As a dog loving nation, we are attracted to different breeds of dog for all sorts of reasons. So, what attracts us to flat faced dogs in particular? Is it their puppy dog eyes, short nose, squashed face and similar traits to those of a human baby? Well, it's all of these factors that are contributing to a significant increase in the popularity of breeds such as English bulldogs, French bulldogs, shih-tzus, Boston terriers, pugs and boxers, but at what cost?
Flat faced dogs have been selectively bred over generations to meet certain characteristics that enable us to fall in love with these 'cute and wrinkly' breeds. Vet and insurance bills can impact on rising costs further down the line, so you need to consider the following before buying this breed:
Breathing problems - things to listen out for
Common conditions with flat faced dogs is snorting, snuffling, collapsing and fainting, which are all signs that your dog is not breathing correctly. Left untreated, this could be dangerous so always seek the advice of your vet. Warm weather can make their breathing worse so it is advisable to leave your dog in a cool place.
Eye problems - keeping your eye on the ball
As these breeds have shorter faces, their eyes tend to 'bulge' out exposing them to minor scratches that can often lead to something more serious if untreated, including loss of sight. A discharge or swelling are common signs of an infection, as well as blinking and shying away from bright light. All of these symptoms are treatable at your vets.
Heart problems - take the strain
Due to the lack of oxygen getting into the dog's bloodstream, this can put a strain on your dog's heart and cause secondary heart problems as the dog is constantly struggling to breath. This can lead to a shorter life span, although most flat faced breeds live to 12 years old.
Exercise - walkies?
Most dog owners decide to buy a dog to enjoy the benefits of walking around rolling countryside and exploring new places, but flat faced dogs are at the opposite end of the spectrum due to their restricted breathing airways. As little as 20 minutes of exercise a day is advised, combined with puzzle toys for stimulation.
Costs - value for money?
Initial costs of purchasing a flat faced dog comes at a price - typically you can expect to part with £3, 000 for the fashionable French Bulldog. Pet insurance is higher than average due to the above health problems and rising vet bills come into play as you treat recurring complaints such as eye and skin problems, which will not always be covered by insurance.
Man's best friend, or is it?
Social media and celebrities are all responsible for an increase in flat faced dogs, but vets are encouraging anyone thinking of buying a flat faced puppy to think again about whether you want to own a pet that could need surgery to help them live a normal, happy life.