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Do Dogs Have Adam’s Apples? The Surprising Answer - PawSafe
Dog Dental

Do Dogs Have Adam’s Apples? The Surprising Answer

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

do dog have adams apples

You have likely come across a lump when scratching your dog’s neck, making you wonder if dogs have Adam’s apple. It’s difficult to spot the swelling on long or curly-haired dogs, but it’s much easier on shorter-haired dogs like labs.

When it comes to all things to do with a dog’s mouth and throat, we always need to take the time to recommend a dog dental wash, as dental hygiene is vital for a dog’s overall health . 

It may be understandably scary to encounter a lump on your dog’s throat. Therefore, we have covered how to know whether the swelling is part of your dog’s anatomy or whether the vet should be involved. 

Do All Dogs Have Adam’s Apple?

An Adam’s apple is part of your dog’s anatomy regardless of breed, sex, and age. While Adam’s apple may be more pronounced in males, it’s still present in female dogs. Both sexes start life with equal-looking Adam’s apples, but it gets more prominent in the male dogs as they advance in age. 

You’ll find your dog’s Adam’s apple right at the center of your dog’s neck as a swelling or lump. It may be difficult to spot your dog’s Adam’s apple if they have a lot of hair or if you pet their neck too gently. 

An Adam’s apple is a part of your dog’s anatomy, and you have probably never really thought much about it until now.  It’s one of the features we associate with humans, but dogs and most animals have it, just like they have eyebrows

What is an Adam’s Apple?

Adam’s apple refers to a protrusion on the middle front of your dog’s throat. It is a natural growth made up of thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx (voice box). Adam’s apple is just a nickname for this part, and its official name is laryngeal prominence of the thyroid cartilage.

Let’s talk anatomy for a minute. Dogs have a laryngeal (throat)  skeletal structure comprising nine cartilage rings in the larynx. The thyroid cartilage is the biggest of these cartilages, and in it, we have a protrusion, which is your dog’s Adam’s apple. 

Since the Adam’s apple lies on the biggest cartilage, it’s the most distinct part of the throat.  Female dogs appear to have a smaller Adam’s apple because it’s located at the very top part of the thyroid cartilage. Because of this location, a female dog’s Adam’s apple is somewhat hidden.

What Does an Adam’s Apple Do in Dogs?

A dog’s Adam’s apple:

  • Protects the voice box/ larynx
  • Deepens bark
  • Is essential for emergency procedures

The Adam’s apple is more than just a part of the laryngeal skeletal structure; it protects the larynx (voice box). Without the Adam’s apple, the force exerted on the vocal cords behind the larynx when a dog barks would damage them.

The Adam’s apple also enables your dog’s bark to sound deeper, but that’s just a secondary function. Another secondary function is fast and easy identification during emergency procedures like a cricothyrotomy

In this procedure, a medic must find a membrane around the throat to make an emergency puncture to allow breathing. Since the Adam’s apple is on the biggest cartilage, it’s easy to spot, allowing the life-saving procedure to occur.

Where and How to Find Your Dog’s Adam’s Apple

Where and How to Find Your Dog’s Adam’s Apple

Your dog’s Adam’s apple is fairly easy to spot, especially in males and short to medium-haired dogs. To find their Adam’s apple, trace your dog’s throat with your thumb and index finger until you encounter a large, firm cartilage. 

You may need to work harder for curly, long-haired dogs, but you’ll feel the swelling if you put enough force. Female dogs will have their Adam’s apples slightly higher than the males, and they will be significantly smaller. 

Lump vs. Adam’s Apple: How to Tell the Difference

While most times the swelling on your dog’s throat is their Adam’s apple, sometimes it indicates a medical condition. The Adam’s apple is firm, so touching any swelling on the throat that’s soft and painful for your dog indicates a problematic lump. 

Some lumps, like those of an insect bite, are relatively harmless and will subside independently. Others need much more vigorous attention and treatment. Throat swellings that aren’t Adam’s apples include the following:

  • Tumors or Chondrosarcoma of the larynx
  • Inflamed lymph nodes
  • Abscesses around the throat
  • Skin allergies
  • Mange
  • Sebaceous cysts
  • Lymphoma (a form of cancer)

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so visit the vet as soon as you suspect suspicious swellings on your dog’s body. Many of these conditions, like cancer, can be life-threatening, and prompt medical attention increases the chances of recovery. 

You can use these criteria to determine whether the neck swelling is the Adam’s apple or not:

  • Does the swelling move around?

The Adam’s apple is firm and tightly attached to the larynx. Any lump that moves around with the skin is likely not it. 

  • Is the swelling soft?

The Adam’s apple is cartilage and, therefore, hard to the touch, so If the lump is soft and pokable, it’s likely a medical lump.

  • Is the swelling painful?

Many lumps that aren’t Adam’s apples are painful, and your dog yelps to the touch.

  • Are there other signs?

Problematic lumps often occur with other signs like lethargy, anorexia, loss of appetite, reduced thirst, and swelling of other body parts. 

  • Is the lump off-center?

Adam’s apples are located in a very specific region on the neck, the middle. If the lump is slightly on the side, there’s a good chance it’s due to disease.

Symptoms of Non-Adam’s Apple Lump

 It may be confusing to tell exactly what the lump on your dog’s throat is, especially if you’re getting a bit paranoid. Watching out for signs of illness and discomfort is a foolproof way of confirming whether the swelling is anatomy or disease. 

If the lump is a tumor due to cancer, you’ll notice the following signs: 

  • Excessive thirst
  • Restlessness
  • Appetite changes
  • Frequent urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Conditions like lymphoma and inflamed lymph nodes don’t specifically attack the neck but display as swellings in that area. For inflamed lymph nodes, swelling can also occur around the knees, armpits, and rear legs and occur when the immune system is activated. 

Still on the subject of voice box issues, dogs can suffer from laryngeal paralysis resulting in the loss of their voice. When the muscles at the larynx weaken, it can get unstable, resulting in paralysis and voice loss. The causes are majorly idiopathic (unknown) and others like throat trauma and hormonal diseases. 

Laryngitis is a larynx inflammation that will likely not cause a lump. You’ll notice voice changes, short, moist, painful coughs, and difficulty breathing if your dog has the condition. Upper respiratory infections, irritants in the throat, and allergies are the most common causes of laryngitis. 

What to Do if the Lump Isn’t Adam’s Apple?

Once you’ve established that the lump on your dog’s neck isn’t anatomy but a medical condition, seek veterinary help. Some signs of lumps from diseases overlap, so it would be difficult to diagnose and treat them yourself correctly. 

Your vet will conduct a physical examination upon your arrival. They will examine a sample of cells from the swollen region under a microscope to diagnose cancer, lymph nodes, or abscesses. 

The treatment your vet prescribes will then depend on the diagnosis. You can expect treatment to be one of the following:

  • Antibiotics to curb bacterial infections if your dog’s throat is abscessed due to trauma
  •  Surgical removal for benign tumors or radiation therapy for malignant tumors
  • Swollen lymph nodes treatment depends on the cause. Treatment can range from antibiotics, anti-fungal, steroids, surgery, or chemotherapy.
  • Antihistamines and minimizing exposure to allergens if allergies are the cause
  • Surgical removal for sebaceous cysts.
  • Anti-parasites for mange
  • Treating the cause of laryngitis using antibiotics if bacterial respiratory infections are the cause

The good news is that most throat issues settle quite fast, except cancer which has a poor prognosis. If your dog is symptom-free, the likelihood of disease around the throat is close to zero. 

Final Thoughts

All dogs, male and female, have Adam’s apples, unlike humans, where only men typically have them. The Adam’s apple is a part of your dog’s anatomy, protecting the larynx and vocal cords from damage when dogs bark. You’ll feel your dog’s Adam’s apple if you press gently down their throat.

Most times, the swelling on your dog’s neck is natural, but a few times, the lump indicates a medical issue. A dog with a lump on the throat might have a tumor, swollen lymph nodes, an allergic reaction, and an abscess.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.