Do Healthy Dogs Snore? A Vet Explains Snoring

french bulldog sleeping

Last Updated on 2 months by Dr. Shannon Barrett

Do healthy dogs snore?

Yes, they do. However snoring can also be the sign of an underlying health issue.

Snoring happens when air flows past the relaxed tissues in your dog’s nose, mouth, or throat, making them vibrate and create that familiar rumbling sound.

It’s a common occurrence not just in humans but in our furry friends as well.

This vibratory noise can stem from several causes:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • How your dog sleeps
  • Dental issues such as an abscessed tooth
  • Brachycephalic dogs with shorter noses
  • Nasal Passage blockage

Understanding snoring starts with recognizing these tissues’ role and what might cause them to vibrate so loudly while our pets rest.

Whether it’s due to health problems like respiratory issues or simply because of their sleeping position catching us off guard with a sudden loud snore during a peaceful night—knowing more about why dogs snore helps us better care for them.

Changes we make in their environment can significantly reduce allergy-induced snoring while keeping an eye out for more severe conditions possibly linked to those nighttime noises.

Is It Normal For Dogs To Snore?

brown puppy sleeping on red blanket
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Many dogs snore, and it’s often considered a normal part of their sleep patterns. Just like humans, when a dog lies down to rest, the relaxation of their throat muscles can cause snoring.

My German Shepherd snores!

It’s particularly common in brachycephalic breeds with shorter faces like French Bulldogs and Pugs. Their unique anatomy makes them more prone to noisy breathing.

However, not all snoring signals a cosy sleep. For some pets, especially overweight ones or those belonging to certain breeds, it might indicate health issues such as difficulty breathing or airway obstructions.

These conditions demand attention from pet parents and possibly a check-up from your vet to ensure the dog’s quality of life isn’t affected by what could be more than just an amusing sleep sound.

Common Reasons Why Dogs Snore

We often hear our furry friends snoring away, and it’s crucial to understand why this happens. These are the most common reasons why dogs snore.

Anatomy and Breed Specifics

French bulldog sleeping
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Some dogs are more likely to snore because of their unique physical structures, and it’s crucial for us as pet owners to understand these differences. Brachycephalic breeds, which include Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and Pugs, have shorter nasal passages, narrow tracheas, and elongated soft palates due to their flat faces.

These anatomical traits can make air pass through the nasal cavity and throat more difficultly when they breathe or sleep. This leads to the vibrations we hear as snoring.

Our furry friends in these categories face challenges because of their anatomy that directly impacts their ability to breathe easily.

It serves as a reminder for dog owners like us to pay extra attention to our pets’ respiratory health especially if they belong in these breeds. Observing them closely can help identify any discomfort or other symptoms indicating more serious medical conditions early on.

Obesity and Its Effects

Bulldog sleeping on arm of chair outside
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Excess weight forces more work on your dog’s body to breathe normally during sleep.

The extra fat around the neck and throat can partially block air passages, making it hard for air to flow freely. This often leads to vibrations we hear as snores.

Helping our furry friends shed those extra pounds plays a critical role in reducing or completely stopping their snoring. A healthy diet combined with regular exercise ensures they maintain an optimum weight, particularly beneficial for dogs with short noses who are predisposed to snoring issues.

Allergies and Respiratory Health

Beagle sleeping on the couch
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Allergies can cause nasal congestion and inflammation in dogs, leading to snoring.

This isn’t just an annoyance at night; it signifies that our dog’s breathing might not be as free-flowing as it should be. Keeping a humidifier nearby can moisten the nasal passages, offering some relief for dogs affected by allergies.

Respiratory health is paramount for preventing snoring related to medical issues such as upper respiratory infections or anatomical peculiarities like narrow nostrils or a constricted trachea.

In warm weather or during stressful times, ensuring our dog’s airways are clear becomes even more critical to avoid respiratory crises.

We need to stay alert for symptoms like runny nose or frequent sneezing and consult your veterinarian if snoring suddenly starts or worsens.

Sleeping Position and Its Impact

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Just like allergies can affect your dog’s snoring, so can the way they sleep.

Some dogs find themselves in the most unbelievable positions, which might look cute but could actually trigger snoring.

This happens when your dog’s sleeping position causes their tongue to relax toward the back of the throat or puts pressure on their neck. Such positions often disrupt the free flow of air and lead to those nighttime noises.

To reduce snoring caused by awkward sleeping positions, consider providing a bed that supports maintaining a more natural posture during sleep. Beds with side bolsters or orthopedic mattresses can help ensure your pet’s neck isn’t bent unnaturally and that air passes smoothly, preventing temporary snoring episodes.

Infections, Illnesses, and Respiratory Conditions

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Infections and illnesses play a significant role in why our dogs might start snoring.

Common culprits include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Kennel cough
  • Abscesses
  • Nasal mites
  • Fungal infections

These conditions can block or restrict airflow through the nose and throat, making it hard for our furry friends to breathe smoothly during sleep.

It’s crucial to recognize these signs early since timely treatment can greatly improve their breathing and reduce snoring.

Surgical intervention may be necessary if there are growths or severe infections clogging up the airways. This approach aims to clear the obstructions and enhance airflow, effectively stopping the snoring.

Always consult with a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog is suffering from any of these issues.

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Foreign Bodies and Obstructions

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Sometimes, our furry friends can start snoring because of foreign bodies or obstructions in their airways. These blockages force the surrounding tissues to vibrate as air squeezes past, leading to the sounds we recognize as snoring.

Anything from a part of a small toy to a piece of food can become lodged in a dog’s nose, mouth, or throat. This situation requires immediate attention from a veterinarian who can safely remove the obstruction and ensure your pet’s breathing pathway is clear.

Seeking veterinary help is critical if you suspect your dog’s snoring results from an obstruction.

Dental and Oral Issues

Greyhound mouth open
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Dental and oral issues can play a significant role in why a dog snores.

An abscessed tooth, for example, can create enough discomfort and airway obstruction to cause snoring. Treating this condition requires removing the troublesome tooth and fighting off the infection with antibiotics.

It’s a straightforward solution that can lead to immediate relief from snoring for our furry friends.

Aside from abscesses, other dental problems could be at fault. Regular check-ups help catch these issues early before they lead to more serious complications like bacterial infections or tooth decay, both of which could exacerbate snoring in dogs.

Fluid Accumulation in Respiratory Tract

3 dogs playing with a stick
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Fluid accumulation in the respiratory tract is a significant factor that results in our dogs snoring. This condition often stems from various illnesses or injuries which lead to the nasal cavity being filled with fluid.

Breathing through these obstructions forces air through a narrower pathway, creating the sound of snoring as they sleep.

Understanding this can help us identify when our furry friends need medical attention. If you suspect fluid accumulation or it sounds “wet” when your dog breathes or snores, have them examined by your veterinarian.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog Snoring?

dog at veterinary
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We often find our dog’s snoring cute or even amusing, but there are times when it signals a deeper issue. If your furry friend starts to snore more loudly or frequently than usual, it might be time to take a closer look and consider seeking advice from a vet.

Sudden or Loud Snoring

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Sudden or loud snoring in our dogs might catch us off guard, signaling it’s time to pay closer attention. Many of us assume it’s just a quirky sleeping habit, but this change can actually point to underlying health issues that need addressing.

It’s crucial to pay attention to such changes, as they could indicate underlying issues ranging from allergies and respiratory infections to more serious conditions like laryngeal paralysis.

If your dog starts snoring loudly all of a sudden or you observe a significant shift in how they snore, it’s time to take action. Consulting with a vet is the best step forward because they can diagnose the issue accurately.

We may suggest treatments ranging from environmental adjustments, like air filters or humidifiers, to reduce allergen exposure and keep nasal passages moist.

In some cases, surgery might be recommended for dogs facing severe problems causing these noticeable changes in their snoring habits.

How To Help A Dog That Snores

We understand how worrying it can be when your furry friend snores through the night, but there are several effective ways to tackle this issue and ensure they have a peaceful sleep.

Addressing Weight Through Diet and Exercise

dog and puppy sleeping together
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Tackling weight issues in our dogs requires a two-pronged approach: adjusting their diet and increasing their exercise.

To reduce excessive weight, we focus on providing a balanced diet tailored to our pet’s specific needs while keeping an eye on portion sizes to avoid overfeeding.

Incorporating more physical activities into their daily routine helps burn off extra calories. Whether it’s longer walks, playtime in the park, or agility training, staying active not only helps with weight loss but also keeps them healthy and happy.

Changing Sleeping Environment or Bedding

small dog sleeping in pink blanket
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Switching up their sleeping environment or bedding can make a significant difference in reducing snoring for our furry friends.

Keeping our dog’s nasal passages clear is crucial, and a humidifier can add just the right amount of moisture to the air to help with this.

Veterinary Interventions for Health Conditions

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Veterinarians play a crucial role in tackling the common reasons dogs snore. We can help pinpoint why our furry friends are making those noises at night and suggest effective treatments.

For instance, if your dog’s snoring is due to an abscessed tooth, removing it and treating the infection with antibiotics often solves the problem.

In more severe cases, especially with flat-faced breeds suffering from serious respiratory issues, surgery might be on the table. This intervention helps clear any obstructions that could be causing discomfort and disrupting your pet’s sleep.

Advice on Giving Benadryl for Allergies

pink pills in blister pack
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If your dog is snoring due to allergies, Benadryl might be a helpful solution. As pet owners, we know it’s important to keep our furry friends comfortable and healthy.

Before giving Benadryl, always check with your vet to confirm the correct dosage based on weight and health conditions.

Also dogs cannot take decongestants so never give your dog Benadryl D or any other medication containing a decongestant.

What Breeds Are Most Likely To Snore

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Certain dog breeds, especially those with flat faces like bulldogs and pugs, are more likely to snore due to their unique anatomy.

Brachycephalic Breeds and Their Challenges

bulldog with pink ribbon
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Brachycephalic breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs capture our hearts with their adorable flat faces. Yet, these charming features come with a downside: they are more prone to snoring due to their short snouts and restricted airways.

These unique anatomical traits can make breathing difficult for them, especially when they’re asleep.

These dogs often have an elongated soft palate and/or small nostrils that hinder airflow, making it harder for them to breathe quietly. If a dog is overweight, the risk of loud snores increases even more.

Large Breeds With Respiratory Issues

Mastiff sitting in yard
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Large or heavy-set breeds, including Great Danes, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, and St. Bernards, often face their own unique set of challenges when it comes to respiratory health.

Unlike their flat-faced counterparts, these large dogs might not have the same short snouts but can still experience restricted airways due to their size.

This restriction can lead to snoring.

We understand that seeing your big furry friend struggle with breathing issues or hearing them snore loudly at night can be worrying. It’s important for us as pet owners to recognize that these symptoms may not just be quirks of our dogs’ sleeping habits but could indicate underlying health concerns needing attention.

Keeping an eye on any changes in your dog snores or breathing patterns is key to ensuring they’re comfortable and healthy.

What is the Impact of Secondhand Smoke on Snoring?

Just like us, dogs suffer when exposed to the smoke from cigarettes. This exposure can inflame and irritate their nose, mouth, and throat tissues, making breathing harder for them and often leading to snoring.
It might seem harmless at first but think about it; inflamed airways mean less air gets through.
Moreover, secondhand smoke doesn’t just stop at causing temporary discomfort; it ups the risk of allergies and upper respiratory infections in dogs. Imagine your dog constantly trying to catch its breath because its airways are constricted or battling an infection that could have been avoided.

What can pet parents do to help with their dogs snoring?

There are a few things you can do. Regular check-ups with the vet are crucial to catch any health issues early. Keeping your pet’s weight under control helps avoid obesity-related snoring. Wiping down your pet after outdoor activities and keeping their sleeping area clean reduces the risk of allergies that might lead to snoring.

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice from a licensed veterinarian. Read More

Dr. Shannon Barrett brings an exceptional blend of academic excellence and professional expertise to the world of veterinary medicine. With a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences, where she graduated with honors, and dual Bachelor degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology, her depth of knowledge is extensive. A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Barrett's insights and contributions to pet health have been featured in leading publications such as Rover, MarketWatch, and Newsweek.

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Veterinarian with a Passion for Educating Pet Parents

Pets change our lives for the better and we are always trying to do the same for them. This site is a combination of tips and product recommendations to enhance the lives of our pets and the people owned by them.  Thanks for stopping by!

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