Flat-faced or brachycephalic dog breeds are those with a shortened skull and muzzle. These include popular dogs like the Bulldog, Pug, Boston terrier and Boxer. While these dogs may have an adorable “smushed” face, they often suffer from a number of health problems due to their unique anatomy. In this article, we will explore some of the most common conditions affecting flat-faced dogs as well as ways to prevent and care for them.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome
One of the most common conditions seen in flat-faced dogs is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). This occurs when the dog’s soft palate is too long and floppy, causing it to obstruct the airway. This can lead to difficulty breathing, snoring, and even sleep apnea. BOAS is a progressive condition, meaning it will get worse over time. Sadly, there is no cure for BOAS and it can be fatal if left untreated. However, there are a number of surgical options available to help alleviate the symptoms and improve the dog’s quality of life.
Another condition that is common in flat-faced dogs is “cherry eye.” This occurs when the gland that produces tears ruptures and prolapses, or pops out of place. The result is a red, swollen mass on the dog’s eyeball. While cherry eye is not painful, it can lead to serious problems if left untreated, including blindness. Surgery is the only treatment for cherry eye and it is important to have it done as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage.
Dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is another condition that can affect flat-faced dogs. This occurs the dog’s tear glands do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated. This can lead to a number of problems, including inflammation, infection, and ulcers on the cornea. Treatment for dry eye typically includes artificial tears and ointments as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.
Entropion is a condition that affects the eyelids, causing them to roll inward. This can be painful and irritating for the dog as well as cause ulcers on the cornea. Surgery is usually required to correct entropion and it is important to have it done as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the eye.
Cataracts are a common condition in senior dogs of all breeds, but they seem to occur more frequently in flat-faced breeds. Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy, resulting in decreased vision. Surgery is the only way to treat cataracts and it is important to have it done as soon as possible to avoid permanent blindness.
Patellar luxation is a condition that affects the kneecap, causing it to slip out of place. This can be painful and may require surgery to correct. Flat-faced dogs are more prone to patellar luxation due to their shortened limbs.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint and elbow dysplasia is a condition that affects the elbow joint, causing it to be malformed. They can be painful and may require surgery or other treatment to manage. Flat-faced dogs are more likely to develop hip and/or elbow dysplasia due to their shortened limbs.
The best way to prevent health problems in flat-faced pups is to find responsible breeders who do health testing on their dogs. This will help ensure that you are getting a healthy pup and not one with pre-existing health conditions. It is also important to take your doggo for regular checkups with the veterinarian and to have any suspicious symptoms checked out as soon as possible.
Flat-faced dogs require special care to avoid health problems. They should not be overexerted in hot weather as they are more prone to heat stroke. They should also not be allowed to get too cold as they are more susceptible to respiratory infections. It is important to keep their faces clean and free of debris to prevent irritation and infection. Their wrinkles should be cleaned regularly and dried thoroughly to avoid skin infections. Flat-faced dogs may also benefit from the use of humidifiers in their home during the winter months to help keep their airways moist.
Squishface Wrinkle Wipes and Squishface Wrinkle Paste are a great combo when it comes to keeping your Flat-faced pup's skin folds, toes, tail pocket, face wrinkles clean and fresh while removing tear stains while helping soothe itchiness. Check out our FAQ section for more information on our products.
The Bottom Line
While flat-faced dogs can be prone to health problems, they can still enjoy long, happy lives with the proper care. Be sure to follow us on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for the latest on all things Squishface!