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Caring for a Brachycephalic Pet

May 15, 2021

Do you have a brachycephalic pet? Many of our canine companions are brachycephalic. These include the English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles, English Mastiff, Pekinese, Pug, and Shih Tzu. As for our feline pals, the Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese kitties are most likely to be brachys. A local vet discusses caring for a brachy below.

Health Issues

Brachys are adorable. Unfortunately, as you may know, those cute flat faces come with a price. Brachys often have a hard time getting air through their nasal passages. This can be quite dangerous, as your pet can easily get out of breath, sometimes after just mild exertion. Be careful not to overexert your pet, and don’t encourage them to run or swim.


Some brachys will benefit from surgery. There are operations that can correct two of the common issues caused by brachycephaly: malformed nostrils and elongated soft palate. These problems often lead to respiratory issues, such as shortness of breath, snoring, gagging, coughing, trouble eating, and vomiting. Of course, every pet is different, so you’ll need to ask your veterinarian for more information.


Always use a harness, rather than a collar, on a brachycephalic dog It’s much too easy for collars to cut off your furry friend’s airflow. To be fair, this can happen with any pup. However, it’s extremely common—and dangerous—for brachys.


Be sure to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Fido and Fluffy are already short of breath: if they become overweight, they’ll be panting after even mild activity. Obesity will make it even harder for your pet to get the activity they need to stay fit and healthy.


Many brachys have skin folds. These can collect bacteria, dirt, and oil, which can cause skin problems. You’ll need to keep your pet’s skin clean. Follow your vet’s instructions.


Overheating is dangerous for any pet, but it’s especially concerning with brachys. Fluffy and Fido can’t sweat, and panting won’t cool them down the way it does other dogs and cats. This means that they can get into serious trouble very quickly in hot weather. First and foremost, make sure they always have fresh water. Keep your furry pal safe and sound indoors when it’s really hot out, in rooms cooled by fans and/or AC. Fido shouldn’t be allowed to swim, but he may enjoy wading in a kiddy pool, or playing in the spray from a hose or sprinkler. Your furry buddy may also appreciate a cold treat.

Do you have questions or concerns about brachys? Contact us, your veterinary clinic!

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