The pug is a very easy to recognise dog breed and one that has long been a popular and common choice of pet in the UK, as well as being a breed that is very well established and always in demand.
They are just one of a number of popular brachycephalic dog breeds, which is to say, dogs with flat-looking faces, and whilst the degree of the flatness can vary, many pugs tend to fall towards the more extreme end of the spectrum.
This unique and quirky pug appearance is one of their most clearly identifying features, and one of the things that first draws people to the breed in the first place; who then stay for their equally unique and quirky personalities! However, owning a brachycephalic dog of any type means needing to know how those flat faces can impact upon the dog and potentially, cause them problems; and this tends to be more acute in the summer than in the winter.
If you own a pug or another flat-faced dog breed, they need special care in the summer in order to keep them safe and comfortable, over and above that which is required for the average longer-nosed dog.
This article will tell you why you ned to take special care with your pug in the summer to keep them safe and well, and what you need to factor in and do in order to enable this. Read on to learn more.
A lot of the causes of pugs needing special care in the summer comes back to those aforementioned flat or brachycephalic faces. Having a shot muzzle like this provides a smaller surface area within the mouth for the exchange of oxygen for cooling, and it also causes narrowed nostrils and an elongated soft palate, all of which combined can make it hard for dogs of the breed to get enough air.
This is far worse for dogs with exaggeratedly flat faces, but affects all dogs of the breed to some extent.
Pugs are more prone to overheating, find it harder to cool down when they do, and will overheat faster in hot weather or with exercise than longer-nosed dog breeds.
Pugs are also quite stocky dogs and unfortunately many if not most of them are also overweight. In fact, most pug owners cannot identify a dog of a healthy weight within the breed, instead often thinking that those that are lean are actually too thin!
Carrying extra pounds places dogs of the breed at higher risk of overheating and of finding exercise a challenge, which means that permitting your dog to be overweight and not taking steps to resolve this can directly affect their health.
Talk to your vet for help monitoring and managing your dog’s weight, and intervene quickly if they start piling on the pounds!
Another thing that flat pug face means is that dogs of the breed cannot usually swim, and those that can will generally find it a challenge and not be able to maintain motion for long.
This is because the pug’s flat face makes them unable to keep their nostrils above water whilst also maintaining forward movement.
As you might expect, this means that water sources can be a danger for a pug, so whilst they can paddle under supervision in safe, clean, shallow water, you should take care on walks to ensure your pug doesn’t get out of their depth.
Dogs still need to be exercised in the summer, but this needs to be done at the cooler parts of the day to reduce the risk of overheating. This is particularly important for pugs, which have elevated risk factors in this respect.
Most dogs won’t want to walk when it is very hot anyway, so take them out in the early morning and late evening, and always monitor carefully for signs that they’re struggling or getting too hot.
Finally, one of the most commonly overlooked dangers to dogs of all types in summer is the potential for hot pavements to burn the dog’s paws. This can happen quickly and without owners even being aware, and if a pavement would be too hot for you to stand still on comfortably with your bare feet, it is also too hot for your dog’s paws.
This means both when and where you walk your dog might need to be reviewed on hot days, so that you can take them onto grassy areas and other cooler surfaces without risking burns from pavements and other hard surfaces on walks.