Doug the Pug may have a lot to answer for. Vet are warning potential dog owners to think twice about buying dog breeds that suffer serious breathing and health problems, such as pugs and French bulldogs.
They are concerned that many are simply buying the canines due to looks and celebrity influence, with little-to-no understanding of what it takes to look after them. Known technically as “brachycephalic” dogs, breeds such a pugs frequently suffer a raft of health conditions, including breathing abnormalities as a result of short muzzles, the skin folds on their faces getting infected, and eye ulcers due to how they protrude.
The British Veterinary Association is now worried that the number of dogs that will need to undergo invasive surgery to correct their breathing will continue rise as more people buy them. Thus, they have launched a #breedtobreathe campaign to raise awareness.
Of the 671 veterinarians surveyed, most said they had noticed a sharp uptick in the number of brachycephalic dog breeds being brought in to their practice. The vets themselves think that social media is playing a role in the surge of the breeds, with 43 percent saying celebrity idols likely influenced the owner’s choice and 49 percent attributing the decision to social media.
“These dogs are more popular than ever with celebrities, and on social media, and vets fear that this is adding to their popularity with members of the public,” says John Fishwick, president of the British Veterinary Association, in a statement. “There are thousands of pictures on Instagram of brachycephalic breeds tucked up alongside popular celebrities and bloggers, but these #puglife images don’t show the full story.”
Unfortunately, many people buying these breeds are simply unaware of the risks associated with the decision, and the painful surgery many pugs have to undergo. Only around 10 percent of the owners could recognize their brachycephalic dog’s health problems, while a pretty shocking 75 percent didn’t even know that these breeds commonly suffer from them.
The veterinary association simply want to make sure that potential owners fully understand the additional cost that these breeds wrack up and the impact on the animal's welfare.