Demand for designer pets creates disturbing health issues in animals
Pugs, bulldogs, and French bulldogs are among some of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and the UK.
Unfortunately, they are also some of the most at risk for health problems and shortened life spans as more and more pet owners seek out designer and hybrid dogs with attractive traits, despite warnings from vets.
Many pet owners today are swayed by the cute aspects of dogs like pugs and bulldogs who have characteristically large eyes and scrunched up snouts.
The popularity of these breeds on social media is also pushing more and more people to buy designer and hybrid.
For pugs who are brachycephalic (short-headed), breathing problems and overheating are extremely common and many pet owners are unaware of these risks until after they bring their pet home.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, other favorite animals like English Lop rabbits with enormous ears, miniature horses, and fish with huge bulbous eyes are just creating more and more unhealthy hybrids and designer animals.
Owners may not realize that their English Lop rabbit struggles with eating, that bulldogs are prone to arthritis and hip dysplasia, or that their fish can’t swim properly.
That’s why vets are urging pet owners to make health a priority over looks when it comes to choosing an animal.
“While the UK population of some pets with extreme features is small at present, we are worried that the internet popularity of breeds like miniature horses, the English Lop rabbit, the very flat-faced Persian cats, or ornamental fish bred for bubble eyes or shortened bodies may prompt increased demand among consumers who are unaware of the potential serious health and welfare issues associated with such breeding,” said Simon Doherty, the president of the British Veterinary Association, told the Daily Mail.
The British Veterinary Association isn’t alone in its concerns about the hereditary health problems of certain breeds.
A national survey found that breeding and hereditary defects were the top concerns of vets and it has become more and more of a pressing issue in recent years.
While not all pugs and bulldogs are unhealthy or suffering, it’s important for dog owners who choose these breeds to be aware of the many special needs that their dog will require, and part of that is talking with your local vet about the best care practices.
It’s also a good idea to speak with your local vet and do your research before choosing a new pet.