Flat-faced dogs: think long and hard before you buy

flat-faced dogs

Pet ownership is a long-term commitment and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is urging those who are considering getting a puppy this holiday season—particularly of the pug or flat-faced variety—to first consider whether such a pet will best suit their lifestyle, their home and their budget.

AVA president Dr Paula Parker said that when it comes to dogs, some breeds need more than unconditional love and people who are considering getting a new puppy, should do their research first and choose a breed that best suits them.

“Deciding to get a puppy is a big decision, and it’s important that people are fully informed before choosing a particular breed,” she said.

“We’ve seen a rise in certain breeds in recent years such as pugs, French bulldogs and British bulldogs, but unfortunately, these dogs have been bred to look a certain way and as a result, many suffer with serious health and welfare problems.

“These brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs don’t have normal muzzles, so they have difficulty breathing, sleeping and exercising as a result. They can’t easily cool themselves in warm weather, and the soft tissues in their throats can swell and block the passage of air. They may faint, collapse or overheat, sometimes fatally, when exercising or excited. These dogs often need major surgery to improve their quality of life.”

Dr Parker added that people who are considering buying a flat-faced dog “should consider the potential longer-term healthcare costs and be prepared to take any necessary action advised by their veterinarian in the future that will improve the dog’s health and welfare”.

Last year, the AVA in partnership with the RSPCA launched a campaign called Love is Blind, with the aim of raising awareness of the health and welfare concerns associated with flat-faced dogs.

Based on a media release sourced from the AVA website.

You can also read more about flat-faced dogs in the December issue of Vet Practice magazine.

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