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Keeping A Brachycephalic Pup Healthy

January 15, 2023

Did you know that brachycephalic literally means short-headed? If you have a brachycephalic dog, such as a pug, Shih Tzu, or boxer, it’s probably safe to say you’ve got a really cute pooch. Those smooshed in faces are charming! Unfortunately, that aesthetic has some serious downsides. Because of their short air passages, and the structure of their heads, brachycephalic pups are susceptible to several health issues, and do need some extra TLC. A Coral Springs, FL vet discusses brachy care below.

No Swimming

While swimming is a wonderful activity for many dogs, it can be extremely dangerous for brachys. However, Fido  can enjoy splashing around in a sprinkler or kiddy pool, or maybe wading in very shallow water at one of Florida’s many beautiful dog-friendly beaches.

Avoid Overexertion

Brachycephalic pups get winded very easily. Even just running across the room could send Fido into respiratory distress. Don’t let your canine companion overexert himself! 

Watch Fido’s Weight

Brachys tend to be couch potatoes. They’re also unanimously very fond of food. Extra weight can be particularly dangerous for them, as it puts even more strain on their hearts and lungs. Keep Fido at or near his ideal weight!

Climate Control

Overheating is another big issue for brachys. Most dogs cool themselves by panting. However, this isn’t as effective with brachys, because of their short nasal passages. Don’t let your canine buddy get too hot! In summer, keep Fido in climate controlled areas. You may want to get him a cooling mat or vest. (Summer Tip: hang a wet bandana around your dog’s neck on hot days.)

Veterinary Care

Fido should see his vet regularly. Keep an eye out for things like snoring, fatigue, coughing, heavy/extended panting, reluctance to exercise, open-mouthed breathing, gagging, and/or retching. These can be signs of clinical brachycephalic airway syndrome. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these issues.

Eye Care

Many brachys have bulging eyes, which can put them at risk of eye injuries. Pay attention to what you set out at Fido’s eye level. Thorny plants, for instance, can be a hazard. Short pups may also have issues with getting dust in their eyes, just because they’re so low to the ground. Ask your vet for specific care tips.

Do you have questions about caring for a brachycephalic pet? Contact us, your Coral Springs, FL animal clinic!

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