and beautiful.

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The 10 Tips for Grooming a Pug

1. Get the Proper Grooming Tools

First and foremost, you’ll need to start with a grooming kit. You can buy different products or get a bundle of various tools in one.

We recommend some different brushes to maintain coat texture and remove excess shed, dirt, and debris.

Bristle Brush

Bristles brushes are usually made of synthetic bristles, animal hair, or a combination of the two. These brushes are terrific for everyday maintenance. They aren’t the best at penetrating to the skin, but they do take care of everyday shedding and reduce dirt and dander buildup.

These brushes will leave your Pug’s fur looking fresh, as it evenly distributes the oils to create a beautiful sheen. You can find bristle brushes from $8 to $50—if it’s made of fancy animal hair, they can be quite pricey.

Slicker Brush

The slicker brush is a common option for Pug owners. The bristles are short and all one length, creating a smooth experience. These bristles are shaped in a way that captures the loose shed and debris in the fur.

Some brushes require manual cleaning while others have a releasing feature that retracts the bristles for easy cleaning. These particular brush designs are excellent for everyday maintenance. They fall somewhere on the affordable side as well. You can find slicker brushes for roughly $8 to $12.

Deshedding Tool

A deshedding tool is a grooming utensil used to reach the deep undercoat of your Pug. Warrant caution when using this tool, as frequent use will cause skin irritation and potential damage. They should only be used during peak shed seasons or deep grooming sessions.

Deshedding tools use a metal bristled design that penetrates through the coat to the skin. It removes all dead hair, dander, and debris from your Pug, leaving them fresh. Deshedding tools are generally around $30.

In addition to brushes, you can get a nice pair of nail clippers and a toothbrush for head-to-toe refreshing.

brushing a pug
Image Credit: Zoriana Zaitseva, Shutterstock

2. Understand Your Pug’s Grooming Style

Dogs require different levels of grooming depending on their coat type. Pugs have a short, thick double coat that sheds continually year-round. They are especially problematic when seasons change in the spring and fall months.

Since your Pugs shed so much, brushing them every day is a good idea. This will collect the loose shed and keep loose hairs from attaching to your fabrics and furniture. These dogs don’t need fancy hairdos or trims but benefit greatly from regular bathing and brushing.

3. Acclimate Your Pug Early

It’s best to get your Pug used to grooming as soon as possible. Start early when your pup arrives home. This can be a great bonding experience, making grooming easy in the future.

Because Pugs are so lovable by nature, they will very likely look forward to brushing time. Anything that means physical affection from their owners is usually welcomed with open paws.

If you’re bringing an adult Pug into your home, it might be a breeze or more challenging to acclimate them, depending on their previous life. However, all Pugs generally learn to enjoy this activity since it counts as physical affection from their owner.

4. Don’t Over-Bathe

Pugs can be very sensitive, so you should always keep that in mind during bathing time. If you bathe your Pug too often, it eliminates the natural oils in its skin, which can cause dry and damaged spots to develop.

Pugs produce a decent amount of oil and can get quite greasy over time if they aren’t properly maintained. Since they have very thick fur, it can cause a lot of dirt and debris to build up as well—especially in wrinkle folds. Lack of bathing can be problematic as well.

It would be best if you bathe your Pug roughly every 4 to 6 weeks, but definitely no more than once a month. Your Pug should be relatively easy at bath time because they enjoy physical affection. They might be a little scared of the water at first, but they’ll calm down once they feel comfortable.

dog owner bathing his pet pug
Image Credit: 220 Selfmade studio, Shutterstock

5. Get a Natural Shampoo

You can find natural pet products all over the market. We recommend fragrance-free, natural shampoos to soothe the skin and keep your Pug’s coat healthy. Conditioner is optional, but it can be really beneficial so your Pug’s coat stays supple and soft between washes.

Pugs can be sensitive to certain dyes and chemicals in commercial shampoos, leading to allergic reactions, hotspots, and general irritation. If you notice your dog developing any visible response to the skin, it might be time for closer inspection.

Often allergic reactions include signs like:
  • Excessive scratching
  • Hotspots
  • Redness
  • Hair loss
  • Paw chewing
  • Ear and skin infections

These reactions aren’t just from shampoos. If you find your dog is suddenly developing what appears to be an allergic reaction, it could be from their diet and other environmental factors. If switching the shampoo doesn’t help to curb the issue, it might be time to visit the vet.

Your veterinarian can assess the allergy or irritation to see the underlying cause.

6. Wipe Down Wrinkle Folds Between Baths

One of the things you love most about your Pug is likely their adorable wrinkles. They have many wrinkle folds on the face, neck, and sometimes towards the tail. As Pugs get older and fill out, their wrinkles can get much more extensive, but this can vary from dog to dog.

Because these folds can trap bacteria and other nasty gunk, it’s important to wipe them out between baths. You can use a damp washcloth, hypoallergenic baby wipes, or doggy-specific cleaning wipes to remove the access buildup.

If these folds aren’t taken care of, it can cause infections and discomfort. So don’t skip this part!

7. Don’t Forget to Brush Their Teeth

You probably remember to brush your teeth every morning and evening. But you might not think much about making sure your dog does the same. However, dental disease is very prevalent in canines—so brushing is a must!

It’s best to brush your pup’s teeth every day. There are several options on the market for dog toothbrushes, and you can browse them on sites like Chewy.

As puppies, finger brushes might be better because you have more control and it is gentler on the gums. If you have a particularly hard-to-brush Pug, they make dental toys designed to clean the teeth while occupying your pooch.

pug teeth toothbrush
Image Credit: Diedov Denys, Shutterstock

8. Clean Ears Appropriately

Pugs are prone to frequent ear infections more so than other breeds. Since their ears are floppy and adorable, this design can cause fluid to become trapped in the ear canal, which breeds bacteria.

It is vital to ensure you are drying appropriately after bath times. While rinsing, ensure you’re not getting any water directly over your pup’s head, as it can quickly go into their ear canals, causing issues.

Check your Pug’s ears frequently for signs of inflammation. If you notice any foul smells, redness, or discharge, it’s time to go to the vet. Your vet will prescribe them medication if it is an infection to get everything back to normal.

9. Get Your Pug Their Own Towel

Every pet parent is different. Some don’t mind sharing towels with their dogs, and others prefer to separate these things for sanitary reasons.

Luckily, companies make doggie-specific towels that you can buy online and in pet shops. Since your little Pug has so much fur, it can easily saturate a human towel despite how little it might be. It’s easier to get them an ultra-absorbent towel made for canines.

10. Visit a Professional Groomer

Even though Pugs are very easy to maintain at home, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the groomer occasionally. Going to the groomer is a fantastic way to socialize your dog and get them out of the house.

Plus, it always helps to have a head-to-toe scrubbing from a professional. Your dog will come home feeling and looking their best. Groomer fees vary depending on your location and the facility you choose.

Also, there are private groomers you can visit that will also have variable rates. Always choose a groomer both you and your pooch like, and ensure the facility is professional so your dog gets the best care.

a pet groomer holding up a pair of scissors
Image By: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Regarding grooming, Pugs are easy—but daily brushing is a must. You also have to ensure you are not over-bathing them and are getting their ears completely dry. Always look for signs of irritation on the skin just in case allergies or an infection develops.

If you notice a potential problem, your vet can assess and prescribe any medications needed to get your Pug back on track.

Featured Image Credit: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock

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