What do French bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and Shih Tzus have in common? It is not just that they consistently rank among the American Kennel Club’s most popular breeds. These dog breeds are brachycephalic, which means “short-headed” in Greek. Brachycephalic dog breeds (also called flat-faced or snub-nosed dogs) have buggy eyes, squished faces, and scrunched-up noses.
With their baby-like features and small size, Brachycephalic dog breeds are incredibly cute. The problem is, breeding dogs to have miniature muzzles and shorter skulls can cause many health problems.
Want to add a brachycephalic dog breed to your family? Once your beautiful four-legged friend arrives, you will need to take special precautions to keep your snub-nosed dog happy and healthy. In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we discuss everything you need to know about taking care of flat-faced dogs.
French bulldogs and bulldogs have ranked in the AKC’s top 5 most popular breeds for the last four years. As of writing in mid 2021, frenchies are considered the second most popular dog in the United States! Seven snub-nosed breeds were also listed in the top 35 most popular dog breeds in 2020. These popular dog breeds include:
A 2020 study by the Royal Veterinary College found that first-time pet parents preferred brachycephalic dog breeds because they are low maintenance and require less exercise. Flat-faced dogs are also popular family companions and apartment dwellers.
While brachycephalic dog breeds have a shortened nose and upper jaw, they still have the same amount of tissue as dogs with longer snouts. The extra tissue gets squeezed into a shorter space, so there is no room for air to move around. This causes brachycephalic airway syndrome.
Brachycephalic airway syndrome is an umbrella term that describes four upper airway conditions. A brachycephalic dog usually has 3-4 of these conditions at the same time. They are:
Most brachycephalic dog breeds are at risk of developing brachycephalic airway syndrome, but English bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers are the most vulnerable. According to a 2015 study, the majority of dogs are diagnosed with brachycephalic airway syndrome by 12 months of age. The clinical signs and symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome are:
“I THINK MY DOG HAS BRACHYCEPHALIC AIRWAY SYNDROME. WHAT SHOULD I DO?”
Visit your regular veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog has mild or intermittent brachycephalic airway syndrome, your veterinarian will most likely recommend a weight loss program and ways to avoid heat, humidity, and stress.
If your dog has severe brachycephalic airway syndrome, he may need a stenotic nares resection. This can cost anywhere from $200-$1,000 and involved your veterinarian widening your dog’s nostrils. Your dog may also need a soft palate resection that costs between $500 and $1,500. During this procedure, your veterinarian will remove extra tissue at the back of your dog’s throat.
If your dog is gasping for air or has a bluish tongue, immediately rush him to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.
Here are some simple tips to help you reduce the symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome and protect your dog's health.
"CAN BRACHYCEPHALIC SYNDROME BE PREVENTED?"
There is no "cure" for brachycephalic airway syndrome since causes are attributed to physical traits: miniature muzzles and shorter skull. With that said, the above tips can significantly enhance your brachycephalic dog's health and reduce symptoms of the syndrome.
If you have any specific questions about your brachycephalic dog's health and wellbeing or think he or she may be suffering from brachycephalic airway syndrome, please visit or speak with your licensed veterinarian.
We hope you found this DJANGO Dog Blog article useful! Do you have a brachycephalic dog breed? Has your dog had any health issues? Don't hesitate to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
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Need some holiday gift ideas for the dog parent in your life? Looking for the perfect present for a pandemic puppy or a frosty-faced senior dog?
We have rounded up the best gifts for dog lovers and dogs this year, including luxury dog accessories, "pawesome" household accessories, drool-worthy dog food and dog treats, and epic monthly dog toy subscription boxes. Our present picks are based on our own bestsellers, consumer reports, customer reviews, and product testing.
What is been missing from dog diets ever since we started feeding them processed pet foods? Naturally occurring probiotics from whole foods, says Dr. Ian Billinghurst, the father of biologically appropriate, ancestral nutrition for dogs. Thirty years ago, he taught us about the evolutionary diet for dogs with his book, Give Your Dog a Bone. He also famously coined the term “BARF” (Biologically Appropriate RAW Food).
In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we host Dr. Billinghurst and Rob Ryan, the founder of GussysGut.com for a conversation on good bacteria. Dr. Billinghurst and Rob Ryan also address why relying on probiotic supplements may not be the best long-term answer for our pups.
While interviewing Dr. Ian Billinghurst, the father of the raw dog food movement, we discovered he is the senior advisor to Gussy's Gut. Dr. Billinghurst came out of retirement to create the dog supplement company which produces a fermented and probiotic rich dog superfood topper called “Daily”. He’s called the product “the single most important upgrade to canine nutrition in over 25 years.”
They source the highest quality and most responsibly-sourced organic ingredients. The supplement is made from 19 superfoods that come from biodynamic, grass-fed, organic, and regenerative farms.
Unlike raw vegetables, fermented foods like Gussy's Gut are easier for dogs to digest and their nutrients are more accessible to them. Studies show that dogs regularly given fermented foods often have fewer allergies, better blood sugar levels, and healthier stools.
If you are considering adding a high-quality dog food topper to your pup's diet, or if you simply want to better understand the canine health benefits of fermented foods, this DJANGO Dog Blog article is for you. Here is our comprehensive overview of Gussy's Gut, the freeze-dried, probiotic rich dog food topper.