Vets urge pet lovers to reconsider buying flat-faced dogs due to health problems

At the start of the new year, 671 vets have urged dog lovers to think twice about buying squashed-faced dogs as without action, the number of corrective surgeries needed on such breeds will soar.
By Yong Cindy
Published on Thursday, 11 January 2018

(Photo credit: Instagram @gunnarandaspens.world)

Whilst many perceive the wrinkly faces of flat-faced pooches as appealing and adorable, in reality, dogs with short muzzles are predisposed to a plethora of serious and often life-threatening health problems, such as tracheal collapse (obstruction of the airways), heart disease, ulcers, and skin infections.

According to data collected from the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club, registrations of brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs and French Bulldogs have shot up in recent years. As compared to 692 registered French Bulldogs in 2007, the number has soared to 21,470 last year.

These squashed-faced pups’ baby-like faces with round, wide-set eyes and flat noses appeal to the masses, and as of late, breeders have been prioritising appearance over health, resulting in an increasing number of pooches with skin disorders and breathing difficulties.

Because of their short heads, these flat-faced dogs suffer from brachycephalic syndrome, and might end up having an elongated soft palate, narrow nasal cavities, laryngeal collapse, and other airway-related problems. In some cases, surgery might be needed to improve airflow and breathing.

As such, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has launched a campaign titled ‘#breedtobreathe’, with results from a new survey conducted among 671 vets showing that more than three quarters of soon-to-be owners of these flat-faced canines were unaware of the health problems of brachycephalic breeds.

Moreover, only 10 percent of these owners could identify health problems related to such breeds, while many think that symptoms including snorting were “normal” and unalarming for such dogs.

Additional statistics provided by the BVA revealed that 49 percent of vets thought advertising and social media were the driving factors behind the surge in ownership of brachycephalic breeds, while 43 percent perceived that celebrity ownership was one of the key reasons.

Among those celebrities criticised by the BVA are pop star Lady Gaga and her French Bulldogs, David Beckham and YouTube influencer Zoella, whose Pugs feature in her videos.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of potential health problems of flat-faced breeds, and to also discourage brands from using squashed-faced dogs in future advertising.

To read more about the campaign, click here.