Why Does My Dog Snore?

French dog sleeping on sofa

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You are taking a nap with your canine friend and suddenly you hear snoring. You may think it’s adorable or maybe the snoring keeps you up at night. Either way, snoring may indicate a medical problem, in some cases. Read on to learn more about why your dog is snoring.

What Is Snoring?

Snoring is a sound that is generated during sleep by vibration of loose tissue in the upper airway. Snoring occurs when the passages in the upper airways which include the nose, back of the mouth, or throat vibrate audibly during breathing. Vibrations and the resulting snoring are most likely to occur when the tissues of the upper airways are relaxed during sleep.

Is my Dog Snoring Normal?

Snoring in dogs can be normal, but in some cases, snoring may indicate a medical problem. 

Why Does my Dog Snore?

There are various reasons that can cause your dogs to snore when they are sleeping but below are some of the most common causes. 

  • Brachycephalic breed: Brachycephalic dog breeds, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, and Boxers are often predisposed to snoring. Brachycephalic” comes from two words, with “brachy” meaning shortened and “cephalic” meaning head. Hence, the skull bones of brachycephalic dogs are shortened in length, giving the face and nose a pushed in appearance. With the shortened nasal passages of these dogs, they often develop breathing problems, including snoring. 
  • Overweight: Overweight dogs have a higher tendency to snore due to the excess fat depositing in the tissues surrounding the upper airways. One of the many reasons you should try to prevent your dog from becoming overweight.
  • Sleep Position: Dogs can sleep in the most unbelievable positions due to how flexible they are and sometimes these awkward positions can cause your dog to snore. If this is the case, the sound should be brief and stop when your dog changes positions. 
  • Respiratory Issues: Respiratory illnesses including a bacterial or fungal infection and asthma can often cause snoring. Other symptoms of a respiratory infection are discharge from eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing, and decreased activity and appetite. 
  • Presence of Foreign Objects: Foreign objects in the back of the mouth or nose can trigger snoring as well as coughing and agitation. 
  • Dental problems: Dental disease, an abscessed tooth, or any growth or mass in the oral cavity or sinus can be the root cause of snoring. 
  • Secondhand Smoke: Secondhand smoke is not just dangerous for people, it is also dangerous for dogs. Dogs exposed to second-hand smoke have more eye infections, allergies, and respiratory issues including lung cancer. Smoke can also contribute to snoring issues in your dog.

In addition to the above, other possible causes include allergies, polyps or masses, inflammation, and/or trauma.

When is Snoring in Dogs Not Normal?

Although, snoring can be normal for your dog, it’s important to know when to be concerned. If your notice your dog suddenly starts snoring, snoring becomes louder, or your dog is experiencing other symptoms along with snoring such as sneezing, coughing, and changes in appetite or behavior, you should contact your veterinarian.  If you ever notice your dog wheezing, having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

How to Prevent Dogs From Snoring?

Snoring can be normal and is more common in some breeds than others but there are health issues that can increase the likelihood of your dogs snoring like obesity, which you can help prevent along with annual veterinary visits. 

  • Diet and Exercise: It is important to work with your veterinarian to design an appropriate weight loss plan that includes weight checks, exercise, and calculations for calories based on your individual dog. 
  • Food Puzzles: Food puzzles help to slow down eating, prevent boredom and obesity. There are various food dispensing toys for dogs that you can purchase, and you can even make your own. I recommend starting with an easier, beginner puzzle and work up based on your individual dogs preference.
  • Air Purifiers: Air purifiers can help snoring triggered by allergies and respiratory irritants.
  • Annual Veterinary Visits: Regular wellness exams are an important part to keeping your dog happy and healthy.  Annual vet visits can help make you aware that your dog is overweight or has another medical issue sooner. Preventive care is always better than reactive care. 

Snoring can sometimes be a normal sleeping habit. However, if your dogs’ snoring is accompanied with other physical or behavioral changes, a veterinary visit is best.