Jul 29, 2017

Dogs are man’s best friend. After an exhausting day at work, the thought of going home to see your dog simply eases the stress. If you don’t have dogs and you feel tired, all you need to do is pause and go to Facebook to watch videos of cute dogs from The Dodo.

However, the demand for purebred pets is putting dogs through so much pain. In some cases, this leads to death. According to a report from The Telegraph, the Royal Veterinary College discovered that German Shepherds are suffering due to intensive breeding. The said breeding practice aims to alter the features of dogs to make them more superior than other canines. Usually, breeders end up inbreeding.

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

Intensive bred German Shepherds became a trend after a dog with a sloped back and short rear legs won “Best in Breed” at a dog show, resulting to a growing demand for dogs like him. Breeding dogs for particular aesthetic purposes has shown adverse effects to their health. German Shepherds, in particular, may acquire musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis, cancer, sloping backs, and even aggression. Twenty percent of German Shepherd deaths reviewed in the study were a result of intensive breeding’s complications.

“It’s just a belief that this is what a perfect German Shepherd looks like. The decision to stop breeding them like this is not just one that can be taken by breeders or the Kennel Club, but by the general public. If they refuse to buy these dogs then the breeders will stop breeding them,” primary author of the study Dr. Dan O’Neil tells Telegraph.

Aside from German Shepherds, other breeds encounter intensive breeding for idealized aesthetic standards, too. Chihuahuas, for example, are bred to exhibit bigger heads, which makes natural birth difficult for mothers. On the other hand, some types of terriers are bred to have abnormal narrow jaws. This leads to the dog’s difficulty in chewing.

Pregnancy alone poses heath risks to a bitch. This includes infections and blood sugar irregularities. Although back-to back breeding supposedly has shown positive effects, constantly using a bitch to the point of exploitation puts her to more serious risks. Not to mention, it is also unethical.

What can you do to stop these breeding practices?

Adopt, don’t shop
There are thousands of dogs and even cats in animal shelters waiting for a new family. If you really care for dogs, you would not take the route to a pet mall. We must give these dogs the chance to live a happy life and experience how it is to have a loving family. Sometimes, we only acquire a dog because of a particular breed. At times, you can also find purebred dogs at animal shelters. But at the end of it all, whatever breed it is, every dog is beautiful.

Breed responsibly
While this may counter some points of this article, there are those who can’t be stopped from breeding their pets. Before diving into the process, reflect on the purpose of breeding. If it is for commercial purposes, then you should think again.

If you insist on breeding your pets, do it responsibly. Bring your dogs to a veterinarian to ensure that they are healthy to undergo the process of breeding as it can be stressful to them. Also, make sure that they are compatible. If we will not support the results of intensive breeding, the demand of inbred dogs will decrease.

During pregnancy, visit the vet regularly for a safety delivery. When the puppies are out, make sure that you can support them and that they live happily.

Spay and neuter
Spaying and neutering your pets will give them bigger chances of healthier and happier lives. These procedures prevent the growth of mammary tumors and even lessen the risk of developing testicular cancer and other diseases. They also decrease aggression and the desire to roam, and prevent unwanted litter

Support sick dogs
A lot of irresponsible pet owners discard dogs when they exhibit signs of sickness. This should not be the case. Even if your pet is sick, aim to make him feel like he is living a normal life. Talk to your vet about possible treatments that can alleviate pain or cure disease.

As pet owners, it is our responsibility to give our companions a good and happy life, but going above and beyond that should be our aim.

Header photo by Alicia Gauthier on Unsplash

Read more:
This is why AFP puts “aspin” over “imported” breeds for K-9 dogs
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Stand up and report animal cruelty with these steps
Listen up, dog owners: Mutt Meditation is a thing, and you’re going to love it

TAGS: breeding dog problems dogs German Shepherd inbreeding intensive breeding nolisoliph pet