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Think twice before getting a flat faced brachycephalic dog- Problems and Solutions!

Think twice before getting a flat faced dog.

Pug, Pekingese, Boston terrier, British Bulldog, French Bulldog. Look here what you getting into.

According to a survey of UK vets, the top three reasons people buy Pugs and other brachycephalic (meaning ‘short’ ‘head’) animals are because of their looks, popularity and high profile on merchandise and across the media Early this year British Veterinary Association urged pet owners not to get a pug or any flat faced dog, because of the multitude of health problem they face.

President of the British Veterinary Association, vet John Fishwick said:
 “Pugs and many other flat-faced dogs have lovely temperaments, but the use of their images on cards and gifts is ‘normalising’ these breeds’ short noses and big eyes which can cause horrendous pain for the animal and prove costly for the owner to treat.

Reasons not to get a flat faced dog

  • These dogs live their whole lives in respiratory distress. Some brachycephalic dogs have trouble breathing while lying down, so they are often sleep deprived. Snoring sound of a pug is another problem.

  • Others develop oesophageal issues such as Megaesophagus which require their owners to feed them in a baby's high chair. 
  • The English Bulldog has the highest incidence of hip dysplasia (72%) of all breeds. Elbow dysplasia is nearly as bad, with 35% dysplastic. 

  • Bulldogs are prone to chronic allergies that cause itchy skin and scratching that can lead to skin infections (hot spots). The folds and wrinkles in their skin trap dirt and moisture, leading to bacterial and yeast infections.

  •  Their exposed eyes are also vulnerable to damage, with about 15% suffering prolapsed third eyelids and many having other types of eye damage. 

  • The dogs are also susceptible to heat stress, exercise intolerance, dental disease, skin infections, and spinal deformities. 

  • Over 80 percent of British bulldogs, Boston terriers, and French bulldogs are delivered by cesarean section because their large heads and narrow pelvises make natural birth virtually impossible. 
  • These dogs have very little genetic diversity in their maternal or paternal lines - they are very inbred.

Just as thought! you will get a pug, no matter what! here is what you should never do to your Pug or flat faced dogs

  1. Pug is a delicate breed and if you have just one then it is good to let him sleep in your bed with you. 
  2. Just let him/her pee right before going to the bed and he/she won’t do again till morning.
  3.  Pugs were meant to be bed-warmer so they enjoy being with us in the bed. It will not only help in creating trust in the early days but also keep them comfortable. 
  4. A pug can catch a cold and heat very easily. Don’t assume that dogs can cope with the weather better than us. DON’T leave your pug out (balcony, terrace, lawn, garden) in direct sunlight EVER. Even short duration like 2–3 minutes can be life-threatening for them. 
  5. Make your home baby-proof+1. Pug will eat any plastic, button, fiber or anything it can swallow instantly. Keep his/her diet in control from the start. 
  6. They get overweight before you know it. Give your pug a few toys, a bed with a little-raised edge. One of my client's pug first finds her soft toy and bring it to bed and then sleep over it.
  7. Don’t give them tomato from the start. They get hooked very easily to it and its harmful for them so just don’t let your taste it at all. 
  8. A daily walk is crucial for them because you can’t put them to a long walk or run and they get overweight quickly so daily walk of 15–20 minutes will keep him/her balanced.
  9.  Keep your pug’s schedule fix. Make a fixed time (and quantity) for lunch, dinner and walk. It keeps them comfortable and makes them feel safe. It has an added benefit that you will notice if your pug is eating less than normal or walk than normal and figure out if anything is wrong with him/her.
  10.  Young pup doesn’t miss their meal but if your pug is older than 2 years and he/she skipped his/her meal then either he is sick (fever or something minor as well) or overfed. So keep a close watch on him for a day. 

Update- Brachycephalic Syndrome 

Brachycephalic airway syndrome includes narrowing of nares, soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules and laryngeal collapse. There is a high incidence of constricted trachea found in brachycephalic dogs that contributes to airway distress.

clinical findings

  1. Brachycephalic breeds suffer from excessive noisy breathing and inspiratory dyspnea.
  2. breathlessness by exercise and augmentation of the ambient temperature. 
  3. Some English Bulldogs have been presented for vomiting not associated with meals. 
  4. An increased frequency of hiatal hernia seems to be present in English Bulldogs with brachycephalic airway syndrome. 


Treatment of brachycephalic syndrome is aimed at removing the airway obstruction where and when possible. 
In the case of hypoplastic tracheas, there is very little that can be definitively achieved. However, stenotic nares, elongated soft palates, and everted laryngeal saccules can all be treated surgically.
Elongated soft palates and stenotic nares are very commonly resected to improve airflow across these structures. Although these are considered fairly simple surgical procedures, the risk of bleeding and aspiration and/or swelling and asphyxiation cannot be ruled out.

Veterinary Cost

The cost of the brachycephalic syndrome depends on the severity of the disease and the measures undertaken to relieve the obstructions within these animals’ airways:
Soft palate resection: $500 to $1,500
Stenotic nares resection: $200 to $1,000
The cost of managing these patients can be impressive over the long term, even when medical and surgical concessions to improve respiratory distress are offered.

Insurance Cover

There are several insurance companies that are ready to cover the expense, some of those are-
Think twice before getting a flat faced brachycephalic dog- Problems and Solutions! Think twice before getting a flat faced brachycephalic dog- Problems and Solutions! Reviewed by Dr_Suranjan_Sarkar on November 17, 2018 Rating: 5

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