A recent article in the UK newspaper The Telegraph reports that certain purebred dogs like Pugs and Shih Tzus are being surrendered by their owners in record numbers because of breathing difficulties and other health issues associated with their characteristic flat faces. Pugs and Shih Tzus are popular brachycephalic (short-muzzled) breeds, but their popularity also means that greater numbers of these dogs are being surrendered by owners unprepared (or unwilling) to handle their health issues.
The growing numbers of abandoned Pugs and Shih Tzus with breathing problems can also be traced to breeders who are responding to customer demand for “cuteness” and breeding for more extreme head shapes than ever before. Many of the dogs surrendered to animal welfare agencies require surgery that opens their constricted airways to help them breathe better.
Dogs with extremely constricted airways have trouble with even normal activities like eating, sleeping, or going for a walk. These dogs can also have other health issues like eye, joint, and skin problems.
What’s the solution? Experts recommend that people considering a brachycephalic breed carefully research the health issues associated with those cute, smushed-in faces…including veterinary expenses. Animal advocates also suggest that breeders of Pugs, Shih Tzus, and similar breeds should focus more on the overall health and temperament of their dogs, and less on selecting for an extreme appearance.
To read more about this issue, check out The Telegraph article HERE.
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