Snoring in dogs, much like with any animal, happens because the airways become too restricted for air to pass through freely.
Because the airway is constricted, the air being inhaled and exhaled runs into the tissue of the upper airway, which have loosened up due to the relaxation of muscles during sleep. This causes the audible vibration that we perceive as snoring.
Snoring is usually perfectly normal, but sometimes could be indicative of a serious underlying problem.
The airway restriction that causes snoring can happen due to a number of reasons.
Most Common Reasons Why Dogs Snore
Sleeping on their back
Dog sleeping positions can affect their breathing, and the most common reason why dogs snore is because they end up sleeping on their back. A dog sleeping in this posture will have their tongue fall against the roof of the the mouth and thus block airflow.
If your dog snores and they tend to like sleeping this way, gently guide them to a better sleeping posture and see if that works.
Older dogs snore more because of the effects of ageing on the body. The tissue around the airway gets weaker and thus becomes looser. This makes it much more likely for the airway to get blocked regardless of the sleeping position.
Obese or overweight dogs will be much more likely to snore because of extra fat buildup around the dog’s throat. If your dog’s weight issues are such that it induces loud snoring, that could be a warning sign for you to start helping them shed that excess weight. Knowing how much exercise a dog needs help combat obesity.
This is not as common a cause for snoring in dogs as it is for humans, but it does happen. Usually brought on by weight problems or age, this disorder is characterized by the sudden stopping and starting of breathing during sleep. Allergies and respiratory infection are also common causes.
If your dog stops breathing for more than 10 seconds during sleep, then it may be suffering from sleep apnea .
Having a cold or otherwise stuffy nose is another common thing that can make your dog snore more. The common cold does not always manifest itself in more apparent ways such as a runny nose or sneezing.
Check your dog’s nose for anything that may indicate that their nasal passages are obstructed. Noisy breathing, teary eyes, lack of appetite and lethargy are also signs that your dog may have a cold.
If you think your dog’s snoring may be due to them having a cold or cold-like symptoms, try to relieve them. Knowing how to keep a dog warm in his crate helps a great deal.
If your dog has allergies, that could be the reason why they’re experiencing clogged noses. Make sure that there are no irritants in the vicinity and see if that improves the dog’s breathing.
Brachycephalic facial structure
Brachycephalic dogs have short noses that are set tightly upon their broad faces. Bulldogs, shih tzus, and pugs are the most well-known members of this group. Because of this facial morphology, the nasal cavity tends to be more collapsed than in dog breeds with longer snouts.
Like most dog owners, you may be aware that brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to respiratory diseases than other dogs . While it is true that pugs and such are more likely to contract something that will require surgery to fix, simply snoring is not an immediate cause for concern.
As we’ve discussed, their nasal passageways are more likely to be more restricted due to the shape of their face. Hence, snoring is much more likely for these breeds.
However, if your pug or bulldog exhibits signs of struggling to breathe while asleep, that’s when you should take them to the pet clinic.
What to Do If Your Dog Suddenly Starts Snoring
It can be troubling if your dog has not snored before and just suddenly started snoring. Especially if your snoring dog is only a puppy, as this can point to skull deformities and thus a more serious underlying issue.
If something gets your dog snoring out of the blue, and it does not seem to be one of the more common causes, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. It’s very likely that the snoring is indicative of an underlying condition that should be treated before it gets worse.
But the reason can also be relatively tame. Your dog may simply have allergies that you have not discovered yet. The only way to know for sure is to get a veterinarian’s opinion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my dog snore?
Snoring is caused by blocked airways. A snoring dog is most likely sleeping in a posture that causes the airway to collapse in on itself slightly and get obstructed. This usually means that the dog is sleeping on its back. Otherwise, snoring can be caused by respiratory issues, allergies, weight problems, age, or certain factors unique to their breed.
Is it normal for a dog to snore while sleeping?
Not exactly. Still, a dog snoring isn’t immediately indicative of something harmful going on. Usually this is brought on by slight airway blockage that happens while the dog sleeps.
What to do if dog is snoring?
First, try to adjust their sleeping position if they end up sleeping on their back. Make sure that the air quality in their sleeping place is good and that there aren’t any allergens nearby.
Which dog breeds snore the most?
Brachycephalic breeds, that is to say, breeds with broad faces and small noses, tend to snore the most. This is because their faces are shaped in such a way that there’s less space for the nasal passageways, hence it’s more likely to get restricted somehow.