Frequent walks on pavement will help wear down your pug's nails, but they'll need to be trimmed at least monthly, more often if you want to accustom the dog to having it done. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, it's time to give them a trim. Overgrown nails snag easily on carpets, upholstery, and bed coverings. If they get too long, they can grow right into the footbed, which is painful and can even impair the dog's ability to walk.
Most pugs hate having their nails trimmed, and when pugs don't want to do something, they turn into fifteen pounds of pure, squirming muscle. Your pug won't try to bite you when you trim his nails, but don't count on him to hold still for the procedure. You know the saying that it takes two to tango? Well, it takes two or more to trim a pug's nails. Don't try this alone!
To get started, have your assistant hold the dog securely. A good way for your assistant to immobilize the dog is to place him between the knees, facing outward, with the left hand supporting the dog's chest. It can be useful to have a third person on hand to feed treats to distract the dog.
Once your pug is under control, you're ready to trim. As your assistant firmly grips one of the legs at the elbow so the dog can't pull it back, grasp the paw and clip just at the curve of the nail. Avoid clipping past the curve. You don't want to hit the quick (the blood vessel inside the nail). If your pug has light-colored nails, it's easy to see the quick, which looks like a dark line running through the nail. If you can't see the quick because the nails are dark, a good rule of paw is to trim the nails parallel to the toe pads. As you clip, praise your pug if he's behaving nicely, and give a firm “No” to put a stop to squirming.
When you're through, smooth rough edges with a metal nail file and give your pug a treat for enduring such a terrible ordeal. Before you let him go, examine the footpads for foreign objects or injuries. In winter, clean your pug's feet after he goes outside to remove de-icing chemicals, salt, snow, and ice.
If you accidentally hit the quick, stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a cloth or cotton ball or putting styptic powder on the injured nail. If you don't have any styptic powder on hand, flour or cornmeal will work in a pinch.
If you can't stand the fuss your pug puts up — and if your budget allows — simply take the dog to a groomer or veterinarian for a nail trim. You'll both be happier.