First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What are Enlarging Nasal Openings?

Enlarging the nasal openings is a surgical procedure used to correct stenotic nares in brachycephalic dog breeds. Stenotic nares is a form of brachycephalic syndrome, an upper airway obstruction disorder seen in breeds like the Boston terrier, pug or bulldog. Stenotic nares results from a malformation of the alar folds that form the nostrils. The external nares is made up of three cartilages: the accessory cartilage, the ventral parietal cartilage, and the dorsal parietal cartilage. The alar folds are the fleshy, lateral borders of the nostrils that collapse inward upon respiration. In the case of stenotic nares, the alar folds collapse farther than needed, resulting in complete temporary closure of the nostril. 

The surgical procedure required to correct stenotic nares is performed by a veterinarian or veterinary otorhinolaryngology specialist, focusing on the removal of the excess tissue wedge from the alar fold.  

Book First Walk Free!

Enlarging Nasal Openings Procedure in Dogs

The dog will need to be fasting (no food or water) the night before surgery and the day of surgery. Prior to anesthesia, the dog’s blood will be tested to ensure his/her organs are functioning properly and undiagnosed diseases are absent from the blood work. As some bleeding is always expected in a surgery, the veterinarian will perform a coagulation test or test to ensure the dog has enough clotting factors (platelets) in the blood. 

  1. A pre-anesthetic, pain medication, and antibiotic are injection to the dog. 
  2. The dog will be feeling drowsy from the pre-anesthetic/sedative, but mask gas anesthesia will likely follow to allow the dog to rest comfortably. 
  3. The dog is placed in ventral recumbency with the head facing the end of the operating table. 
  4. The vet will inject a local anesthetic to the nasal tissues. 
  5. The nose is scrubbed for surgery
  6. The veterinarian will use a #15 blade scalpel to create angled incisions in the alar fold in the shape of a triangle. This incision pattern will be repeated to the adjacent nostril. 
  7. Once the external wedge has been removed, the vet will work his/her way inside the nostril, removing pie-shaped sections of cartilage from the alar fold. 
  8. Hemorrhaging will be controlled with direct pressure. 
  9. A 4-0 Monocryl suture will be placed in the alar fold. The stitches with run from the outside to the inside to close the opening in the skin. 
  10. The process with be completed on both nostrils, achieving symmetrical nostril openings. 
  11. Sponges will be placed on the nose to keep it moist and clean. 
  12. The dog will be allowed to rest in a recovery kennel. 

Efficacy of Enlarging Nasal Openings in Dogs

Enlarging nasal openings in dogs is a highly effective surgical procedure used as a multi-pronged treated to alleviate brachycephalic airway syndrome. The procedure itself is relatively simple to perform, requiring very little anesthesia with minimal complications. The majority of patients show improvements immediately following surgery. 

Enlarging Nasal Openings Recovery in Dogs

Dogs that have undergone a stenotic nares correction surgery will be released from the hospital the day of the surgery. Some canines appear drowsy and inactive, whereas other dogs return to normal behavior. In either case, the dog must be confined and restricted of physical activity to prevent the sutures from coming loose. An Elizabethan collar may be sent home with the dog to prevent manipulation of the incision site. Pain medications, paired with a broad spectrum antibiotic will be administered as directed by the veterinarian. 

Cost of Enlarging Nasal Openings in Dogs

The cost of an enlarging nasal opening surgery in dogs will run between $200 and $1,000. The price of your dog’s correctional procedure depends on the severity of the malformation and the procedure used. Some veterinarians will use a laser instead of a scalpel blade, which will raise the price tag. 

Dog Enlarging Nasal Openings Considerations

The use of anesthesia is always a concern for dog owners, but due to the fact that the dog is under constant monitoring, anesthetic risks are minimal. Your veterinarian will take special considerations as enlarging nasal openings in dogs is a surgery that requires careful monitoring. Additionally, if your dog’s respiratory obstruction is due to other malformations associated with brachycephalic airway syndrome, such as an elongated soft palate, correcting the stenotic nares will not completely fix the problem. 

Enlarging Nasal Openings Prevention in Dogs

Stenotic nares and brachycephalic syndrome are congenital issues related to the facial structure of brachycephalic dogs. Thus, there is little that can be done to prevent the conditions or the need for corrective surgery. Your vet may have recommendations for easing your dog’s breathing prior to surgery, such as minimizing exposure to hot and humid weather, maintaining a healthy weight, and using a harness, rather than a collar, for attaching a lead.

Enlarging Nasal Openings Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

8 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Stuffy nose, gagging, sneezing

Medication Used


I have a 8 week old Bugg puppy (boston/pug) and she recently had some sort of cold (small amount of nasal discharge, but lungs and trachea were clear all in her nose) she recieved a convenia injection to help fight any bug she might have but it hasn't helped much and I've now noticed she is only able to inhale/ exhale out of her right nostril. She is otherwise happy/healthy/ active. Is it safe to have this procedure done on one so young? I hate seeing her struggle to breathe/grasp when shes stuffy.

Add a comment to Penelope's experience

Was this experience helpful?

French Bulldog
13 Weeks
Fair condition
2 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Fast Breathing and noisy breathing

Hi, I have a 12 week old French bulldog she shows no problem breathing while awake but while she is sleeping (she sleeps with her mouth closed) she starts to make heavy breathing noises and you can see her chest (not stomach) expand and contract a a fast pace. Her noistrils are pretty small which might be the problem. Is surgery necessary or is this normal.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Dogs with short faces and small nostrils are prone to respiratory problems later on, for sure. Chronic pressure on the tissues of the nasal passages can create breathing problems, when they are young, and when they age. Having Fiona's nostrils surgically enlarged is a relatively simple procedure, and is somewhat commonly done, often at the time of her spay. Since I cannot see her, it would be a good idea to discuss this with your veterinarian at her next appointment, to get their opinion on the procedure for her.

Add a comment to Fiona's experience

Was this experience helpful?

French Bulldog
4 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

We have a 4 month old French bulldog that did not seemingly have any breathing issues initially. About a month and a half ago she suffered a nose injury. Since then she has been wheezing while she breaths. It sounds similar to how someone breaths when they are congested. It is not always present and is sometimes heavier than normal but never completely goes away. The vet doesn't think she had any collapse in her nose because it would be accompanied by external deformation and their isn't any. She suggested we consult a surgeon and we are very worried about her breathing like this.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Given Olivia’s age and breathing you should consult a Specialist to try to determine the specific cause and to see what treatment (medical or surgical) would be most appropriate; the Specialist may want to perform an MRI if they have concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Olivia's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Boston Terriers
6 months
Fair condition
-1 found helpful
Fair condition

With enlarging the nares will my Boston Terrier stop the charming snorts & snoring? Is the surgery absolutely necessary? She actively plays hard without difficulty. Shows no respiratory distress.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
If Natasha has narrow nares, enlarging them can help airflow which may reduce any noises during increased respiration; if the cause is due to another problem (like soft palate) then that issue would need to be address. You should discuss the condition with your Veterinarian and if you have doubts, you should consult with another Veterinarian to ask their opinion after examining Natasha. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Natasha's experience

Was this experience helpful?