Aqueos products for Brachycephalic Dogs

Aqueos products for Brachycephalic Dogs

Brachycephalic literally means ‘short head’. It describes those breeds of dogs with flattened faces and short muzzles, such as Pugs or Bulldogs. If your pup is a brachycephalic breed, then I’m sure you know by now that they need special care. While of course not all brachycephalic dogs will have issues with their health, sadly they are at high risk of some medical conditions. Here we discuss how to care for your brachycephalic dog, and what to watch out for.

General Care

Unfortunately, due to the shape of their skulls, brachycephalic breeds are prone to breathing problems. They can have nostrils that are too narrow, soft palates (the roof of the mouth at the back towards the throat) that are too long, and a narrow windpipe. All of these interfere with breathing, meaning they can struggle. If your dog snores; snorts; has noisy breathing; frequently gags or vomits; ever collapses or has bluish gums, then they may well be suffering from one of these conditions. It is really important to discuss this possibility with your vet, so that they can go through all of the treatment and management options with you.

Most brachycephalic dogs will have some degree of the above conditions. Due to these breathing issues, they often have low exercise tolerance and are at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Being obese or overweight will exacerbate any of these breathing problems.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Discuss any concerns with your vet
  • Use a harness, instead of a collar, to reduce pressure on the throat
  • Keep your dog cool: never exercise them in peak heat and always make sure there is shade and water available
  • Avoid over exercising your dog, little and often is best for these breeds
  • Keep your dog slim; if needed your vet nurse can tailor a weight loss program for you
  • Avoid stressful situations as much as possible.

Skin Care

Skin Folds

Brachycephalic breeds have excess skin around their muzzles, eyes and tails, which creates skin folds, or creases. These can also be present in the armpits and groin. When the skin folds on itself in this way, it creates a warm and moist environment, with very little air flow. The perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to grow! It’s important to check these skin folds daily for signs of redness, weeping or bad smell. If you notice any of these changes, it’s time for a trip to your vet.

So, how to help prevent skin fold infections? Check the skin folds daily andwipe them with dog-specific disinfectant wipes. Disinfectant shampoomixed with water on a cotton tip works well too. You can also buy dry shampoos, specifically for the face.


Some breeds are prone to ear infections too, so it’s a good idea to include checking their ears in your daily routine. If you notice any redness, smell or abnormal discharge, they need a vet check.

Regularly cleaning your dog’s ears can help to keep infection at bay, using a mild dog ear cleanser. Your vet will be able to advise you how often, based on your dog’s individual needs.

Skin Allergies

Some brachycephalic breeds are also prone to skin allergies. This may be allergies relating to food or to things in the environment, such as pollen or dust mites. If your dog suffers with multiple skin infections, or pyoderma, then your vet will discuss investigations and treatment options with you.

If your dog is prone to skin infections, regularly using a shampoo with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties can help reduce the frequency. Your vet can advise on how often you should be bathing your dog, since this will vary between individuals. Once every 4 weeks as maintenance is often a good start.

Eye Care

Due to the shape of their face, brachycephalic breeds often have eyes that bulge out a bit. This makes them more prone to infection, injury and dry eye. These breeds are also prone to eyelids that roll inwards (entropion) or outwards (ectropion); eyelashes growing in the wrong place (distichiasis); poor tear production; eyelids which don’t fully close and cherry eye (where the third eyelid prolapses, or protrudes, resembling a small cherry).

Because of this, it’s important to check your dog’s eyes daily. Watch for signs such as squinting or blinking more than usual, redness, and abnormal discharge. If you notice any of these, then you should call your vet.

Use a dog-safe mild wipeto keep the skin around your dog’s eyes clean. You can use warm water on a cotton pad to wipe away any eye crusts from the corner of the eyes; since the skin underneath will become sore if you leave them. Your vet may advise you to use false tears, to keep the eyes lubricated.

Dental Care 

Brachycephalic dental issues include overcrowding of the teeth and poor jaw alignment. Both of these predispose them to plaque and tartar build up, so regular dental care is important. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is ‘gold standard’. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and a dog toothpaste to gently clean the teeth on all sides. With time and patience, most dogs will learn to tolerate, or even love, having their teeth brushed.

Of course this is easier said than done in some cases! If your dog isn’t keen on having their teeth brushed, don’t despair, there are other options! You can try dog mouth washes, which you add to their drinking water. Putting toothpaste on a dental chew, or preferably dental toy, can work well too. Take care with dental chews since these can actually be very fattening. You can also get special food additives which help to prevent plaque from building up.


Brachycephalic breeds are popular for their loveable personalities and big hearts. Sadly, they also come with a unique set of health concerns. As the parent of a brachycephalic breed, there is much that you can do to help manage and prevent some of these conditions. You should always seek advice from your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

Sarah-Jane Molier