Ah spring has sprung. Everypuggy knows when the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, pugs are in their prime!
Spring brings tons of exciting smells, places to dig, rabbits and squirrels to chase and more. The weather’s perfect for pugs, as long as it’s not raining. It’s not too hot and not too cold. The sun is up, the sky is blue…
But like every season it’s important to be aware of some of the common springtime hazards and safety concerns for your pug. It’s a great time of year, so let’s make it a happy, healthy time too. Here’s what you need to know to keep your dog safe and happy in the spring!
1. Take Advantage of the Temperate Weather
When the weather hits that perfect range between 55-80 degrees (that’s 12-26 celcius), your pug is their sweet spot. We all know that heat is tough on our flat-faced friends but they don’t love the cold weather either.
For pugs with a single coat (usually black pugs and some fawn) you may want to include a light jacket or sweater until the weather warms up to 65 degrees. Double-coated pugs (often fawn) are quite comfortable at 55, but would still love a fun spring bandana or a new harness to jazz up their wardrobe.
Spring is primetime to get in extra walkies! Pugs love walks and it will help them maintain their weight, or work off any extra winter pounds. If your pug has been slacking on the exercise front, work up to regular walks by starting small. A block or two is usually plenty to start, but eventually aim for 20-30 minute walks twice a day, with a few shorter jaunts in between. While pugs don’t need as much exercise as some dogs, it’s important that they still get regular activity so they don’t struggle with weight.
If you choose to take your pug to the dog park, keep in mind they should be up on all vaccines, and of COURSE spayed or neutered. Many dog parks have a small dog area, which can be a safer spot for pugs who love to run with the big dogs, but aren’t always aware of their size and limits. Always always keep your pug on a leash or in a fenced area. Pugs shouldn’t be left outdoors unsupervised.
2. Smell (Don’t Eat) the Flowers
May flowers are beautiful! Pugs have a good sense of smell and there’s nothing your sweet puggy loves more than a leisurely chance to sniff the flowers (and the dirt, and anything else they pass on their walk). Give pugs a little extra time to linger during their spring walks.
There are many spring plants coming into season, but it’s important to remember some are poisonous to pugs. Pay particular attention to lillies and plants in the onion family (chives, allium and green onions). Foxglove and Bleeding Hearts are also poisonous, and some bulbs (tulips, iris and daffodils) can cause tummy upset.
Other spring yard hazards to watch for: mushrooms and toadstools. Pugs can be curious about these fungi, but they can be poisonous and deadly. Keep your yard cleaned up and keep pugs away from these plants.
Spring also brings bunnies, geese and yes, droppings. Some pugs just can’t get enough of these gross snacks. Not only are they yucky but they can also contain bacteria and parasites. Keep your pug away from any bunny biscuits around the yard. Always walk them on a leash and supervise pugs when they’re outside.
3. April Showers Bring...Poop Strike
A minor hazard of springtime is that some pugs REFUSE to do their business when the weather is rainy. If your pug is sensitive about the weather, you may want to walk using a large umbrella to keep them nice and dry while they go.
If the weather is very bad, you can train your pug to use a certain area of the yard for their bathroom, covered with a tarp, umbrella or another overhang. Some pugs are more willing to go if they’ve got a little overhead protection.
It’s important your pug goes potty frequently. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, take them out as often as possible so they have the opportunity to go. If you provide your pug with pee-pads or an indoor space to “go” keep it very clean and dispose of it right away. Bear in mind, that allowing your pug to go indoors can cause some training regression, so you may need to patiently brush up on skills once the weather settles down.
As we’ve stressed many times before, an accident is never your pug’s “fault” and they shouldn’t be punished for potty accidents. An indoor whoops is a failure on the part of the owner not the dog. Often they won’t understand what they’re being punished for, and it will only make them fearful.
Instead, clean the area thoroughly and resolve to take your dog out MORE frequently. An accident is a sign that your pug needs an increase in his or her potty breaks. Remember they’re dependent on you to do their biz. So, grab an umbrella, put on your raincoat and promise plenty of treats once the deed is done.
4. Flea & Tick Season is Here
We recommend you follow your vets advice, but our vets recommend flea and tick preventative as well as heartworm preventative all year round. If this is the case, there’s no need to fear flea, mosquito and tick season.
If you took a break over the winter, don’t hesitate to start up flea and tick preventative right away (heartworm prevention should be given all year long). Spring weather means bugs larvae may hatch before you know it or start to see the results. Keep your pug protected.
Discourage your dog from exploring tall grasses, scrub brush and piles of rotting leaves. These areas are very interesting to dogs, but they’re also home to many critters you don’t want living on your pet.
5. Watch Out for the Easter Puggy
Spring brings Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day and other chocolate-friendly holidays. While chocolates and lilies make beautiful gifts for mom, they’re no good for canine pals. Keep treats safely out of the reach of your furbabies.
These spring holidays also mean get-togethers and parties. While often these aren’t quite as robust as Christmas and Thanksgiving, there can still be a lot going on. People coming in and out of the house may not know the details of pug care. Doors can get left open and treats can be given that aren’t so terrific for your pug.
Let guests know you have a pug (don’t worry, your pug will probably let them know first) and explain your dog is on a special diet, watching their weight or you’re simply concerned about them getting table scraps and treats. Most good guests are happy to oblige. You may also want to put a note on your door to remind guests to pull it shut (or put the toilet seat down) so your fur friend doesn’t get into trouble.
Spring also means travel and spring break. If you leave your pug with a sitter, be sure they know all the details of how to contact your vet should something go awry. Include the number of emergency care and explain your preferences in a dire situation. You may even wish to leave them access to emergency money (or provide your vets office with a credit card to keep on file) should anything arise. Leave clear instructions and of course, always make sure your pet is tagged and microchipped in case they stray.
6. Spring Cleaning for Pugs
Aaahchoo! Pugs are often sensitive to allergies and respiratory trigger, especially in the spring season. The same pollen and dust that awaken your hayfever can also affect your pug. If your pug seems to be suffering from the sniffles you may want to visit your vet who can advise you on allergy treatments.
Similarly, keep pugs out of the room when you dust and clean. Chemical cleaners and irritants can really bother pugs with their sensitive breathing. Keep them safely in the other room as you mop up the mop-bunnies (made of pug hair).
Clean up your yard as well. If your pug plays outside remove brush, leaves, mold and other items that might present a hazard to your dog. If you spray your grass, be sure to keep pugs off the lawn for time beyond what’s specified. Remember, they aren’t wearing shoes and toxic chemicals can get on their feet. Plus, pugs are extra low to the ground, getting a big dose of whatever you’re spraying.
These few, simple steps will keep your pug happy and healthy all spring long. Spring is a fantastic time of year, so get out there with your dog and enjoy all the beauty!