AN ANIMAL charity is warning against buying and breeding flat-faced dogs after a pug was admitted to their rehoming centre needing life-saving surgery.

The pug, called Cole, was recently given to the Blue Cross rehoming centre in Thirsk suffering from breed-related serious health issues.

His snout was so flat that folds of skin on his nose risked infecting his eyes and he could only breathe in brief, panting snorts.

Cole's condition was so serious he was admitted as soon as possible to the charity’s animal hospital in Grimsby for surgery to widen his nasal passages and allow more air through his tiny nostrils and nasal passages.

Flat-faced dogs, cats and rabbits have been deliberately bred to have a shorter upper jaw and so they have shorter muzzles.

The Northern Echo:

Flat-faced dogs can suffer from a multitude of health problems Picture:

However, they have the same amount of skin and soft tissue around their mouth, nose and throat as other breeds which means airways can become blocked, making it even harder for them to breathe.

William Lamping, centre manager at Blue Cross in Thirsk said: “When we took Cole in for rehoming it was immediately clear he was having a terrible time trying to breathe normally.

"Flat faced dogs can particularly suffer in warmer weather and even when resting Cole couldn’t get enough air and was forced to resort to heavy, exhausting snorts to catch his breath.

"Although some might think this panting is ‘cute’ we know the reality and how much distress he was in not being able to breathe.”

Since the operation, Cole has made a full recovery and is now able to breathe more easily although still struggles after the smallest amount of exercise.

He is now in a loving home.

Mr Lamping said: “We know breeds like pugs and French bulldogs are incredibly fashionable at the moment, but for anyone thinking of taking one on, we would warn them that expensive, extensive surgery is often needed to help these breeds just to breathe.

"These breeds also have a multitude of other health issues associated with their breed that will usually need veterinary attention.”

The Northern Echo:

It isn't just flat-faced dog breeds that can suffer, cats and rabbits are also being bred with health problems

Flat-faced breeds are more prone to heart and eye problems, teeth decay and gum disease because they have the same number of teeth crammed into a much smaller jaw, skin and ear problems due to the extra folds of skin around their face and narrowed ear canals and neurological problems because of their compressed skull shape.

Blue Cross recommends boycotting the trend for these breeds and choosing a healthier breed or, even better, visiting a rescue centre where you will receive top advice about the best type of dog for you.