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If you are walking your Pug in winter, and you are starting to feel the freeze, your pug is probably cold, too. But, why should you worry about that?
- According to AVMA: “Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health”.
- And, according to PETA: “The number of dogs and other animal companions who have reportedly died from causes related to cold weather during the 2018–2019 season (since November 2018): 29”.
If you are a pug-owner, you surely already know that pugs have double coats (unless you have a black pug since at least 80% of them are single-coated), but this just helps a little bit. Also, pugs are not highly active, and their health is something you must keep an eye on always. Lastly, pugs should never be fat, even if it’s an advantage in wintertime. After noting all of this, the math comes easy: Pugs are defenseless during winter and they will need your help to be safe.
In this guide, you’ll learn the dangers of winter for pugs and the different tips you need to follow to keep them safe. Let’s get started!
Pug Winter Care: Winter Health Risks for Pugs
First, the danger of winter for pugs. You see, pugs are a delicate breed. They do great in neutral-weather zones, with a preference for cooler temperatures. Still, this doesn’t mean that they will enjoy a trip to Alaska. As we said in our guide to preparing your home for pugs, the perfect temperature is something between 15°C (59 °F) and 21°C (70°F). If the temperature rises, consequences are deadly.
On the other hand, if temperatures are closer to 0 and there’s snow outside, dangers can be deadly as well, but mostly painful:
- Frostbite: When the pug is getting cooler and cooler, his body reacts just like human bodies; it redirects blood towards the core of the body to keep vital organs functioning. This means that the flow of blood towards tails, ears, toes, and paws is lowered to a minimum. Without the heat of blood flow, these parts can literally freeze, causing tissue damage. When this happens, the affected areas turn blue, gray, or simply pale. This is also easy to identify because if you touch the area, your pug will yelp in pain. However, it might take days for you to see the damage. If the damage is too much, the affected parts will become necrotic and die, turning black with the passage of the days and eventually falling off. If the damage extends to a whole leg, this means that the veterinary might need to amputate it.
- Hypothermia: This happens when there’s too much exposure to cold temperatures. For pugs, this might be a few minutes. Your pug will start shivering because he’s cold, and this is the common neuromuscular response. In mild cases, your dog can return to normal once he’s inside, dry, and in a warm place. If the hypothermia is in advanced stages, your pug will become lethargic or weak, which will eventually cause systemic failure, lowering its heart rate to the lowest, causing come and even death.
- Arthritis and Diabetes: The symptoms of both diseases get worse with cold weather.
These two conditions come by hand in most cases, and, as we mentioned before, pugs are defenseless against them.
“Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals that have died after being left outdoors in cold weather. During the 2017–2018 seasons, there were at least 50 animal companion deaths related to cold weather—and those are just the ones that were reported. Most aren’t”PETA
Key tips to help your pug in case of Hypothermia and Frostbite
When any of the conditions appear, Pug Winter Care is critical! The best thing you can do is to take them directly to the vet. Aside from that, there are a few tips that might help your pug before taking that measure.
- First of all, take your dog inside. Never leave your pug outside! Inside the house, the environment should not be hot, but instead warm and slightly humid. Higher temperatures might worsen the damage because of a sudden change.
- Check his temperature. If it’s lower than 101 °F (38 °C), you will need to treat him against hypothermia first, and after that take care of the frostbite.
- If your pug is wet, dry them thoroughly using a towel. Refrain from touching frostbite affected areas, because that will hurt your pug.
- You can use a hairdryer after the towel, just to ensure that he recovers his body temperature. Progress from the lowest heat setting to the highest every 10 minutes between settings. Do so while keeping a distance of 10 inches at least. Again, don’t treat the frostbite affected areas with the hairdryer.
- Warm dry blankets for the win. You can heat up some heat pads, or fill some plastic bottles with hot water and put them near the blankets that cover him.
- Warm water or a much more appealing warm chicken broth without salt can help him hydrate and reach a normal temperature faster. Make sure to apply the first three tips before this one.
- Check his temperature with a thermometer; it should be around is between 101 °F (38 °C) and 102 °F (39 °C). If it’s lower, keep the treatment going. After that, let him stay inside the covers as long as he wants to, but supervise him always. If he doesn’t respond to treatment by being slightly more active and at least drinking the chicken broth, skip to the last tip.
- Now, if you see symptoms of frostbite in tail, ears, and paws – and after you applied all tips so far-, you can proceed to warm the affected areas. You can use warm water compresses (warmed at 104 °F – 40 °C max). You can also heat water (to the same temperature) and place paws inside them, while softly massaging them. If your pug resists to this, the damage is advanced.
- GO TO THE VET! All of these tips will help him, but the ultimate help must come from a qualified professional.
Note: If you can take him to the vet immediately after noticing the conditions, grab a couple of blankets, cover him, and rush to the vet ASAP.
Preventive and general measures to keep pugs safe and comfortable during winter
Hopefully, you’ll avoid using those tips by using all the preventive measures you can. Here are some of the best tips to keep them safe, and others to keep them comfortable through the long winter. You can also use them to give pugs a happy life in cold places.
- Stay inside! Staying inside the cozy environment your home provides is not a sin. If you adapt your house to all of the needs of your pug, there’s no need to take him outside.
- Provide your pug a bathroom solution: Designate a new place for your pug to take number 1s and 2s inside the house. This can be easy for them to grasp if you’ve already applied this in the past.
- Keep him warm even inside! Since pugs are small dogs, they lose body temperature slightly faster. This means they can suffer hypothermia even inside the house. To avoid this, keep their water, their food, and their bedding at proper temperatures. A cool sweater can also help.
- Maintain activity levels while indoors: If you can’t take your dog for a walk, don’t worry; pugs don’t really need that much exercise. A few minutes of intense play can do the trick. This can help maintain them fit, and active enough to keep the blood/heat flowing through their little bodies. This will also keep them in great shape, both physically and mentally. Of course, some toys will definitely help to reach this goal!
- Maintain a healthy and comfortable pug: Keeping your pug hydrated, using hydrating shampoo, using paw balm, nose balm, and other essentials are vital to keeping them in good shape. Hypothermia and frostbite are not the only dangers of winter; they are the deadly ones. A dry nose, paws, dehydration, dry coat/skin, will diminish the quality of life of your pug.
- Keep an eye on the food: check out our selection of weight control food for Pugs. They can be the best for pugs during wintertime because they are low in calories, they have good protein, and fiber to maintain your pug healthy, and avoid obesity during winter.
- If you go outside, keep everything on check: Dry your pet as soon as he gets home, pay attention to his paws and dry between the legs. Do a general check on coat, ears, eyes, mouth, tail, and paws after you go out. Use the best items to keep pugs daily hygiene routine on point, especially to avoid taking too many baths.
- Don’t avoid giving your pug a bath: Give your pug a bath, but don’t do it so often. If he’s got minor hygiene issues, a simple wipe can fix it, especially if you use one that cleans and humidifies his coat. Follow our tips on how to give your pug a bath, just do them faster (possibly using warm water), and dry him as fast as possible. You must use a good shampoo too keep his coat hydrated.
These are great tips. However, they are not the only ones. If you live in a place with never-ending winter or with long winters, you will need something to take them outside; winter clothes. Let’s dig into them.
Pug Winter Care: Coats and Pug Jackets – Outside Home (Vital)
Winter coats and jackets are vital to pugs. It’s important to note that not all winter clothes are ok to go out with them and face harsh winter and snow. That’s when proper coats and jackets for pugs are key to keep them safe from the risks of winter. But, how to pick one? Here are some guidelines to pick the best Jacket or Coat for Pugs, being 1 crucial and 5 less important, but cool to have:
- Waterproof fabric: If your dog gets wet, then he’s going to be cooler. If he doesn’t, then he’ll keep his temperature for longer. That’s key!
- Fleece material inside and thickness: Fleece is great to keep pets cozy and to keep warm, and the thicker the design, the better. More isolation from the cold!
- Design and sizing: There are key points that make a design more attractive; leash holes, hoods, reflective strips, and strong materials. Also, some designs might be more convenient than others to get because they’re easy to put on/take off. Finally, getting the right size for your pug is key to the effectiveness of the coat!
- Color: Black, red, and yellow are the most recommended colors to spot them in the snow. We’re taking into account the real need: keep pugs warm! If the design meets all of the past criteria and has a color you like, then get that one. If it’s the other way (great color options, but no functionality), you’re kind of missing the point.
Top 3 FAQs: Pug’s Winter Care
1Can my pug die if he’s too cold?
If your pug is too cold, he’ll suffer from hypothermia, which can cause him to go into a coma or die. So, yes!
2I think my dog has hypothermia. What can I do?
Hypothermia is a very serious life-threatening condition for humans and dogs alike, and proper treatment is crucial for survival. If you happen to be in the middle of a snowstorm, immediately apply the tips we mentioned before. If that’s not the case, leave the house and seek professional help from a vet.
3Can my pug suffer from other issues related to cold weather?
Yes. Other symptoms your pug might undergo are related to the humidity of the air. In dry winters, the humidity is absent, which can cause runny noses, and troubled breathing in pugs and other dogs with brachycephalic skulls. The symptoms are similar to colds or asthma in some cases, and increased snoring/ breathing sounds. The solution is to get an air humidifier.
Pug Winter Care: Boots – outside Home (vital)
Other vital items are boots. Your pug’s paws are in direct contact with snow and possibly deicing salts. This can cause damage to your pug’s paws and increase the risk of frostbite in them. That’s why you need a good set of boots for pugs! Here’s what to look for:
- Waterproof materials: Once again, your pug’s paws will also undergo cool water and a lot of moisture, so the waterproof factor is vital.
- A flexible sole with good traction and grip: Flexibility of the sole is crucial so that paws are comfortable inside the boots. That’s what makes them more bearable. Along with that, your dog will need a good amount of grip to pass through slippery surfaces.
- Design and sizing: The right design is simple but effective, and its effectiveness can be halved if you pick the wrong size. Other design points like thickness and ease of use can also be taken into account depending on your specific needs.
Important: Dogs don’t really like boots, they just get used to them with training.
Even if they wear boots, the daily check and the check after coming home are rituals that you still need to apply. This also includes using a good paw balm to avoid cracked paws.
Pug Winter Apparel – outside Home
Pug Winter Apparel are clothes that Pugs can wear in mild winter weather, temperatures between 32°F (0°C) and 50°F (10°C). Usually, these are the fashionable type of coats with less warmth retaining functions. Still, it’s vital to keep fashion and functionality balanced. Otherwise, your pug will look really cute while freezing!
Fashionable jackets that are waterproof, raincoats, and outdoor use sweaters with sporty designs fall into this category. They won’t protect your pug from snow, but they will keep them warm, dry, and with the right mobility to walk around on a rainy or windy day. Pay attention to weather, humidity, and temperature outside to keep pugs covered with the right coat, jacket, or sweater.
Pug Pajamas – Inside the house.
Even though it’s not vital, it’s highly recommended that you get your dog some Pajamas. Pug Pajamas are rather hard to come by, due to the size of their chest and short body.
They are important when:
- You want your dog to be warm during nights.
- If your Pug has his covers but still seems chili.
- And if nights are extra cold where you live (is it snowy outside? Your pup needs them!)
It’s fair to say that they are also highly fashionable and cute, though as usual, functionality is more important.
Pug Sweaters for dogs – inside Home
When you’re at home, and if you kept everything warm for your pug (food, drink, bedding, and temperature), the only thing your pug might need to be more comfortable is a sweater for Pugs.
These are fashionable, and you can use them to go out if the weather is chilly. Still, these are no good to take your dog outside if it is snowing and are mostly for indoor use. They are not waterproof. Common sweaters and hoodies fall into this category. Senior pugs can benefit from them, especially if they have arthritis.
Now you know how to take care of your pug whether is wintertime or if live in a location that is cold year-round. Pugs like to snuggle with you, which can also be a great method to keep them warm. Still, you’ll need to apply all of these tips to avoid the risks of winter. On the other hand, you now also have the right tips to react properly should some issues arise.
With patience, tons of love, and following our tips, you can actually take advantage of the winter season to bond much more with your pug.
Now, winter is coming. Are you and your pug ready for it?