Flat-faced dogs warning: Is your pet affected?

People are being urged to stop buying 'fashionable' flat-faced dogs after a rise in them being abandoned due to health problems.

Here's what to look out for if you are thinking of buying a pet:

Lady Gaga with her french bulldog Asia. Credit: PA

What are flat-faced dogs?

  • Flat-faced dogs are Brachycephalic breeds - which mean their skulls are abnormally short for their species.

  • In recent years it has become a fashionable trait in dogs such as pugs.

  • They can often be seen on the arms of celebrities which has added to the trend.

A Shi Tzu being primped at a dog show. Credit: PA

What breeds of dog are affected?

  • Pugs

  • Bulldogs

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

  • Shi Tzus

  • Pekingese

  • Bullmastiff

A King Charles Spaniel. Credit: Reuters

What health problems can they suffer from?

  • Severe breathing difficulties

  • Paralysis

  • Heart problems

  • Spine abnormnalities

  • Eye ulcers

  • Overheating

This Pekingese dog won several awards. Credit: Reuters

Why are they getting such health problems?

  • Breathing problems occur as they have short necks and airways.

  • Dogs such as pugs now have a double curled tail which is essentially a genetic defect and can cause paralysis.

  • Flat-faced dogs often have to undergo surgery and can suffer health issues all their lives.

  • Pet owners often end up spending thousands on treatment for them.

A Bullmastiff. Credit: PA

What do vets say?

  • Vets say the creation of flat-faced breeds has "increased animal suffering".

  • Sean Wensley, President of the British Veterinary Association called it a "worrying trend" and urged would-be pet owners against buying them.

  • He said: "We strongly encourage people to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead."