Many dogs snore, some of them rather loud! And it often seems cute, especially when it’s a tiny puppy doing the snoring. But you may also wonder if there’s a health problem causing it. Indeed, it’s true that your dog’s snoring may be an early sign that something’s wrong. So let’s take a closer look at dog snoring and its causes.
What causes snoring?
Everyone knows what snoring is – the rasping and snorting sound made when asleep. But not everyone knows the underlying cause of it.
When you sleep the muscles that keep the airways in your neck and head open relax. As they do so, the airways become narrower. These blocked airways then obstruct the free flow of air. And this puts extra strain on the lungs to inhale the needed oxygen. This in turn causes the soft tissue to start to vibrate. And the end result is snoring of varying degrees of severity.
Why do dogs snore?
There are a few different causes of dog snoring. The most usual reasons are as follows:
- Your dog’s anatomy. Some dogs are more prone to snoring than others. These are most often the dog breeds with short noses and flat faces, such as bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs. These are known as brachycephalic dog breeds. The shorter airways that these breeds have mean it takes more effort for them to breathe.
- Your dog is overweight. APOP (the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) monitors pet obesity. According to their studies, a whopping 53% of U.S. dogs were overweight in 2014. Extra fat can block the airways and cause increased snoring.
- Your dog has an obstruction in the throat or nose. Dogs like to dig, they like to sniff a lot and they also like to chew a lot. So it’s not uncommon for them to get things stuck in their air passages. Indeed, this can happen even just through them drinking their water. These obstructions can prevent normal breathing and result in your dog snoring.
- Your dog suffers from allergies. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to things such as pollens, smoke, dust and even other animals. These allergies can cause narrowing of the airways and hence snoring.
- Your dog has a cold or cough. Again, dogs can catch colds or coughs just the same as we humans do. Mucus can then block your dog’s airways, making breathing more difficult.
- Your dog has sleep apnoea. This is a condition where breathing stops for a short time. The breathing often restarts with a loud snort or snore.
- Your dog is on medication. Some dog medications can relax the throat muscles. Sometimes the muscles can relax too much and cause your dog to snore. A range of medications can cause dog snoring, including painkillers, antihistamines, and sedatives.
- Your dog has dental problems. Tooth abscesses can penetrate the nasal passages and cause your dog to snore. Left untreated, the infection can spread and cause serious health problems.
- Your dog’s sleeping position. Snoring is more common in dogs that sleep on their backs rather than their stomach or curled up.
How to stop a dog from snoring
Dog snoring can not only affect you because it keeps you awake, but it can have a big impact on your dog’s quality of life too. It’s tough for your dog struggling to breathe all the time and never getting a good night’s sleep. And your dog’s snoring could be an indication of other problems too. So if you can do something about it, you should do so.
How to stop a dog from snoring depends on the root cause of the snoring. It’s best to consult with your vet to determine this.
Is the dog snoring getting worse or too loud?
It’s definitely advisable to speak to your vet if the snoring is especially loud, or if you find the dog snoring getting worse over time.
Here are some steps you can try taking to reduce dog snoring:
- If your dog’s snoring is caused by obesity then the obvious thing to do is to address this. Make sure your dog follows a healthy diet and gets plenty of exercise. As they lose weight, their snoring should improve.
- If a cold or cough is the cause, your dog’s snoring should clear up by itself as your dog gets better.
- If your dog is suffering from sleep apneoa then you need to get it treated. If you don’t, your dog could end up suffering from very serious health problems including heart disease and diabetes. The usual treatment for sleep apneoa is surgery to correct the anatomy fault that’s causing it. If you think your dog is suffering from sleep apneoa you should consult your vet without delay.
- If the snoring is as a result of your dog’s breed, there’s may not be much you can do about it. You should talk to your vet to make sure no medication or even surgery is needed though.
- If allergies are causing the snoring, make sure you dust and clean often to keep your house dust free. When taking your dog for walks, try to do so when the pollen count is low. This is usually early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Also try to avoid times of heavy traffic, and don’t smoke around your dog. And you can try letting your dog sleep in a different room where there may be less allergens. Also, speak to your vet about medications for the allergies.
- Any dental problems that are causing snoring should be treated by your vet. If left untreated they could result in serious health problems for your dog.
- Any snoring caused by an obstruction in the nose or throat should soon stop once the obstruction is naturally cleared.
- Snoring caused by medication should also soon stop once your dog stops taking the medication.
- If the snoring is a result of your dog sleeping on their back try to encourage them to sleep in other positions. Giving your dog a round bed will encourage them to sleep curled up instead of on their back. This keeps the airways open and reduces snoring. Or giving your dog a pillow will encourage them to sleep with their head raised up which again helps prevent snoring.
Dog snoring can have several causes. It can also have an adverse affect on your dog’s quality of life so if you can help to prevent your dog snoring you should do so. The advice in this article should assist you with this.