Ginger Digest

Your ‘flat-faced’ dog may be very cute and also very ill. And it is your fault.

Posted on October 18, 2016: Affenpinscher, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bulldog, Brussels Griffon, Japanese Spaniel, Pekingese, Pug, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Bullmastiff: these are all adorably cute ‘flat-faced dogs’, which so-called pet ‘lovers’ covet. This has led to an increase in the demand of these dog breeds which in turn has triggered the merciless breeding of the dogs at puppy mills. In India, the breeding scenario is even worse as it’s an unregulated industry.

Genetic illnesses

The flat-face which makes these dogs irresistibly appealing to the human eye, also makes breathing difficult for these breeds. Prolonged selective breeding to suit the whims of buyers, has led to these dogs forming the birth defect of a flattened nose. These squashed-in faced dogs have been given the generic name Brachycephalic dogs.

Their short and round heads leave them with little space for their eye sockets and a palate. By bringing in these dogs into the world in greater numbers, we are increasing the number of canines which suffer from laboured inhalation and exhalation. This is because they have a short muzzle, airway and throat.  Eye ulcers, heart problems, high blood pressure, overheating, low oxygenation and dental problems are predominant in these dogs as well. The seemingly cute wrinkles of the Bulldog are simply a by-product of the ruthless breeding of the dog, skin fold dermatitis is consequently a common ailment. Boxers have the highest cancer rate among canines.

The Royal Veterinary Club in the United Kingdom has recently opened a specialty clinic to exclusively address the problems of flat-faced dogs. More than 12,000 vets and nurses have signed a petition entreating that the health issues of these dogs be dealt with.

Abandoned

Of late, the British Veterinary Association has brought to notice that many of these lovely flat-faced dogs are being abandoned in great numbers. They have suggested greater investment in a healthier breed or maybe a crossbreed. Pet owners are overwhelmed by their cuteness, only to discover sooner or later that they come with health problems which consequently inflate veterinary bills, which they being irresponsible towards pets, aren’t prepared to handle.

The Royal Veterinary College, the Kennel Club and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have seconded the British Veterinary Association in this regard. Bluecross Animal Rescue and Battersea Dogs Home and four other dog rescue homes in the United Kingdom have recently witnessed an increase in abandoned Brachycephalic dogs. In fact, there was a forty percent increase in these dogs between 2014 and 2015.

Go desi

In a hot tropical country like India, the ordeal of these dogs is far worse. This is because breathing is all the more arduous for them in a hot and humid climate. The lifespan of these dogs is shortened all the more in India. The only way that we can solve this situation is by keeping Indian dogs as pets instead of foreign breeds. If you must have a flat-faced dog as a pet, why not adopt an abandoned dog from a shelter home? Adopt, don’t shop. Animals are living beings and not supermarket items to be bought and sold.

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