Vets express concern for the welfare of Pugs at ‘Taste of Braddon’ event

Media release date: 
Friday, 10 November 2017

The peak body for veterinarians, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is expressing concern for the health and welfare of dogs involved in the Pug race during this weekend’s ‘Taste of Braddon’ in the ACT.

AVA President, Dr Paula Parker, said that because of the way Pugs are bred, their airways are already compromised and allowing them to race in this type of event is not in the best interests of their health and welfare.

“Pugs are very popular but owners may not be aware that their extreme features mean they can suffer serious health issues that are exacerbated by heat and exercise.

“RSPCA Australia and the AVA are currently running a joint awareness campaign called ‘Love is Blind’, which aims to raise awareness of the pain and suffering these exaggerated features, such as their flat faces, cause. You can read all about this campaign at

“The exaggerated features that Pugs are known for – big eyes, wrinkly skin and flat faces – mean that they are unable to breathe normally, putting them at serious risk of illness or even death by overheating in warm weather or with physical exertion.

“Given the health problems experienced by these dogs, holding Pug races in the middle of a warm spring day is potentially a recipe for disaster. In addition, the promotion of these races acts to encourage interest in these breeds, without helping people to understand their associated health risks.

“Having raised our concerns with event organisers, we are very disappointed that this race is going ahead and urge the community to take precautions such as ensuring there is plenty of water and shade available for the dogs,” Dr Parker said.

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

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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