French Bulldog

Watch Out for Special Issues with Flat-Faced Dogs

In Dog Behavior, Dog CPR, dog daycare owner, dog training, dog walker, pet care professional, pet cpr, Pet Death, Pet First Aid, Pet Industry, Pet Safety, Summer pet safety, Travel with pets by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

Pro Pet Hero Instructor Director and Master Pet First Aid/CPR Instructor 

Brachycephalic Breeds

Labrador retrievers with their lovable natures continue ranking No. 1 in popularity among all dog breeds by the American Kennel Club. But look over your shoulder, Lab. The adorable French Bulldog is gaining in popularity, landing the runner-up spot for the past three years. And also rising in the ranks are the American bulldog (6th) and the Boxer (14th).

But with the popularity rising for Frenchies, bulldogs, boxers and other flat-faced dogs, comes the need to recognize the special health challenges they face, especially as the summer enters into full gear.

By definition, brachycephalic breeds are dogs who sport short muzzles, flattened faces, narrow nostrils and smaller airways than dogs with standard-sized muzzles. Their skulls are wide and short and their smooshy faces are steadily winning over more people looking to adopt dogs. 

Here is a rundown of brachycephalic breeds:

* Affenpinscher

* Boston terrier

* Boxer

* Brussels Griffon

* Bullmastiff

* Cane Corso

* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

* Chinese Shar Pei

* Chow Chow

* Dogue de Bordeaux

* English Bulldog

* English Toy Spaniel

* French Bulldog

* Japanese Chin

* Lhasa Apso

* Pekingese

* Pug

* Shih Tzu


Heat Issues in Flat-Faced Dogs

Soaring temperatures can cause heat issues, including heatstroke, in any dog who is outside and exposed too long to the sun. But brachycephalic breeds, due to their flat faces and narrow airways, are especially at risk for heat stress.

Keep in mind that all dogs do not have the skin pores people have to sweat to dissipate heat. Dogs must rely on panting and sweating through their paw pads to try to dissipate heat in their bodies. But flat-faced dogs have more difficulty moving enough air with each breath than other dogs to try to drop their body core temperatures.

Recognize early signs of heat issues. These dogs will be panting heavily with drooping tongues. Their gums will be bright red and sticky. They may stagger when walking or sit and refuse to continue walking. 

Be preventive by keeping tabs on their breathing when they are on a vigorous walk or doing any exercise. Avoid taking them on walks during the heat of the day and stick with short outings in the morning or evening hours. Provide them plenty of cool water. 

Brachycephalic breeds definitely sport a captivating look that appeals to many dog lovers. By recognizing their special health challenges, you can help your flat-faced dog live a long and healthy life. 

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