High risk of obesity in Pugs


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Vets and welfare organisations are urging Pug owners to ensure their pets are well-exercised and aren’t overweight, after research shows the breed is at the highest risk of obesity.

A study by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) found that obesity is by far the most commonly diagnosed disorder in Pugs, with nearly one in five (17 per cent) diagnosed each year. Research also revealed that the breed is over three times more likely to be obese, compared to other dogs.

The RVC is a member of the Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG), which aims to improve the health and welfare of flat-faced dogs, and is made up of vets, welfare organisations, universities, the government, breeders, and owners. Pug owners are being encouraged to manage their dogs’ diets and provide ample exercise to help prevent health issues associated with obesity, such as a shorter lifespan, reduced quality of life, breathing problems, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and certain types of cancer.

Pug owners can assess if their dog is a healthy weight by visiting the Pug Health website.

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The three-point plan suggests:

  1.  Perspective owners ‘stop and think’ before considering getting a flat-faced dog or breeding from one. If you are planning to breed, make sure your dog has passed the official Kennel Club/University of Cambridge respiratory function testing, and other breed-specific veterinary health checks, first. Avoid sharing social media posts featuring flat-faced dogs and encourage big brands to do the same.
  2. If you own a flat-faced dog, make sure you recognise the problems that these dogs can commonly suffer from; for instance, audible breathing and/or snoring at rest is never normal or acceptable. If you have any concerns, always consult your vet; don’t rely on advice from the internet or social media.
  3. If you are determined to buy a flat-faced dog, make sure the puppy and parents have passed all relevant health tests, and use the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme and the Puppy Contract to protect yourself from unscrupulous and low-welfare sellers. Make sure any dog you get has been bred away from extreme body shapes, such as flat faces, skin folds, and a lack of tail, all linked to poor innate health.

Find out more at the BWG website.