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Best Snacks for a Pug


Just as much thought should go into what you give your Pug for snacks as it does in regard to main meals. Snacks given in-between meals and treats given for reward, can account for 10 to 20% of a dog's calories for the day.

When you look at the overall nutritional needs for this breed of lean protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, what you offer your Pug for snacks will play a huge role in his overall health and well-being.

This section will cover:
  •     Which snacks are bad for a Pug dog 
  •     Wholesome foods that you can offer your Pug 
  •     How often and when to offer your Pug a treat 
  •     Ways to encourage your puppy or dog to enjoy eating something healthy  

Snacks to Keep Away From

Rawhides - It's amazing that these are even still on the market as rawhide should never be given to a Pug or any other dog. These are made from the inner layers of cow or horse hides and then artificially flavored. They have a vast array of quite terrible risks:
1- Contamination - With these snacks there is a risk of E. Coli and salmonella poisoning. Over the years, many brands have been recalled but not before hundreds of dogs became dangerously ill. There was even a case of hides being recalled due to arsenic contamination.
2- Digestive problems - Some rawhides are not digestible at all and others cause problems as the body is only able to partially digest them. This causes a range of problems that include stomach and intestinal distress, and diarrhea.

3- Blockage - This is one of the most severe risks when giving rawhide to a Pug. These are notoriously hard to chew and break apart which makes these a serious choking hazard. In addition, chunks of rawhide can become stuck in the Pug's throat or digestive tract. 
piece of manufactured rawhide
Signs of blockage include:
• Dry Heaving
• Vomiting
• Repeated swallowing
• Distress that manifests as panicked pacing
Pain that causes the dog to have trouble sitting, lying down or finding a comfortable position
• Diarrhea, with or without blood
• Refusal to eat or drink

This is a serious medical emergency that often needs to be treated with expensive surgery and even with an emergency operation, not all dogs survive.

Pig Ears - The dry, brittle texture of these snacks makes it a bad idea to give a Pug pig ears. The shards can cause tooth breakage when being chewed and shards can cause injury to the throat. Once swallowed, improperly chewed pig ears can cause blockage to the intestinal tract.

Bones - It is not safe to feed a Pug real bones from ham, chicken, turkey, duck, roast or any other meat. Cooked bones are the biggest danger, though raw bones can cause problems as well. When bones are cooked - regardless of their size - they become brittle. When they are chewed, sharp splinters will break off.

This can cause injuries and serious health issues including:

• Chipped teeth
• Mouth injuries
• Splinters in the lower jaw
• Blockage to the esophagus
• Inhalation of a bone splinter into the windpipe
• Blockage in the stomach or intestines
• Bone fragments causing injury to the rectum

Raw bones are a bit safer, but still pose some risks that do not make them the best snack for a Pug puppy or dog. The problems with these treat include:
  • Over consumption of marrow - Raw bones contain marrow which can cause diarrhea and for some dogs that are prone to pancreatitis, it can cause a flare up.  
  • Splinters - Raw bones that are cut are more likely to crack which can cause all of the same dangers of those that are cooked.
Any treats with artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives - These types of chemicals can cause all sorts of issues, ranging from allergic reaction manifesting as dry skin, rash, brittle coat to stomach upset and intestinal distress. 

Wholesome Snacks for a Pug Dog - Fresh Food

One of the best things you can do to make sure that your Pug is eating a healthy diet and able to maintain a healthy weight is to offer wholesome foods as snacks. It may almost seem like tradition to give a puppy or dog bacon, chicken or beef flavored treat, however substituting those for vegetables or fruits can make a big difference in a Pug's overall health.

Commercial treats do have their place; those that double as dental chews can play a role in good dental hygiene including removal of some plague and to freshen breath.
Why Fruit and Vegetables?

Though canines do need protein as their main source of nutrition, they are omnivorous that also require the benefits of fruits and vegetables. These treats are great for many reasons including:

1- Studies show that diets rich in both fruits and vegetables reduces the risks of many types of cancer

2- They are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber

3- They are low in fat, calories and many are filling, which makes them the perfect snack for the Pug, a breed that is prone to being overweight.
Which Fruits can a Pug Dog Eat?

You'll want to stay away from the cores of fruit and there are some such as grapes which must be avoided. However, the following are extremely safe and healthy without super high levels of natural sugar or sodium:
pear slices
Pears - Given without the core, pear slices are an excellent snack for the Pug. You'll want to keep the skin on, since it is proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The skin as so has phytonutrients, which are a potentially anti-cancer acid. Health benefits include decreases risk of both stomach and esophageal cancer.
This fruit is a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium and B-6. It is also a low calorie snack with only approximately 100 for the whole fruit. A good serving size is 1/2 of a pear, cut into slices, making it only 50 calories per serving.
banana slices
Banana - Peeled banana slices are a great snack for a Pug dog. This can be given at room temperature or as frozen treats. This fruit is considered to be a very heart healthy food that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Studies show that it may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Bananas are good for Pugs because they have zero sodium and have packed with dietary fiber, Vitamin 6, Vitamin C, manganese and potassium. They have about 100 calories in a whole piece; with 1/2 of a banana, given in slices to be a good serving size of only 50 calories.
Blueberries - A handful of blueberries are a terrific, healthy snack for a Pug puppy or dog. These have very high antioxidant properties. Why is this important? Antioxidants can prevent a wide range of illness, chronic diseases, boost the immune system and keep skin healthy.
They are a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese, fiber and copper. Cold, fresh blueberries can be given to a Pug for a treat and they can be frozen as well (which can make them less messy). This is a super low calories snack for a Pug with only 85 calories in one full cup. 
A good serving size is 1/4 cup for a puppy and up to 1/2 cup for an adult. Also, this is a great ingredient to mix into whole, white yogurt which is super good for a Pug dog as well.
Raspberries - There is ongoing research regarding raspberries as a factor in controlling weight issues, which makes this a perfect snack for a Pug, a dog breed that is prone to obesity. Aside from this promising element, this fruit has antioxidant properties like that of the blueberry which can help prevent disease, keep the immune system strong and aid in keeping skin healthy which helps avoid skin problems
Raspberries contain good levels of Vitamin C, manganese, fiber, copper, Vitamin K, biotin and Vitamin E. Given fresh or frozen (which makes helps to hold the juices in) this is a super low calorie snack for Pug dogs with only 65 calories for one cupful.
mango slices
Mango - As with all fruits, you will want to make sure that your dog does not ingest the seeds, as they are toxic. However, pieces of fresh mango are an excellent, healthy snack for Pugs. These are considered to be a 'super fruit' with outstanding nutritional qualities.
Mango protects dogs (and humans) from many cancers including breast, colon and prostate. It has antioxidant compounds that protect the body's immune system and skin.
This snack is packed with Vitamin-A, B6 (which can reduce the chance of strokes), C, and E. 
It also has beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin and potassium (important for heart rate and blood pressure). One cup of mango chunks has only 99 calories, making it a very low calorie treat for Pugs. A good serving size is 1/2 cup for puppies and up to 1 cup for adults.
Which Vegetables Are Good Snacks for a Pug?

Veggies are an important part of a dog's diet and should not be limited to small pieces mixed into main meals. Offering a vegetable as a snack is a great way to keep your Pug healthy and to help him maintain proper weight. They key is to give your Pug a vegetable that doesn't cause gas and has a taste that is actually tempting to a canine. Let's look at some good choices:
baby carrots
Carrots - This one of the best low calorie foods for a Pug that is easy to serve as a snack and is low in calories but packed with flavor that most dogs love. This is a 'super food' that reduces cholesterol, can prevent heart problems and some cancers, helps with vision, boosts the immune system, helps with digestion and aids in clearing toxins from the body.
Pugs do best with baby carrots which are sweet and the perfect size for munching. While you can give cooked carrots to a Pug, for snacks it is best to stick with raw ones which are easy to hand out and the crunchy texture is good for the teeth.
There have a full daily requirement of Vitamin A. In addition, carrots are a great snack with beta-carotene, potassium, carbohydrates (the main source of energy for both canines and humans), fiber, Vitamin B6 and C. 

How many carrots should you give to your Pug? These are so low calorie and Pugs love these so much that you'll have to show some restraint to keep your puppy or dog from eating too many! There is only 4 calories in a baby carrot! A good serving size is 3 to 4 for a puppy and up to 6 to 8 for a full grown adult Pug.
Green beans - Whether you personally like these or not, many Pugs love this as a healthy, low calorie snack and offering this as a treat is a great way to help keep your dog in good health. 

This veggie has Vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese and a wide range of flavonoids which all serve as antioxidants to help keep a Pug's immune system strong and ward off disease. 
In addition, studies show that eating green beans can have cardiovascular benefits.
While you can cook them, raw green beans are a great snack for Pugs and easy to hand out. These are amazingly low in calorie count with 10 having only 17 calories. A good serving size for puppies is 5 to 6 and 8 to 10 for adults.
Other veggies - There are some other vegetables that a Pug can safely eat, though they do not make for good snacks on their own. The following are best when mixed into the main food that you are feeding your Pug for meals. 

This is a good method of adding healthy low calorie ingredients to bulk up food so your Pug can eat more but not gain weight: Cauliflower, celery, lettuce, cucumber, pumpkin, potato, sweet potato and spinach.

The Best Store Bought Snacks

There are some really great commercial snacks for puppies and dogs. However, do choose wisely. Some are fantastic and others, not so much. 

In fact, if a snack contains chemicals such as artificial coloring, preservatives and/or flavoring, this can really affect a Pug by causing dry skin & coat and/or stomach problems.

You'll also want to be sure that the treat is easily digestible to avoid possible blockage and/or stomach upset.

Be sure to choose made in the USA  or N. America (includes Canada).

Don't just go for the names you've heard, there are some great options that may not be the brands you see in your local store!

And Don't Forget About Dental Treats

One of the most preventable issues that happens to dogs is dental decay and disease. Just like humans, plaque is constantly being produced. If it is not removed, it starts to harden into tartar in as little as 3 days.

Once this happens, it becomes a hard coating on the teeth, eating away at enamel. Infection and decay can also move under the gum line, silently causing destruction. Infection can travel up into the sinuses, through the whole body (often proving fatal), decay can rot then eventually loosen teeth to the point of falling out and this all comes with a range of discomfort for the dog. 

What can you do? Brush your Pug's teeth daily, bring him for dental checkups with the vet and give him an effective dental treat once per day. 

How Often to Give a Pug a Snack

Puppies - You'll want to give snacks to Pug puppies for 2 reasons: As reward for good behavior including housebreaking and obeying commands and for teething issues. If treats are given at any other time, they will lose their meaning and will no longer be helpful when you are training your puppy.

In regard to teething, frozen toys work well at most times, however offering frozen fruits or veggies or flavored ice cubes can be good when a puppy tires of his chew toys and needs a new distraction. You can flavor ice cubes by mixing some apple juice (real juice, not 'flavored') or low salt chicken broth.

Adults - While it's hard to resist giving your Pug a snack every time he looks at you with those big, gorgeous eyes, it's best to reserve snacks for rewarding good behavior. As an adult, your Pug will be house trained and will follow commands; however our dogs are happy when we reinforce the idea that they are doing well.

Give your Pug a healthy snack of a fruit or a vegetable whenever he goes to the bathroom in the designated area, listens to the "Sit' command, does well on a walk by putting effort into heeling or otherwise displays good behavior. 
Did you find this article helpful? If so, you'll love The GIANT Book of Pug Care (available in both hard copy & eBook)
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