Pugs, Boston Terriers, English, French Bulldogs and many others.. Some of the most adorable dogs due to their smushy, wrinkly faces. Unfortunately, their adorable looks do come with a price. Brachycephalic Syndrome is the reality for flat-faced dogs meaning due to their smushy faces, their mouths and throats are compressed into a smaller space, causing breathing problems especially during times of stress, exercise or high heat.
I know this information will probably go in one ear and out the other because people don’t want to believe the scientific facts about these dogs but buying dogs with short faces is adding to the problem. The more interest there is in these dogs, the more breeders will breed them.
Brachycephalic dogs are barely able to breathe due to narrow nostrils, an elongated soft palate and a large tongue. These things combined cause overheating, sleep apnea and shortness of breath.
When a dog is stressed, over heated or over-exercised, they pant because this is how they cool themselves down. They are unable to sweat like humans do, so they pant. Reasonably, panting heavily when your throat is not large enough to let in the appropriate amount of air is quite difficult, which can lead to serious health problems and can sometimes can be fatal.
If you think about it, dogs are descended from wolves who have very long faces, although throughout hundreds of years of over breeding, the entire structure of the dog has been changed. These short-faced dogs are the complete opposite of the original structure of a wolf and are unnatural, no matter how adorable they are. Their smaller skull structure does not allow for adequate space for proper functionality.
Other Health Problems
Other than the obvious breathing problems with these dogs, which is very easy to recognize due to the heavy breathing and snoring, there are several other health issues that arise from the breeding of them.
Their large heads and narrow pelvises cause birthing problems in which the mother dog more often has to have a c-section and medical help for birthing due to the fact that it is sometimes physically impossible for a natural birth.
Dental crowding is a common occurrence as short-faced dogs still have 42 teeth, just like regular dogs, although they are crammed into a smaller space, which leads to problems of its own.
Eye issues regularly arise due to bulging eyes and small eyelids often resulting in surgery, dry eye and/or blindness.
They are also prone to back and hip issues due to the fact that they often have shortened or disproportionate legs.
What Can Be Done About This?
Firstly, it would be a good idea not to encourage the purchasing of flat-faced dogs, although that is an unrealistic demand from society. People will still always buy them because they are cute and because people like to ignore scientific facts for their own benefit.
If you already have a dog with Brachycephalic Syndrome, do your dog a favour and get them a nice harness instead of a collar because this will help them to be able to breathe better. Make sure they to not get them overheated and keep exercise to moderate level. Also, keeping them from being obese, which is common among these dogs, will help overall to breathe better and not overexert themselves from small tasks.
At some point, dogs with Brachycephalic Syndrome sometimes require surgery where the vet will reduce the elongated soft-palate and often times enlarge the nostrils, helping them to breathe better.
Lastly, if you are set on purchasing a flat-faced dog, please do so from a reputable breeder. Visit the breeder and the parents of the puppies. Listen to their breathing to ensure that they are not overly struggling because this is how the puppies will end up. You don’t want to support a life of suffering for your puppy so attempt to find a breeder who pays attention to these important health issues.
Take Home Message
There are so many adorable types of dogs out there that you can choose from. I know the dogs with the squishy faces are adorable, but purchasing these dogs encourages future breeding of them and demonstrates your acceptance of life-long problems for your dog. It is always best to do your research on a specific breed before committing to buy a dog so I hope this information helped to inform you on the risks and complications of owning a flat-faced dog, otherwise known as a dog with Brachycephalic Syndrome.