The number of Pugs given up by their owners has more than doubled at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home over the last five years, with concerns that these family pets are being given up due to their medical issues.
With their trademark squashed faces, Pugs have become increasingly popular with pet owners, but Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has issued a stark warning over poor breeding practices which are causing serious problems for these dogs. Multiple Brachycephalic Breeds – such as Pugs – have come into Battersea’s care with life-threatening illnesses.
Peanut a four-year-old Pug highlighted the devastating consequences of overbreeding, after he was brought to Battersea with breathing problems requiring surgery for his condition. Peanut could hardly breathe and his normal dog behaviours were severely restricted – even going for a walk or eating would severely impact his health.
The Pug appears on the new series of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, where Paul witnesses first-hand the difficult operation these breeds require to open up the airways and improve their breathing.
Head Veterinary Surgeon at Battersea, Shaun Opperman, explains: “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. Pugs like Peanut suffer more than their share of health problems such as breathing difficulties, eye diseases, joint disorders and skin conditions. They look cute and are amazing dogs – but in reality so many of them we see here at Battersea have medical concerns.”
“It’s very distressing to see an animal in such a bad way like Peanut was. 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.”
Sadly Peanut is not alone – in the last year Battersea vets have operated on 20 dogs to help open their airways – many that have been Pugs. The charity is advising potential owners to fully research the breed and carefully consider the medical costs of any new dog they want to rehome.
The fourth series of award winning Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs features eight episodes and airs on ITV every Thursday at 8:30pm-9pm.