Dog and Cat Boarding & Grooming for Cumming - North Fulton - Canton : 678-455-9199

by Allison Blair

Summertime is nearly here! Though it’s still a little chilly in some parts of the country, spring is in full-swing. As amazing as these warmer months are, they can be tough on some dogs, and we see dozens of videos of short-snout dogs every year breathing like they’ve never gotten air before. It’s upsetting, and what’s more, completely preventable.

Dogs who have short, smushed snouts are known as “brachycephalic” breeds, and they’re famous for having breathing issues. Because of their short snouts, their nasal passages are much narrower than other dogs’, and it can be much easier for them to be winded. In addition, it’s a lot harder for them to catch their breath and a lot easier to overheat. Improperly managing a brachycephalic dog in the heat can be deadly.

It can be hard to keep dogs from doing things they set their minds to, but it’s a crucial part of keeping them happier and healthier overall. Luckily, after raising three of these short-snout, smush-faced creatures, I’ve learned a thing or two!

Keep Your Dog in Shape

I know it sounds stupid, but the most important thing you can do to ensure that your short-snout dog breathes as well as it can is to keep it from gaining too much “winter” weight. When it’s cold out, our dogs naturally spend less time outside, and brachy breeds tend to gain weight in their faces and around their necks easily. Which further compresses those passages.

There are indoor doggy gyms and traveling services that help and provide a place for your pup to get some exercise. Doggy treadmills can be found online, too – but even if you skimp on the exercise, just try not to overfeed them. Some people even lower their dogs’ portions in the winter – because they’re not getting as much exercise, they don’t need to eat as much food!

Keep Them in When it’s Really Hot

Midsummer is a brachy breed’s worst enemy. Unfortunately, the hot weather is ideal for humans to be doing tons of physical activity like hiking, jogging, and long walks. Unfortunately, though, most brachycephalic breeds aren’t built for that, but are still forced to tag along.

On very hot days, you should keep walks short (and put booties on their paws!) and instead try to find ways to play inside or close to home. Limit their outdoor time to about 5 minutes at a time, and have plenty of water nearby. As soon as they start to pant, bring them inside to cool down!

Don’t Add Ice Cubes to Their Water

Ice cold water on a hot day when you’re overexerted is basically the nectar of the gods, but in reality, it’s not the best idea. While it’s unlikely to cause severe shock as most people claim, it can still be dangerous for your pups: they’re fine with the same water they drink all day long. You should refrain from adding ice cubes: if they lap up the water too quickly, it can be a choking hazard.

Dogs can have ice cubes, but they should be given on their own and only if you know it’s not big enough to choke on. They do love to chew them up!

Have Them Checked for Stenotic Nares

A huge issue with brachycephalic breeds is “stenotic nares,” which means that the dog’s nostrils are too narrow and makes it hard for them to get air into them. Unfortunately, no matter how “good” your breeder is, any short-snouted dog can suffer from stenotic nares.

A vet should point it out during their initial physical exam, and they’ll typically recommend that, if the nostrils don’t widen with age, you have them widened. In young dogs, the procedure is done at the same time as a spay/neuter: they take a laser to the nostrils and carve out wider passages. Recovery is simple, since the wound cauterizes as they do the procedure, and they’ll be able to breathe better when the warmer months come around!

What are Short-Snout Dogs at Risk for?

In the heat, your short-snout pups are going to have a hard time, even if they’re in good shape. If you don’t manage them properly or they overexert themselves, they may suffer from:

Tracheal collapse

Unfortunately, brachycephalic dogs die every year because of the heat. It’s something that’s easy to prevent, but you really have to be paying attention. Otherwise, your summer of fun and adventure may become the summer of expensive vet bills!