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Pugs and High-Altitude: What to Know and Where (Not) to Go

Aww, pugs. They’re about the most roly-poly, happy-go-lucky, lovable dogs around. If you own one, or are considering adopting one, chances are you’re not doing so because you’re looking for an adventure dog. In fact, you’re most likely looking for a couch-potato who will snuggle you to death and act as ambient noise while you sleep.

But don’t underestimate pugs. They can adventure widely, there are just a few things you have to keep in mind, particularly, altitude, heat, and humidity. Here’s what to know before you get on the go with your little nugget.

Living and Being Active at High Altitudes
If you’re movin’ on up in elevation, no need to worry about your pugs. They, like you, will probably notice a shortness of breath for a few days to a few weeks and will gradually acclimate. That being said, if your pug already has a history of breathing issues, you may want to consult your vet before making the move.

Now, being active at high altitudes is another story entirely. While most pugs will do just fine walking through the park or on a flat hiking trail, most may struggle to be active the higher you go in elevation. So, while your pugs should be fine walking and running at the local dog park at 5,000 or 6,000ft, it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to take them hiking up a 14,000ft mountain. That is, unless you plan on carrying them part of the way.

That being said, all dogs are different so just pay attention to the cues your pug is sending you and let them lead.

Hydration and the Sun
Something else to consider when visiting or moving to higher altitudes with your pug(s) are factors like hydration and sun exposure. The higher you go in elevation, the closer you are to the sun and, therefore, its effects are more intense.

Make sure you carry extra water on adventures with your animal and be very careful when leaving your pug, even for very short stints, in the car.

Altitude Sickness…Yep, Dogs Can Get it Too
Perhaps you’re traveling to your favorite ski resort for the winter and wanna bring your beloved pug along. The ski resort just happens to sit at 10,000ft. Should you worry? Not necessarily. Your pug may do just fine, as long as they’re not expected to be particularly active. However, there are some signs and symptoms to watch for, including:

  • panting
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • swelling of the feet and face
  • collapsing

If any of these occur, the best thing to do is get your animal to a lower elevation immediately. Sure, it may spoil your weekend, but that’s a small price to pay to keep your best friend safe. If you choose to consult a vet, there are certain types of medication that can be given to your dog if you choose to stay at altitude or plan on returning.