Friday, February 3, 2012

How can pugs breathe like that?

Liam the pug with his face pushed into his bed
Liam, dead asleep.
With their wrinkled faces and scrunched noses, it's surprising that pugs can breathe at all. But breathe they do, albeit noisily, and often they put themselves in amazing positions that make breathing even more difficult.

Liam, for example, loves to sleep with his face buried in something soft. Toys, blankets or cats are all favorite pillows for his little wrinkled head. And as he grows more comfortable, he pushes his face deep into these materials until his entire nose is buried.

Why he does this, I'll never know. It could be that he likes to breathe in air that's slightly warm. If he heads outside in the cold when the house has been warm, he'll sputter, cough and reverse sneeze. Perhaps he tries to prevent this by smooshing his face into something soft and warming the air with his breath.

Or, perhaps he's just a freaky dog who likes to prepare for a photo shoot, 24/7.

In general, if your pug seems to be breathing comfortably, there's no need to intervene when they get into positions like this. If they become uncomfortable, they will adjust and move. But, if you notice very loud or very slow breathing patterns, it's best to intervene. Offer a quick cookie or a play session, and remove the item the pug is nuzzled into. If that bit of bed is consistently troublesome, donate it.

Let me say that it's rare. Most pugs know when enough is enough. But there are some pugs that sleep soundly and that need a few reminders about sleep hygiene. It's a simple service we can provide. (Just be sure to get a photo of it first!)