All dog owners know that their pet pooches need a regular walk, and Pugs are no different. They may be small, but these guys still need to get in their daily exercise.
But as Pug owners, we often hear that too much exercise is just as bad as none at all. It can be daunting figuring out where, when, and how much to walk our Pugs.
But don’t fret, we’re going to put your mind at ease and talk all things walking Pugs.
Did someone say walkies?
Is Walking Good for Pugs?
Yes, walking is totally good for Pugs. And here’s why.
- It helps them maintain their muscle tone
- It reduces the risk of heart disease, arthritis, & diabetes
- It increases their (somewhat slow) metabolism
- It’s super fun and releases all that Pug energy
But for all its benefits, it’s true that a Pug’s exercise regime needs careful consideration. The key is to always avoid overexertion that could lead to health complications.
Walking is one of the best methods of exercise for your Pug. A gentle work gives them the opportunity to meet their daily exercise requirements whilst enjoying time to sniff and explore the great outdoors.
How Much Should I Walk My Pug?
Oftentimes this is the question I hear the most. We hear about Pugs becoming overexerted on long walks and worry that our daily excursions are going to cause them undue harm.
But don’t worry. By sticking to this simple exercise regimen you’ll have nothing to worry about.
As a general rule, a short walk of about 20 or 30 minutes each day is as much as your Pug needs.
Any more than this and they risk becoming exhausted.
Any less and they’ll slowly pile on the pounds.
Many Pug owners recommend spreading your Pug’s daily exercise over two shorter walks each day. One in the morning and one in the evening.
The most important thing is to treat your Pug as an individual. If your Pug is old or infirm, even 20 minutes of walking is likely to cause undue stress on the body.
Likewise, don’t be tempted to take your obese Pug out for a long walk. You might think it’s a good way to help them lose weight but it could cause more harm than good.
Remember that Pugs are Brachycephalic. And an overweight Pug is likely to experience more severe symptoms of respiratory distress and overheating when overexercised.
When Should I Walk My Pug?
This leads us nicely on to another common question. When should I walk my Pug?
Again, the Pug’s delicate disposition and sensitivity to temperature mean that they should never be walked in extreme temperatures.
Pugs overheat very quickly and struggle to cool down. Likewise, they are not hardened to very cold temperatures.
We recommend walking your Pug when temperatures are mild. In general, that would mean a short walk in the early morning or evening time when the sun is not at its hottest.
Of course, this will depend on the climate where you live. If in any doubt, it’s advisable to talk to your local vet for some advice.
As a general rule try to avoid temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 32 degrees Celsius) and below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 0 degrees Celsius).
Do Pugs Like Walking?
When it comes to whether or not your particular pooch is going to love the great outdoors, that’s their personal preference.
Some Pugs love their daily dose of the outside world, whilst others would much rather be curled up with you on the sofa.
If, however, your Pug is refusing to walk on a regular basis, there might be something up.
Why Doesn’t My Pug Want to Walk?
As we all know, Pugs can be a bit… well… stubborn.
Refusing to walk from time to time is nothing to be worried about.
But if your Pug is regularly turning down walkies then there is probably a good reason for it.
Most of the time, when a Pug refuses to walk, it’s because of one of these reasons:
1. They are tired
Your Pug might just be too tired. Especially if your Pug is on the older side. Older Pugs are renowned for their leisurely ways. Nap, cuddle, nap, cuddle, and repeat (that sort of thing). If your Pug is tired there’s no need to force exercise upon them – especially if they’ve been active throughout the day. This risks overexertion.
2. It’s raining outside
You probably don’t like walking in the rain all that much. Well let me tell you, your Pug likes it even less. Pugs do not like rain. Period. If it’s raining heavily outside don’t force your Pug on a trek. Wait for the next good-weather day to arrive.
3. It’s hot, hot, hot
Never force your Pug outside when the sun is blaring. A walk in extreme temperature is never a good idea. In fact, this is harmful to your Pug. Keep them inside in a temperature-controlled environment and try to keep them active in other ways.
4. Feeling peaky
If your pooch isn’t feeling all too well they’re not going to want to go for a walk. Just like us, they’ll want to curl up in bed and stay cozy. We know that it can be hard to tell exactly what your Pug is thinking or feeling. If your Pug seems unwell strike exercise off the to-do list. If symptoms persist contact your vet.
Signs to look out for include:
- Behavioral change
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Respiratory distress
Pug Walking Best Practices
So, best-case scenario, your Pug is fighting fit and ready for their daily walk.
They haven’t even pulled a tantrum!
Let’s talk about some best practices that we can use as responsible Pug owners when it comes to walkies o’clock.
1. Use a harness
This one’s a biggie. You should always walk your Pug on a harness.
Because Pugs are brachycephalic dogs, a collar is potentially harmful as it further restricts their breathing. Collars place extra pressure on your Pug’s windpipe.
When your Pug pulls on the leash they risk choking, restricted breathing, or (in extreme cases) ocular proptosis.
A harness better distributes this tension across a Pug’s shoulders back and chest.
2. Always pack water
We recommend you always pack water for yourself and your dog. This will help them cool down if they start to overheat (and – bonus points- it’s good for you too).
Bring along a small bowl and offer your Pug a rest break for some water about halfway through your walk.
3. Be traffic-aware
Your Pug could get startled by large vehicles or heavy traffic. If possible, try to walk in relatively quiet areas.
If you do have to be by the roadside make sure your Pug is safely harnessed and walking on the inside of the sidewalk at all times.
4. Don’t walk too fast
Pugs only have little legs. So try to keep their pace. Walking too fast will exhaust them (they’ll be running to keep up with you).
5. Be wary of surface conditions
In the hot summer months, be aware that road surfaces may be hot.
If it’s a particularly hot day, test the surface temperature with your hand. If it’s too hot for prolonged touch, it’s too hot for your Pug’s paws.
Likewise in winter, ice could pose a risk to your Pug. Not only are they likely to slip and slide everywhere but many man-made ice melt products are harmful to your Pug’s skin.
We recommend protecting your Pug’s paws as far as possible with a lubricant cream or paw pads.
6. Keep things fun
Keep your Pug interested and mentally stimulated by incorporating some training activities or games into their daily walk.
It’s time to practice sitting, heeling, and anything else you’ve been working on at home.
7. Bring supplies
Weather is changeable and so is your Pug’s mood, so bring supplies for every turn of events.
We’ve already discussed the importance of water but it’s also recommended that you bring a selection of weatherproof Pug coats, shoes, and some training snacks for those stubborn moments.
Walking Pugs is an essential part of their daily routine. But this delicate breed needs some extra TLC when it comes to time spent outdoors.
If ever in doubt the best course of action is to consult your vet.
For a safe and fun Pug walk, remember the following: 20 minutes, moderate temperatures, plenty of water, and always wear a harness.