Some dogs need more than unconditional love

Vets across Australia care for dogs with all types of needs. Unfortunately, some dogs have serious health and welfare problems simply because they’ve been bred to look a certain way.

Love is Blind is a joint initiative of the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA. We’re raising public awareness about the animal welfare problems caused by exaggerated physical features such as brachycephaly, short limbs and excessive skin wrinkling, and how these problems can be prevented.

This campaign calls for everyone including vets, breeders and owners to work together to address these issues.

It encourages dog breeders to avoid selecting for exaggerated features that compromise dog welfare, and  prospective puppy buyers to help by choosing not to buy puppies with exaggerations that cause welfare problems. Owners and breeders alike love these dog breeds, but we need to ensure that good health and a good quality of life are prioritised above physical appearance.

Some breeders are aware of these problems and are working to address them. The Australian National Kennel Council has developed screening initiatives for a range of these issues. Potential owners should source dogs from the responsible, registered breeders who participate in such screening programs, and avoid buying online from unregistered breeders, or worse, puppy farms.

You can find links to information for dog owners, breeders and prospective dog owners on the RSPCA Love is Blind website.

AVA President, Paula Parker, speaks candidly about her own experiences with treating the many health issues associated with flat-faced dogs...

Diego's Story

 

The sad story of Diego is unfortunately not a rare one, with many dogs suffering as a result of their exaggerated features. Even milder summer temperatures can pose a threat to the lives and welfare of short-muzzled (brachycephalic) dogs such as pugs, French bulldogs and British bulldogs. It’s important to get to know the signs and welfare issues many of these dogs face.

What is brachycephalic?

 

You may have heard the term ‘flat-faced’ and ‘squishy-faced’ used to describe dog breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs and British bulldogs. However, brachycephalic is another term used, especially by vets – but what exactly does it mean and why does having a flat face cause welfare and health issues for many of these dogs? The RSPCA and AVA explain why.

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