While pugs are generally a playful, spirited breed, their bodies aren't exactly equipped for harsh elements. They face problems breathing and maintaining a comfortable body temperature, in both extreme heat and extreme cold. When winter rolls around, squeezing your pug into a sweater helps her tackle the chill outside.
A Life Indoors
Pugs have long been bred as companion dogs. This means that unlike, say, a Siberian husky that thrives in cold temperatures, a pug is much happier curled up on a pillow inside. Of course, that doesn't mean that she never wants to go exploring, or that she doesn't have to go out a few times a day to do her business. What it does mean, though, is that she isn't genetically advantaged for dealing with the cold, and that's where sweaters come in.
Sweaters Are Better
If you wonder whether your pug needs a sweater, the answer is a resounding "yes." Pugs are small dogs with short hair and respiratory problems, making them the ideal candidate for bundling up before going out in the cold. Sweaters typically have short sleeves so that your pug can move about more easily, and they should cover her naked stomach to keep it warm. Snug sweaters are better than baggy ones, so show off her natural curves with something that hugs her frame.
Beating the Heat
While pugs can get too cold in frigid temperatures, they can also get too hot in warm temperatures. Switching back and forth between the two, like going from an outdoor walk to a toasty living room, can make her body struggle to strike a balance. Obese pugs have an especially difficult time fighting overheating, so once you're back in a warm area, feel free to peel that sweater back off.
Pugs are susceptible to arthritic joints, which can be worsened by cold weather. When that's the case, keeping her warm is even more important than it is with other pugs, so keep her in a sweater. You may even need to provide a heated pad for her to lay on to sooth her aching joints. If you suspect that your pug has arthritis, consult your veterinarian, who can also recommend pain-relieving medications.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.