Two bulldogs who struggle to walk in the hot weather are looking for an experienced and understanding home to take them on – and keep them safe.
Four-year-old brothers Bobby and Reggie arrived in RSPCA care in January after their owner’s circumstances changed and they could no longer take care of them.
Kate MacNeill, from Millbrook Animal Centre, in Surrey, where the brothers are being looked after, said: “The boys were quite overweight when they arrived but they’ve managed to shed 10kg between them since then and we’ve been working slowly to improve their fitness.
“However, as brachycephalic breeds with flat faces, they will likely always have breathing and health problems caused due to the extreme way they’ve been bred.
“We’re looking for a special home with experienced and knowledgeable owners who understand the problems this breed can have and is happy to manage this and ensure the boys are monitored closely. They may also need treatment in the future which is likely to be uninsurable so adopters would need to factor this possible cost in too.”
Both dogs have been assessed by a vet who doesn’t recommend surgery at this time. However, the dogs can struggle with airflow during hot weather so new owners will need to be extremely cautious with their exercise during the warmer months.
Staff would like the pair to have access to a private, secure garden to enjoy during warm days when it’s not safe for them to go out for walks.
Reggie has hip dysplasia which will also need to be carefully monitored in his new home and Bobby struggles with allergies which can affect his skin and ears.
Kate added: “They’ve been having frequent baths here at Millbrook and we have to regularly clean their skin folds so they’re certainly high-maintenance but they’re certainly worth it! Bobby and Reggie are very close and love each other to bits. They’re often found sleeping in the same bed using each other as pillows.
“They’re very friendly, sociable dogs who love other dogs and people. They’re cheeky, fun and sweet lads who will make wonderful pets for the right person.”
The brothers would ideally like to be the only pets in their new home but could live with older children. They’re both house-trained and can be left alone for short periods of time.
The RSPCA has launched a new campaign Save Our Breath urging the public not to buy breeds who cannot live normal lives due to the irresponsible way they’ve been selectively bred. It comes as the number of British bulldog puppies being registered with the Kennel Club increased 149%, between 2011 and 2020.
With the surge in demand for pets during lockdown there are fears that more brachycephalic dogs, cats and rabbits will have been bred by breeders resulting in even more sickly animals who require expensive veterinary treatment to help them carry out the simplest of everyday tasks such as walking and playing.
And the RSPCA fears that more of these animals could be abandoned or relinquished to charity as their owners struggle to cope with costly veterinary bills as the cost of living soars.
The Save Our Breath campaign seeks to educate the public about the impact of this type of breeding on dog welfare. The RSPCA would like people to consider getting an alternative breed or consider a crossbreed that has a lower risk of problems.