Do Dogs Have Tonsils?

Do Dogs Have Tonsils?

One of the many things in which raising a dog resembles raising a kid is that dog, too can get tonsillitis.

It’s because, just like us, they have tonsils – one on each side of the throat, located in small pouches at the back.

Your dog’s tonsils are part of their lymphatic system and are similar to lymph nodes in that they’re also there to fight infection.

When they’re fighting an infection, they in turn also get infected and become swollen and red. They also bulge out of their pouches, and they become easily seen in the back of the throat.

This inflammation of tonsils in dogs is called tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis in Dogs


Tonsillitis in dogs is an inflammation of their tonsils, and it tends to be more common in dogs of smaller breeds.

Most of the time, tonsillitis is caused by another condition that could be affecting your dog. Primary tonsillitis is possible but rare, but it mostly, as we’ve explained above, affects small breed dogs.

Smaller breed dogs, namely ones who are brachycephalic (ones who have a flat face and short snout), could develop chronic tonsillitis, meaning the condition hits them repeatedly.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis in Dogs


Much like how when we get tonsillitis, a dog’s tonsils could enlarge to a painful level, which might get them to gag.

You might even notice that gag is followed by a short, light cough and even a noticeable mucus secretion.

But most of the time, there aren’t many clear signs that your dog specifically has tonsillitis.

Most frequently, you might notice your dog has a poor appetite due to the pain he could experience while swallowing.

There might also be increased salivation or he could be frequently licking his lips.

Moreover, a prominent symptom could also be listlessness and an unusual inactivity.

Causes of Tonsillitis in Dogs


Tonsillitis is more commonly a secondary infection to an already underlying condition that could often be a disorder in the lungs or airways or the result of a bacteria build-up in the mouth.

This includes chronic vomiting, chronic coughing, or any condition in the mouth that will allow bacteria to multiply in the throat.

Periodontal diseases and tartar accumulation on the teeth could also heavily result in tonsillitis.

Sometimes, foreign objects stuck in a dog’s throat might also be the cause for this infection.

Treating Tonsillitis in Dogs


It’s easy to diagnose tonsillitis since, when the tonsils are infected and inflamed, they become very easy to see.

As always, the first step you have to take when noticing something like this is to take your furry friend to the vet.

The vet will first try to diagnose the underlying condition affecting your dog’s tonsils and will seek to treat it accordingly.

In most cases, your dog will be prescribed an antibiotic in addition to treatment for whatever underlying condition he has.

And as a tip, the best prevention against tonsillitis is to maintain your dog’s oral hygiene and keep his teeth, mouth, and gums healthy and clean.


Tonsillitis does not usually occur on its own, so if you notice your dog’s tonsils are enflamed, take him to the vet as there is probably another condition causing it.

Your dog’s vet will have to diagnose the condition and treat it in order to altogether treat the tonsillitis!