We love those smushed noses, flat faces, smiley open mouths, goofy personalities, and of course those gorgeous jowels. Smush nose breeds include cuties such as the Pug, American Bulldog, the English Bulldog and the French Bulldog. It is likely that you or someone you know owns one! According to the National Kennel Club, the French Bulldog topped the list as New Yorkers’ favorite dog breed in 2014. Due to the anatomy of these breeds, they are referred to as brachycephalic breeds, which means they have a short, broad skull and the soft tissue of the nose and throat are squeezed into a smaller space.
Dog owners look forward to the summer season when their dogs can run, play and enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. During the dog days of summer, our smush nose friends rely on panting to beat the heat. It is the only way they can keep cool. Smush nose breeds can experience heat stroke in the summer more quickly and frequently than most breeds, so it is important to understand the signs.
We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Benjamin Davidson, Critical Care Specialist from BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Hell’s Kitchen. While speaking with Dr. Davidson we learned more about how we can better care for our smush nose breeds in the summer heat.
BBB: Can you explain why these breeds are sensitive to heat stroke?
Dr. Davidson: Sure.Their ability to get rid of heat is greatly reduced compared to other dogs because of their smush noses. This affects their ability to breathe properly, which results in excessive panting.
BBB:What signs would you look for that suggest your dog is in danger?
Dr. Davidson: They breathe heavily and you will hear that “heh heh heh” sounds as they get worked up. They will turn purple or blue and sometimes begin vomiting. On a hot day, you will see a brachycephalic breed making those sounds and if they get inside fast enough they will be okay; if they don’t then it will be a disaster or trip to the vet.
BBB: What is the best advice you could give to smush breed dog owners during the summer months?
Dr. Davidson: First and foremost, have them assessed for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome as young dogs; the first year of their life. Have them assessed by a vet, preferably a surgeon. If you do surgical corrections when they are young, it can prevent breathing complications as they get older. If you haven’t done that, in the summer time just keep them cool. Keep them inside. Short spurts outside, but no running. 80’s and humidity is not good weather for them. These dogs like temps in the 60’s!
We hope that you have a better idea of how to care for your smush nose doggies in the summer. We would like to thank BluePearl for taking the time to educate us with more details on these breeds. Many of our smush nose friends love to play in the water, run in the fountains at the dog park and jump in the pool! It’s summer after all! That will certainly keep them cool!
Check out some of our very own smush-faced friends in this months Lights, Camera Bark! There is too much smushy face cuteness!