Pug Tail! When talking about Pugs, one of the main things that make them stand out from other breeds is their corkscrew tail. The look of Pugs’ tails is a cute aspect that’s unequivocally one of the most recognizable features along with their squishy faces. But, for new owners, management of this tail can bring worry and sometimes questions are overlooked. In this article you’ll learn:
- The description of the different types of Pug tails.
- Some of the issues pug tails are prone to develop.
- All about their anal glands and how to clean them.
- And more interesting facts about Pug’s tails!
When you finish reading this article, you’ll be free of any doubt regarding those beautiful cinnamon-roll tails. Let’s get started!
Types of Pug tail
When Pugs are born, their tails are similar to those of other dogs. Why? Because most of the time they develop the characteristic twisted tail within the first two months of age. If you have a Pug puppy that’s younger than this (something that reputed breeders would never do, by the way), you shouldn’t worry if they don’t have the twist yet. They will develop it soon enough.
There are two types of accepted tails in pugs:
- Tails with one curl: These are the most common type of tails in pet-quality Pugs. They have only one curl that goes to either side and that usually sits on their backs. This is an accepted type of tail, yet not preferred in shows.
- Double-curl tails: This is perfection! Double-curl tails are the most desired variation of pug’s tails.
Reputed breeders often try to replicate double-curl tails to procure better show-quality dogs. Still, this is not achieved with all dogs, and curling may vary from dog to dog. Even though these two are the most desired types, there are Pugs with straight tails or simply tails that don’t have the desired curl. This may be caused by many reasons.
“Like it or not, your dog is a predator. And as such your dog has two anal sacs, also called anal glands, located on the lower sides of his anus. They produce an excretion with a scent that identifies him and tells other dogs such things as your dog’s sex, health and approximate age”AKC – American Kennel Club
Reasons for a straight Pug tail
If your Pug has a straight tail from the day he’s born, and he’s been tested and vet checked to obtain good results, then even though he doesn’t meet the standards, he is still perfectly healthy. In fact, a straighter tail may even be healthier than a curlier tail, as it puts less strain on the spine. Nevertheless, pure-breed dog breeders do not desire to breed for straight tails, and therefore it might mean that your Pug has been carelessly bred.
Those are, well, the healthiest reasons.
There are a few other reasons that may cause the straight tail in Pugs:
- Depressed, anxious, scared, and focused Pugs: In all of the mentioned mood states, Pugs tend to lower their tails. They tend to do this in their sleep as well. It happens occasionally, and shouldn’t be a source for concern. This, however, will not cause a complete uncurling of the tail.
- In senior/weak/sick/tired Pugs: Pugs that are older, weak from poor nutrition, or simply sick, usually don’t have the muscle strength to keep their tails fully curled. In Pugs that seem healthy, this can also be a symptom of infected anal sacs. It’s important to note that in senior dogs, this may be a sign of arthritis, so it’s crucial that if your dog shows this symptom, you take him to the vet. Again, this will not cause a complete straightening of the tail though.
Pug anal glands
The previously mentioned anal sacs or anal glands require a bit of attention. In Pugs, it is rather common that their anal glands become engorged quickly. This is directly related to their diets and poop. When their diets are not right or if they’re having digestive issues accompanied by diarrhea or soft poop, their anal sacs will get filled.
This happens because harder poop, obtained when they have fiber-rich diets, press them naturally, and take care of the issue while they do their business.
Other reasons for their anal sacs to be filled are deformed anal glands, which can be caused by recurrent infections or mispositioning when they developed. If you don’t pay enough attention to them, they can get full and infected, and this will cause immense pain to your dog.
“The tail is curled as tightly as possible over the hip. The double curl is perfection.”AKC – American Kennel Club (breed guidelines)
How often should I clean my Pug anal glands?
If your dog has had anal gland issues in the past, he may need his cleaned occasionally. If that’s the case, a good rule of thumb is to do this every time he gets a bath. So, if you stick to the recommended bath schedules, you should clean them every two to three weeks.
It’s important to note that if your dog is undergoing bowel movement issues such as diarrhea or food allergies, you’ll need to clean them on a need-to basis.
How to know if a Pug’s anal glands need some squeezing?
When your Pug starts to:
- Smell fishy around their derriere.
- Leave brownish or yellowish stains wherever they sit.
- And scratch their butt with the floor or walls.
How to express Pug’s anal glands: Practical (and easy) STEPS!
Even though it’s recommended that a vet does this (sometimes groomers do it too), you can easily do it at home if you want to, saving you at least 20 bucks per month if this is a recurrent issue. Here’s how to do it:
- Place your thumb and index finger on both sides of your Pug’s anus.
- Swipe up and down a few centimeters while gently pressing. You should notice a little pea-sized bump on each side
- Again, gently, yet firmly press one inch beside each gland until you can fill them with the inner parts of your fingers
- Finally, squeeze gently, but remember to cover the exit with a towel!
- Reward! “Who’s a good boy?” Giving your Pug a reward will help you to train him and even look forward to getting his wrinkles cleaned every day.
TOP TIP: Get some Grooming Wipes and do this in a splash-safe place.
Note: For the love of god get some Grooming Wipes and do this in a splash-safe place.
This is not something most people are willing to do for their dogs, yet that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how it’s done.
Top 3 FAQs: Pug Tail Problems
1Do all Pugs need their anal glands expressed manually?
In Pugs that have had issues in the past with them, yes, you must do it manually. If that’s not the case, you still should check them occasionally to see if they’re full or not, or simply pay attention to the mentioned signs.
2Can Pugs get sick if I don’t express their anal glands?
Yes! When they’re full, anal glands can get infected, inflamed, and in extremes cases, develop abscess filled with pus. This can be really painful for them!
3Is my Pug tail an indicator of their health?
Yes! If your Pug is not feeling well for any reason, you can notice that with many signs, one of them being a limp tail. If his tail is in between his hind legs and shows other signs of exhaustion, depression, among others, you should take him to the vet immediately!
Useful products to treat Pug’s Anal glands
Aside from some gloves, an apron, and a mask (you can thank us later!), you should get two more items to help you with your Pug’s anal gland cleaning:
- Grooming wipes for Pugs: They are useful to clean all residues. Still, you need to get alcohol-free ones, and not human wipes. The perfect brand to get is Earthbath, specifically Earthbath’s All Natural Grooming Wipes. They are easy to use, itch-free, and completely safe to use around sensitive areas.
- Dog shampoo for Pugs: A little bit of your good ol’ dog shampoo can be really helpful to wash away everything if they get extra dirty. The most recommended one would be from Earthbath. Get Earthbath’s All Natural Shampoo in any of their different presentations to obtain the best itch-free results. If your dog is allergic, there’s also a completely hypoallergenic version. Only the best for your Pug’s derriere!
- Wrinkle balms for Pugs: Yes, this is a thing! Wrinkle balms are lifesaving options to put on your Pug’s butt if it’s inflamed or if there’s a mild infection. Natural Dog Company Wrinkle Balm is especially good because it has antifungal properties. Try it out to soothe their itchy behinds!
There are other issues directly related to Pug’s tails that you must pay attention to. The most common ones are:
- Hemivertebrae: deviation in Pug’s tails caused by nervous-system related issues. This can cause abnormal spine shapes, troubled walking, and hind leg impairment. Typically, they wobble and scuff their toes as they walk. Some Pugs are directly born with this condition and they need special care for life.
- In-growing tail: Sometimes Pug’s tails will curl and press into their backs. This can be easily noticed and has many different treatments, including surgery.
- Skin-fold infections: Similar to the infections that can occur in their flat-faces, these can be caused by an excess of humidity and poor hygiene habits. Making sure to both clean and dry the area directly eliminates this annoying issue. Check out the wrinkle care page, and apply the helpful steps to your Pug’s tail too.
Pug tails matter! Tails are often overlooked pieces of a Pug’s health. When you realize that they can cause trouble, it’s probably already too late, which is something you can directly avoid taking care of your Pug’s rear-end from the beginning. Knowledge of how their tails should look, some attention on how your Pug’s unique tail looks, proper diet, and hygiene should eliminate all of the issues they may suffer.
As we said; tails matter. They are actually one of the most important tools Pugs have to communicate with us, whether they control it or not. If you take that into account, you would protect their tails as much as you protect their eyes! That makes sense, especially if, as all of us at PugsClub.org do, you love a Pug’s waggy tail whenever you get home.
So, are you paying attention to your Pug’s butt?