Snoring in dogs

If human beings can snore, why not dogs?

That’s right. Dogs snore, too; and, it can be loud enough to wake you up. Generally, dogs spend their nights sleeping right by your side on your bed. Some of them may sleep in the corner of your bedroom on their own bed. Some of the dogs sleep just outside your bedroom door. Regardless of the exact location, if your dog is snoring, you are bound to hear it and it might even keep you awake. 

Sleep apnea has been found to be a cause that makes you snore. It is considered a disorder that stops your breath intermittently. It is a condition that requires a consultation with your doctor and will require treatment. Similarly, if your dog snores, you may need to check for reasons and consult your dog’s vet. 

Is your dog predisposed to snoring?

It depends on the breed. Some breeds that have short snouts such as the Shih Tzu or Pug do have short snouts and a flat face. A short snout also means that the breathing passage is short.

But, there are other factors that cause snoring in dogs. They include the sleeping position of the dog, the shape of your dog’s neck etc.

Of course, this does not mean that dogs with long noses are exempt from snoring. 

What causes snoring in dogs?

It’s all about breathing. It is when the expected smooth passage of air is no longer smooth and there is a restriction in the breath. This movement of air could be restricted either in the nasal passage or in the throat.  You will need to understand the causes of this restriction:

Dogs that sleep on their back: Some dogs generally like to sleep on their backs. Naturally, this makes their tongue fall back and causes a partial block of the air movement. 

Allergies: If your dog has developed allergies because you decide to do some spring cleaning and the dust is being inhaled by your dog, this could obstruct the air passage. 

Abscessed tooth: If your dog has an abscessed tooth and that has crept into the sinus passages, your dog is likely to develop snoring. This could cause sleep apnea in your dog, though it is not common.

Hypothyroidism: If the thyroid glands are not functioning well enough and impact the hormone levels, snoring could be the result. 

Obesity: Overweight is usually found as a cause for snoring. Obesity increases the levels of fat collected in the throat increases and that in turn blocks the air passage.

Fungal infection: When your dog spends time outside in the park or a yard, there is an exposure to grass, hay, and dust. The fungal disease that affects your dog is called Aspergillosis and it is the mould that triggers it. The fungus has easy entry through the nose. Your dog will start sneezing and there may be some nasal discharge, too. 

Rhinitis: Your dog will catch a cold. If your dog’s mucous membranes are inflamed because of a stuffy nose, snoring will be inevitable. 

Second-hand smoke: Just as it affects human beings, dogs are also prone to be affected by inhaling second-hand smoke. 

Objects and toys: Any object that causes physical obstruction will naturally affect the air passage and if that is not cleared immediately, is likely to cause some form of restriction in their breathing. It could be as small as lint or a small piece of mulch. 

Can you stop your dog from snoring?

Yes, you can. Once you realize that your dog is snoring and you have discussed it with your dog’s vet, here are a few things that you can do.

Get an air humidifier: If your dog has a dry mouth and throat and needs some lubrication, air humidifiers will do the trick.

Use a puppy pillow: This may need you to teach your dog how to use the pillow; but, it certainly helps. Usually, your dog sleeps with the neck resting on the ground and the snout raised up. Using a pillow will change the dog’s sleeping position for the better. 

Use a circular bed: It has been found that when a dog curls up to sleep, the pressure on the oesophagus is reduced and in turn, it opens up the air passage. 

Surgery: Surgery can be the last resort if your dog snores. If it indicates a serious condition or sleep apnea, your dog’s vet may recommend surgery. 

What can you do as a pet parent?

Being devoted to your dog, you are probably quite observant and notice changes as they occur. If your dog has a short snout, you know that snoring is quite likely. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to it and assume that it is okay. There is no harm in talking to your dog’s vet and getting the air passage checked out on the usual visit. 

On the other hand, if you notice that your dog has started snoring all of a sudden, you need to talk to the vet. A physical exam will give you the answers in case of any obstruction or inflammation because of a cold. Following the vet’s instructions and making the required changes to ensure your dog’s comfort while sleeping is all you can do and that would be all that is necessary to stop your dog from snoring!


The information contained in VOSD Vet Advice™ is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical action which is provided by your vet. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For any emergency situation related to a dog’s health, please visit the nearest veterinary clinic.

Do you find this information useful? For more medical advice, visit the VOSD website.