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Last week, my son had his tonsils removed. When he came back home, he kissed our Beagle and said, “You are lucky you don’t have to get your tonsils removed” and we all had a laugh. But this made me wonder, Do Beagles even have Tonsils?
Beagles do have tonsils, one on each side of their throat. Most owners may not be aware of this because the tonsils are located deep in the back of their throat and can’t be seen. But as they have tonsils, they can suffer from tonsillitis but it’s fairly rare in beagles.
Not only beagles but all dogs can have tonsils. This is why it’s important to take note if your dog is coughing or gagging often as this could be a sign that there may be an obstruction in his/her airway.
Do beagles have tonsils and if so, what are they used for?
Actually, all dogs have tonsils. They are sometimes referred to as the palatine tonsils or pharyngeal tonsils and they are located on either side of the dog’s throat.
Just like the tonsils in humans, these two glands do not serve any specific purpose although some people believe that having tonsils may help dogs to defend themselves from getting sick.
However, the major function of a beagle’s tonsils is to stop small objects from going into his/her airway which means that they act as waystations for gasses and particles in the throat just before it goes into the lungs.
Note though that these two glands are much smaller than those in humans so you probably won’t even notice them unless your beagle is coughing and gagging a lot.
Why do beagles cough and gag a lot?
They may seem like they are choking or panicking when coughing and gagging but this is actually their way of getting rid of the foreign object that’s obstructing their airway.
However, there are times when they cough and gag because of an irritated throat due to the presence of inflammation or infection which makes them more prone to choking on their own saliva, food particles, or even mucus.
Beagles who have allergy issues usually tend to salivate a lot so if your dog is drooling excessively, chances are, he/she may be suffering from allergic rhinitis.
In order to clear the blockage in their throat, they have no choice but to cough and gag so it’s best that you don’t scare your dog by screaming or pulling him/her away as this will only make things worse.
Also, if something goes down the wrong tube and gets stuck in your beagle’s airway, he/she will start to gag.
You need to pull the dog away from whatever is causing this reaction as it can cause him/her to pass out. Make sure you use a muzzle if the dog tries to bite because they aren’t aware of their own strength when they are in this state.
If you can’t get help immediately, use both hands to open up their mouth and see if the object is visible. If it isn’t, you need to do the Heimlich maneuver if your pet hasn’t already passed out.
Just place one hand over his/her upper abdomen so that your thumb is by the dog’s navel and your palm is resting on the ribcage. Place your other hand over the first one then give quick thrusts to push air out of the lungs.
You need to do this until whatever is stuck in his/her throat comes out or until he/she regains consciousness which happens when they haven’t passed out already.
How often should you clean your beagle’s tonsils?
Beagles tend to be dirty animals so it pays to know just how often they need to have their mouths cleaned. If your dog is licking or chewing on his/her feet, that’s a sign that the areas around the toes are infected and it also means that you need to keep an eye on the folds in between his/her toes.
Beagles who eat garbage and find it difficult to stop even when told not to, or those who gulp food down in a matter of seconds may also have issues with their tonsils.
If your pet is showing any of these signs, probably once a month is enough to keep it clean.
If not, cleaning your pet’s mouth once a year or even less often is advised as too much cleaning may hurt the dog’s throat and make him/her immune to pain which can lead to a lot of trouble in case he/she accidentally swallows something that isn’t meant for them.
While it’s possible to wipe the mouth with a damp cloth, this may not be enough as the inside of the mouth is still dirty. In order to get it completely clean, you have to use a toothbrush or cotton swabs and dog-friendly toothpaste specifically made for dogs.
If your pet gags every time you try to do this, it means that he/she needs a trip to the vet to check for throat and palate irritation.
Is it possible to remove a dog’s tonsils without surgery?
Surgery isn’t always the best option when treating your beagle for tonsil issues. In fact, it is not recommended if you can get help from a qualified vet who will find out the root cause of the issue and prescribe medication or recommend an appropriate therapy that doesn’t require surgery.
In some cases, your dog’s throat may have swollen because of an infection with the tonsils themselves not being the root cause.
Your pet will recover faster if you can find out what’s wrong and deal with it immediately instead of resorting to surgery for something that isn’t necessary.
Also, there are certain cases where even your vet may recommend against surgery as some dogs heal slower than others or their bodies just aren’t able to handle the shock of anesthesia.
If you are considering surgery, it’s best that you get in touch with more than one vet for a second opinion before you go ahead with the procedure because some cases require emergency help while others can wait until your pet is ready.
Beagle’s tonsils are a part of the dog’s immune system. Their purpose is to fight against certain types of bacteria and viruses that may enter through the nose or mouth while eating food.
If you notice your pup coughing a lot, gagging often, drooling excessively, having difficulty breathing or swallowing his favorite treats – these could all be signs that he has an infection in his throat area which requires treatment with antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian.
We have discussed the reasons in the article that why your dog may be coughing or gagging and the tips to cure them. Feel free to leave us a message if you have any questions.