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Caring for a Brachycephalic Pet
May 15, 2021

Do you have a brachycephalic pet? Many of our canine companions, including the Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles, English Mastiff, Pekinese, Pug, and Shih Tzu, are brachycephalic. As for our feline friends, the Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese are most likely to be brachys. A local vet discusses caring for a brachy below.

Health Issues

Brachys are adorable, but, as you may know, those cute flat faces come with a price. Brachys often have a hard time getting enough airflow through their nasal passages. This can be quite dangerous, as your pet can easily lose their breath, sometimes after just mild exertion.


There are surgical procedures available to correct two of the common issues caused by brachycephaly: elongated soft palate and malformed nostrils. These problems often lead to snoring, gagging, coughing, difficulty eating, and vomiting. Some brachys will benefit from surgery. Of course, all of our animal companions are different, so this is definitely not an across-the-board recommendation. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice. 


You’ll need to use a harness, rather than a collar, when walking your dog. 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.


Be sure to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Fido and Fluffy are already short of breath: if they are overweight, they may get severely winded after even mild activity. Obesity will make it even harder for your pet to stay active and healthy. 


Overheating is dangerous for any animal, but it’s especially concerning with brachys. Fluffy and Fido can’t sweat, and they can’t cool themselves 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 that they always have fresh water. It’s also best to keep your furry pal safe and sound indoors when it’s really hot outside, in rooms cooled by fans and/or AC. Fido shouldn’t swim, but he may enjoy wading in a kiddy pool, or playing in the spray from a hose or sprinkler. Your furry buddy may also appreciate a cold snack on sweltering days.

Groo  ming

Many brachys have skin folds. These are adorable, but they can collect bacteria. You’ll need to take care 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!