UNITED KINGDOM — Owners of pedigree dogs in the United Kingdom have been abandoning their adorable dogs more frequently due to the inability to cope with the inherited health problems caused by “irresponsible” breeding.
Pint-sized pups have become all the rage over the past several years. Pugs, Shih-tzus. and other small breeds have been acquired without enough research. Dogs are also being purchased from breeders who over-breed dogs that result in compounding problems associated with the breed’s trademark physical traits.
“Pugs frequently have breathing problems — centuries of breeding have produced their squashed face, and what we call an over-long soft palate, restricting their nostrils and making it harder for them to breathe,” said Shaun Opperman, the Head Veterinary Surgeon at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Battersea has seen their numbers of abandoned Pugs triple in the past four years and are expecting the number this year to be even higher. The number of Shih-Tzus they have received has almost doubled in the same time frame.
Opperman explains that, although the dogs are very cute, the health problems they see in the dogs that are left with them are heartbreaking. Battersea has operated on 20 Pugs this year alone to help them breathe easier. He discusses one dog, Peanut, that came into their care. Peanut’s breathing was so restricted that even going for a walk could be dangerous.
“As often with these dogs, the nostrils are quite constricted so there’s no room for the air to move in. We literally take a wedge out and open them right up. It’s always a risk doing these operations, but Peanut’s life would’ve been in danger if we didn’t do it.”
READ MORE: DESIGNER DOGS SEIZED FROM CALGARY BREEDER
The RSPCA urges breeders to to prioritize the health, welfare and temperament of their dogs over their appearance. Battersea adds that all potential owners should fully research their breed of choice before bringing them home. Being prepared for potential health issues could save their life.
As for Peanut, he has fully recovered and has been adopted by a couple in Berkshire.