Does your dog’s snoring keep you up at night? “We seem to put up with dog snoring more than spouse snoring,” says Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a Laguna Hills, Calif., veterinarian and nationally recognized expert in companion animal health.
Your dog’s snoring, however, is more than an annoyance; it may be an indication of a wide range of health problems. “Any time a dog develops a new sign, such as snoring, it is a good idea to at least check in with your veterinarian,” notes Dr. Lauren Boyd, a veterinarian and an internal medicine specialist with Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Auburn Hills, Mich. “Any change could indicate a new problem. If it’s not a new problem but is progressing, your dog should also see a veterinarian.”
Why Dogs Snore
Any level of snoring indicates something is at last partially obstructing your dog’s airways. Veterinarians say common causes include the following:
Your dog might have a temporary inflammation in its nose. Dogs can catch upper respiratory infections or even suffer from allergies.
Aspergillosis is a type of fungal disease caused by a mold found in hay, grass clippings and similar environments. Left untreated, this fungal disease can cause discomfort, loss of appetite and serious health problems.
Foreign bodies or tumors
Your dog could have inhaled something that is blocking its breathing. Snoring could also indicate a tumor, says Boyd.
Bad teeth can cause your dog to snore, says Cruz. A bad tooth can lead to an abscess that penetrates the nasal sinus passages. Left untreated, dental problems can become a source of infection for the whole body, advises Cruz, which could lead to kidney failure down the road.
Like humans, our dogs are getting plumper. And just as obesity can lead to snoring in humans, it may cause breathing difficulties in dogs. “As your dog breathes in and out, obesity makes the trachea rings slam shut,” explains Cruz.
Brachycephalic breeds -- the breeds with very short noses, such as English/French bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs -- have a natural tendency to snore. But it’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian to make sure the snoring is normal and not an indication of a health issue, says Cruz. For instance, a pug or Boston terrier might be born with nostrils that are squeezed almost shut. After surgical correction, “the dogs have so much energy. They’re running around and finally breathing,” says Cruz.
How to Help Your Dog
Because snoring can be related to so many different causes, Boyd and Cruz emphasize the importance of having your snoring dog evaluated. You can help your veterinarian by being an observant dog owner. Keep a pet diary to note changes in your dog’s behavior and health so a veterinarian can look for patterns. For example, if your dog was snoring and sneezing last May and again this May, it might have an allergy tied to spring blooms.
Use your smart phone to videotape your snoring dog instead of trying to describe the snores. The volume or pattern of snoring isn’t the only information that will help your veterinarian, says Boyd. “It is often helpful to know if the snoring is accompanied by sneezing, nasal discharge or nasal bleeding,” she says. “It is also helpful to know if the discharge or bleeding affects both sides of the nose or just one.” If the nasal discharge is watery, your dog is likely suffering from an allergy or something similar, says Cruz. A mucous-laden or bloody discharge is an indication that your dog needs to see a veterinarian immediately.
Don’t simply tolerate your dog’s snoring. “It can really decrease your dog’s quantity of life and your dog’s quality of life,” says Cruz. “If you’ve ever had that really bad cold and can’t breathe and can’t eat, then you know how hard it is to live with a breathing problem.”
Kim Boatman is a journalist based in Northern California. She is also the managing editor of ExceptionalCanine.com. Boatman's work has appeared in The Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press and the San Jose Mercury News. She is a lifelong lover of animals, and a frequent contributor to The Dog Daily.
I know a lot of dog owners find it hard to leave their dogs at home when they go to work. It becomes even harder when your dog, who you love dearly, is driving the neighbors crazy because he also hates that you leave for work and barks all day or night! Dogs can be trained to stop barking when you leave the house. It just takes time, effort and patience. Yes, patience!
Below are some tips to help keep your dog quiet and occupied while you are away.
Keep your dog in a quiet part of your house Keep your dog in the quietest part of the house to calm him or her down. Try to keep the curtains and/or shades drawn. A darker environment has a calming effect on most dogs. Curtains and/or drawn shades can also block some of the sounds from the outdoors for alarm or ambulance barkers.
Leave the radio or television on when you leave
Leave a radio or TV on as white noise. In many homes, there is always a TV or radio on so if it is off, your dog might not like how quiet it is and start barking. The radio/TV being on will not only mask the outside noises, but also makes your dog feel like everything is normal when you leave.
Give your dog a great toy every time you leave
As you leave, give your dog a chew toy with your scent on it. The toy should be something he or she LOVES deeply and feels like this is a reward. It could be a flavorful bone or even a stuffed Kong. Give it to your dog right when you leave. Your dog need to know that this treat appears only when you leave so being left behind isn’t hat bad after all! When you walk out the door, hopefully your dog will be too enamored with the toy or treat to care.
If you have tried all of the above and you are still hearing from your neighbors that your dog is barking, then try the next steps. You will need a few days to practice the below.
1. First, imitate your daily departure routine. Do you usually search for your keys, gloves, pack a gym bag or throw out the garbage? Try to make your pup think that this is just like any other day when you are leaving to go to work.
2. As you give your dog his special toy or treat, make eye contact and tell your pup in a firm and matter-of-fact manner to be quiet until you return. Try not to plead or get emotional; it will only serve to emotionally charge the situation and further stress-out your dog.
3. Leave for just a couple minutes. Go one floor down and come back up using the stairs or just leave your house. If you haven’t heard your dog barking, return and gently praise him or her. If you hear your dog start to bark, rap on the door with a solid object like a key ring until your dog quiets down and start over. Each time your dog barks, rap on the door and start over. It could take up to a half hour to get a couple of minutes of silence. When you succeed, make sure to go inside and reward your dog. Then leave a half hour later and try again.
The goal, of course, is to be able to stay away for longer and longer periods of time without having to correct your dog for barking. The time away must be built up in small intervals. Set goals (five, ten minutes) and go back in and praise your pup if he remained quiet for the allotted time.
Most dogs that are quiet for two hours can usually stay that way for eight to ten hours.It is working up to getting to that first hour of silence that is the hardest to achieve.But, with time and patience, you and your dog can resolve the barking issue.The process can be tedious but you and your neighbors will reap the rewards.
Some cats are finicky eaters while other cats have no problem eating whatever you give them. But, just as in humans, cats need a well-rounded diet that consists of protein, fat, water, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals. If you are a new cat owner or just want a little more information on feeding your cat, the below will give you a quick education on what type of food and how much to feed your cats.
Cats need protein in their food
Cats, similar to humans, need protein and depending on the type and brand of cat food, protein may come from animal or plant sources. Soy, chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish are examples of proteins. Cat food also contains by-products of these sources.
Cats also rely mainly on nutrients found in animals that contain high protein, moderate fat, and minimal carbohydrates. Their bodies are made to metabolize animal proteins and also need the amino acids that are found in animal-based protein. Some cats have to eat prescription food if their bodies don’t make these in adequate amounts. High quality cat food will have ingredients that are not byproducts.
Dry or canned food?
There are very different schools of thought about dry food versus wet food. It seems to be though, as long as the food is high-quality there is little difference. Some cats will benefit from higher moisture content found in wet food. Most cats do fine on dry food and you can add some water to it.
Canned food may have more protein than dry food and contains about 75% water while dry food may have only 10% of water. Simply keeping a bowl of water in addition to dry food might not be enough for some cats. Having a diet that includes both canned and dry food can create a good balance between proteins, fats, and ensure that your cat is well hydrated. And, most cats LOVE the canned food – so why deprive them.
When looking at the labels on your cat food, make sure that protein is on the top of the list. Most high-quality cat food will have a specific label of the ingredients in the food. This helps you have a good guideline of what brands and types of food to buy and also know that the ratios of nutrients, fats, proteins, and fat are correct or meet the standards necessary for your cat.
Feeding your cat
Some people feed their cats once or twice a day and others just leave food out all day. Some cats can regulate their diets and eat until their full while others gorge whatever is in front of them. Overall, to make sure your cat stay slim and in shape, portion control is the best.
Switching to a new cat food
If you decide to switch to a new cat food, make sure to do so slowly. Mix the new food with the old food. You can start by adding a 1/4 of the new food to the old and slowly increase this amount until your cat is completely moved onto the new brand. Watch for any changes in your cat’s appetite and litter box in case the new food doesn’t settle well in their system. Or if our cat walks away from the food and doesn’t eat it, try another kind.
Each cat is different and has special needs and tastes. There are so many brands of food out there from common brands to specialty holistic brands and it can be confusing to find what brand and type of food works best for your cat. However, the most important customer is your cat. He or she will let you know if he likes the cat food.
Cat owners know that bad cat breath can be downright awful. It isn’t that much different from bad human breath, as both are caused by bacteria found in the mouth that breaks protein down and releases sulfur compounds out into the air. The bacterium that causes bad breath with cats is normally associated with a buildup of tartar around the teeth. Tartar is yellow in color, known as a coating of bacteria, food, and minerals.
Bad breath in cats (other than the result of eating some tuna or another smelly fish) is usually caused by a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your cat’s mouth. This can be a result of dental or gum disease; certain cats are especially prone to plaque and tartar. Your cat’s diet can sometimes be a contributing factor. However, persistent bad breath can also indicate more serious medical problems such as abnormalities in the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. In all cases, bad breath in cats is indicative of some sort of irregularity.
How to find the cause of the bad breath
As always, your veterinarian is the best person to determine the cause of the bad breath. A physical examination can usually reveal the cause of your cat’s problem. If not, further tests will likely be recommended.
Bad breath is caused by dental issues
If the cause of your cat’s bad breath is dental, you will need to remove the buildup of tartar. There are several cat foods out there that help reduce the buildup of tartar that contain enzymes that will help dissolve it. You can also give your cat treats that are formulated to help eliminate and prevent tartar build up. If the build up of tartar is bad, you may need to have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned. Once the tartar has been removed, the bad breath will go away.
You may be able to clean the tartar off your cat’s teeth at home. There are several toothpastes on the market for this specific purpose. Toothpastes that contain enzymes will dissolve tartar, helping to cure bad breath and prevent tartar build up. If you start early with brushing your cat’s teeth, you can virtually eliminate any type of tartar build up that will ultimately lead to bad breath.
Diet can contribute to bad breath
Some bacteria that lead to tartar can be found in your cat’s diet. When you feed your cat, you should always make sure that your cat food doesn’t have a lot of bacteria. If you feed your cat a healthy diet, it can help his or her bad breath. When you give your cat a treat, make sure that the treat is designed to help with tartar. After your cat has finished eating, you can brush his teeth or rinse his mouth out… or at least make sure he or she drinks water. This way, you’ll get the bacteria out of his mouth before it has time to build up on your cat’s teeth.
Bad breath can also indicate – in rare cases- kidney or liver disease
Sometimes, cats may have a bad odor in their mouth that doesn’t come from tartar or bad breath. It is very unlikely, but sometimes bad breath can indicate either liver or kidney disease. If you notice bad breath and you think it isn’t tartar, you should take your cat to the vet. Your veterinarian can pinpoint the medical issue and recommend what to do next.
Sometimes we think that as our cats’ age, their breath worsens. But, there has been no evidence that relates the two. In fact, being proactive about your cat’s oral health is always important to prevent long term issues. Make sure to bring your cat in for in for regular veterinary checkups to make sure he has no underlying medical issues that may cause halitosis. Always have your vet monitor your cat’s teeth and breath (most good vets will do that).
If your cat tends to have a lot of tartar build-up, try to brush your cat’s teeth frequently with toothpaste specifically made for cats and tartar- build up. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but some cats don’t mind it. And, of course, make sure your cat eat a healthy diet.
Some dogs can develop allergies which are not dangerous, but can be uncomfortable for them.
Some dog breeds are more susceptible to allergies than others. While we, humans, tend to experience upper respiratory symptoms when an allergy is triggered, dog allergies generally affect the skin, with intense itching being the first sign. Dogs with allergies often scratch continuously and are miserable, snappish, and generally unpleasant to be around.
Signs that your dog is allergic
The most common signs of allergies include raw skin where the dog has scratched, patches of hair missing, red skin, hives, coughing, sneezing, excessive chewing and licking of paws, watery eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea. While these symptoms may go away after a few days, you should monitor your dog's behavior to see if the symptoms return. If they do, then you should take your dog to see a vet. Sometimes the cure can be as simple as changing the type of dog food, buying a flea collar or an antihistamine spray to rid your dog of his allergic condition.
When a dog is suffering from allergies, his or her mood might change. Dogs with allergies can become irritable, lethargic, clingy, or angry. The best way to combat this problem is to learn how to care for your dog once you have isolated the cause of the allergies. This may mean keeping a journal of your dog's activities and symptoms that you can show the vet, who will be able to recommend treatment.
If you notice that your dog has fleas or that they have been bitten by fleas, you should immediately bathe your dog using a shampoo that will kill fleas and their eggs. You may need to rid your home of fleas as well so that another infestation of fleas does not occur. Buy carpet spray or if the problem is too big, then you may have to call an exterminator. Once the fleas are gone, you should spray your dog every time he or she goes outside. This will prevent new attacks from occurring. If your dog has open bites or wounds from scratching, you will have to wait for them to heal before using a spray or shampoo on your dog.
Some dogs are allergic to different types of food. If you have recently changed your dog food and your dog is itching or vomiting, he or she could be having an allergic reaction. If this occurs, try switching back to the old food to make sure that your dog is not allergic. Make sure to schedule an appointment with your vet that the cause is only an allergy and not an illness.
Groom your dog often
If you have a dog that is allergic to his own hair and/or dander, make sure to groom your dog often. Make sure to brush your dog every day to remove excess hair and dander, and bathe your dog once a month. Your vet may prescribe an antihistamine if the allergies persist or even a cortisone shot.
If your dog has a sudden appearance of raised, circular, itchy looking scabs on his far or fur, he probably has hives. Hives are easy to detect as your pup’s hair will stick out in little patches. Frequently, your dog’s eyelids will also swell. Hives are often cause by insect bites. Hives usually respond well to an antihistamine such as Benadryl. Cortisone may be needed to control a severe case. As always, consult your veterinarian.
I hope that your dog does not develop an allergic condition. However, if he or she does, do not despair. Allergies are treatable, just uncomfortable for your pup.