Getting a new puppy or kitten is such an exciting time for any family and should be the start of a beautiful, long friendship. Picking a breed can be difficult and is sometimes a choice made on an impulse because a certain look or character seems to be just what you want. Sadly, a snap decision can turn into heartache if the breed you pick doesn’t suit your lifestyle or has health issues that you didn’t know about.
Some breeds of dogs and cats have body shapes that are not healthy and can cause a lifetime of discomfort. Selective breeding has produced features like short faces, tiny legs, long backs, huge ears and lots of skin wrinkles. Some breeds also have high levels of inherited disease like heart problems. These unnatural exaggerations and inherited issues can not only mean big bills and frequent visits to the vet but also a less than ideal life for your pet.
This book will help you avoid the breeds most affected by health problems. We look at what Mother Nature and evolution picked for cats and dogs compared to what man has done through breeding. Hopefully you will start to see these odd body shapes not as normal for a breed, but as unhealthy changes to our beautiful cats and dogs. We’ll also look at how you can try to find the best breeder possible and avoid the likes of puppy farmers who care more about money than their animals.
Somewhere out there, a puppy or kitten is waiting to become a cherished part of your family and I hope this book will help you find the right one. Dogs and cats are wonderful animals and enrich our lives so let’s try and make sure that they are as healthy and happy as possible.
Michaela Strachan, TV wildlife presenter –
I have been so shocked at what I’ve learned from Emma and her book. We have turned many pedigrees into freak shows, unable to breathe, give birth, walk properly, or even fit their brains into their heads! It’s hideous and it has to stop. Our pets should be companions not accessories designed to look cute, pretty, fluffy, fragile, funny. It’s a world gone mad. If you love animals and care about their welfare, I urge you to read Emma’s book before you get a pet so you can be sure you’re not adding to the cruelty of in-breeding a designer animal. My advice, go for an adopted mongrel, as I call them, pavement specials! I did and she’s the most amazing companion.
Dr Pete Wedderburn, Daily Telegraph Vet –
Emma has written the definitive guide to choosing a healthy puppy or kitten. She explains the evidence behind their health problems in a clear way that will be easily understood by new buyers and then outlines the easiest way to find a pet that will likely go on to become a healthy, long-lived, adult. If you are considering getting a new puppy or kitten, make sure you read this book first.
Peter Egan, Actor and Animal Welfarist –
I have become a bit of a “purist” when it comes to the animals in my life. I’ve been rescuing dogs for over 20yrs. All of them were discarded for one reason or another because of the careless attitude of those in our society who regard dogs or cats as property, the idea of ownership is a difficult one for me, it gives to the person, who owns the animal, rights which I do not agree with. They have the right to discard their animal if they don’t want it anymore, or if it no longer suits their lifestyle. It’s why I resist the term pet. My commitment to all animals in my life is complete. They are members of my family. I wouldn’t refer to my child as a pet nor do I refer to my animals as such.
So when it comes to choosing a dog or cat, pedigree, for me, is not a priority. If, however it were, I couldn’t recommend Emma Milne’s book more highly. If you are going to choose a pedigree know as much about the problems of making this choice as you can, it’s all here in this book and will inform your choice. I think it’s also good to know yourself; why are you choosing a certain pedigree, what are you asking of this animal in relation to your lifestyle? One thing which always amazes me is just how much animals have enriched my life. Their power to give is boundless and their power to forgive inspiring. They deserve the best from us. Give it to them by knowing them better.
Lord Black of Brentwood, Patron, International Cat –
Having a cat or a dog as part of your life is such a special, life-enhancing joy. They bring with them huge happiness, inspire unqualified love and deliver intense companionship. They enrich our lives in the way nothing else can. We owe them just one thing in return; to ensure we care for them, look after their needs and make sure they live long and happy lives. And that means not owning a pet that has been born to suffer, and which is simply a fashion accessory. There can be no excuse for choosing such an animal and perpetuating this trade in cruelty. Emma’s comprehensive guide tells you everything you need to know about owning a pet which will be happy and healthy, and give you so much love in return. It is a must read – especially if you have ever been tempted by a designer cat or dog.
This book is excellent! It is backed by science and is an easy and incredibly interesting read. Welfare of our pets should be a priority and this book has really helped me to understand what features / formations / characteristics to look out for – in a practical way.