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Caring for a Brachycephalic Pet

May 1, 2021

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

 Health Issues

One thing all Brachys have in common? They’re absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, as you may know, those cute flat faces come with a price. Brachys often have a hard time getting enough air through their short nasal passages. This can be quite dangerous, as they can easily get out of breath, sometimes after just mild exertion. These guys should not be encouraged to run or play too much, and they need to be kept cool when it’s hot out.


There are procedures that can correct two of the common issues caused by brachycephaly: elongated soft palate and malformed nostrils. These problems often lead to snoring, gagging, coughing, trouble eating, and vomiting. Some brachys will benefit from having surgery. Of course, every pet is different, so this is definitely not an across-the-board recommendation. Ask your veterinarian for more information.


Overheating is dangerous for any animal, but it’s especially concerning with brachys. Fluffy and Fido can’t sweat, and can’t cool themselves down by panting as efficiently as other dogs and cats can. These guys can get into serious trouble very quickly in hot weather. First and foremost, make sure they always have plenty of fresh water. It’s also best to keep your furry pal safe and sound indoors, in rooms cooled by fans and/or AC, on scorching days. Fido shouldn’t swim, but he may enjoy splashing around in a kiddie pool, or playing in the spray from a hose or sprinkler. Your furry buddy may also appreciate a cold treat.


You’ll need to use a harness, rather than a collar, on your cute pet. It’s much too easy for collars to cut off your furry friend’s airflow. This can happen with any pup, but it’s extremely common—and dangerous—for brachys. As for kitties, keep Fluffy safe and sound indoors.


Keep your four-legged buddy at a healthy weight. Fido and Fluffy are already short of breath: if they get overweight, they’ll be panting after even mild activity. Obesity will make it even harder for your pet to get the activity they need.


Many brachys have skin folds on their faces, which give them those adorable expressive looks. These can collect bacteria, so you’ll need to keep your pet’s skin clean. Follow your vet’s instructions.

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

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