Summer can be hard on dogs, but it’s hard on pugs in particular. Many owners worry about their pug overheating, both inside and when they go outside. The condition isn’t exclusively a risk for active pugs who take long walks in the park.
Even if you think your home is comfortably cool in the summer, your pug may feel differently. Understanding what to watch for and what to do can keep your pet comfortable, happy, and safe when things get warm.
Heat Risk for Pugs In Summer
The adorable snorts and tiny face that make your pug so cute also put them at greater risk of overheating. As brachycephalic or “flat-faced” dogs, pugs have shortened airways. Other dogs like boxers, bulldogs, and shih tzus fall into the same category and have similar vulnerabilities.
Panting doesn’t cool pugs and other brachycephalic dogs as quickly as long-faced dogs like shepherds and retrievers. Since dogs can’t sweat, your pug may need extra care in the summer months to maintain a healthy body temperature.
Preventing Pug Overheating Problems
The best treatment for any condition is prevention. You can avoid a pug overheating scare with some simple – and fun – precautions.
Consider the Weather and Time of Day
If it’s hot outside for you, it’s definitely hot for your pug. Walks at lunchtime, when the sun is high and temperatures on the rise, are riskier than an early morning or evening walk.
When the forecast predicts extremely hot days, it may be better to exercise closer to home with a splash of fun.
Plenty of Water
Ensure your pug has lots of water available. Adding an extra bowl or two throughout your home can help your dog stay hydrated.
Water isn’t just for drinking, though. Playing with a hose, sprinkler, or even a kiddie pool with a couple of inches of water beats the heat. You can enjoy active time together without worrying as much about the weather.
If your pug is a little ball of energy, you may need to encourage more breaks, especially when playing outside. Stop for rests in the shade during long walks, and avoid asphalt and concrete.
Bring extra water for both drinking and splashing if your pug begins showing signs of overheating.
A thick pug is adorable, but whether that bulk comes from muscle or fat, it keeps your pug’s temperature higher. If your vet suggests your pug is heavier than average for its size, talk about a new diet plan.
Adjusting meals and trimming that insulation may help keep your pug safer in the summer.
Cooling Pads and Vests
Cooling beds, pads, and vests battle the heat. Vests can make walks safer and more enjoyable for your pug, but not all dogs feel comfortable with harnesses or accessories. A cooling pad usually makes a great retreat, especially after exercise on a hot day.
Signs Your Pug is Overheating
Brachycephalic dogs may be at higher risk of heatstroke than other breeds, so spotting a pug overheating early can prevent a potentially deadly situation. Every animal is a little different, so be on the lookout for any of these symptoms on warm days or during outdoor activities.
Pugs always have a snort with their smile, but you know what’s normal for your dog. If they are breathing louder or faster than usual, stop and cool down. The same goes for panting.
Since pugs don’t get the same benefits from panting as other dogs, it’s frequently a sign of imminent heat issues.
If you can’t tell whether your pug is panting, look for lots of drool. Excessive drooling often pairs with brachycephalic panting.
Mouth and Nose Dry
When animals are dehydrated, exterior surfaces that lose water quickly often show symptoms first. Check the nose and gums. If they feel dry – or significantly drier than usual – to the touch, there may be a problem.
Sunken Eyes and Loose Skin
Dehydration and overheating go hand-in-hand. When pugs become dehydrated, they lose some elasticity in their skin. You may be able to see it around their eyes, making them appear sunken.
You can also check by pulling the skin along your pug’s back. If it doesn’t bounce quickly into its original shape, your pug is dehydrated.
Just like humans, dogs may lose coordination when overheating. Think of it like a fever.
If your pug doesn’t respond to commands like usual, has difficulty walking, or seems confused, they could be dealing with a high temperature.
Treating an Overheated Pug
Acting quickly to treat an overheated pug can save its life. While it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian during or shortly after an emergency, there are some steps you can take immediately.
Get Out of the Heat
Change the environment that caused the issue. If you were playing outside, go in and crank the air conditioning.
If your pug fell asleep in their favorite closet without airflow, get them near the air conditioning and turn on a fan.
If your pug hasn’t had much to drink and shows signs of dehydration, don’t try to fix it in one quick step. Too much water too quickly can make you pug vomit, which will make dehydration worse. Instead, offer a little at a time.
Give a Splash
Just as playing in water keeps your pug cool during playtime, it can lower their temperature in an emergency.
Room temperature water is best. Ice cold water may shock your pug and make the situation worse.
Wrapping your pug in cool, wet towels works, too.
Call the Vet
If your pug’s temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, contact your veterinarian. Prolonged heat exhaustion can lead to complications like organ failure, and your vet should check to make sure no additional treatment is needed.
How To Prevent Your Pug Overheating
The risk of overheating is something all pug owners face, along with those adorable smiles, big eyes, and snorts. It’s important to understand why pugs are prone to overheating, and to keep an eye on any symptoms that might occur in hot weather so you can take immediate action and cool your pug down.
Getting outside with your pug is essential for their wellbeing, and with the right precautions, there’s no reason to keep them inside all summer!
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.