Overexertion can kill your Pug so it is important to know how far it can walk. How long is a piece of string? As we know it can be infinitely long depending on how you choose to measure it. But it is not facetious to ask how far a Pug can walk because like all small dogs it has short legs plus it has a perpetual breathing problem.
So how far can a Pug walk? A maximum of 3 miles a day is a good achievement for an adult Pug that is not overweight. Any distance on a surface that hurts the paws is too much. Any distance for a Pug with health problems or injuries is too far.
Walking is the most common form of exercise for dogs but with a Pug, it does need more careful consideration of how and when you walk than with most other dogs. After all, it was actually bred to be a lapdog, not a jogging mate!
Exercise for Pugs
A full-grown Pug needs about two 20 minute walks a day. This is preferable to one 40 minute walk because it prevents them from overworking.
It should be sufficient to walk your Pug for around 3 miles a day, but you have to work up to it slowly. Definitely do not take it for such a long walk on the first day, or even the first week.
Watch out for signs of strain – panting, limping and lying down means your dog is tired – stop and rest!
Running with a Pug is a really bad idea.
They can not keep up, either with your pace of with their own efforts to breathe. Remember, Lapdog! Lapdog!
Puppies need and can do even less than adult Pugs.
As long as you leave them to play to their heart’s content, it should not be necessary to walk them for extra exercise. When you do take it out, calculate a walk of 5 minutes per month of age of the puppy i.e. a 2-month-old puppy should not be taken for a walk of longer than 10 minutes.
That’s just a grand way to say environment or even simpler: weather.
This is more important than you think because Pugs overheat easily, catch a cold easily, and the wind can do severe damage to their eyes by drying it out and blowing stuff into it.
- It is advisable not to walk when the temperature is above 90 F (32 C). In fact, stop at 85 F to prevent heatstroke and make sure that you know what the symptoms are and how to treat it.
- If the temperature outside (or inside as well, I suppose) falls below 32 F (0 C), in other words, below freezing point, the dog will be unable to stay warm and you need to provide it with some heat. Do not walk your Pug in these conditions unless you have covered it with something that helps it to retain body heat. Sweater, blankie, whatever. It doesn’t matter what the color is. Pink is fine. Even for a Pug.
- Pugs generally do not like rain, according to many owners (they do enjoy a swim even though they are hopeless at it, so be careful). Do not force it to go walking in the rain especially if it is freezing cold as well. How far can a Pug walk in the rain? As far back into the house as it possibly can!
Other Things to Consider When Walking With a Pug
- Use a harness to walk, not a collar. Straining against a collar can put so much pressure on the eyeballs that they can fall out.
- Pugs’ eyes bulge so much and their noses are so flat that their eyes are often the first thing that encounters whatever is in their path. Consequently, their eyes very easily get scratched, cut, or injured in some other physical way. There is protective eyewear (no it’s not the same as sunglasses!) available for Pugs and it may just be worth some investigation.
- Bulging eyes also dry out quicker, which makes the eyes more prone to the development of corneal ulcers. It is a serious condition that is very painful and can lead to blindness. So it is an additional reason not to walk your Pug in windy or very dry conditions. And do inspect its eyes when you get back from your walks to ensure everything is still ok.
- Like many small dogs, Pugs can have the hip deformity known as Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD). This condition leads to degeneration of the head of the rear leg bone because of reduced blood supply. Pugs, along with other small breed dogs and terriers. are at higher risk for LCPD compared to many other dogs. The first sign of the disease comes while the dog is still a puppy. If it starts limping without any outwardly visible reason at 4 to 6 months old take it to the vet for investigation. The head of the femur can be removed by surgery. This treatment sounds drastic but it will enable the dog to have a relatively normal life. The only negative result is that it will have an increased likelihood of arthritis.
- Pug kneecaps often easily slip out of place, a condition known as luxating patellas. Sometimes the condition is minor and requires no action, but severe cases may require surgical correction. Female dogs are more prone to this condition than male dogs. The symptoms are limping, holding the leg in an abnormal position, inability to bend the knee, refusing to exercise, and leg swelling, among others.
Brachycephaly: If you own a Pug you must have heard this word at some time. It also applies to Bulldogs, Pekingese and a few other breeds. It means nothing more than:
Unfortunately, the health implications are myriad.
The most important is that brachycephalic dogs have difficulty breathing.
They also struggle to cool down by evaporating moisture from their tongues like other dogs do.
They are born with these problems, that include:
- Narrowed nostrils
- An overly long soft palate
- Collapse of the voice box
- Abnormally small windpipe
Leaving aside the moral question about intentionally breeding dogs with such abnormalities, these characteristics put the responsibility on you, the owner, to ensure that you do not make it even more difficult for the dog by taking it for long, hot, inappropriate walks.
Oh yes. If it’s not too fat. Competition obedience, agility, and canine musical freestyle are all great for Pugs. The first is primarily a test of your dog’s recall ability and his training. Agility courses are adjusted for dogs of different sizes. The last requires you and your Pug perform a series of tricks set to music. Great fun!
Yes. They can get all the exercise they need if you play with them vigorously (which they do love to do), they do not need a lot of space, they love to sit on laps, and they also do not eat a lot (if you don’t fall for those pleading round eyes!).