Why Does my Dog Snore? 8 Common Causes and Solutions
How cute is a snoring puppy? Unfortunately, owners will only find it adorable for a short time, if at all. Dog snoring can become a real problem, especially if it gets too loud or worse, chronic. And in addition to purely aesthetic discomfort, your pet’s snoring can be a sign of pathological changes or improper housing conditions. So why does your dog snore and can it be helped?
How snoring works
Snoring is a low rattling sound that accompanies breathing during sleep and is caused by a partial obstruction of air movement through the soft palate and uvula in the back of the throat. This creates a vibration that causes the characteristic snoring sound. A dog’s snoring can either be very quiet and barely perceptible or very loud, depending on the degree of obstruction and the phase of sleep.
Snoring is considered normal in pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, boxers and other brachycephalic breeds. This predisposition is due to the structure of the muzzle: the short nose, elongated palate, flatter larynx and nostrils obstruct the movement of air, even if the animal is completely healthy.
Brachycephalic breeds should be seen by a veterinarian regularly, just like any other dog. These breeds are far more prone to obesity, asthma and cardiovascular problems than their counterparts. And because sniffing, grunting and snoring are lifelong occurrences, they are seldom noticed by owners. However, such inattention often leads to the development of chronic diseases in animals. If you notice a change in the intensity and frequency of snoring in your pet, you should know it’s time for a new visit to a vet clinic.
As for other dog breeds, the sudden appearance of snoring is an alarming signal. The first thing the owner needs to do in this case is to figure out why the dog snores.
Common causes of snoring
If your dog is not brachycephalic, identifying the cause of its snoring may be difficult.
The most common cause of snoring in dogs (especially if snoring begins as the dog ages) is weight gain and decreased physical activity. If a dog is overweight, this can lead to snoring, which is caused by the accumulation of fat around the throat and, as a result, airway obstruction. So if you find that your dog started snoring and it’s getting worse, the first priority should be to increase the amount of exercise that your dog gets regularly. You will probably find that the snoring goes away on its own as your pet loses weight as a result of a proper diet and/or an increase in its activity level.
If it seems that your pupper holds its breath for ten seconds or more during sleep and doesn’t breathe for a little while and then inhales sharply, it might be a symptom of sleep apnea. This disorder can be very dangerous because it disrupts your dog’s natural sleep, so it’s important to take it to your vet.
Sometimes even healthy dogs without any problems may snore intermittently if they have a cough or some airway or mucus membrane obstruction. These disorders most often go away on their own and don’t require any veterinary care.
Other causes of snoring, such as uneven jaws or weak throat muscles, may be more difficult to diagnose, and may require some specific diagnostic tests.
When you should be worried
The first thing that should alert an attentive owner is snoring that appeared suddenly. If your pet has never woken you up with a nightly rumbling before, and suddenly started doing just that, it’s a good reason to visit a vet.
What can this snoring signal about?
- Too much extra weight. Fat deposits put pressure on the dog’s airway, thereby provoking loud, unpleasant sounds.
- Heart failure. Loud, panting snoring accompanied by short bursts of sleep apnea and a distinctive cough can be the symptoms of heart problems. In any case, checking your puppers’s heart is the first thing to do if you notice a problem.
- Inflammatory process in the animal’s nasopharynx or bronchial system. Just like in humans, increased mucus secretion in a dog, popularly called snot, also causes loud snoring. Unlike you and me, snot in a pet can cause life-threatening viral diseases, such as canine distemper.
- Allergic reaction. Soft tissue swelling caused by allergies makes it much more difficult for the dog to breathe. It’s easy to understand what exactly this is fraught with. Further exposure to allergens can lead to more serious consequences.
- Polyps. Such benign overgrowths are not as harmless as they may seem at first glance. Without betraying their presence in any way, polyps can lead to nasal bleeding, difficulty in breathing, and an overall decrease in immunity. Often loud snoring is one of the clearest signs that something is wrong with a pet.
- Adenovirus infection. In the case of this pathology, snoring is accompanied by clear nasal discharge and severe bouts of coughing.
- Parasites on the mucous membrane of the nose. Fortunately, this kind of disease doesn’t occur very often in dogs. But in addition to snoring, it causes increased anxiety when the animal is awake. As the owner, you should be concerned if your dog starts losing weight, has pale mucous membranes and loses hair around its nose and eyes.
- Many of these conditions pose a serious threat to your pet’s health, so you should never ignore symptoms like sudden snoring. A timely visit to a vert clinic can help you recognize the disease at an early stage, or make sure that there’s no particular reason for concern.
When you shouldn’t be worried
After giving you a good scare, we’ll tell you when snoring is considered quite natural and doesn’t affect your pet’s health in any way. Normally, dogs that have been snoring their entire life are in no immediate danger. Sometimes, they snore every night. Sometimes, they only do it occasionally. In short, if your dog just generally tends to snore and there are no other worrying symptoms, chances are your pupper is okay.
Harmless snoring most often appears under the influence of external factors or is explained by the peculiarities of the pet’s physiology. Most often the phenomenon is provoked by the following factors:
- Short nose. Short airways in combination with a long palate and soft larynx are characteristic of brachycephalic dogs. The obstructed passage of air when breathing in causes unpleasant sounds during sleep when the muscles are relaxed and prone to congestion.
- Relaxation of the larynx muscles. This symptom is not uncommon when your dog takes a variety of drugs: relaxants, analgesics or some tranquilizers. As a rule, after the end of a course of treatment, snoring passes without a trace.
- Sleeping in a certain position. Your four-legged friend’s habit of sleeping on its back or burying its nose in something can also cause slight snoring. To get rid of the discomfort, simply turn your dog over or put something under its head. By the way, make sure that your furry friend is comfortable in its snuggly bed. Is there enough room to roll over and lie down with its legs stretched out? If the bed is perfectly fine, you just have a dog that has unconventional sleeping habits.
- Animals with large dewlaps are also known snorers. Numerous folds around the neck can put pressure on the airways making it difficult for the air to flow into the lungs.
- Advanced age. Alas, like their owners, dogs don’t get any younger as they age, concurrently developing all sorts of health problems. If after a thorough examination no serious pathology has been detected, the snoring is most likely due to the age-related decrease in muscle tone, accompanied by a decrease in the patency of the upper airways.
- Hot, humid weather combined with increased physical activity can also be a cause of snoring. Most often this happens when you suddenly travel to the country where your pet runs and jumps around at will. If there are no other symptoms indicative of allergies, the cause is increased fatigue and high ambient temperature.
- Saliva in the nose. The peculiarities of a dog’s nasopharynx structure can cause some saliva not to be swallowed but to enter the upper airways. Most of the time this doesn’t make the dog particularly uncomfortable but a loud gurgling snore may well cause it. If your pet suffers from this unpleasant disorder, try to keep its muzzle above body level when it sleeps.
How to deal with snoring
It’s almost impossible to figure out the causes of snoring in a dog on your own, you need to visit a veterinarian. They will do all the necessary examinations and tests and prescribe a treatment.
Sometimes it happens that the results of tests and examinations show that the pet is healthy, but it still snores when sleeping. What should you do in this case?
- Monitor the cleanliness and humidity of the air in the apartment. Don’t use air fresheners, deodorant sprays, or perfumes with a strong odor. This might irritate your pet’s nasopharynx and cause an allergic reaction. The same applies to the smell of tobacco and cigarettes. Dogs have a very bad tolerance to smoke.
- Take your dog for regular walks, play with it and try to keep it away from stressful situations if possible.
- If your dog is overweight, put it on a diet. Obesity is a disease that provokes not only the development of snoring but also increases the load on the internal organs, blood vessels and joints.
- If your dog is allergic, carefully choose suitable places for walks, especially in springtime. But be sure that the change of habitual route should take place without compromising its quality and duration.
- Pay special attention to the place your pupper sleeps in. It should be comfortable and convenient.
Why do dogs snore?
Most animals snore in their sleep from time to time. However, some snore more often than others. Dogs snore for the same reason humans do: because of airway obstruction. This obstruction can occur for a variety of reasons, including allergies or respiratory diseases, obesity, or the shape of the muzzle.
Which dog breeds snore the most?
Although any breed can snore on occasion, certain breeds of dogs and cats, called brachycephalic (literally: “short-headed”) breeds, are well known for snoring. These breeds include English bulldogs, boxers, pugs, Boston terriers, and shih tzus.
What should I do if my dog makes snorting, grunting sounds with its nose?
If a dog makes sniffling, gasping, wheezing or grunting noises with its nose, you have to find out the reason why. However, illness isn’t always the main reason. This might happen due to the congenital characteristics of your pet’s body.
If your dog is wheezing or sniffling, think back to how it was feeling before this. It might be developing a viral or bacterial runny nose. In this case, your pet would have a liquid discharge from its nose before it starts grunting. Make an appointment with a local vet. A runny nose, especially if it’s a viral infection, is a very dangerous disease that can lead to many complications. Si it’s better to deal with it in a timely manner.
Why does my dog snore and grunt when awake?
If your dog is curious, it may pay the price with a runny nose and sneezing. A foreign object in the nose may cause wheezing and grunting. You should remove it yourself or take your pet to the vet. Problems with the heart, kidneys, or ears can also cause snoring.
For the majority of dogs, snoring is simply a minor problem caused by a minor flaw in their anatomy. Your snoring pupper can live quite happily without any negative effects on its health. However, if it’s very loud, especially with labored breathing, your pet might need to be examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the disorder.
Brachycephalic dog owners should be sure to show their pet to a veterinarian before purchase to identify any potential breathing problems.