The BBC's brand new series, Pooch Perfect, is set to launch on Thursday night – but already it has caused quite a stir. Hosted by Sheridan Smith, the show sees dogs undergo makeovers in the hunt to find the best dog groomer in the country. But following the release of the trailer, a number of people have expressed their concern about the premise of the programme.
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The teaser shows one dog with bright blue ears after having its fur dyed by one of the 16 professional groomers. Unsurprisingly, it hasn't gone down well with animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, which has shared its worry that viewers could see dogs as "fashion accessories".
VIDEO: Watch the trailer for Pooch Perfect
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines told HELLO!: "The RSPCA is very pleased that there was a veterinarian and an animal welfare consultant involved early on in the production and present throughout the filming. This specific expertise is critical in helping safeguard the welfare of animals used in these types of programmes.
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"Grooming is an essential part of responsible dog ownership and we look forward to the inclusion of information within the programme highlighting how this can impact on a dog’s health and happiness such as their movement, how easily they can see and breathe, and how they stay cool.
The show has come under fire ahead of its launch
"However, we are disappointed that elements of the show focus so much on the aesthetics of grooming. Sadly, the importance of dogs' appearances has already come at the expense of dog welfare and many breeds now suffer from serious health conditions as a result of the way they've been bred to look a certain way. It’s important that programmes like this do not further perpetuate the idea that dogs are ours to objectify and treat as toys or fashion accessories."
The BBC has since defended the new show. "Throughout the filming of Pooch Perfect, the care and wellbeing of the dogs was of the upmost importance," a spokesperson confirmed.
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"On set we had an RSPCA approved Animal Welfare Consultant, a Grooming Consultant, and a Vet, to ensure that we put every precaution in place to keep the dogs safe and well.
Pooch Perfect airs on 7 January on BBC One at 8pm
"Every owner was asked if they were happy for their dogs to have some temporary colour put on them. When colour was used it was kept to a minimum, it washed out almost immediately and was only used in the minority of challenges to demonstrate specific areas of skill and creativity.
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"All the products used were animal safe and temporary and they were used by professional groomers who have great experience of handling and managing dogs."
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