BVA urges ‘hugs, not Pugs’ on Valentine’s Day

Many pet owners are unaware of the health issues associated with brachycephalic breeds.

BVA urges ‘hugs, not Pugs’ on Valentine’s Day
Pugs are prone to brachycephalic syndrome and, because of their protruding eyes, eye injuries.

The British Veterinary Association is asking the greeting card industry to shun Pugs and other flat-faced dogs and cats for the good of the animals.

The organization reported Feb. 12 that imagery of cute brachycephalic breeds has made them too popular among pet owners and that “the majority of owners were unaware of the breeds’ potential health and welfare problems before choosing their pet.”

“Pugs and many other flat-faced dogs have lovely temperaments, but the use of their images on cards and gifts is normalizing these breeds’ short noses and big eyes, which can cause horrendous pain for the animal and prove costly for the owner to treat,” said BVA President John Fishwick, MA, VetMB, DECBHM.

British veterinarians reported in a survey that about 50 percent of their brachycephalic canine patients and 25 percent of their brachycephalic feline patients needed treatment for health issues related to their physical features.

The BVA issued the advisory in advance of Valentine’s Day, a busy time for greeting card retailers.

“Valentine’s Day is meant to be romantic, so giving a gift or card depicting an animal that can suffer breathing difficulties or skin problems as a result of its breeding is definitely a message to avoid,” Dr. Fishwick said. “That’s why we’re saying choose hugs not Pugs to show your love.”

Greeting Card Association CEO Sharon Little acknowledged that popular animals are featured on greeting cards.

“Card publishers and retailers have up to a year’s lead times, but we’re sharing this information now so that our members can make informed decisions about the products they stock and sell in the future,” Little said.