There are several advantages to sleeping with a dog. For example, it may improve your health, immunity, and mental health. It offers a sense of comfort and security, eases insomnia, and helps deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.
But it might be difficult to get a good night’s sleep if your dog tends to snore. You may experience a decrease in your sleep quality. Now, these snores can be gentle purrs, or they could be loud enough to jolt you awake from your sleep. They could also be indicators of health issues with the pet.
Breeds with short snouts like English Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pugs are predisposed to snoring. So, snoring in such cases is harmless. If your dog has always snored, there may be nothing to worry about. But, if the behavior is fairly recent, it could indicate allergies, infections, respiratory tract issues, and other medical concerns.
The article will explore the answer to the query of why does my dog snore. We also look at techniques you can try at home to stop your pet’s snoring and when you should visit the vet.
- Why Does My Dog Snore? – 7 Reasons
- Is it Normal for Dogs to Snore?
- When Does Snoring Become a Problem?
- How Can I Stop My Dog’s Snoring?
Why Does My Dog Snore? – 7 Reasons
The reasons for your dog’s snoring could be the way it sleeps, seasonal allergies, or infections. However, it could also indicate serious medical conditions that may require treatment, surgery, or lifestyle changes.
Let us go through possible reasons for your pet’s snoring, so you know what symptoms to look out for and when to reach out to the vet.
1. Sleeping Position
One of the common causes of dog snoring is its sleeping position. Most dogs snore only when they are sleeping on their back. This is because the animal’s tongue can fall back on its throat, which can cause a partial block of the passageway and hinder air movement.
Dogs tend to sleep on their back as the position helps them relax their muscles and avoid any unnecessary pressure on them. If the weather is too hot, the position can also be a tactic to cool their bodies.
If the snoring gets too loud, gently nudge the dog to change its sleeping position. Do not push and yell, or the dog will wake up startled. It may then show a reactive response like nipping at your hand.
Like us humans, your furry friends also have to deal with allergies. Respiratory allergies are the result of your dog inhaling an allergen.
For example, your pet can be allergic to dust. So, if the dog’s living area is not cleaned properly, its bedding has not been changed, then the dirt and dust around contribute to the pet’s snoring. During the spring season, plant pollen is another common allergen that afflicts dogs.
These allergens can irritate the dog’s nasal passageway. As a result, the pet can show symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and discharge from the nose and eyes. The dog will snore because the air cannot freely move through the respiratory system. This snoring is equivalent to a person with a blocked nose snoring.
When it comes to inhalant allergens, they are difficult to control or prevent. For example, you cannot keep your dog locked inside all spring. Also, there is no specific cure for this type of allergy. Instead, treatment involves tending to symptoms.
The vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for quick relief and strengthen the immune system. So, consult the vet if your dog’s snoring is a seasonal issue.
3. Excess Weight
Dogs that carry extra weight are more likely to snore. When your dog gains weight, it does not only accumulate fat around its tummy or limbs; its neck and throat will also be affected.
The extra fat can block the airways and restrict airflow, which results in snoring. In this case, weight loss and lifestyle changes are the way to stop snoring and also help the pet live a healthier life.
Let us take the example of a standard Dachshund. The dog should ideally be in the weight range of 16 to 32 pounds. If the dog weighs 42 pounds, then snoring can be expected. In addition, the dog may have a higher probability of developing respiratory issues like collapsing trachea.
Discuss with the vet how best you can tackle the situation. According to AKC, getting your pet into shape can involve making diet changes like replacing the usual second meal of the day with green beans or a little bit of kibble and replacing treats with healthier alternatives. The pet will also require exercise and training to stay physically and mentally active.
4. Obstructed Airway
Dogs rely on their noses when exploring the world around them. So they are bound to get some or other foreign object stuck in their noses. It could be dirt, plant material, or food. The dog will snore while sleeping as the foreign object restricts airflow movement.
Nasal tumors are another cause that can lead to an obstructed airway. This type of cancer accounts for 1 to 2% of all cancers in dogs. Unfortunately, 80% of nasal tumors are cancerous.
Apart from snoring, the dog may show other signs like:
- Noisy breathing
- Nasal discharge (can be bloody)
- Behavioral changes
If your dog starts breathing funny or there are noticeable physical and neurological changes, please get in touch with the vet.
This is one of the common endocrine conditions that afflict dogs. And snoring is a common indicator of hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland produces hormones responsible for regulating the pet’s metabolic rate. In case of overproduction, the dog’s metabolism will go into overdrive, and in case of less production, the metabolism will slow down.
Again, apart from snoring, the pet can show signs like:
- Weight gain
- Lack of motivation or energy to exercise or move around
- Dry and dull hair
- Excessive shedding
- Pigmentation of the skin
- Increased occurrences of skin and ear infections
If the dog shows any of these signs, it is best to visit the vet at the earliest. The condition can be cured but managed with thyroid replacement hormone. The dog will have to take the medication for the rest of its life.
6. Abscessed Tooth
If your dog’s tooth is broken or damaged in any way, it can be a gateway to infections. Bacteria can enter through the tooth and infect its root.
If your dog chews on a bone, toy, or a random stone in the garden, it can fracture its tooth. The enamel, which acts as a barrier, gets broken, and the tooth’s center is exposed. Once bacteria enter, the tooth can become inflamed and eventually die.
Pus is a byproduct of the infection. And as the infection spreads, the accumulation of pus leads to an abscess. The infection can be extremely painful for the dog, and it can sign like:
- Reluctance to eat or chew
- Eating from one (unaffected) side
- Bad breath
- Pawing or rubbing one side of the face
The infection can find its way into the nasal sinus, resulting in snoring.
The vet will prescribe antibiotics for the infection and other medications for pain. Then the vet will either do a root canal to save the tooth or extract it completely. The snoring should stop once the issue is fixed.
7. Sleep Apnea
It is rare for a dog to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. In the rare cases of diagnosis, overweight and flat-faced dogs are most affected.
The physical structuring of the respiratory system and excess fat can cause temporary narrowing or obstruction of the airway. The dog will be forced awake multiple times while sleeping for 10 to 20 seconds. Loud snoring is a common indicator of this condition.
The dog’s sleep quality will obviously drop due to the constant interruptions. The pet will be tired throughout the day because it cannot get enough rest. It will not have the stamina to exercise or play.
You should not take sleep apnea lightly. It requires vet care as not treating the condition can be life-threatening for the pet. The vet may prescribe medication or perform surgery in case of abnormal anatomy or obstruction. For overweight pets, lifestyle changes will be recommended.
Also Read About: Why is my Dog Breathing Fast
Is it Normal for Dogs to Snore?
When your dog’s upper airway soft tissues vibrate, they make a sound you know as snoring. This typically happens when the pet’s airway passages are blocked.
Some dog breeds are prone to snoring. According to PetMD, these breeds are brachycephalic, meaning their skull is broad and short, and their snort is short. So, they have narrow nostrils and smaller airway passages. Commonly such pets are referred to as flat-faced dogs.
Examples of brachycephalic dog breeds are:
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Shih Tzus
- Boston Terriers
- Cane Corso
- Lhasa Apso
Apart from the physical features, factors like sleeping position, type of bed, and environment all contribute to snoring.
So it can be normal for some dogs to snore. But if the behavior is sudden, you see other symptoms and suspect a health issue; please get in touch with the vet.
When Does Snoring Become a Problem?
If you are a parent of a flat-faced dog, know there is a higher chance of the pet making snoring sounds through the night. You can discuss the same with the vet during your routine visit. Typically, the dog will only snore at night and be active and cheerful throughout the day, showing no unusual symptoms.
If there are no underlying conditions, then you have to make peace with the fact you have a snorer for a pet. We will discuss further how you can improve the dog’s sleeping space to limit snoring.
If your dog tends to snore only during a certain season of the year, then it could be seasonal allergies. In this case, snoring is a problem. You should seek vet care to control the clinical signs.
If your dog starts snoring all of a sudden, then again, it is a problem that needs investigation. As you have seen above, snoring could be a sign of underlying health issues.
Visit the vet, if, along with snoring, there are symptoms like:
- Runny nose
- Nasal discharge
- Noisy breathing
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Swelling of the facial area
- Behavioral changes
How Can I Stop My Dog’s Snoring?
Now that we have gone through the reasons behind why does my dog snores, let us explore what you can do to stop the behavior.
You can do things at home, such as getting the dog a comfortable bed, keeping its surroundings clean, and maintaining its health. In case of medical conditions, a vet can advise on a further course of action.
The techniques are explained in detail below.
1. Ensure the Dog’s Sleeping Space is Comfortable
Would you sleep peacefully if your bed is lumpy and does not provide support? We sure cannot. Similarly, an uncomfortable bed can make a dog’s snoring worse. If the dog sleeps with you, give it a pillow to rest its head on.
As mentioned above, some dogs might like to sleep on their backs, and frequently changing their position at night to stop the snoring may not be feasible. So, encourage the dog to sleep with the pillow in a position with its head above its chest.
You can also use a circle-shaped bed with its edges raised. The shape of the dog encourages and supports a curled-up position while sleeping. The position helps expand the airways, breathe freely and limit or prevent snoring.
You can try keeping a humidifier in the dog’s sleeping area. The extra moisture in the air can help reduce irritation of the nasal passage and snoring. It can also help you get a good night’s sleep.
2. Ensure the Dog’s Sleeping Space is Clean
Dust is a common inhalant allergen that can irritate your dog’s respiratory system and keep it coughing and wheezing. If the dog sleeps on a dusty bed, it is bound to end up snoring. Therefore, you should ideally wash the beddings once every week. In between washes, you can use a vacuum.
If your dog is prone to seasonal allergies, the cleaning process would have to be amped up, say during the spring season. The dog can bring in allergens inside the home. So, along with the beddings, the area in which the dog sleeps and spends most of its time will also need a thorough cleaning.
3. The Dog Should Maintain a Healthy Weight
Overweight or obese dogs are more likely to snore. They are prone to breathing issues like collapsed trachea and sleep apnea. They are also prone to other health conditions like diabetes, joints, bones, and heart ailments.
So helping the dog maintain a healthy weight is necessary for its overall well-being. The vet may suggest diet changes, portion control, and alternatives to snacks and treats. Practices like feeding the dog table scraps or fried, sugary food must be avoided.
Exercise has to be an essential part of the pet’s routine. However, do not blindly push the animal to walk long miles because exercise tolerance can differ for a young and senior dog. So discuss with the vet the type of exercises and duration of training sessions.
Make exercise a fun activity. For example, if the dog likes to run, you can go for a jog or play fetching games. It can be a good bonding activity for you as well.
4. See a Vet
Snoring may seem harmless, but it can also indicate a medical condition. In case you notice any of the many symptoms mentioned above, please see your vet.
In conditions like an abscessed tooth, the dog cannot tell you straight up it is in pain. It will be reluctant to eat and shy away when you hold its face. But know that the infection can be painful for your canine friend.
In case of a condition like hypothyroidism, there is no cure, but it can be managed easily. If left as is, it can severely affect the dog’s quality of life. However, with proper treatment, the pet can enjoy a normal lifestyle, and you both can sleep soundly at night.
Also, keep up with routine vet visits. It can help proactively catch health issues, if any.
Why does my dog snore? Of all the habits your dog has, snoring can be irritating, especially if you are a light sleeper.
Dog breeds with short snouts are prone to snoring. So, if you are a parent to an English Bulldog or Pug, there are chances you have adopted a snorer.
A dog’s bed, sleeping position, and weather are factors that can affect its breathing, leading to loud snoring sounds.
Then you have underlying health conditions for which snoring is an indicator – for example, allergies, hypothyroidism, abscessed tooth, presence of foreign objects in the nasal passage, and cancer.
You can try to change the dog’s position, invest in a circular bed, use a humidifier, keep its surroundings clean, and maintain its weight to reduce or stop snoring.
Please visit the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment in case of sudden snoring and additional symptoms. Once the medical condition clears up, the snoring should also stop.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.