Reasons Why Your Pug Is Arching Their Back

You’ve noticed that your pug is arching his back. Whether he’s doing this occasionally or consistently, it’s important to figure out the reason why your pug is arching his back. There are many potential causes.

pug on sidewalk

Why is my pug arching his back?

Dogs may briefly arch their spine while running or stretching. If ongoing, your pug is likely arching their back because they are in pain. Dogs arch their backs when they have abdominal pain, anal gland issues, a spinal injury or other pain. Sometimes pugs may arch their back in response to nausea.


Pugs often tuck their backside under while running or doing “zoomies”. This can make their spine somewhat arched. If your dog is arching their spine while playing, this is nothing to be concerned about.


Pugs and other dogs often stretch by arching their lower back or putting their butt in the air, while their front legs remain lower. Similar to how people may reach both arms over their head after waking up in the morning. This type of brief arching of the spine is normal and not harmful.


Other signs of nausea would be a change in their eating, drinking or bathroom habits. You may also notice your dog passing more gas than usual if they are nauseous. If they have an upset stomach, sometimes you can hear it gurgling or making other noises, too. If any of these additional symptoms are present, you may choose to wait and see if the condition improves in a short time span. Typically nausea would be a short-lived experience.

If your pug isn’t showing any other signs of nausea, or they continue to arch their back, it’s probably best to head to the vet to have a professional determine the cause. Most of the other causes are more serious and require treatment.

pugs on patio furniture

Anal sac problems

If your pug isn’t expressing their anal glands effectively, they can become irritated, infected or compacted which can cause pain. Some pugs may arch their back in response to anal gland problems. Your vet can express your dog’s anal glands for them, and may be open to teaching you how to express them for your pet. That way, you won’t have to go to the vet for this issue in the future, and can correct the problem before it gets too bad.

Abdominal pain

If your pug is experiencing abdominal pain, arching their back may relieve their pain a bit. Think about how you may put more weight on your left foot, if you are having pain in your right foot. In a similar way, dogs may arch their back to take pressure off of their abdomen when it hurts. If your dog is experiencing abdominal pain, it could be a wide range of causes and will need to be diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Spinal trauma

If your pug has injured their spine, they may be arching their back to try to alleviate pain in the injured portion of their spine.

Spinal conditions

Unfortunately, pugs are prone to some spinal problems. Some have an abnormal curve of the spine that is inherited from their parents. Myelopathy is also common in pugs, which is typically seen as “rear end weakness” that progressively impacts higher up the spine over time. In some cases or at some stages of the condition, this may cause the spine to be (or look) arched.


Some pugs may arch their back when they are afraid. My pug Frank used to do this sometimes when around cats or dogs that he was afraid of.  He’d tuck his rear which would make his back appear arched. He’d lower his ears and tail, too. This is a way of communicating to other animals that they aren’t a threat.

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