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Science Says This Dog Breed May Soon Be Extinct

Science Says This Dog Breed May Soon Be Extinct

Behind those adorable wrinkly faces, pushed in nose and squat bodies, the English bulldog is suffering in silence, and it may well be too late to save them – new research suggests.

According to the study published July 28, in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, this dog breed is currently one of the unhealthiest creatures today walking on four legs because of its very low genetic diversity. The English bulldog is so deformed; they die young from physical and genomic abnormalities. The bulldog’s genome have been altered to create the breeder’s desired outward appearance, causing significant loss of genetic diversity in the region responsible for normal immune responses.

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What pet owners see as adorable and unique looks are really disabilities which have not have been highlighted. Niels Pederson, the study leader, and veterinary researcher at the University of California believes that there is little ‘wiggle room’ left to make additional genetic change for the breed to survive. “In our estimation, it will be difficult, and possibly impossible, to back off and reverse breed in the dogs,” says Pedersen.

Living in Disability

Brachycephalic dog breeds like the English bulldog have health problems that hinder them from functioning well. These dogs have tiny nostrils and windpipes which make it difficult for them to breathe and cool off through panting – a discomfort that increases the chances of bulldogs’ death by heatstroke during extreme temperatures. The only way to address this is through surgery and may even be dangerous if the dog’s airway is beyond the reach of laser or scalpel.

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The bulldog is laden with serious respiratory problems resulting to frequent fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Their wrinkly facial skin is prone to infection of yeast and bacteria. Their jaws are too short for their teeth, causing crooked growth and faster tooth decay. These docile, friendly creatures have bones and joints that are too short and malformed; they can’t give birth normally and are almost unlikely to live past the age of five.

The Dark Side of Breeding Dogs

Humans have been breeding dogs to highlight certain traits for more than a thousand years. Dogs were usually bred to highlight traits for hunting or better temperament for companionship. It used to be a good thing, until only two centuries ago, after the popularity of dog shows. Since then, dogs have been selectively inbred to have specifically desired physical features.

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It was believed that during fierce dog show competitions, many owners started ‘faking’ their dog’s appearance to make them look more desirable. They would trim the dog’s ears, color their coats, and shape their heads or bodies as to make them look bigger, more elongated, or smaller. As a result, many of these purebred dogs have inherited diseases and health issues from their ancestors including hip dysplasia, dislocations, and physical deformities.

The problem gets worse when breeders are not doing anything to better the health of these animals. According to experts, many of these breeders knew about the health complications caused by selective inbreeding dogs with unhealthy genes. They were simply unconcerned about the future of the animal, and prioritized breeding the traits that looked consistent with the “breed standard”.

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Is There Any Hope Left for the English bulldog?

Years of inbreeding have practically brought doom to the breed, and these unforeseen flaws may remain forever unchangeable. However, scientists believe there is still a way to save the breed, and it will include cross-breeding – a process that will alter the physical appearance of our short and stout bulldogs.

This is the only way to make sure that these dogs will survive and not end up becoming grotesque and deformed to the point of extinction. “Breeders have to realize they have a problem,” says Pedersen.

Bulldogs are wonderful pets that have brought joy and love to us for over so many years. From guarding our properties, helping us overcome depression, and simply being loyal companions – they have saved our lives in many ways. It’s time we pay them back and help them overcome this challenge. To save the breed and ensure that they live a longer and healthier life, pet owners must put the animal’s health first before their preference for consistency and looks.

Featured photo credit: Meredith Hunter via hd.unsplash.com

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Armela Escalona

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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