Flat-faced dogs, which people also know as brachycephalic dogs, are very popular because of their cute faces. The best-known breeds are the Pug, French Bulldog, Shih-Tzu, Pekingese, and the Boston Terrier or the Boxer. However, these extraordinary anatomical features can lead to several health issues; their owners need to give extra care to keep them healthy and happy. Below are the most common health issues of flat-faced dogs:
Due to the flat and wide shape of their skulls, dogs with a crushed nose have compressed upper airways. Their nostrils are narrower, their palate is more extended and softer, and their trachea is tiny. Therefore, they all suffer from obstructive upper respiratory tract syndrome, or brachycephalic syndrome, to a greater or lesser degree.
Thus, it is very common for brachycephalic dogs to have difficulty breathing, which makes them snore, get very sensitive to heat and do not tolerate exercises. These breathing difficulties can turn into respiratory distress and cause syncope/fainting.
Besides, flat-faced dogs are more likely to develop heart failure due to the extra exertion of the heart muscle to try to make up for respiratory failure. In some cases, they might need surgery to increase their life expectancy.
Brachycephalic dogs have shallow orbits, and their eyeballs are not well-adjusted to their heads. Pressure on the back of the head or the leash could easily get their eyes out of their sockets. Emergency surgery would then be necessary to reposition them. You should prefer wearing a harness over the collar.
Also, dogs with crushed noses are prone to eye infections. Their eyes are so large that their eyelids fail to cover their eyeballs when they close fully; this can lead to dry eyes, eye ulcers, irritation, and even blindness.
It can also disrupt the lacrimal ducts and cause constant flow, leaving dark streaks around the eyes. You should clean their eyes on daily basis.
The skin folds these dogs have, increases the risk of skin infections. These folds retain all dirt and moisture, promoting the development of bacteria. An unpleasant odour from the skin is the first sign for skin infection.
Flat-faced dogs have too small mouths to hold 42 teeth, so they tend to twist or even overlap.
Food can then quickly get stuck in the teeth, promoting poor oral health and can even lead to tooth loss. You should give you dog regular dental care. Check step-by-step guide how to clean your dog’s teeth at home.
When female brachycephalic is about to give birth, it is highly recommended to perform a cesarean as the head of the puppies are generally too large to cross the uterus.