Hot Weather Poses ‘Huge Threat’ To Flat Faced Dogs, Charity Warns

Brachycephalic breeds struggle even more than usual in the hot weather


3 Minutes Read

A pug being carried by a human in the sun Flat faced dogs suffer health problems throughout their lives - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

An animal charity has issued a warning to guardians of breathing-impaired breeds (BIBs) – also known as flat faced dogs – amid the hot weather. 

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BIBs include pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, boxers, Boston terriers, and other brachycephalic breeds. PETA has said that the summer months can pose a “huge threat” to the welfare of these dogs. This is because they are twice as likely to get heatstroke due to their small airways and breathing impairment. They are also 14 times more likely to develop a heat-related illness than a labrador. 

“Gasping, shortness of breath, and laboured, open-mouthed breathing are not normal for dogs – and BIBs are at grave risk of harm in hot weather,” PETA Vice President of Programmes Elisa Allen said in a statement. “PETA urges everyone to stop buying or breeding dogs with these horrific, life-threatening deformities and to take precautions to protect those they are already responsible for during the heatwave.”

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The problem with BIBs

A blue French bulldog
Adobe Stock brachycephalic breeds experience breathlessness throughout their lives

Humans bred flat faced dogs into existence due to the fact that they can be sold for a lot of money. This is because their flat faces have long been considered “cute” and “trendy” by prospective “pet” buyers. Celebrities and social media has fuelled demand for brachycephalic dogs, with pugs in particular being hugely trendy in popular culture over the last decade. 

But many people buying these dogs aren’t aware of the huge – and lifelong – health issues they face. Because they have been bred to have the sought-after flat faces, their airways are far shorter than they should be. This means that they spend their lives struggling to breathe. Many flat faced dogs can’t run, chase a ball, or even walk without experiencing pain. Fainting and heart failure are common occurrences in these breeds, as they live in a near-constant state of breathlessness. 

While there has been some decline in their popularity in recent years, thousands are still sold by breeders in the UK. Animal organizations have long warned the public against buying them, and The Royal Veterinary College recently stated that they cannot be considered “typical dogs” because of their issues. 

PETA is urging the government to ban the breeding and sale of flat faced dogs.

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