Pugs are prone to overheating. This is mostly due to the fact that they are a flat faced breed and so their bodies aren’t as equipped at cooling them down. Overheating is a serious condition that can lead to organ failure and death if not dealt with appropriate. Signs of overheating include but are not limited to: panting heavily, increased drooling, seizures, change in color of gums or tongue, change in skin elasticity, and a drunk-like appearance. If your pug shows any of these signs and symptoms, take them to the vet immediately. On your way to the vet, make sure the air conditioning is on in your car.
Tips for Cooling Down a Pug
Never leave a pug in a car on a hot day – There are so many viral videos about why you shouldn’t leave your dog or baby in a car on a hot day and yet people keep doing it. People underestimate just how quickly a car heats up on a hot day. With the windows rolled up and the car off, an adult human would start sweating like crazy. However, unlike pugs, adults know how to open car doors, roll down windows or start the car. Also, pugs are way smaller and have flat faces so their bodies aren’t very resistant to extreme weather conditions. Whether you’re going to the gas station for a minute or five, open up the window enough for a pug to be able to stick his head out. Otherwise, you could come back to the car to find your dog having seizures. Also, legally in many states and provinces, people are allowed to break into your car if the person or animal inside of it seems to be suffering. There are window breakers designed for saving the lives of children and pets from their reckless owner. If a person does break the window, they won’t be charged for breaking your window and you will likely get arrested for animal endangerment. So you could lose your pug and you could have a broken car window. It’s not worth it. Never leave your pug in a car on a hot day no matter what.
Don’t leave pugs outside – On extremely hot days, don’t leave your pug outside. Treat it like a cold winter day, where they can go outside to use the washroom and then come back inside where the temperature is a bit cooler. If you’d start sweating just by being outside without a lot of movement, then your pug will definitely be affected by the hot weather as well. You can also have a bowl of cool water for them to drink outside in case they get a bit thirsty on warm days.
Be mindful of pug’s breathing – Pay attention to how your pug is breathing. Whether you’re going for a walk or just playing in the yard, if your pug starts panting heavily it could be a sign that they’re overheating. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned earlier in this article, you may need to stop what you’re doing and bring them somewhere cooler, carry him, or provide your pug with cool water.
Regularly give them cool water – On hot days, you’ll need to ensure that their water supply is always cool and on hand. For example, if you’re taking your pug to a dog festival or dog park for the day, you’ll want to bring a few bottles of water and keep a dog bowl in your backpack so that you can keep them hydrated. Just as people need eight glasses of water per day, pugs also need to have access to water, especially if the weather is hot.
Don’t go for long walks during extreme weather – Pugs can’t usually handle long walks as it is, but when it’s really hot out keep the walk short. Aim to take them on their daily walks before sunrise or around sunset so that the temperature is a bit cooler. The sun’s rays are strongest during 10am to 2pm so don’t go outside during that time at all as even pugs can get sunburnt. However, even 4pm can be too hot for them. When you get home from work, let them go outside to use the washroom but then bring them right back inside. If heat warning is in effect, a ten minute walk will be more than enough but remember to go when the temperature is cooler.
Have them groomed – While some pugs may not like getting haircuts, in the summer you can help your pug stay cooler by having him groomed so that he has less fur on his body. Fur can overheat a pug even more in the summer. By shaving their hair down a bit, it’ll feel a bit cooler for them so that they don’t overheat. It’s sort of like when you cut your hair shorter for the summer, you feel just a little bit cooler.
Hang out in the shade – If you’re at an outdoor function with your pug such as a pug meetup or a dog festival, find a good spot in the shade to hang out before anybody else does. Maybe there’s a tree providing some good shade. It won’t make a huge difference if it’s hot out but it does help a bit. While hanging out in the shade your pug can lie down for a bit and relax to cool down. This would also be a great time to give them some cool water in a bowl for them to drink up. And hey, the shade will help you cool down a bit too.
Monitor pug’s temperature – If you find your pug showing some of the signs and symptoms of overheating pull out a thermometer and take your pug’s temperature. If the pug’s temperature is 105 °F (41 °C) or above, get a fan, provide them with cool water and make sure they’re indoors. A healthy temperature range for the average pug is between 101 °F (38 °C) and 102 °F (39 °C). If the pug’s temperature exceeds this you may need to take him to a vet immediately if his symptoms or signs don’t improve with your serious effort to cool your pug down.
Be a responsible parent – Being a pug parent is a serious responsibility. Therefore, like the parent of a child, you need to call the shots and make responsible decisions. If your pug is playing outside and having fun but it’s too hot outside, you need to bring them inside. Even if they don’t look bothered by the heat, you need to know when fun time is over. It’s your responsibility to ensure that they don’t suffer from heatstroke or experience seizures from overheating. You are their owner, their parent. As a result, you’re responsible for their wellbeing. Don’t leave them outdoors for too long on hot or especially not humid summer days.
Set up a kiddie pool or a sprinkler – In the summer, you can set up a kiddie pool or sprinkler in the yard for your pug to play with. You can put toys that move in the water for your pug to chase it in the pool. You can put a sprinkler for your pug to run through. You can even invite other pugs over to have an outdoor water party just like you would for a kid’s birthday party. This will help them cool down, especially if the water is cool. Like mentioned above, be responsible and keep your eye on them to prevent injury. Not all pugs are good swimmers so you never want to leave them in an adult size pool alone unattended. If a pool is deep enough that a pug can swim in it, the pug needs a life jacket and a person supervising him at all times.
These are just a few suggestions to help prevent your pug from overheating. Please contact a veterinarian or other licensed professional to help you ensure your pug’s health and safety in extreme weather conditions.