The days are finally getting longer and warmer! You can take your pug for extra long walkies and help them (and you) shed any extra winter weight.
There’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time of year as we transition to summer. Everything feels fresh, bright, and new. But of course, it’s important to follow these pug summer safety tips to ensure your dog is protected during the next few months.
Pugs like all dogs face certain dangers in the summer. There are also a few hazards that are particular to pugs, which owners should be aware of as well. Here’s what you need to know to spring forward with confidence that your pug stays healthy!
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1. Time for Flea, Tick & Heartworm Prevention
As we move from spring weather to summer, it means rain, sun, and new life springing up all around us. Unfortunately, these conditions are ideal for bugs and pests that can hurt your pug. While fleas are irritating for any dog owner, ticks, and mosquitoes prevent dire health hazards for your pug.
Heartworm can prove fatal for any dog, but particularly for Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs. With flat faces and already labored breathing, heartworms can push your pug’s body into overdrive. This hazard is COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE with a regular monthly dose of heartworm prevention medicine (like Heartgard). Your vet will need to test your pug before prescribing the medication. Should a mosquito (the carriers of heartworm) bite your pug, he or she will be safe and protected from this terrible health hazard.
Flea and tick preventatives can be purchased over the counter at any pet store, online, or even Costco and Target. Frontline and other reputable brands, ensure that your pets are safely protected from fleas and ticks. Should a pug get a tick (which can happen, even with preventatives), it’s important to remove the tick carefully. In most cases, you should visit your vet to have the tick removed and tested.
Ticks can lead to diseases like Lyme, Ehrlichiosis and other health issues for your pug. Many of these diseases can lie dormant for years, so your pug may be asymptomatic. Eventually, your pug can become quite sick (tick-borne diseases can often be fatal). In many parts of the United States, ticks are a year-round hazard, so it’s best to treat your pug all year long. If you live in an area where cold-weather treatment isn’t necessary, it’s time to start up with this simple safety precaution for your pug.
2. Smell (but Don’t Eat the Flowers)
Flowers are gorgeous and we all love to take a sniff, even your pug. It’s important to keep an eye on your pug in the garden because while flowers are beautiful, many aren’t safe for pugs to eat.
Chives, onions, garlic, and other herbs may be very tempting to your pug but can be fatal, even in small doses. Lilies, which are easy to grow, are also major health hazards for all pets (including cats). Help your pets avoid the lily garden at all times.
Another area to watch is the compost pile. To your pug, compost seems full of tasty rotten snackies to explore! But, compost piles often include deadly foods like avocados, coffee grounds, onions, and garlic. Keep your pug out of the compost bin (and prevent them from rooting around in your garden after you compost).
Finally, grass, leaves, and even fruits can irritate pugs’ sensitive tummies. While these summertime hazards are rarely deadly, they may cause your pug to vomit or have diarrhea. Let your pug enjoy the garden with her nose, not her mouth.
3. Hydrate and Keep Cool
Probably the biggest hazard to pugs in the summer, are their own anatomy. Pugs aren’t built for hot weather. With their thick double coat, short nose, and tendency to gain weight, pugs struggle when the heat is on.
Watch your pug closely when the weather is warm. Give them constant access to plenty of fresh drinking water and cool spaces. Never ever leave your pug outside in the heat, or worse--in a car, even for a few minutes. Pugs can’t tolerate high temperatures and it’s very dangerous, even deadly for them to get too hot. Dogs don’t sweat, so cooling their bodies down is a big job.
You may want to invest in a cooling bandana, or even a special “cool bed” to help your pug stay comfortable in the summer. Take your long walks in the early morning or evening, when the sun isn’t as harsh. Most importantly, listen to and watch your dog for any sign of distress. Heavy panting is an indication that your pug is too hot and needs to cool off!
Pug paws can also be sensitive to the heat of pavement in the summertime. Test the ground by touching it with your hand and counting to five. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog. Hold off on walks until it’s a little cooler, or keep your pug on the grass where they won’t get burned.
4. Watch Out for Sidewalk Sandwiches
We all feel motivated to “step up” our walking game when the weather gets warm. Your pug looks forward to walks in the sunshine (even if they’re short). Remember that you should keep an eye on anything your pug puts in his or her mouth while they’re out on their walk.
Mushrooms can be deadly (and can often pop up after early summer rainstorms). Discarded food can also be a hazard. As people are out and about more often in the warm weather, they’re also more likely to drop litter, unfortunately. Keep your walking route clean for you AND your pug. You may even want to carry a small trash bag with you to clean as you go.
Keep in mind that neighbors may spray their lawns and even put out toxic “pest control” poisons--don’t allow your pug to eat strange plants or grass from unfamiliar areas.
Most pugs are very indiscriminate when it comes to eating snacks. Keep an eye on food when you dine al fresco as well. Eating outside is fun, but your pug may snack on something that’s not good for her tummy. For a review of all the hazardous foods for pugs, click here (and don’t miss our free printable guide you can keep right on your fridge)!
5. Summer Rain Means Dirty Pugs
We all love a good summer rainstorm, but with the rain mud and puddles can lead to dirty paws. While getting dirty isn’t a health hazard, per se, it’s definitely a pain that can be hazardous on your furniture!
Keep a nice fluffy towel by the door to towel off your pug when he or she comes in from their walk. A damp cloth is all you need to wipe off dirty paws. You can also use unscented disposable baby wipes, if you prefer (it never hurts to do a little “booty dab” after pooping, too).
Bathe your pug once a month (more often can lead to dry skin). Use an unscented soap and avoid getting water near your pugs face as much as possible. Clean face folds with a soft cloth and be sure to thoroughly dry your pugs’ ears to prevent infection.
6. Stay Safe at the Park
Everyone loves a trip to the dog park. It gives your pug a chance to get exercise and to explore. It’s also important for socialization. Now, as most pug owners know, pugs are very attached to their human companions. Don’t be surprised if your pug prefers to sit with you at the park, rather than run around with the other dogs.
It’s also important to remember that your pug has a big personality in a small package. Pugs are notoriously unaware of their size and limitations, which can lead to occasional spats with bigger, less friendly dogs. Never leave your pug unattended at the park, even for a moment. Even though they may want to run with the big dogs, they may be safer in the smaller dog area (if your local park divides up the space).
Lastly, make sure your pug is up on all vaccinations before visiting the park. Most municipalities require a license and park pass before you can bring your dog to socialize. Some dog owners, however, may try to skirt the rules. Protect your pug from any illnesses, by keeping them up-to-date on their shots.
7. Good Fences Make Safe Pugs
Although pugs aren’t the fastest dogs, they can occasionally take off. Your pug should be kept safely on a leash with a harness, unless they’re in a safely fenced area. It’s also important not to underestimate pugs' ability to practice the art of escape. They’re regular little Houdinis.
Check your yard for any escapable areas. Narrow gaps between or under the fence can be enough for pugs to sneak through. It’s also important that you have a fence around any water (pools or ponds, for example). Pugs aren’t strong swimmers and often don’t have the keenest eyesight either. One misstep could result in tragedy.
The biggest rule to follow about your pug in the yard, is to never leave them outside unattended. Pugs are very quick when it comes to getting into trouble. They’re a mischievous little dog, with a big sense of curiosity. Keep them under your watchful eye and protected
8. Fireworks and Summer Hazards
Who doesn’t love a great summer firework celebration? How about a spectacular summer thunderstorm? Pugs, that’s who. Loud noises like fireworks and thunder can be terrifying to all dogs. Many dogs injury themselves or escape out the door and get lost when they hear the loud booms overhead.
Even if summer celebrations are fun for you, they aren’t necessarily ideal for your pug. Kee