DEAR DR. FOX: I work with the MarketWatch Guides team, and I saw that you included some information about French bulldogs on your website (drfoxonehealth.com/post/recovering-canine-health-and-the-natural-dog). While French bulldogs are known for their cuteness and companionship, it's important that consumers understand the costs involved in owning one, including breeding fees, standard vet trips and breed-specific medical expenses.
MarketWatch created a free resource about owning a Frenchie. It includes an in-depth overview, costs to expect, potential health issues to look out for and general facts about the breed. You can check out the guide at: marketwatch.com/picks/guides/insurance-services/french-bulldog-cost.
I thought it could be helpful for your readers. -- K.W., Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR K.W.: I am saddened that the most popular purebred dog in the U.S. is now the French bulldog. This breed is being unethically propagated by breeders for profit, fueled by demand from an uninformed public and from those who ignore the breed's multiple genetic defects. These defects can mean a life of reduced activity, suffering and costly veterinary treatments.
I see that your company also suggests pet health insurance, which, in my opinion, needs close reading (as per another entry on my website: drfoxonehealth.com/post/pet-health-insurance-and-corporatization-of-companion-animal-veterinary-services).
Your informative details about the various health problems of French bulldogs needs to be corrected since you indicate a greater longevity for the breed than is actually true. They are the most short-lived of all purebred dogs, according to the detailed study "Life tables of annual life expectancy and mortality for companion dogs in the United Kingdom" by K.T. Teng et al (published in Scientific Reports, April 2022). The study found that the longest-lived breed is the Jack Russell terrier (12.72 years) and that the French Bulldog is the shortest (4.53 years).
It should be noted that "Frenchies" are generally produced by artificial insemination since the males are too physically compromised to breed normally. Then the mothers usually need a caesarean section since the pups' heads are too large for normal delivery.
There are many people who enjoy caring for dogs with chronic, inherited health issues and who will purchase replacements of the same breed when their dogs expire. This is indicative of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which enables the continued breeding and sales of these poor animals.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have been doing kitten rescue and adoptions for several years now, and always insist that adopters take two kittens rather than one. Two together just do better. But many people think having just one is best because the kitten will bond better with them. Can you please set the record straight on this issue? -- J.G., Minneapolis
DEAR J.G.: I have been advocating for many years what you put into practice: Always adopt littermate kittens, or a mother and one of her kittens. Get them vaccinated, neutered and microchipped for ID purposes, and cats must be indoors-only.
Many cats do suffer separation anxiety when alone. If there are two cats, they can care for each other, play, groom and comfort each other when their owners are away at work all day.
My maxim is that two cats living together are happier and healthier than single cats who have only human contact.
BOOK REVIEW: 'WHAT AN OWL KNOWS'
"What An Owl Knows: The New Science of the World's Most Enigmatic Birds," by Jennifer Ackerman, hardcover to be released June 13.
This encyclopedic, monumental paean to the owls of the world is almost as remarkable as the world-spanning raptor family itself. Integrating the latest scientific findings about their behavior, brains and ecology, as well as cultural attitudes and mythology, Ackerman ultimately confronts us with a call to save these birds and all that sustains them -- and us -- from the Anthropocene extinction crisis that is upon us now.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)