Flat-faced dogs: Cute or cause for concern? - Dr. Marty Becker


Flat-faced dogs: Cute or cause for concern?

Thursday, Jan 21st, 2021 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Pug with toy

Dogs with extremely short muzzles and rounded heads are called brachycephalic, from the Greek words for “short” and “head.” Those features give them an adorable, almost-human expression, but they also bring with them a host of related health challenges.

Bulldogs, boxers, pugs and other brachycephalic breeds often have difficulty breathing after even slight exertion. They drool and snore from one end and produce stinky, gaseous emissions from the other end.

Brachycephalic dogs are notoriously heat intolerant, and their teeth are crammed into a mouth that’s too small, causing dental issues. And those large, round eyes with the endearing expression? They have a tendency to pop out in response to rough play or other head trauma. Facial wrinkles commonly develop infections.

If you have one of these dogs, talk to your veterinarian about ways to help relieve these problems.

There’s more – including the story of the Pomeranians of the hit series Bridgerton – in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.