Brachycephalic Dog Breeds and Health IssuesHere we take a look at brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds and what all pet owners need to understand before investing in these wonderful dogs.

What are Brachycephalic dog breeds?

Brachycephalic dog breeds are certainly popular. In fact, they are some of the most popular dogs on the planet! This is no surprise as the ‘squishy face’ movement has shown how adorable and loving these breeds are.

Brachycephalic breeds are dogs that have a shortened skull, short nose, and a flat face. Because of this, many of these dogs sadly suffer from breathing and other related problems. As a pet parent, you must examine the possible issues your beautiful brachy could experience during their lifetime and be prepared both mentally and financially to support any medical issues that may occur with your furry friend.

 The most popular of the Brachy breeds include:

  • French bulldog
  • Boxer
  • Pug
  • Cavalier King Charles
  • English Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • American Bulldog
  • Mastiff
  • Shih Tzu
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Japanese Chin
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pekingese
Brachycephalic Dog Breeds and Health Issues

source: Oakhill Vets

Common conditions:

  • BOAS – upper airway problems
  • Cherry Eye Surgery
  • Umbilical hernia repairs
  • Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD)
  • Skin Diseases
  • Patella Luxations (kneecap dislocation)
  • Otitis Externa (ear canal inflammation)
  • Eye Conditions
  • Heatstroke
  • obesity

In addition to the conditions mentioned above, brachycephalic breeds may also suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition in which the hip joint is malformed, leading to discomfort and arthritis. Another common condition is elongated soft palate, in which the soft palate becomes too long and obstructs the airway, causing breathing difficulties. Some brachycephalic breeds may also develop eye problems such as corneal ulcers, dry eye, and entropion, a condition in which the eyelid turns inward, causing irritation to the eye.

It is important to note that not all brachycephalic dogs will develop these conditions, but being aware of the possible health issues that may arise can help pet parents take necessary precautions. Regular veterinary checkups and consultations with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about brachycephalic breeds can help identify and treat any health issues early on.

Keeping your Brachy healthy

As with all dogs, keeping your pet in their correct weight range is vital. The pet foodies at Pet Food Sherpa explain, “With brachycephalic breeds, it is incredibly important to help keep them in a healthy weight range and prevent further breathing strain. Obesity can make brachycephalic problems much worse, so speak to your vet about a suitable diet plan if your pooch could lose some weight.” 

It’s also important not to over-exercise your dog. This is particularly important on hot summer days. With such short lovely noses, brachy breeds can struggle to cool themselves by panting and can overheat quickly. Exercise your beloved pup first thing in the morning, or after the sun has gone down. For many smaller brachy breeds, a good play session in a cool house will suffice over these hot months.

In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding over-exercising, it is important to provide brachycephalic breeds with a comfortable living environment. These dogs are sensitive to temperature changes and may struggle to regulate their body temperature in extreme weather conditions. Providing them with a cool living environment, such as air conditioning or a fan, can help keep them comfortable. It is also important to keep their living space clean and free from dust and other irritants that may exacerbate their respiratory problems.

Again, like with all dogs, never leave your pet alone in a stationary car for any amount of time, just as you shouldn’t leave a dog in the dark for an extended period of time. Research shows that even on cooler and overcast days your car can heat up very quickly. This sudden heat can cause irreversible damage to your pup. Studies have proven that even cracking the windows and parking in the shade will not make any difference to the rising temperature inside your car. 

Finally, it is important to provide brachycephalic breeds with mental stimulation. These dogs are intelligent and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Interactive toys, food puzzles, and training sessions can all help keep your brachy engaged and mentally stimulated.

Symptoms of distress

If you notice any of these symptoms in your brachy, seek veterinary treatment quickly:

  • Distressed breathing
  • Constant snorting/sneezing
  • Labored breathing

Final thoughts

Brachycephalic Dog Breeds and Health IssuesBracy dogs are beautiful breeds, you just need to ensure you keep them at a healthy weight, think twice before flying with them and make sure they have regular check-ups. 

Good breeding is very important when considering these breeds. Puppy-farming situations can accelerate the common medical issues that can leave you with a very expensive, very sick puppy. Always ask to view the parents of your puppy and talk to the breed club to ensure you are buying your pup from a good reputable source who produces sound and healthy pups.

The other thing to consider is pet insurance to help cover any possible issues later in life. Pet insurance companies find that many of these breeds are some of the most popular in their books. Insurance can be an affordable way to help with medical issues that may arise. Just ensure there are no pre-existing conditions. For example, if your pet is showing symptoms of any of the below conditions before you take out insurance, you may not be covered. Getting insurance cover at the 8-week mark can help prevent this and is advised for all brachycephalic breeds.

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