BEFORE you chuckle at that video of a snoring pug or sleepy French bulldog sitting upright on a sofa, you might need to ask if that animal is actually suffering from just trying to breathe.
Countless online videos, showing dogs like these snoring, grunting, wheezing or snuffling, are labelled as ‘cute’ and shared virally.
But vets and the RSPCA are helping owners understand the reasons behind the snoring are not adorable at all.
In fact, many of these ‘flat-faced dogs’ suffer chronic sleep deprivation and breathing difficulties for their entire lives, because of the way they’ve been bred to look.
Sadly, these problems are so common, many owners have come to think they’re a “normal” characteristic of the breed, and don’t realise their dog is suffering.
That’s why the RSPCA has developed a quick online quiz that helps owners identify if their dog is at risk.
The quiz asks owners a series of five questions, which include ‘when resting, can you hear your dog breathing from more than one metre away?’ and ‘does your dog make snuffling or snorting noises when excited?’.
Answering yes to two or more questions triggers a warning to owners to consult their vet about the possibility their dog is suffering from a serious and chronic respiratory condition (though both the RSPCA and AVA encourage owners with any concerns to consult with their vet regardless).
Dogs with very short muzzles (brachycephalic breeds), such as pugs, British bulldogs and French bulldogs can have serious breathing problems as the length of their muzzle has
been progressively shortened through selective breeding.
However, the soft tissue inside the nose, mouth and throat is not reduced, so it can block their airways and constrict their nostrils and windpipes, making it even more difficult for the animal to breathe.
Anyone who has lived with chronic snoring or sleep apnoea knows the misery that results from a long-term lack of quality sleep and it can happen to dogs too.
SHARE YOUR VIEWS: Letters to the editor can be emailed to editorial@ south burnett times .com.au or mailed to PO Box 312, Kingaroy, Qld, 4610. All letters are subject to editing. Anonymous letters will not be published.