Stenotic Nares in Dogs | Village Vets
stenotic nares, flat face dog surgery, dog nose surgery

Some people think your dog's excessive snorting is an endearing part of his personality. Yet you know your pooch is a mouth-breather because their stenotic nares (aka their nasal passages or nostrils) are too narrow. Fortunately, his nasal issue can be fixed by surgery. But what's the price of freer breathing?

Stenotic nares or narrowed nostrils are a common problem in breeds with "smushed" faces such as the French Bulldog, English Bulldog, the Boston Terrier, the Pug, and the Pekingese. The flat faced or shorted nose breeds of dogs are known as 'branchycephalic' breeds.

Stenotic nares are genetic, caused by a malformation of the cartilage in the nose. Whilst many people perceive the squashed wrinkly faces ofPugs, French Bulldogs and other flat nosed breeds as ‘cute’ or appealing, in reality dogs with short muzzles can struggle to breathe, even when doing day-to-day activities such as walking or eating.


Signs and Symptoms

Dogs negatively affected by stenotic nares will show some of the following symptoms:

  • Noisy breathing, especially during inhalation
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Cyanosis – blue gums due to lack of oxygen
  • Fainting


If your dog’s stenotic nares are mild, they can be easily managed. However, in more severe cases, they have to have surgery that involves widening the nostrils by removing pieces of the nostril wall. If your dog is only mildly affected, you can take measures to make him comfortable, including:

  • Keeping him at a healthy weight
  • Limiting stressful situations and exercise in hot or humid weather
  • Find alternatives to a neck collar, such as a harness


Stenotic nares are relatively simple to diagnose by simply looking at the size of the opening into the nostril. Hoever diagnosis of other problems caused by brachycephalic syndrome aren’t as easy to detect and often occur simultaneously with stenotic nares, so one of our team at Village Vets might perform additional tests, while possibly under anesthesia, to determine what’s going on. These tests include:

  • Listening to the chest with a stethoscope to listen for other possible causes of respiratory problems
  • X-rays and/or ultrasound to make sure the heart and lungs are healthy

Not all pugs, french bulldogs or other brachtcephalic dogs suffer from this conditions so you should worry unles your dog is showing some of the signs listed above. 
If you have any questions or concerns about your pug, french bulldog or any other brachycephalic breed, don't wait. Call your nearest Village Vets clinic to book your check up appointment.

Stenotic nares surgery