Do Dogs Have Uvulas

Do Dogs Have Uvulas?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Unique to humans, fully-formed uvulas perform a wide range of functions. Speech is assisted by this organ, food travels in the correct direction, and the gag reflex is triggered. Just because dogs do not have them does not mean they do not have a gag reflex. Despite the fact that they shove all sorts of things down their throats, dogs have a very sensitive gag reflex.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Do Dogs Have Uvulas?“.

The uvula is a feature of the human mouth that appears in cartoons whenever the characters scream yawn or cry. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Do Dogs Have Uvulas

Its the little dangly thing at the back of your throat that kind of resembles an upside-down heart.

What you see when someone yawns way too loud but does not cover their mouth. What a rude person!

Uvulas? What are they even?

What is its purpose?

More importantly do they exist in dogs and what might go wrong with them?

How else could their throats go wrong and what should you do about it?

What do you think? Lets find out.

What is a uvula?

In your mouth the uvula is a thin soft flap of tissue hanging down all the way to the back. You know the one you hear when characters in cartoons scream really loudly. Furthermore if you touch it (why would you do that? ) you are likely to gag and possibly vomit. Just a thought.

Do dogs have a uvula?

As we see them in cartoons we assume that everyone has one. However dogs do not have them. Humans are the only animals with uvulas except for some primates. Interesting! 

What function or role does it play?

Humans possess a fascinating little organ known as the uvula. The uvula lubricates the vocal chord according to science. Its pretty cool that the uvula can produce so much saliva at a moments notice. Really. As one of the biological markers that distinguish humans from other mammals the uvula is closely associated with speech.

Lastly there is the gag reflex. Whenever something tries to make its way into your mouth uninvited the uvula helps your body gag. Any object that touches the back of your throat – essentially the uvula – constricts your throat muscles causing you to gag or even vomit.

Furthermore the uvula helps your food and drink go down the right way keeping them away from your lungs and nose. What an amazing little organ it is.

Can dogs exist without them?

Sure enough they can! Since dogs do not have uvulas they have been living happily without them since time immemorial. We may have been captured by aliens and they are controlling our perceptions of reality. This would mean that dogs are not even real. This would mean that you are not even real. You are simply imagining the entire world! Lets calm down now.

What are common problems that dogs have with uvulas?

Dogs do not have uvulas so they cannot have problems with them. Unless you make them feel offended by them. When you yawn you know those huge I-should-have-gone to bed hours ago but instead binged an entire series of yawns without covering your mouth. You’re to blame for that I’m afraid.

Are uvulas the same as tonsils?

Thats not the case. At the back of your throat you will find tonsils on either side. They make antibodies that protect you from disease and are made from lymph tissue. Moreover they act as filters for bacteria and dust that are trying to enter your body.

There are times when tonsils act up catching too many bugs and becoming infected. Therefore they end up making you ill instead of keeping your body in pristine condition.

Therefore you have them removed when you are young. Adenoids are similar to tonsils but they are located higher up in the throat close to the nose.

The uvula is a soft tissue that hangs from the roof of the mouth. At the back of your mouth where your throat meets your mouth. There is no role for it in fighting diseases and it very rarely causes any trouble. The tonsils and the uvulas are not the same things at all.

What are the other main “organs” in a dog’s throat apart from the tongue and teeth?

Heres something interesting: your dogs throat looks much like yours. Four major organs constitute the larynx the trachea the esophagus and the epiglottis.

What do these things do? The larynx is the area between the nose and the trachea. Among its many functions this area protects the lower airways and houses the voice box.

There is cartilage soft tissue and ligaments as well as secretory membranes such as tonsils and adenoids.

The trachea is a fancy name for the windpipe. Next there is the epiglottis. The tongue has a remarkable organ at its back.

It is a piece of cartilage. By closing the windpipes opening and opening the way to the esophagus when your pup swallows it works like a flap. Rovers stomach is reached through the esophagus.

What are the main problems that dogs might have with their throats?

Pharyngitis is the most common problem dogs experience in their throats. In this condition the esophaguss lining (called the pharynx) becomes swollen or inflamed causing severe pain and sometimes completely closing off the throat.

There is a wide range of severity and causes associated with this condition. A sharp bone that Rover swallowed could have damaged his pharynx causing infection. It is possible that he has a bacterial infection in his pharynx. There is even a possibility that he has cancer in the pharynx in severe cases. 

All of these are bad and since his throat is sore he might not bark or whine to let you know he needs help. You know since that would be painful too. What a poor pup. Pharyngitis is typically characterized by coughing. If they are healthy dogs should never cough. Whenever your pup coughs you should have him examined by a veterinarian.

Do dogs have a gag reflex?

The answer is yes! Considering dogs are prone to consuming food they should not thats a good thing. It is because of this well-developed gag reflex that perfectly healthy dogs vomit easily and often.

Therefore it usually isnot a cause for concern but it could be a sign of something more sinister. In the event that your pup vomits check (gross I know!) his vomit for clues.

Immediately take him to the vet if you notice string holiday tinsel fishing line hooks anything sharp cloth plastic glass metal toys pills poison blood or basically anything that should not have entered his mouth in the first place. The swallowed item might cause serious harm so getting help is essential before things get worse.

What other pets have a uvula?

Two species of baboon both of which are related to humans have uvulas. You probably do not have a uvula on your pet unless you have exotic pets and added some baboons to your family. I know the cartoons mislead all of us and it is sad but I’m sure we will all move on.


Unique to humans fully formed uvulas perform a wide range of functions. Speech is assisted by this organ food travels in the correct direction and the gag reflex is triggered. Just because dogs do not have them does not mean they do not have a gag reflex. Despite the fact that they shove all sorts of things down their throats dogs have a very sensitive gag reflex. 

Dogs however have other things up their sleeve. As with humans they have tonsils and adenoids that protect them from disease. Its true your pet can even get tonsillitis just like you. Its amazing how much we have in common.

Share on:
Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *