Sleeping next to someone who snores is annoying, but sleeping next to a snoring dog might just be worse. Why does your dog snore?
Some dogs snore more than others, and there may be a number of reasons behind them. It’s worth knowing why your dog snores in case there is any cause for concern.
Dogs may snore for multiple reasons. From blocked nasal passages or rhinitis, to some other problems like fungal diseases, sleep apnea and even obesity. Depending on the species, some dogs may also snore more than others.
Knowing why dogs snore is important, because some of the causes mentioned above can actually be leading to a bigger problem.
We researched on the reasons dogs snore, and how their species contributes to it, as well as what you can do to fix the problem. We collected the information we found in one place.
Why Do Dogs Snore?
Dogs’ snoring can actually be perfectly normal – just like in humans. But again, just like with humans, it can also be an indicator that something is wrong. For example, humans who snore are often candidates for sleep apnea, which is a serious condition where you stop breathing while sleeping.
Understandably, that can be dangerous!
So, why do dogs snore? Understanding that is an important part of taking care of your pets. Knowing what snoring can entail in dogs and how to address such problems can help prevent any major problems down the line.
Some breeds of dogs are naturally more predisposed to snoring than others. For example, if a dog has a short, broad skull with a short snout, they are likely going to snore. Shih Tzus, pugs and English bulldogs are good examples. Because they have a short breathing passage, the palette at the back of their throat doesn’t change when they breathe. This results in snoring.
However, just because your dog’s breed is one that is more likely to snore doesn’t mean that you can rule out any other problems. You should still keep an eye out for potential problems.
Blocked Nasal Passages
Like humans, sometimes dogs can snore when the airflow in their nasal passages becomes restricted. This could have something to do with your dog’s position – such as when they’re sleeping on their back – or even their breed, as mentioned earlier. When the tongue falls back against the throat, the air can get blocked from moving around easily, which results in snoring.
This is usually harmless, and not a cause for concern. If your dog snores in certain positions only, you can usually chalk the snoring up to their sleep position. Still, just to be sure, if the problem persists, you should see a vet about it.
Another common cause of snoring is obesity and heavy weight. You might think feeding your dog treats can make him happy, and while this is true, it is also contributing to the snoring problem. When dogs are overweight or obese, extra fat collects in the throat and this can block the airway. As a result, your dog ends up snoring.
Besides the noisy breathing, there are plenty of harmful effects of obesity as it is, so if your dog is obese, you should be seeing a vet to try and bring the weight down, even if your dog doesn’t have a snoring problem.
Like humans, dogs can sometimes snore because of sleep apnea. Though this is less probable, it is a possibility and can be a real cause for concern. Dogs with sleep apnea have very shallow breathing, and at some point during the night, they may stop breathing entirely. Their breath will come back after a moment or so, but with a sharp inhale that can sound like snoring. If you notice this in your dog, you should get them to the vet as soon as possible.
Sleep apnea is a serious problem and can be dangerous. It is best to try and fix it immediately.
Sometimes, dogs will start snoring when they don’t normally do so. This may be a sign of some other problems.
Dogs often have allergies. Whether this is to dust, certain chemicals, foods or even other pets within the house. These allergies can result in breathing trouble and thus, snoring. If you are aware of any allergies in your dog, try and reduce the effects and see if the snoring stops. If it does, you’ve figured out the reason, and can avoid it in the future.
If not, you may want to consider other causes of snoring.
Sometimes, even dental problems can cause snoring. From tooth abscess or sinuses, any problems within the oral cavity can result in snoring. These can also be extremely painful for your dog, and even if they don’t show it, they are really struggling. If you think your dog has any dental problems, or if they seem to snore a lot and don’t have another plausible reason, get your dog to the vet for a check up. Your dog may be in need of dental treatment.
Some fungal diseases can also cause snoring. When fungal spores enter a dog’s nose because of the moisture, you may notice symptoms like sneezing, nasal discharge and snoring. These diseases are common in dogs that spend a lot of time outside, where they can be exposed to dust and grass.
While these diseases are not very dangerous, they can be if left untreated. Anti-fungal medicine is good enough to fix the problem, but you have to be timely in identifying and treating it.
Rhinitis is similar to common colds in humans. If your pet has a stuffy nose, the mucous membrane inside is likely to get inflamed. This results in labored breathing and snoring because the nasal passage gets blocked.
You can treat rhinitis with antibiotics and use a humidifier to make the breathing environment more comfortable.
Making Dogs Snore Less
While you should get snoring problems checked out at the earliest, there are ways you can reduce snoring in dogs.
For example, lying on their back, dogs are more likely to snore, so if you encourage them to sleep on their side, you can reduce the problem. Elevating their head with a pillow can also help.
If you know your dogs have any allergies, keeping your home free of fragrances, smoke, dust and pollen can help keep the environment free of any potential triggers. By keeping their allergies under control, you can also reduce the snoring problem.
Besides that, making sure your dog has a good diet and exercise regime is important. Slim dogs will not just snore less, but will also be healthy!
Regular vet visits will also help make sure that any problems that may exist or pop up are treated in time. By identifying the problem at its earliest, you can get your pet the most effective treatment.
Sometimes, because of their anatomy, dogs may need surgery to open up their nose. However, this is a serious and complex discussion that requires your vet’s expert opinion. If the problem is just their snoring, you are better off with a set of ear plugs to keep the noise out.
However, surgery can sometimes improve the dog’s quality of life – such as if their nasal anatomy is making it difficult to breathe.
Regardless, snoring is a common thing in dogs, and usually quite normal. If simple changes work to reduce snoring, you can rest assured that your dog is healthy. Otherwise, you should get them to a vet whenever you can.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright