Pugs are cute, but vets warn pet lovers about the common health problems flat-faced dogs develop throughout their lives.
We love pugs, bulldogs, and boxers. They have incredible personalities and cute little faces. “Flat-faced” dog breeds may be popular these days, but vets have issued a big warning for all dog lovers.
These dog breeds deal with a lot of health issues caused by their genetics.
“We find that our veterinary surgeons are finding increasing numbers of flat-faced dogs are coming into their practices with problems which are related to the way these animals are made,” explains John Fishwick, President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA). “One of the things that is causing this increase that we have seen over the last few years appears to be celebrity endorsements and their use in advertising.”
Common health issues in Brachycephalic dogs
The nostrils in flat-faced dogs are narrow and their windpipes are pretty deformed. These dogs have soft tissue inside their throats and noses. This makes breathing difficult and the pups deal with different heart conditions. Dogs release excess heat through panting, and these breeds are prone to overheating because their wind passageways are too small.
Pugs and other breeds in this group have short upper jaws. They have a higher risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
You may see the wrinkles as cute traits, but these are a perfect ground for bacteria and yeast infections.
Boxers, pugs, and other similar breeds have a distinctive shape of the head. They have a higher risk of eye disorders and ulcers. Brachycephalic dogs can’t blink like other dogs, and this has a negative impact on their tear production. Eyelashes and nose wrinkles rub against the edges of their eyes, causing terrible damage.
Brachycephalic dogs have trouble giving birth naturally. Little pups are born through cesarean sections. The disproportionate size of pups’ heads may cause severe complications. About 80% of all bulldogs, French bulldogs, and Boston terriers are born through a C-section in the UK.
Vets can’t speak against buying the crossbreeds dogs
Strong efforts can stop the breeding of these dogs and prevent most of the problems. Sadly, this initiative would be bad for the business. Dog owners would always find a vet who doesn’t talk about this problem.
“If I stood up and told the truth about these breeds,” explained a vet. “I would immediately alienate [the owners] and they would up sticks and move to the neighboring practice where the vet was not as outspoken. “Vets in general practice simply cannot afford to be honest and to speak out.”
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has made so many statements on the breeding of brachycephalic puppies.
“The surge in popularity of these dogs has increased animal suffering and resulted in unwell pets for owners,” says Sean Wensley, Senior Vice President of the BVA, “so we strongly encourage people to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead.”
Crossbreds vs Purebreds
A 2013 study opposed an old myth. We were told that purebreds are healthier than crossbreds. The study provided a different theory.
A group of researchers analyzed the medical records of 27,000 dogs and compared the symptoms of 24 genetic disorders and their occurrence. The results were more than shocking.
- Purebred dogs had a 42% higher risk of 10 disorders
- Mixed breeds have a $% higher risk of 1 disorder
- There was no difference between purebred dogs and crossbreds when it comes to the incidence of the remaining 13 disorders
Protect Brachycephalic Dogs
Pet lovers need to be more informed about Brachycephalic Dogs also known as flat-faced dogs. “As soon as you get a market drive then the puppy farms just say ‘ooh we’ll breed those now,’” said Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club.
Dr. Rowena Packer of the Royal Veterinary College explains that pet owners need to be aware of the fact that these dogs require expensive commitment.
“They need to be aware of both the emotional and financial hardship that they could be putting themselves and their dogs through for potentially 5 to 10 years.”
Dogs and ads
Dogs don’t belong in promotional material and campaigns. According to the BVA, we should all contact brands and ask them to remove pugs and other similar dogs from their ads. Portraying these dog breeds as cute and trendy actually increases their breeding and sale.
Celebrities can educate their fans on how to take care of their dogs and avoid the complications these dog breeds develop over time.
Deliver a message
“They are lovely breeds of dog, they are very friendly and they make good pets,” says Fishwick. “The problem is a lot of them are really struggling, and we really want to make sure people understand this and encourage them to think about either going for another breed or a healthier version of these breeds—ones which have been bred to have a longer snout or possibly even crossbreeds.”