Not every pug is a winter dog. Yes, with a thick double coat and plenty of wrinkles (and extra “padding”), some pugs resemble baby seals. They appear to be ready to play in the Arctic snow.
It’s true too, most pugs aren’t fans of hot weather. They’re not “hot dogs.” If you’ve ever seen a pug panting in 80 degree weather, you know--their little bodies just aren’t made for the heat. You’d think winter-weather would be their ideal situation.
Still, when winter weather rolls around many pugs would rather stay bundled on the coach than making snow angels and building snow-pugs. One of the many charms of pugs is that they’re what we like to call “indoorsy.”
Nevertheless, when nature calls, like any dog, pugs need to venture outdoors. Plus, the need to burn off energy and exercise is important, especially for pugs who can struggle with their weight. Some pugs enjoy going out in the winter and others don’t, but it’s a reality many of us have to face. So here’s how to keep your pug dog happy, fit and healthy in winter weather.
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Winter Dog Tips: How to Keep Your Pug Healthy in the Winter
1. Protect Their Paws
Salt, ice and cold water can irritate dog paws. Pugs are no exception to this phenomenon. If you use ice-melt, choose a non-toxic, animal-friendly formula. When you walk your pug, you may want to carry a paper towel or soft cloth with you, to occasionally brush off their paws, especially if they’re limping. You can also try dog booties--which some pugs tolerate and others refuse. It’s best to try them for short periods and gradually build up. While dog’s feet are tough, prolonged exposure to icy temperatures can cause damage, so keep walks short and sweet and protect their feet.
When you come in from a walk, wipe off your pug’s paws with a soft baby wipe or damp towel. Inspect their paws for any cuts or damage, particularly if you notice they’re biting at their frito-feet or limping. While it’s tempting to put some lotion on their calloused little paws, this can soften them too much and make them more vulnerable to damage. Instead, simply keep them clean.
2. Bundle Up
Dogs have built-in coats, it’s true. Their coats, particularly the double-coat of some fawn pugs can be extra warm. Still, when temperatures drop, your pug will be grateful for the extra warmth. It may even make them more excited about venturing outdoors if he has a coat, jacket and sweater. Don’t hesitate to put a coat on your dog.
Because pugs fall into the group of toy breeds, their small bodies are generally not suited for extreme temperatures. They were, after all, bred to keep humans warm (to fit inside the sleeves of emperors). If your pug has a thinner coat it’s especially important they have extra warmth. Most most black, white and brindle pugs, as well as some fawns have thin or “single” coats. There are tons of great coats and jackets out there, from the ultra-warm, to a light shirt.