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Pugs are loved by their owners and dog fanatics for their flat faces, folds of skin and bulging eyes however these features often lead to suffering.
Pugs, which are often referred to as brachycephaly dogs for their flat faces, can suffer breathing problems, overheating, sleep apnoea, eye disease and more.
Dr Dan O’Neil, senior lecturer in companion animal epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, led a study of more than 16,000 pugs in Britain. The findings are published in the Canine Medicine and Genetics journal and found that pugs are 50 times more at risk of suffering brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome and narrow nostrils, compared to other dog breeds.
Dr O’Neil told The Telegraph that pugs lacked the 'basic functions' expected of a dog after drafting a list of 'core body functions that any dog should expect to be able to do'.
This included being able to blink, however he notes that pugs often can’t fully blink.
He also shared that a dog should not have to wake up to breathe and should be able to sit without 'snoring and snorting and struggling to breathe'.
Another key function expected of a canine is having skin that is not folded or with crevices with infections or smell.
“These are really basic things,” he said. “Pugs just don’t have those basic functions.”
Pugs are also at an increased risk of getting eye ulcers and skin fold dermatitis.
Animal campaigners have called for a ban on the sale of pugs and other brachycephalic dogs like French Bulldogs in the UK.
Animal charity Blue Cross argues that those involved in the breeding and sale of the dogs are guilty of a 'vicious cycle of over-breeding'.
Struggling to breathe shouldn't be something that any pet experiences. 💔 Which is why we launched our #EndTheTrend campaign because pets like Cole, Clint and Banks deserve better. pic.twitter.com/mbK7Ex0MWu— Blue Cross (@The_Blue_Cross) February 17, 2022
Blue Cross recently launched the #EndTheTrend campaign which asks UK brands 'to commit by the end of 2022 to phasing out the use of any brachycephalic pets in their future advertisements'.
The Blue Cross's #EndTheTrend campaign states: "More and more major British consumer brands are using brachycephalic (flat-faced) animals in their marketing and advertising, even if their products are unrelated.
"By using brachycephalic pets in their advertisements, brands are indirectly contributing to the over-popularisation of these animals and, in turn, the extreme demand for flat-faced breeds."
Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at national pet charity Blue Cross, said: “We would always urge people to think twice before looking to take on one of these breeds, to consider the health issues associated with these pets and whether they could afford the veterinary treatment they may need during their lives.
“At Blue Cross, we hope that by educating owners about the health issues associated with these pets the popularity and unrealistic beauty ideals these innocent pets face will be reduced, in favour of healthier breeding practices where the welfare of the animal, and not its appearance, will be front of mind.
“We never want anyone to feel blamed or shamed for sharing their lives with one of these pets - but we as a society must start doing what is best for the welfare of our four-legged friends”
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