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Last summer we went to the Grand Canyon the last week of June. It was something like 118 degrees! With us being native to Michigan, we had never experienced weather over about 105 or so before, and we were surprised that 118 didn’t feel even worse. The whole “Dry air” thing definitely makes a difference but make no mistake – 100+ degrees is hot no matter how humid it is!
Anyway, we had left our pugs with my mother in law while we were traveling but at the grand canyon we saw someone with a pug. It was maybe 2 in the afternoon. They were resting under a shaded area but the pug was breathing and panting so heavily that we could see its body moving in and out with each breath. The owner was dressed in fitness apparel which made me wonder if he had attempted to go for a jog with the pug. I was grateful to see that he had paused in the shade and was offering the dog water and rest but I couldn’t help but feel bad for the dog and feel concern about the risk of heat stroke.
My pugs are seniors now, at 12 and 13 years old. The 12 year old (Frank) has a much longer snout than the 13 year old (Beans), and I believe that is a significant reason why Beans struggles to breath much quicker than Frank does. We haven’t needed any kind of surgery done on Beans since we brought her home four years ago, but Frank had to go under once. My vet commented that he would be more concerned about putting Beans under due to her VERY flat face.
Beans on left, Frank on right. Beans pants much more often and at lower temperatures than Frank.
Here in Michigan we have warm and humid summers. Today is July 5th and it’s currently 84. Tomorrow is expected to be 89. We have a slight breeze so it doesn’t feel hot. A couple weeks back we had a week where almost every day was in the 90s. So, it’s hot but not crazy. In terms of being comfortable for humans it’s really the humidity that makes it uncomfortable to go outside, more so than the heat usually.
Before we had pugs we only used air conditioning for hot nights, or really hot and humid days. Probably less than 50% of the time. Now that we have pugs, we have it on close to 75% of the time during the summer. Beans will start panting if she is playing inside and it’s over 75 or so. Frank never really pants inside. Both of my dogs enjoy being outside in the sun. If we eat dinner outside or work in the yard we take them with us and they might pant a little but we keep water with them and they are fine. They do tend to stick to the shade, and lay around more than walk around.
Ultimately, we just limit how long they are outside and how active they are when the weather is hot. If we want to take them for walks in the summer we do so on overcast days, or early in the morning or late at night. The only other way in which I find we need to limit our pugs activity in the summer is traveling. If we were to go camping in a tent, or a cabin without a/c access in the summer we would only take the pugs along if we were confident that the weather would be under 85 or so. We took our pugs camping in early September at a cabin without A/C and they absolutely loved it.
If you live in a hot area and need to help your pug cool down regularly, I recommend the cooling pet pad. There are many dog cooling mats available but most require them to be kept cool via freezer or ice, water, etc. This particular mat just stays at a lower temperature on its own so there is no regular maintenance needed. We have one and my dogs will use it if they get too warm but with us having air conditioning it just doesn’t happen too frequently.
Before we switched dog foods my dogs had problems with irregularity so I would make these freezer pops for dogs. We primarily used them for the fiber benefit but they are a fun way to help your dog have a relaxing cool treat if they are too warm as well.
Regardless of breed, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog and to know the signs of heat stroke in dogs so you can act if necessary.