Today I’ll talk about how the squashed snout of a pug has a negative effect on his ability to regulate his internal temperature.
The long snout that most dogs have allows time for incoming air to warm up or cool down as it flows past the nasal mucosa, helping to keep the dog’s body temperature within normal limits.
(This is Tatiana, or Tat, who was half Basset hound, half golden retriever. Like her parents, she had a snout of sufficient length to help keep her body temperature within normal limits.)
Lacking a long snout, pugs cannot tolerate excessive cold or heat. Therefore, they need to live inside; and in most states in the U.S., they usually need heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, just like people. Pugs are not outdoor dogs.
In very cold weather, most pugs also need to wear a coat or sweater outside, and even then they shouldn’t stay out very long. Unfortunately, our pug Sarah objects to such garments; she prefers to go out naked regardless of the weather. When I insist on clothing her, it’s like putting a snowsuit on a recalcitrant and active one-year-old of the human kind. She stiffens her front arms into rigid fence posts, which I have to bend forcefully – and at the proper joints – so I can shove them through the sweater’s armholes. Our winter outings are brief and “business oriented.”
(Sarah does NOT like to wear a sweater, even in frigid weather. Note that her tail is at half mast – a clear sign that she is not happy.)
On warm summer days when other dogs may enjoy hiking outside, pugs usually are happier and healthier playing in an air conditioned house. Even then, they can get overheated if they exercise too vigorously or for too long.
When the temperature goes over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, Sarah begins panting in a few minutes. She does her business outside as soon as she can find a suitable place and, immediately afterward, she’s ready to head back inside.
(Here’s Sarah, back inside after a very short walk on a hot day.)
So, if you’re looking for a canine jogging companion, please do not choose a pug – unless you plan to carry the pug in a backpack or push him along in a stroller.