Do Dogs Have Adam’s Apples?

Your dog undoubtedly loves a good scratch. So when you’re doting on them, hitting an area on their neck that they’re leaning into, your fingers might encounter a lump.

That can be a scary encounter, so you’re understandably concerned. And it likely has you wondering—do dogs have Adam’s apples, or could the lump be a tumor?

do dogs have Adam's apples
Do dogs have Adam’s apples?

All dogs have Adam’s apples, so there’s likely no need to worry. 

That said, tumors can form around the neck. So, I’ll give you a background on Adam’s apples and details to help you determine whether it’s a harmless piece of your dog’s anatomy or if you should take them to the vet.

History of the Adam’s Apple

When you hear the words “Adam” and “apple,” your mind likely wanders to the biblical story of the Garden of Eden.

And while there’s no shortage of stories online about how Adam choked on the apple Eve gave to him with a chunk lodged in his throat, that’s not where Adam’s apple got its name.

Instead, since at least medieval times, the term “apple” was a Latin word to refer to many different types of fruit, including plantains and pomegranate.

Arab culture also adopted a fruit name for Adam’s apple, referring to it as the pomegranate. So, while the story of Adam and Eve seems like it should fit with how Adam’s apple got its name, it’s a made-up story.

man holds Adam's apple
Do dogs have Adam’s apple like humans?

The Anatomy of the Adam’s Apple

Regardless of the historical reasons for Adam’s apple getting its name, you’ll now be grateful laypeople gave it a nickname; the official term for Adam’s apple is the laryngeal prominence of the thyroid cartilage.

The Adam’s apple contains thyroid cartilage that circles the front of your dog’s larynx, which also goes by the name voice box.

Unlike in humans, where women usually don’t have Adam’s apples, both male and female dogs have them. But although puppies start their life with an equal-appearing Adam’s apple, male dogs appear to have more prominent Adam’s apple than females.

That’s because a female dog’s Adam apple rests on an upper part of her thyroid cartilage. Therefore, it hides the bump, making it more challenging to encounter.

checking dog's neck
A woman checking her dog’s neck.

Purpose of the Adam’s Apple

When considering the question, “Do dogs have Adam’s apples?” it’s essential to understand its purpose. 

Although Adam’s apples are the reason for a dog’s bark becoming deeper, the primary function of this feature is to protect the vocal cords sitting behind its thyroid cartilage.

The voice box is fragile, and barking exerts a lot of strain. So, without the cartilage surrounding the larynx, your dog might not be able to bark much (which, on the surface, might not seem so bad if your dog is a big barker!).

Chihuahua barking and whining
A Chihuahua puppy barking and whining alone in a room.

How To Find an Adam’s Apple on a Dog?

There’s a good chance you’ve found this article because you already found your dog’s Adam’s apple. But if not, you can follow the steps below.

woman holding Dachshund
Dachshund looks up with a woman holding him.

Step 1: Place Your Fingers on the Neck

The Adam’s apple sits directly below your dog’s chin in the center of their neck. So, place your fingers anywhere in that region to start.

Step 2: Move Your Fingers

From there, start gently moving your fingers around. You’re looking for a firm bump akin to how a human’s Adam’s apple feels, except on a smaller scale.

Step 3: Palpitate Your Fingers

Gently pushing your fingers into and out of your dog’s neck can help you find their Adam’s apple if you’re still struggling. At this point, your dog might not love the extra attention on their neck, especially since the neck is a sensitive area.

So, unless you suspect the dog has a medical issue, I don’t recommend searching for it for so long that your dog becomes uncomfortable.

Factors Preventing You From Finding Your Dog’s Adam’s Apple

Despite your greatest efforts to find your dog’s Adam’s apple, a few biological factors could make it challenging. They include:

  • Your dog’s sex
  • Thick skin
  • A heavy coat

As mentioned earlier, male dogs have a more visible Adam’s apple than females. So, if you’re having trouble locating your female dog’s Adam’s apple, this is likely the reason.

In contrast, your dog might naturally have thick skin or lots of hair, creating a physical barrier between your fingers and its Adam’s apple. But if you have a Peruvian Inca Orchid or another hairless dog breed, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.

owner pets Border Collie
The owner pets his Border Collie!

Adam’s Apple vs. a Lump

It’s always best to approach any unknown lump you find on your dog with cautious curiosity. Harmless lumps can happen that resolve themselves on their own, such as a bug bite.

But if you rule out the lump you find in your dog’s neck isn’t their Adam’s apple, there could be other reasons that range in severity. Examples include:

  • Skin allergy
  • Absecceses
  • Tumors
  • Mange
  • Inflamed lymph nodes
  • Sebaceous cysts

Your dog’s Adam’s apple will be firm. So, if you notice that the lump you find is soft or appears to cause your dog pain, those are signs that you’re not feeling their Adam’s apple.

Furthermore, if the “Adam’s apple” seems to move with their skin instead of being attached to their larynx, that’s another sure-fire indication that it’s something different. Of course, tumors will appear as a part of your dog’s skeletal structure, so this isn’t a perfect science.

Regardless of the reason, I encourage you to take your dog to the veterinarian. In some cases, the illnesses listed above are the actual reason for the lump in your dog’s throat. Other situations, such as inflamed lymph nodes, could be a symptom of a larger issue.

dog check up
Vet checking dog’s neck.

Non-Adam’s Apple Symptoms

If you’re trying to figure out whether the lump you feel on your dog’s neck is their Adam’s apple or something else, there are some other things you can look for to help you assess it.

For example, have you noticed if the lump has been changing size or shape? How about your dog’s overall behavior—do they have their regular appetite, energy, and bowel movements?

If your dog has a cough, fever, or nasal congestion, these are also signs that the lump might not be their Adam’s apple.

Of course, pain when you touch the “Adam’s apple” is another easy way to tell. Adam’s apples are normal and healthy on both male and female dogs. So, while they might not love you poking around their neck, they shouldn’t ever react in a way akin to pain.

sick dog sleeping
A sick dog sleeping on a pillow.

A Note on Tumors

Tumors are often the first things people think about when they find a lump on their dog’s neck if they didn’t know that it could be Adam’s apple.

The good news is that even if your dog’s neck lump is a tumor, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s malignant (cancerous). And most likely, the tumor is on the thyroid gland.

Certain dogs and breeds are more susceptible to malignant thyroid tumors. Below are some of the situations, but keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list:

  • Middle-aged dogs
  • Older dogs
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Golden Retrievers

Generally speaking, larger dogs have a higher chance of developing tumors on their thyroid glands than smaller dogs.

If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with a thyroid tumor, they may present several treatment options. They can often surgically remove smaller tumors. But in other cases, radiation or chemotherapy is the most practical option. 

Golden Retriever and owner
Golden Retriever and owner taking a rest after a long run!

The Bottom Line

So, do dogs have Adam’s apples? Yes, they do, so there’s usually no need for concern if you feel a lump in your dog’s neck.

Nevertheless, many other pests and diseases can cause neck lumps. So, if you find a bump that’s out of the ordinary on your dog, you should schedule a vet appointment.

The sooner your veterinarian can assess your dog, the better the chances of them recovering from any ailment they might have.