A pug hiking with his owner, out in the mountains for days on end, is not an image you can often encounter. But when you do, it’s bound to be legendary. Pugs aren’t built for endurance. They love to be outside like any other dog, and they will go anywhere with their owner, but the mountains are a challenge if you are not prepared.
So, Can Pugs Go Hiking?
As long as your Pug is healthy, has water, it’s not too hot, and you can transport them when they become tired; in the backpack, it’s fine to take them hiking. For example, you can go hiking with your Pug for as long as you wish. Just make sure they don’t overheat, as this is their biggest weakness.
If you want to go hiking with your Pug, there are a few things that you need to consider before leaving the house, and we will discuss these in order for you to be prepared and keep your pup safe. A Pug loves walking, but it doesn’t mean they will enjoy going hiking.
Related: Tips for Walking a Pug
The Pug is a brachycephalic dog breed. This tongue twist of a word roughly translates in having a very short nose and some other modifications inside their windpipe.
All we see is a cute, short nose, but in fact, inside the nose, the holes through which air enters are constricted. This means two things:
- The Pug has difficulties breathing rapidly;
- They find it hard to cool down.
You need to be aware of these facts when you decide to go hiking with your dog because pushing them too much, too fast, can have serious repercussions on their health.
Even if it sounds like the Pug shouldn’t be exercising, the fact is that they need to train in order to become more enduring.
You probably noticed that at first, when you start training, you breathe rapidly, and it’s like air isn’t getting to your lungs fast enough. After a few sessions, you don’t need to breathe as fast to feel good.
The same is true for the Pug. They too can be trained, but it will take a bit more time since they need to stop and cool down once they start breathing fast.
So, if you intend for your Pug to walk with you part of the track, make sure that they are fit enough to be doing it. Otherwise, just carry them.
Carrying A Pug While Hiking
One of the advantages of owning a pug is that you can take them everywhere with you. And if their feet won’t take them there, you can just pick them up and move them, since they are not heavy and they also love to be held.
When you are out hiking, this can seem counterproductive, especially on risky treks where you need your hands to be free.
Thankfully, some doggie backpacks were invented for this particular situation, but any backpack that is large enough to accommodate some items and a small dog would do.
All you need to do is make sure that your dog is comfortable and secure. Of course, this means that their head is sticking out and that they are relaxed and won’t move around, destabilizing you.
It is essential to get your Pug used to the backpack in a safe environment. So you will need to start by carrying them around in the hose, then outside the house and on a long walk.
Don’t Take A Pug Hiking In Hot Weather
Pugs are not the best dogs for hiking on hot summer days. Taking your pup hiking during the extreme heat can cause heat-related issues for your brachycephalic friend and even death.
A Pug’s cute “smushed” face makes them an ineffective panter, making it difficult for them to breathe correctly in hot weather. Brachycephalic dogs will breathe through their mouth to help keep them cool, but they still won’t get enough air as a non-brachycephalic dog breed.
If you’re planning an outing with your Pug, opt for a cool day around 65-75 degrees. Anything warmer can make it extremely uncomfortable for your four-legged friend.
You can also take a hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the hottest time of the day.
Essential Items for Hiking With Your Pug
Hiking requires gear because you can never know if everything will go according to the plan or if you will be delayed. So you need to be prepared at all times with items like:
- A collapsible water bowl
- Food for the both of you
- A backpack that would hold your essential items and your Pug
- A harness and a leash
- A first aid kit with a few dog-related items
- Hiking boots for your Pug
Take plenty of water both for you and for your dog. In normal circumstances, a pug needs between 2 and 3 cups of water/day. When hiking, that amount may double, especially if it’s warm outside. Don’t forget about your water either.
Safety When Hiking With a Pug
Pugs are brave dogs, and they rarely complain, but dogs can sometimes be unreliable, even if they’ve been trained properly.
Most dog owners can swear that their dog will always listen to them, and accidents tend to happen when we are most confident.
Never, under any circumstance, allow your Pug to roam free in the wild. They run the risk of getting lost in the mountains, where it’s challenging to find anyone.
Before thinking that your pooch won’t do that, think about all the wild animals out there that a pug would love chasing.
Keep your dog on a leash at all times. It would be more comfortable for both of you if you would use a retractable leash. I’ve put together some of the best harnesses and leashes for Pugs.
Furthermore, make sure that you always have a charged phone on you, because you never know when or if you will have to call the emergency services.
Another safety-related issue when out hiking with your Pug comes in the form of ticks.
These are dangerous for humans too, but they are more difficult to spot on a dog. Ticks transmit many diseases, and they pose a real threat to a pug’s health. Diseases such as:
- Canine Ehrlichiosis;
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever;
Sadly the list doesn’t stop here; these are just the most common. You can read more about them here.
Before taking your dog to the woods, be sure to invest in some flea and tick medication. If you’ve already taken your Pug hiking, you should take the time to check them for fleas.
The CDC advises dog owners to check their dogs for ticks and talk to a veterinarian about preventing such parasites before venturing outside in tick-infested areas.
Choosing The Right Terrain When Hiking With A Pug
Pugs are small dogs with short legs, so you’ll want to make sure you choose the right hiking trail. Avoid taking your small dog on hard trails with a lot of rocks, branches, steep inclines, and other treacherous conditions.
This breed isn’t built for this type of outdoor activity. Yes, your Pug will do everything they can do to keep up with you, but this small dog will probably struggle.
Your Pug will do much better on foot trails that are flat, paved, and even sidewalks. Ensure the pavement or sidewalks are not too hot for their paws. If your pup enjoys hiking, consider investing in doggie boots to protect their feet.
Below are the most common types of hiking trails found in the United States, and whether your Pug will be able to walk it. Remember, every Pug is different. If your Pug lies around all day watching Netflix, it will be impossible to take them hiking.
Types of Hiking Terrains That Are Good for Pugs
|Type of Trail||Description|
Consist usually of dirt, paved, or sidewalk trails in woods or urban areas.
Walkways usually in wooded areas that cross over water or marshy grounds.
Interpretive Nature Trails
|Self-guided or guided trails that tell a story about history.|
|Multi-Use Trails||They share these trails with bicyclists, horses, hikers, and walkers.|
However, if your Pug walks two miles every morning with you, they will be able to hike farther and on different types of trails.
Now that you know that pugs can go hiking, you can start planning your next trip by packing your bags and planning your route.
Make sure to pack some treats for your Pug, but keep in mind that just because you are going hiking doesn’t mean that you need to offer a lot of snacks.
Don’t forget your camera. You will be building some great memories with your dog, and you will want to keep them forever.