Flat-faced dogs like pugs are cute, but their squished faces put them at risk of a lot of health problems, including breathing problems. Here are three things pug owners need to know about breathing problems.
Why do pugs have breathing problems?
Pugs' breathing problems are caused by their flat faces. Since their faces are flat, their nostrils may be undersized in comparison to other types of dogs. This means that they can't take in as much air when they inhale. Pugs also may have elongated soft palates. The soft palate is the soft part of the roof of the mouth, and when it's too long, it can get in the way of the airway.
The rolls and wrinkles around your pug's nose can also contribute to the development of breathing problems. These skin folds can get infected, and the bacteria can then enter the nose. When the infection reaches the nose, the nasal tissues get swollen, and this makes the nasal passages narrower, allowing less air to pass through.
What are the signs of breathing problems?
If your pug has breathing problems, you may notice that they sound like they're gasping when they breathe. They may also make gurgling or gagging noses while they breathe. On walks, your pug may need to stop and catch their breath often, and they may start coughing from the exertion. When your pug sleeps, you may also hear them snoring. If you notice any of these signs, take your pug to a vet to have their breathing evaluated.
How are breathing problems managed?
If your pug has undersized nostrils or an elongated soft palate, they'll need surgery to correct those problems. Undersized nostrils can be surgically widened to allow room for more air to pass through, while the soft palate can be trimmed to make it a normal, healthy size. After the surgery, your pet will need to be monitored at the vet's office to make sure they don't suffer any complications from the anesthesia or from post-operative swelling.
If your pet's breathing problems are caused by an infection, your vet will prescribe a medication to clear up the infection. To keep the problem from recurring, you'll need to carefully clean your pug's wrinkles and rolls every day. You can use a damp washcloth for this purpose. Your vet may recommend using earwash or an antimicrobial rinse to help keep the wrinkles cleaner.
If you're worried that your pug has breathing problems, take them to a vet at an animal clinic like East Lake Animal Clinic right away.