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:
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.
What breeds of dog are affected?
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Shi Tzus
What health problems can they suffer from?
- Severe breathing difficulties
- Heart problems
- Spine abnormnalities
- Eye ulcers
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.
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."