Flat-faced cats and dogs have undoubtedly become popular, as shown by how often they get featured on entertainment news and social media. Despite their popularity, however, there is still a lack of awareness regarding the health issues that flat-faced breeds may face.
- What are Flat-faced Cats and Dogs?
- Common Health Issues Experienced by Flat-faced Dogs and Cats
- Products and Tools for Flat-faced Pets
- Most Famous and Cute Flat-faced Dogs and Cats
What are Flat-faced Cats and Dogs?
Coming from the scientific term brachycephaly, meaning ‘short skull’, brachycephalic dog and cat breeds are those with flat faces and short snouts. While the skulls of brachycephalic animals develop with a normal width, the measurement from the back of their head to their nose tip is shorter than normal. These features pose a higher risk of them developing several health issues than other breeds.
Flat-Faced Dog Breeds
Among the brachycephalic/flat-faced dog breeds are:
- French Bulldog;
- Boston Terrier;
- English Toy Spaniel;
- Shi Tzu.
Flat-faced Cat Breeds
Apart from dogs, certain cat breeds have flat faces. Below are the common flat-faced cat breeds:
- British Shorthair;
- Exotic Shorthair.
Common Health Issues Experienced by Flat-faced Dogs and Cats
Many brachycephalic or flat-faced cat or dog breeds will be susceptible to a range of health issues known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), all of which are caused by them having shorter snouts and flat faces. A telling sign that your brachycephalic dog or cat may be suffering from BOAS is breathing difficulties.
Read more: Heavy Breathing in Cats
While not all brachycephalic pets will automatically be susceptible to the worse of BOAS symptoms, many will experience related symptoms that will affect their health. Such symptoms tend to be overlooked because they are considered normal for a flat-faced cat or dog. If you have a brachycephalic pet, it is essential to learn about BOAS so you can consult your vet when your pet exhibits symptoms of the condition.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
BOAS consists of a range of health issues, including the following:
- Having a hard time getting air in every breath. This is especially problematic while dogs are exercising or when it is hot, and your pet isn’t able to pant the right way, making it difficult to cool themselves.
- Having a narrow windpipe, making it more challenging to pull air from the nose and into the lungs. This stresses the muscles as well as the tissue surrounding the windpipe, posing more difficulty.
- A lack of oxygen in the blood. When there isn’t enough air entering the lungs, this results in a lack of oxygen in the blood, which may cause heart failure in the long run.
- Acid reflux and heartburn as a result of exerting much effort to be able to breathe.
As your flat-faced dog or cat gets older, this may get worse. More so if they put on much weight.
Symptoms of breathing difficulties in pets with BOAS
- Snoring often;
- Loud breaths and pants;
- Having a hard time cooling down when it’s hot;
- Longer breathing recovery after exercising;
- Sleeping while sitting;
- Falling while sitting;
- Gums may appear bluish;
- Nostrils appear narrower than normal.
It helps to be aware that these symptoms shouldn’t be treated as normal for certain breeds. Rather, it shows that they are having a hard time breathing and need help. If your pet exhibits BOAS symptoms, call your vet for advice and treatment options. Also, get to know more about the treatments that your vet may recommend.
Looking out for symptoms of BOAS involves the need to monitor your pet. With this, having devices such as the interactive pet camera like Petcube Cam will come in handy. What makes it different from other pet cameras out there?
Not only does it have amazing features, including a smart HD camera, but it also gives you an opportunity to subscribe to Petcube’s Emergency Fund, a service that gives you the opportunity to get up to $3000 in emergency medical funds and access to certified vets 24/7, and anywhere you may be. Not to mention, the camera is really affordable.
Other health issues that flat-faced breeds are susceptible to
The wrinkles and folds along the mouth and nose make them more prone to skin infections.
Because they have smaller jaws, the same number of teeth can be cramped or may overlap. This may cause tooth problems for them.
Challenges in giving birth
Natural birth may be a challenge for them because of the big heads of their litter (with the same breed). Because of this, they may need to give birth via C-section.
Because their eye sockets are shallow, this often results in their eyes bulging out a bit. This makes them more prone to eye problems such as injuries or infections.
Products and Tools for Flat-faced Pets
If you have a brachycephalic pet, there are ways to take care of them and help them live more comfortably despite them being prone to certain health issues. Such ways include products and tools to make their lives easier. These include:
Bowls for flat-faced dogs or cats
Because of their flat faces, brachycephalic breeds may tend to choke when they eat in flat bowls. To address this issue, some products aim to avoid this from happening. One example is the slanted bowls with one side a bit tilted and the other elevated. This design prevents the need for your pet to press its face into the bowl to eat. Aside from preventing them from choking, it also helps reduce breathing problems.
Some pets might need a muzzle, however, when it comes to brachycephalic breeds, they often don’t fit the traditional muzzles in the market. One product that addresses this issue is the mesh muzzle. Chose those that are designed not to rub on the eyes, and aren’t a hindrance to breathing or panting. Good mesh muzzles are convenient, safe, and comfy while serving their purpose as a muzzle.
Most Famous and Cute Flat-faced Dogs and Cats
You’ve probably seen quite a lot of adorable flat-faced dogs and cats that are popular on social media and the internet. Below are some examples of famous brachycephalic breeds on Instagram:
Doug the Pug (@itsdougthepug)
This loveable pug has a loyal following, and it’s not surprising why. Aside from his adorable looks, he has also partied with rock legends, has plenty of celebrity buddies, and even wrote a book (Well, with the help of a ghostwriter, that is). Not to mention, he also has a merchandise line. Whatever he does, his fans are updated with his every move.
Manny the Frenchie (@manny_the_frenchie)
This cool fella is definitely on a roll. Ever since 2014, when he joined social media, he has become the most famous French bulldog. He has been a model in Martha Stewart’s pet products line. And apart from having a book entitled “Manny the Frenchie’s Art of Happiness”, there’s also a nonprofit under his name called “Manny and Friend Foundation”.
October the Cat
What’s cuter than a kitten with a tongue that is sticking out? Nothing. Yes, October the cat has captured thousands with his big eyes coupled with his tongue sticking out. Browsing through his Instagram account will have you melting from all the cuteness.
A beautiful blue bicolor Persian cat, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by Princess Aurora’s beauty. Often wearing flower crowns, she is quite aware that she’s fit for royalty.
Yes, many of us may agree that flat-faced breeds are adorable. However, we need to be aware that these breeds are more susceptible to certain health issues. Because of this, if you choose to buy or adopt a brachycephalic dog or cat, you must be aware, ready, and responsible in order to address the health issues that they may have in the future. After all, their welfare should be given importance to help them live a happy and healthy life.