Do Pugs Jump High? Tips To Prevent An Injury (And Escape)


Pugs have a very vibrant and playful personality. When excited, they won’t hesitate to jump from high distances. Their curiosity may also lead them to exploring new horizons that lie beyond a roadblock or barricade. So, how high can pugs jump?

Pugs can jump about 3 feet high. Owners that are worried about their escape, should consider the height of their pens, fences, and baby gates to prevent this. Excessive jumping can also lead to several injuries and long-term medical consequences such as arthritis.

Besides worrying about their pug escaping, owners also need to consider the health impact of continual jumping. The action itself is usually harmless when isolated, but over the course of its lifetime, this can lead to degenerative joint problems. Thankfully, there are ways to easily prevent it, but you need to start immediately.

What Causes A Pug To Jump?

Excitement can often be manifested through the action of jumping. Especially in the case where they’re not able to contain their happiness and joy. Whether a pug is jumping at you or on you, it’s a clear sign of affection. This is common practice for companion breeds such as the pug.

They’re also a curious bunch, so they won’t hesitate to explore new places, sounds, and smells. Pugs are a breed that will always want to be part of the action. Their “fear of missing out” may force them to lunge and jump over things in order to get them close enough to where everyone is situated.

This might mean jumping on and off different places and furniture, including beds, sofas, couches, chairs, stairs, and decks. Their small yet sturdy frame means that they have a decent amount of muscle, which easily allows them to jump as high as 3 feet! It’s why some owners train and enter their pugs in show dog competitions. No obstacle is too much for this toy breed.

The Jumping Mechanics Of A Pug

Pugs are classified as a toy breed due to their average size being on the smaller side. As such, it can take twice as much effort for them to jump high enough, especially when compared to larger breeds.

The mechanics involved when a pug jumps includes shifting their weight to their hind legs, lowering their lower body, and lifting their upper body. They do this to become more aerodynamic, so that they are able to propel themselves forwards more effectively.

When landing, pugs have to extend and flex their forelegs, which helps them brake while keeping steady. This action puts a lot of weight on the hind legs (when taking off), front legs (when landing), tarsal, hips, and various joints. In addition, they use lots of muscular energy to support and propel their body weight.

The combination of these movements involved are often taxing and stressful for smaller dogs. Experts refer to it as “increased load activity”. Therefore, in order to prevent your pug from experiencing associated health consequences, it’s crucial that jumping is limited and supervised whenever possible,

Why Jumping Is Risky Business

While jumping can be harmless from time-to-time, there are various factors that can exacerbate the problems associated with it. A pug’s age, weight, health, and fitness levels will all play a part in measuring the risks involved.

For instance, there is much lower risk for a young, fit, and healthy pup. On the other hand, jumping from high distances such as a bed can cause injury if a pug is overweight, older, or in poor health. It can lead to joint, muscle, and bone injuries, especially if they land badly.

Additionally, pugs are a brachycephalic breed meaning that they have short noses and a flat face. There are several problems associated with this if bred from a poor lineage. For example, it can be hard to exercise and lose weight if their breathing limitations are bad enough. They can also be predisposed to skeletal conditions due to bad genetics derived from overbreeding.

Dangers Associated With Pugs Jumping

So, what conditions and injuries are pugs prone to? There will be times where an accident may happen despite your best efforts to supervise. Perhaps, your pug is already starting to show symptoms of an injury, and you’re looking for clarification on what your options are. Let’s take a look below.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a medical condition that can affect the joints of a pug, causing a lot of pain and swelling. This is a progressive type of disease that gets worse overtime, which makes it uncomfortable to freely move around. Often, it is caused by a dog’s joints being impacted by years of accumulated actions such like jumping on and off objects.

The symptoms include limping, muscle atrophy, joint swelling, lethargy, and an unwillingness to move. It is incurable, but it can be managed with physical therapy, weight loss, and by making ergonomic adjustments to the home. Also known as osteoarthritis, it is often a byproduct of many other medical problems such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas.

Muscle Injuries

Muscle tears refer to direct injuries that damage muscle tissue structures. The most common cause of muscle tears derive from overstretching the affected muscle when running or jumping. The injury can also be a consequence of a larger accident, including broken bones and external lacerations.

With age, your dog’s bones may become more fragile and brittle, while at the same time, their muscles may start to waste away (atrophy). Therefore, an ordinary jump that has been made many times has the potential to cause a muscle injury as your pug gets older.

Diagnosis:

When it comes to diagnosing the problem, some clinical signs include pain when touching the wounded location (usually recorded during physical examination), limping (or lameness), bruising, or swelling of the affected muscle. These symptoms may be difficult to detect if the tear is mild. It would help if you took your pug to a qualified veterinarian whenever you noticed any of the symptoms above.

Muscle tears are diagnosed by examining the damaged muscle and observing the clinical signs. Various muscles show different clinical signs of trauma when affected, and some can be more affected than others. Your veterinarian may perform a blood test that supports the diagnosis.

Damaged muscles release the enzyme “Creatine Phosphokinase” (CPK). Measuring the enzyme levels (elevated when muscles are damaged) helps vets determine whether your pug is seriously hurt. Your vet will then perform appropriate forms of imaging, i.e. X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, and MRI to confirm the diagnosis and locate the injured tissue.

Treatment:

To reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation, muscle tears should be treated immediately using NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication), cold compresses, and lots of rest. Initially, you could use mild compression bandages (depending on the severity of the damage); however, the vet may prescribe additional pain control medication if the NSAID isn’t sufficient.

You can begin passive physical therapy to prevent any healing complications after two days (your vet will provide you with some physical therapy exercises). You can start with some controlled and mild exercises after five or ten days to help the tissues form correctly. You will need to prevent your dog from running and jumping during this time.

Your pug may require surgery in more severe cases. The procedure will usually be performed after two or three days of the initial injury, so that it gives the affected area enough time for the swelling to reduce. Your pug should be taken through a strict and controlled exercise routine during the first month of its recovery to allow the affected area to heal correctly and prevent further injury.

Luxating Patella

Luxating patella is a medical condition that’s quite common among toy breeds. It refers to instances where a dog’s kneecap gets dislodged from its normal position (the groove of the thigh bone). This medical condition can occur in one or both hind legs with the kneecap moving medially, i.e. towards the inner part of the limb; however, it can also move laterally.

When this happens, your pug will usually limp, skip, show signs of lameness, or lock up the limb at an odd angle. The limb may then return to normal once the kneecap realigns in place. There are many reasons why your pug may develop this condition, with one of them being due to having an accident while in the act of jumping.

Pugs are more likely to develop a luxating patella because they are genetically predisposed to the condition too. Due to problems associated with overbreeding, the groove on their femur, where the kneecap lies, can already be too shallow. This makes it easier for the kneecap to be displaced by some minor accident, leading to long-term inflammation.

Diagnosis:

Your vet can diagnose a luxating patella by physically examining the knee. They will then be graded based on its severity (from I to IV). The diagnosis is done and graded on the kneecap’s ability to dislodge and capability of getting back to its original position. A grade 1 diagnosis is the least severe, while Grade IV is where the kneecap is permanently dislodged.

Treatment:

The treatment procedures involved range from conservative methods to surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. Grade I and grade II conditions are treated with pain and anti-inflammatory medication, exercise restriction, and weight management. Those in grades III and IV are treated with surgery because the injured dog will already be in tremendous pain and practically disabled.

Stop Jumping With Ergonomic Home Adjustments

Obviously, we would want to avoid our pugs from suffering any type of injury. Stopping them to stop jumping up and down from high places is essential. You can try and train them to avoid doing so, but pugs can be too stubborn to listen.

Their canine instincts and curiosity will likely see them take a higher position to get a better view of things when the opportunity presents itself. Thus, you must find ways to help them climb onto higher places safely and effortlessly. How you ask? With a doggie step of course!

All you need to do is buy them a doggie step and train them to use it when climbing high surfaces. Not only will it be easier to train your pug how to use it compared to training them to stop jumping altogether, but it may not even require any training whatsoever. These steps will be very intuitive and likely feel very natural for them to climb in order to reach higher places.

However, if your pug seems to have some trouble using doggie stairs, then you could help them out by giving them incentives (treats and praises) during your training. For instance, you can provide them with a reward each time they use the doggie stairs. This strategy will positively reinforce this habit so that they replace jumping with stair climbing instead.

Training Your Pug Not To Jump On People

You can also prevent your pug from jumping whenever they get excited since this could contribute to an injury overtime. Pugs have a vibrant personality which often shows whenever you come home from work and greet them.The most common reaction you may receive from your pug is spinning in circles and jumping up in excitement.

While this is a friendly and flattering gesture, it could hurt their back and hind legs, especially with age. Thus, the best thing to do in these situations is to get down to your dog’s level so that they don’t feel the need to jump around. You can also train them to stop, sit, and wait for you to calmly walk over. However, this will be much more time consuming and take extra ongoing effort on your part.

Avoid showering your pug with praises when they do jump. You and your family might find it cute, but this reaction will create a positive reinforcement loop that will be difficult to break. If they see you laughing and adoring them, then your pug will only continue to jump. Instead, here’s what you can do to stop your pug from jumping on people.

  • Tethering – it’s possible that you may need to keep your pug on a leash when you have guests over. It will allow you to more easily control the action of your dog. When they are calm and greeting guests without jumping, then be sure to reward them with a treat.
  • Practice your commands – this step is crucial since there are times that you don’t have your pug on a leash and can’t physically prevent them from jumping onto strangers. Training your pug to follow various commands like leave, stop, go, sit, and come could save some embarrassing moments and help make your pug calmer and less jumpy.
  • Positive Reinforcements – create a reward system that reinforces your pug’s good behavior. As mentioned before, you can reward your pug if they do something right by giving them their favorite treat. You could use this technique to train them to listen to and follow your commands whenever they misbehave. You could also use some toys as a reward for their good behavior and as a distraction.

Can Pugs Jump High Enough To Escape?

With pugs being able to jump approximately 3 feet high, you’ll want to ensure that your gates and fences are higher than that. This includes baby gates and pens inside the house where you wouldn’t want your pug entering. It’s also good practice to set boundaries as separation can be a good thing.

However, you won’t really have to worry about your pug escaping. For starters, they are a very loyal breed that are known to stay by their owners side at all times. While friendly and sociable with people, they definitely have a favourite. After all, they aren’t called velcro dogs for no reason.

Secondly, even if they did want to escape, a pug is more likely to go through a hole in the fence rather than to jump over the entire structure. Additionally, most standard fences and gates will be around 6 feet high, so there shouldn’t be any worries about them jumping over it to escape.

Is jumping bad for pugs? While jumping is relatively safe for most dogs, it does put pressure on their joints. Pugs that are overweight, older, or in poor health can be more prone to accidents related to jumping.

Are pugs high energy? Pugs are low to medium energy level breed. They only need about 20-40 minutes of exercise per day to stay physically and mentally stimulated. Pugs can spend up to 14 total hours sleeping each day, and are notorious couch snugglers.

At what age do pugs calm down? All puppies have lots of energy, and pugs are no different. They are quite energetic until they reach adulthood, usually at the age of 2. This is when they tend to calm down, however some pugs can be high in energy until 3 or 4.

References

Gollakner, R., n.d. Muscle Tears in Dogs.

Seid, J., 2020. Luxating Patella in Dogs: Diagnosis, Treatment & More.

Parnell, 2021. Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment.

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