I want to buy a pug, a squishy faced, rotund, funny tailed dog. People love Pugs because they’re so ugly- they’re cute! The labyrinth of the human mind is a fascinating study, but now is not the time to delve into a study- it is time to let people know lives are at stake.
What is at stake here are the lives and welfare of millions of “ugly- cute animals” across the world. Human nature at its best considers another life form deserving of dignity, comfort and respect. At it’s worst, human nature is selfish, self serving and willfully ignorant- when another life is its entertainment.
Buy a pug or a french bulldog because they’re compact apartment sized dogs, perfect for the kids as a playmate. Are they? Known as Smash faced cats and dogs, the horrifying name you’d think would deter people. Sadly, the ‘squishy nosed’ cats, dogs and rabbits are social media stars, prompting a surge in people buying them.
It is impossible to keep up with the number of requests we’ve received to buy pug puppies. Pet parents tell us, they want to buy a pug as a ‘sibling’ for their human children! Please take the time to learn about the breed you bring home. Ask these questions if you saw a pug and now ‘want one’ from credible sources of information- not social media groups, read, research and then speak to a professional- in this case a veterinarian.
History of Pugs
Experts agree that the pug originated in China. As a companion dog for royalty. They believe the pug to have been around from 400 B.C. So its safe to say, they’re not a ‘new breed’. Pugs are believed to share a common ancestry with the Pekinese and even the Tibetan mastiff.
Why are their skulls so squashed?
Because we ‘made’ them so. Over the years pugs have been deliberately bred to have shorter muzzles. This also means their teeth ‘don’t line up’ and they have difficulty chewing.
How do they eat with such a flat mouth/snout?
The short simple answer is with great difficulty! Pugs and other short nosed dogs quickly develop dental problems. Many develop dental problems because their mouths are deformed.
Skin Infections and Eye Problems
The protruding eyes mean they are always at risk of injury. This is because their eyes do not fit properly into the socket. The folds of skin are difficult to keep clean and overlooking a proper grooming routine can lead to skin infections.
Why does my Pug breathe funny?
In simple terms, it’s not funny but scary. Over the years pugs have been intentionally bred to have a flatter nose- essentially- in non medical terms – everything in your pugs skull is squashed together so tight, nothing works correctly.
This is a Pug breathing. To a dog owner this is terrifying.
Pugs do not “just sound” this terrifying when they breathe, they suffer as a result of bad design. Social media has fueled the demand for the ‘ugly cute’ dog, everyone wants a funny face feline or canine to launch their influencer career. The pandemic has not helped. As schools, colleges and numerous educational institutions look to stay closed for extended periods- parents are looking for entertainment.
Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) – sounds daunting doesn’t it? It is. Why would anyone knowingly breed a dog or cat who will suffer this condition? Maybe you’ll get lucky and your brachy will be trouble free. Think of the millions that are not, and worse, think of the trauma to your child ,who’s best friend suddenly needs an operation to breathe!
It is astounding how many first time dog owners opt to buy dogs based on pictures. No research, no investigation, no budgeting. Pugs can turn out to be hugely expensive dogs if you have to take your pug to the vet for surgery to help it breathe better. Many short nosed dogs cannot sleep comfortably, so the next time you are amused at a video online of a pug “sleeping sitting up” it is because he/she cannot sleep comfortably.
Enter the foster (quick easy doses of relief, no long term commitment) or the new family pet. Once again as human beings who need comfort and a distraction, we reach for animals . But only for as long as we need. The greatest tragedy of massive numbers of abandoned brachycephalic cats and dogs is around the corner. It will overwhelm every rescue community globally.
So why is it that we condone, even promote, theDr. Fraser Hale
breeding of animals whose very design has a negative impact on health and quality of life for every single member of the breed?
I am referring to brachycephalism.
Pugs have spawned an industry, within an industry. How is that an ugly adorable animal has captured the fascination of people across the globe? Within the pet industry from special wipes for the folds on a pugs face to food for brachycephalic breeds (cats and dogs) from pet food companies. Pug momentos and merchandise are a profitable business. So every one gains, except the animal.
The burden of responsibility falls to us as an ‘industry’. The whole industry, breeders, veterinarians, trainers, pet businesses etc. It is a collective effort to educate potential pet owners and families. Many individuals and families are genuinely unaware of the horrors of brachycephalic breeds- most have never heard the term! So we must educate to eradicate.
Pugs for sale in India maybe bought for as little as two hundred dollars! A horrifying prospect, how at that price can any responsible and ethical breeder maintain, breed and sell puppies? They cannot, and so another specialised backyard breeder is born.
For certain, these are not educated breeders. For the dozens of requests we receive every week- our core message to potential pet owners is simple. Never buy a “bargain puppy or kitten”. You simultaneously put in jeopardy your family, the new pup or kitten and the mother who bore them.
We’ve covered a brief over view of the discomfort and dangers flat nosed dogs face. There are many more health and welfare issues. When you need to explain and convince a potential pug buyer quickly why they should never buy a pug, share this with them. There is a wealth of information online and through veterinarians. Not knowing is no longer an excuse, not in the information rich world we live in. Reach out to your local pet business, vet, pet sitter, trainer, the ones in business for the love of animal will help you find the information you need.
In conclusion, if you ask when is it ‘ok’ to have a flat faced dog or cat? If it’s not a rescue, or its never ok.
Helping your clients manage BAS in their dogs, Innovative Veterinary Care, Issue Oct 15, 2020.
Brachycephalic Breeds and Their Health- Hunt Valley Animal Hospital, Cockeyville,MD
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