A moment of impulse, a lifetime of worry

Media release date: 
Thursday, 21 December 2017

Owning a pet is a long-term commitment and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is urging those who are considering getting a puppy this holiday season to first consider what type of pet will best suit their lifestyle, their home and their budget.

President of the AVA, Dr Paula Parker, said that when it comes to dogs, some breeds need more than unconditional love and people who are considering getting a new puppy, should do their research first and choose a breed that best suits them.

“Deciding to get a puppy is a big decision and it’s important that people are fully informed before choosing a particular breed.

“We’ve seen a rise in certain breeds in recent years such as Pugs, French Bulldogs and British Bulldogs, but unfortunately, these dogs have been bred to look a certain way and as a result, many suffer with serious health and welfare problems.

“These brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs don’t have normal muzzles, so they have difficulty breathing, sleeping and exercising as a result. They can’t easily cool themselves in warm weather, and the soft tissues in their throats can swell and block the passage of air. They may faint, collapse or overheat, sometimes fatally, when exercising or excited. These dogs often need major surgery to improve their quality of life.

 “People who are considering buying a flat-faced dog should consider the potential longer-term healthcare costs and be prepared to take any necessary action advised by their veterinarian in the future that will improve the dog’s health and welfare,” Dr Parker said.

People who are considering buying a flat-faced dog should first:

  • ensure the breeder is registered, and ask what they do to breed away from flat-faced features
  • visit the breeding facility to meet the breeder, puppy and its parents
  • check that the parent dogs have less exaggerated features and not exhibiting respiratory distress at rest
  • ask for information about the health history of the parent dogs
  • get a veterinary check as soon as the puppy is purchased
  • consider getting pet insurance to cover you in an emergency situation.

Last year, the AVA in partnership with RSPCA launched a campaign called Love Is Blind, with the aim of raising awareness of the health and welfare concerns associated with flat-faced dogs. For more information visit: www.loveisblind.org.au.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or media@ava.com.au.


The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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