When Pugs Sit Like Humans: Is It Safe Or Harmful?

Ever notice a pug sitting comically like a human and wonder why they do it? It’s certainly amusing to see our pets sit like us, but sometimes it just doesn’t look quite right. This begs the question of whether it’s actually safe or if it may be a sign that there are underlying health issues.

So why do pugs sit like humans? Pugs are anatomically top-heavy, so sitting like us is believed to offer some relief to back or hip stress. Sinking onto one hip with a leg usually kicked out to the side provides support to the lumbar region. This also helps center the weight of their chest over the rest of the body.

This “lazy” way of sitting is more common in breeds that suffer from hip issues such as hip dysplasia. So while it may look cute, your pug may need to be examined by a professional for underlying problems. It’s vital to know what signs to look out for to ensure our pugs live a long and healthy life.

Signs that your Pug is in Pain

Contrary to popular belief, pugs don’t actually develop hip problems or dog arthritis as a result of sitting like a human. Instead, sitting lazily is usually done to alleviate the discomfort that stems from a deteriorated back or hip. It is a response to a problem, not the cause of it. There are signs you can look out for, and they include:

  • Constantly shifting positions – while top-heavy dogs will have more than one preferred sitting position, it shouldn’t be constantly shifting. When this occurs, it’s likely that your pug may be in discomfort, like how we toss and turn in bed, and is trying to find the most optimal sitting position to alleviate the pain.
  • Moving stiffly and difficulty rising – these can be signs of hip dysplasia. Noticeably staggering or having a tough time getting up and down can signal hip stress.
  • Suddenly human sitting as adult dogs – maturity is usually reached after two years for a pug. If they suddenly sit like this as adults, it can be a sign that he or she is in pain. That’s because it’s quite common for puppies to sit this way while their joints, bones, and ligaments are growing. As they mature, their anatomical structure should strengthen and fit together much more tightly.

It’s advisable that you encourage your dog to sit upright through training and reinforce better posture. Encouraging them to do so may save them pain and discomfort in the long run. However, if any of these signs do appear, it’s best to take your pup to the vet for a checkup. They’ll be able to provide professional advice, diagnose underlying issues, and medically treat any problems.

Underlying Problems That’s Causing Your Pug To Sit Like Humans

When pugs sit lazily with a lousy posture, there is usually some sort of discomfort that they’re trying to alleviate. The pain is probably derived from some underlying problem and should not be overlooked. It’s a significant indicator for you to take your dog to the vet for a check-up, especially because pugs are more prone to health issues due to their genetics. Some of these problems can include:

Hip DysplasiaDefinition: hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition and occurs when a hip joint ball and socket do not adequately fit.
Symptoms: separation of the bones within the joint will cause dogs to walk with a sway or “bunny-hopping” gait. The pain will make everyday tasks and activities harder to do, if not impossible.
Causes: excessive consumption of calories during a pug’s fast-growth period (3-10 months) will have the most significant impact on their hips. Obesity can increase the severity of this disease as the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a pug’s hips and joints.
Treatment: hip dysplasia can be treated with weight management, exercise limitations, physical therapy, joint supplements, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Luxating PatellaDefinition: often referred to as “trick knees”, a luxating patella is the dislocation of the patella from the femur.
Symptoms: one leg will be visibly favored over another when moving around. Pugs affected will also have difficulty running, sitting, and getting up.
Causes: obesity and excessive weight will put strain on a pugs knees, especially its patellas.
Treatment: weight management through diet and exercise. If left untreated and symptoms are always observed, then corrective surgery may need to be performed.
HemivertebraeDefinition: deformities of the bones of the spike can lead to pressures on the spinal cord. This can result in progressive pain and loss of function in their hind legs.
Symptoms: spinal deformation, visible pain, wobbliness (ataxia) and function loss of the hind legs, and an inability to control urination and defecation (incontinence).
Causes: genetic disposition as a result of their screw-like tails.
Treatment: diagnosis can be made by taking x-rays of the spine. Seek professional advice from your vet.
ArthritisDefinition: inflammation in the joints, causing pain and stiffness. Arthritis usually worsens with age.
Symptoms: limping, restricted movements, tiredness, and muscle atrophy.
Causes: usually the result of being overly active as younger pups. Stress and pressure on their joints can be caused by years of accumulated actions like jumping on and off objects. Arthritis is usually a byproduct and result of diseases like hip dysplasia and luxating patella.
Treatment: take your pug to the vet for a diagnosis. Treatment will usually consist of a joint care plan that includes joint supplementations.
This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

It’s advisable to seek professional help and advice from a vet as soon as symptoms are noticed for any conditions or diseases. Your pug will be thoroughly examined and diagnosed through a range of tests and scans. It’s best to catch these signs early so treatments like physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, supplementation, medication, and weight management can have the highest chance to successfully rehabilitate your dog. If left too late, corrective surgeries may need to be considered, and they can be very expensive.

Behavioral: Do Pugs Sit Like Humans Because We Encourage It?

Another take on why dogs “lazy sit” with bad posture can come down to behavioral factors. Our pugs may have learned it from seeing how we sit, and they’re merely emulating that. Adding to that, its owner may encourage this way of sitting because they find it cute. Positive reinforcement may result in your pug choosing to sit like a human more because they know you love it.

Others suggest that this may be a sign of assertiveness or dominance. Having a higher vantage point allows them to scan the room better, which may mean that the dog feels territorial over the house or space. This may be true for other dog breeds, but pugs have a very loving and sociable temperament. While it may be considered as a possible reason, I don’t think this generally applies to pugs. In any case, it’s best not to turn this lazy way of sitting into a game or trick; instead, you’d want to encourage your dog to sit upright with proper posture to keep your pug healthier for longer.

Related Questions

Why does my pug sit like a frog? Similar to the human sit, a pug can sometimes lie on the floor with its legs splayed out behind him. This might just be comforting for your pup but if there are any signs of issues, please pay your vet for a visit for a diagnosis.

Why do pugs sleep sitting up? While this can be a preference and where they find most comfortable, it can also be said that pugs may sleep sitting due to breathing or other health-related problems. Seek professional advice from your vet as a best practice.


Wag – Why do some dogs sit like humans

Dog’s Health – Hip Dysplasia in Pugs

Pug Village – Pug genetic issues

Universities Federation for Animal Welfare – Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals

The Pug Diary – How to Make Life Easier for a Pug with Arthritis

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