Consistent with the view that pets are being seen more and more as members of the family is the fact that Hollywood, in a seemingly ever increasing fashion, is creating movies with dogs and cats as principals. This year has been no different. Of recent note is Disney Pictures’ “The Game Plan“, which was released in late September of this year and will be offered on DVD in early 2008. For those of you who have already seen it in the theatres, you will know that the main character owns a bulldog named Spike, who is affably subjected to wearing a tutu, having his nails painted, and appearing covered in bubbles. Indeed, Spike is almost assured of “taking the biscuit” for being the cutest and most endearing dog or cat in cinemas this year – and definitely arm-twisting material for children looking to ask Mom and Dad for a new family member this holiday season.
No doubt, the launch of “The Game Plan” also triggered alarm bells in the animal welfare community over concerns that unprepared parents may be convinced to purchase a bulldog as a new family pet, based on the depiction of “bulldog life” in the movie. These concerns are understandable, given the experiences of humane organizations following the release of 101 Dalmatians some years ago.
According to Petfinder.com, 101 Dalmatians immediately prompted a significant increase in the purchase and registration of Dalmatians in North America. However 6-9 months later, as the cute spotted puppies grew into rambunctious dogs requiring a significant amount of attention and exercise, many new Dalmatian owners conceded defeat and surrendered their dogs to the care of animal welfare organizations. (Reference)
Since that time, efforts have been made to avoid similar situations and while these efforts have met with a degree of success, leaders in the animal welfare community remain cautious with the release of each new animal focused children’s film. (Reference)
If the 6-month lag period holds true in the case of The Game Plan, then it is possible that we may see an increase in bulldog surrenders to animal welfare organizations starting as early as the second quarter of next year. While these bulldogs are unlikely to be abandoned by their new owner due to excessive exercise demands (bulldogs being less energetic than most other breeds), or their personalities (bulldogs are recognized as good family pets), their health requirements may make them an expensive pet choice for some.
Bulldogs are prone to a variety of hereditary defects and the strict breed guidelines for bulldogs make them a high maintenance dog which is likely to require numerous visits to the veterinarian. Historically speaking ShelterCare Pet Insurance has paid out more than two major claims for each insured bulldog on average, with the ten most common problems being:-
- Skin Problems
- Allergies and Allergic Reactions
- Gastro-Intestinal Problems, including organs secondary to system.
- Eye Problems
- Uro-genital Problems
In the event that your organization does find itself the unexpected recipient of unwanted bulldogs in 2008, it will be important to inform the adopters of their dog’s health requirements to ensure that they do not become return visitors. Click here for a downloadable information sheet about bulldogs.
As is the case with all dogs, it is important to ensure that your new adopters extend their ShelterCare 30-day Gift coverage into an annual policy as soon as possible. Extending within the 30-day gift period will allow them to benefit from a $8.95 credit towards their new policy and will ensure that there is no interruption in their coverage.
The Pethealth Family
Read Full Post »