Your dog has been puffing his cheeks out and you’re probably wondering why. There are actually a few reasons this might happen. Some could be a cause for warning, while others may not be so serious. Learn how to tell why your dog is puffing their cheeks and/or huffing and what you should do about it.
What is Puffing?
Puffing is when your dog exhales rapidly, causing the cheeks to puff out.
What is Huffing?
Huffing is when your dog is growling or barking with a low noise and puffing out or vibrating cheeks.
Dog Puffing Cheeks Randomly
If your dog is randomly puffing their cheeks or huffing, this may not always be serious, but it could be. What seems random may actually have a cause and not be random at all. Pay attention to what your dog is doing directly before and after puffing her cheeks. Is there a cough or sneeze? Does your dog seem stressed? What events are going on during the cheek puffing sessions? Is there a growl or low bark in conjunction with the huffing? Any of those additional factors may indicate stress or illness. If stress is the factor, remove your dog from the situation that is causing problems. Puffing cheeks in a stressful situation is usually a precursor to aggression. If there are illness indicators, like coughing, sneezing, or choking, call your vet immediately.
Dog Puffing Cheeks in Communication With Other Dogs
Dogs might occasionally puff their cheeks or be huffing in a playful manner with other dogs. However, for most dogs, this is actually not a good thing. Puffing cheeks when interacting with other dogs can be a sign that one or both of the dogs is ready to attack. This is generally what dogs do while letting out a warning growl or snarling just before they attack. If you ever see your dog huffing or puffing at another dog, keep him or her at a safe distance from the other animal and vacate the situation immediately. The same goes for when you see another dog act this way toward your dog.
Dog Puffing Cheeks at Kids or Adults
As in instances with other dogs, puffing cheeks directly at humans is generally a warning sign. This means your dog feels threatened, stressed, or unhappy about something or someone and is likely ready to attack. Remove the person or dog from the situation immediately. If not, the dog is likely to attack the person being targeted with this negative form of communication. Sometimes, this may be a playful gesture, but most of the time it is dangerous and nowhere close to playful. Teaching kids how to interact with dogs can help prevent some of these situations in the future.
Dog Puffing Cheeks While Sneezing or Coughing
If your dog is puffing out his or her cheeks while sneezing or coughing, this may be an indicator of illness or choking. Contact your vet immediately for the best advice. Some dogs will puff out their cheeks and sneeze or cough to dislodge an object that is obstructing the airways or the nose. Some dogs will also do this when they have a cold or other infection or illness. Only a veterinarian can tell you for sure what’s wrong with your dog and waiting too long for this advice can be dangerous or even fatal.
More Warning Signs to Look For When Your Dog is Puffing Cheeks or Huffing
How to Prevent Cheek Puffing in Dogs
Cheek puffing due to illness can be best prevented by taking your dog to the vet regularly and as soon as any medical symptoms arise. This won’t prevent every situation, but catching issues early can help prevent them from worsening over time and causing more harm.
Aggressive cheek puffing is generally a behavioral or stress issue. Using positive pet parenting and avoiding negative training methods can go a long way. Also, learn what your dog needs directly from him. If you know what stresses your dog out, you can more easily avoid issues. If you have children, again teaching them how to interact with dogs can help prevent many stressful and dangerous situations for your dog and child.
When our family adopted our first hamster, we knew we'd learn a few things. But we were thinking more along the lines of hamster care and responsibility. Throughout our time in caring for various hamsters, we have actually learned quite a bit more. Humans can actually learn many important lessons from hamsters. Here are my favorites and what I feel are the most important things hamsters teach people.
Store Food for Later Use
If you've ever had a pet hamster, you likely noticed that they'll take their food from the dish and find a place in their cage to store it. Each time a hamster is fed, they will move some or most of the food into this storage area. Some people store up extra food for emergencies. Yet others do not. What will you do if there is an emergency, such as a natural disaster? What if your family suddenly loses a main income source? Are you storing food for later use? If not, take a lesson from the hamster and start building up your food supply. Stockpiling can be squeezed into any budget.
We’ve rescued many hamsters, over the years. One noticeable similarity is that they all exercised several times per day. I don't know how on earth hamsters run on the wheel so fast for so long. But they do it. Hamsters also like to climb the cage, run around the cage, climb on people, run through obstacle courses, and so much more.
Each moment they are awake, hamsters are doing something active. Leading an active lifestyle is good for a hamster's health. Staying active is also healthy for you. So, take another lesson from hamsters and stay active. Spend less time on your couch and more time doing activities that get you moving. From yoga, to racing with the kids in the backyard, to hitting the nature trails, swimming at the local pool, and more, there are plenty of ways to stay active.
Sleep is Important
Our hamsters like to sleep. They sleep a good portion of time throughout the day. While they are extremely active during their waking hours, hamsters sure know how to nap. Although hamsters are classified as nocturnal, they also have some diurnal tendencies. We often rescue hamsters when we have room and have had experience with several. One thing I noticed with all of the hamsters right away is their sleep pattern. Every hamster we have adopted breaks up their days and night into sections.
They're usually active for two to three hours. Then, they'll sleep for about the same amount of time or longer. This cycle repeats itself throughout the day. While most people cannot follow that exact schedule, it’s important to take a lesson from hamsters about how important sleep is. Refresh your body each time you do something strenuous. If you work hard, you need to get proper rest afterward.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is the-ir top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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