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How to recognize and treat soft palate disorders in dogs

Updated March 23, 2017

Soft palate disorder is an abnormality of the tissue in the back of a canine’s throat. This is a birth defect that is more common in certain breeds of dogs. For example, bulldogs and pugs are more likely to experience this disorder. Symptoms of this disorder typically occur in the first few years of a dog’s life.

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  1. Watch young dogs closely for symptoms of this disorder. Canines that experience soft palate disorder may appear malnourished and experience gagging and coughing for no apparent reason.

  2. Call your vet and request an examination. Since this disorder can cause dogs to become undernourished, immediate treatment is needed to protect their health. Give your medical provider the list of observed symptoms and request testing on your dog. An exam of the dog’s palate area will be conducted, and X-rays may be taken to confirm diagnosis.

  3. Consider tube feeding for young puppies. The lack of proper nourishment can cause a puppy to have developmental delays and can even be life threatening. Consider tube feeding your puppy to get him healthy for a corrective surgery.

  4. Take your dog to the vet for surgery to correct the condition. Once your canine is four months old, he will be eligible for surgery. The surgeon will correct the palate abnormality using a scalpel.

  5. Monitor your canine closely after surgery. Although your vet will likely keep your canine for a few days post-surgery, close monitoring will be needed when bringing him home. Any abnormality in breathing warrants a call to the doctor.

  6. Tip

    Create a quiet environment for healing. Wash all dog bedding and move his area to a quiet place in the house. Provide a few of his favourite toys for comfort.


    Stay away from sharp objects that may injure your canine’s palate. Dogs that experience this disorder are more likely to injure the affected area. Don’t let your canine play with sticks or sharp materials that could cause injury.

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About the Author

Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.

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