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Dog Breeding

Updated: Jun 19


Humans first began housing pets more than 30,000 years ago, utilizing them to help perform their basic needs. Dogs, in particular, were used for hunting, protecting, and herding animals. Today, 66% of United States households own a pet, and they provide a sense of comfort to families. Many people own dogs for pleasure, while others may even own dogs for their personal health. For example, some service dogs are trained to get help when their owner passes out or reduce their owner’s level of stress or anxiety. Dogs do wonders for humans, and sometimes humans ignorantly abuse their control over how their dogs should look.

Dogs come in a variety of different colors and size, so many people tend to choose their dog as if they were choosing a new pair of shoes. They want their dog to have a certain color of fur and eyes, often forgetting that dogs are living mammals. Some people spend thousands of dollars on breeding dogs while using inorganic methods to perfect a dog’s appearance. This results in major effects on the health of these animals.


Dogs in our current day and age are bred for perfection and for the owner’s personal preference. Many families ignorantly overlook the issues breeding has on the animal’s health and on the environment.


 

The Harm of Breeding on Dogs’ Health:


Because humans are very selective about their dog’s physical appearance, they turn to unnatural breeding techniques to obtain their desired dog physique. In return, bred dogs have a higher chance of developing breathing issues, cancer, and blindness. Additionally, these dogs have to live in constant discomfort and usually die earlier in life as compared to an adopted dog.


Brachycephalic dogs are dogs that are bred to have squished and flat faces. As a result, their nostrils are very narrow and they have a difficult time getting oxygen through to their lungs and into their bloodstream. When they go on walks outside, they often get tired very easily, as they do not get enough oxygen inside their bodies.


In addition, dogs that are bred to have floppy ears are prone to develop ear infections or irritations later in their lives. Their floppy ears collect moisture from being droopy, and as the wax inside their ears build up, harmful bacteria expands. Droopy ears also make it difficult for dogs to communicate with other dogs and to express their feelings towards their owners. Dogs use their ears to help convey when they are excited, alert, and stressed. When their ears are perked up and relaxed, this may be a signal that they want to interact or play. Dogs with floppy ears, however, are limited in their ear movement and cannot convey such emotions in that manner.


Besides the health impacts on a bred dog’s head, their bred bodies can also have negative health impacts. For example, dogs who have small hips have difficulty giving birth, which can ultimately require costly surgery or even end their lives. Also, large or heavy dogs are more likely to suffer from heart, digestion, muscle, and joint problems, which leads to discomfort and can be fatal. To add on, dogs with long backs can suffer from crippling deformities and nervous system problems. In addition, like the floppy ears, short tails can make it difficult for dogs to communicate with others, as they cannot wag their tails.


The Harm of Dog Breeding on The Environment:


Puppy mills are inhumane dog breeding facilities that excessively breed puppies for profit and ignore the basic needs of the puppies and their mothers. In the puppy mills, because the pups are neglected by the workers, it is common for dog feces to be left on the ground for long periods at a time. This waste produces methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas, and contributes to climate change. In addition, the pathogens that are in dog feces can combine with the runoff water from rain. This drains into streams and eventually makes its way into major rivers that are sources of public drinking water. In turn, this drinking water can have negative impacts on humans’ health.


According to Oapen, animal breeding is responsible for 14.5% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Half of these emissions emerge directly from animal breeding, and the other half comes from the need to feed the animals.


Because puppy mills strive to make as much money as possible, they breed and produce too many puppies which contributes to pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of dogs end up in animal shelters and the others are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them.


An Alternative to Breeding: Adopting


Pet adoption is the act of transferring responsibility of a pet that was previously owned by someone else. There are many places to adopt an affordable pet, including animal shelters, rescue groups, or previous pet owners.


Adopting, rather than breeding, is more environmentally friendly. By adopting, you are saving resources that would normally go into breeding a dog. On top of that, there is less food waste, as many animal rescue centers rely on food donations to feed their animals.


Adopting from a local shelter is also more sustainable than having to fly to a breeder. In fact, driving, or even biking, to a closer shelter can reduce the amount of fossil fuels released into the atmosphere.


Additionally, adopting from an animal shelter allows for more biodiversity. The dogs at an animal shelter are usually not bred to be a certain type of dog. As a result, this allows for many different varieties of dogs at the shelter who are much healthier. These dogs do not contain as many health defects as bred dogs and are also more affordable. Rescue centers care about dogs’ health and do not care as much about the profit. Adoptive dogs at most shelters will often already have their required vaccinations.


Adopting a dog, compared to buying a bred dog, has many advantages both for the dog’s health and the environment. This way, we can continue to protect and care for our furry friends.


 

Recap:

Today, dogs are bred for perfection and for personal preference. Because humans are very selective about their dog’s physical appearance, they often turn to unnatural breeding techniques to obtain their desired dog’s physique. Because of this, bred dogs have a higher chance of developing health defects. On top of the animal’s health, there are also prolonged issues regarding the environment due to breeding. In the puppy mills, the pups are neglected by the workers, so it is common that dog feces are left on the ground for long periods of time. This waste produces methane, which contributes to climate change.


As an alternative, adopting is more sustainable, as you are saving resources that would normally go into breeding a dog. In addition, there is less food waste, as many animal rescue centers rely on food donations to feed their animals. Adopting a pet is the way to go, as you will save an animal’s life and the environment.


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Author: Priya Connelly


Editor: Charlotte Wang


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