Why Does My Dog Snore?

When resting with your canine companion, you may be shocked to hear a familiar sound coming from their nose; a snore.

Many fur parents are surprised to learn that not only can dogs snore as well, but some can even snore as loud as their humans!

So what is snoring anyways, and what causes this strange sound to be produced?

In this article we will introduce you to the behavior of snoring in dogs, and help you better understand the many reasons why our canine friends do it.

Why Does My Dog Snore

What Is Snoring In Dogs?

Before we dive into the details of this strange sound our dogs make while sleeping, it’s important to understand what snoring is in the first place.

The act of snoring is the same among all species, and simply occurs as a result of restricted air flow passing through the dog’s nasal canal and throat.

Due to the fact that the airflow is limited, this causes the tissues in the area to vibrate.

Once this vibration begins, a snore will be produced.

Just like in humans, the severity of a dog’s snoring will vary based on how restricted the airflow through the nasal canal and throat has become.

Snoring typically occurs when a dog is asleep due to the relaxation of the tissues affected, but some dogs will even make snore-like sounds when they are awake.

Do Some Dogs Snore More Than Others?

If you have a dog that seems to snore more than any other pup you have had before, they may be on the list of dog breeds that are known to be noisy sleepers.

Brachycephalic breeds are most prone to snoring due to their elongated soft palettes and short snouts, as this naturally causes airflow restriction when they rest.

Not only will these dogs often snore when they sleep, but they may even snort when they are awake.

Some of the dog breeds that snore more often than others include:

  • Pugs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Bulldogs
  • Pekingese
  • Boxers
  • Boston terriers
  • Chow Chows
  • Shih Tzus

Though these are some of the most common dog breeds that snore, any dog with a short snout can fall into the at risk category.

If your noisy pup has a shorter nose than other furry friends, this could be why they snore at night.

Is It Normal For My Dog To Snore?

Just as it is normal for some people to snore, it can be perfectly normal for some furry friends to snore as well.

This is especially true if your dog is one of the breeds we listed above that is most prone to the behavior, or if your dog has a short snout.

However, if your dog has suddenly started to snore, or the volume of their snoring has suddenly intensified, this could point to underlying complications.

A sudden onset of snoring should be treated just like any other abrupt change in behavior and may warrant a phone call to your veterinarian to be safe.

Why Does My Dog Snore So Loud?

If you have a dog that you can hear snoring from the other room, you may be wondering what could possibly be the cause of your dog’s noisy slumber.

Ranging from facial structure to canine obesity, there are list of factors that can cause a dog to snore loudly.

Snout & Facial Structure Leads To Snoring

A dog’s facial structure plays a key role in how well they transfer air through their nasal passages and into their lungs.

A brachycephalic breed will naturally struggle with this process due to their short snout and elongated soft palate, often impeding their ability to take in a deep breath.

Not only can these structures make it more challenging to breathe, but these dogs will often snore while they sleep.

Their nasal passages and throat will become even more narrow as they relax, causing the tissues to vibrate as air moves through.

This will lead to the noisy snoring that many brachycephalic breeds experience.

Obesity Leads To Snoring

Many dog owners are aware of how obesity can make their dog’s life more challenging, but did you know that it can impact their sleep as well?

An overweight pup will often develop pockets of fat throughout their body, even in areas that decrease your dog’s ability to take a deep breath.

As the nasal passages and throat become strained throughout this process, this will increase the likelihood of snoring in your dog.

If it seems like your once peaceful sleeper has begun to snore after they gained weight, their body fat percentage may be to blame.

Body Position Leads To Snoring

Do you have a member of the family that only snores when lying on their back?

Well, this is a common occurrence in our furry friends as well.

A dog’s sleeping position can play a key role in how easily they breathe throughout their nap, with some positions putting more strain on the nasal passages and throat.

For example, if you have a dog that loves to sleep on their back with their belly up to the world, this could be why they snore so loudly.

If the snoring seems to stop when they change positions, you may have cracked the code to their snoring habits.

Nasal Passage Swelling Leads To Snoring

If your dog is experiencing swelling of their nasal passage for any reason, this could lead to the sudden onset of snoring.

Similar to how you and I feel when we have a stuffy nose, this occurrence can make it more challenging to pass air through their nasal passages.

Your dog may even resort to open mouth breathing in these cases, causing an even higher likelihood of noisy snoring.

Some of the most common causes of nasal passage swelling in dogs include:

If your dog has suddenly begun to snore, it may be time to speak with your vet about the potential for nasal cavity swelling.

Respiratory Infections Leading To Snoring

As we mentioned above, respiratory illness of any kind can lead to significant swelling of the nasal passages in dogs.

Not only can their nose begin to swell and crust with mucus, but they may have to put in more effort to take a full breath.

Once you combine the nasal canal swelling with the increased mucus production, it makes perfect sense as to why these dogs would begin to suddenly snore.

Some of the most common symptoms of respiratory illness in dogs include:

If your pup has developed any of these symptoms along with their sudden snoring, we suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

Serious Medical Conditions Can Lead To Snoring

Though most of the causes of canine snoring are fairly benign, there are some other potential factors that are a bit more serious.

These causes are certainly more rare in our canine friends, but they cannot be ruled out without veterinary guidance.

Some underlying conditions that can cause snoring in dogs include:

  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Nasal tumors
  • Sleep apnea
  • Lung disorders
  • Cardiac conditions

There is no way to rule out these complications at home, so we always suggest giving your vet a call if you fear any underlying medical conditions in your dog.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Snoring?

Any sudden change in behavior should always warrant concern among pet parents.

This stands true for a sudden onset of snoring as well, as it can point to the potential of underlying illness.

While a dog owner with a brachycephalic breed may expect nothing less from their snorting pup, an otherwise quiet sleeper could be experiencing nasal passage swelling or difficulty breathing.

Some of the other symptoms to be on the lookout for in these cases include:

Whether or not your dog is experiencing any of the concerning symptoms above, we always suggest reaching out to your vet if your pup begins to snore suddenly.

Most of the underlying factors are minor and can be treated easily, so we suggest having them seen to allow for relief as soon as possible.

My Dog Snores So Loud I Can’t Sleep

If your dog snores so loud that you can’t sleep, this could be a sign that your dog is struggling with serious airflow impedance.

This is fairly common in brachycephalic breeds with narrow nares and elongated soft palates, and may require corrective surgery to improve their breathing capabilities.

Not only can these abnormal structures make it challenging for air to flow freely to the lungs, but these tissues can become inflamed the more they struggle to breath.

This can cause loud snoring in dogs and can be life threatening in some cases.

Dogs with these complications may also struggle with physical activity and heat tolerance, making this an anatomical issue that deeply impacts their life.

If you think your brachycephalic breed snores much louder than a normal pup, we suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

Can You Prevent Snoring In Dogs?

Some dogs will always snore due to their facial and nose structure, but there are a few ways to prevent snoring in dogs that do not fall into the brachycephalic category.

Some of the most effective ways to prevent snoring in your dog include:

  • Keeping them at a healthy weight
  • Having them vaccinated against infectious respiratory illnesses
  • Seeking vet care immediately if they develop any respiratory symptoms
  • Keeping your home as allergen-free as possible (dust, dander, fragrances)
  • Offering them a cozy and elevated dog bed that allows them to spread out
  • Keeping your home smoke-free
  • Running a humidifier in the room your dog sleeps in

Final Thoughts

The occasional snoring in our canine friends can be cute, but sudden and disturbing snoring can point to underlying conditions.

If your quiet pup has suddenly turned into a noisy sleeper, we always suggest keeping your vet informed.

There are 2 comments:

  • Mark Reger at 7:53 am

    My large dog was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and given a few weeks to live. We are blessed that he is still with us but over the last few weeks, he is snoring and gasping for air. Vet provided Benedril. But it’s getting worse. Any ideas?

    • Amber at 1:47 pm

      May have to discuss euthanasia with your vet. Have no other ideas expect for what your vet has already told/provided to you. As you mentioned your dog was diagnosed with cancer, which can take time to progress but sounds like your dog might be at the end. I would really suggest talking to your veterinarian about end of life care and those next steps. As hard as that will be, you could be relieving any suffering going on. We never like to see or hear ‘gasping for air’.

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