July 19, 2021 3 min read
While usually harmless, snoring in humans can be a symptom of sleep-disordered breathing like sleep apnea. And if left untreated, severe snoring can reduce the quality of your (and your bed partner’s) sleep. Studies show it may even put you at risk for cardiovascular diseases and depression.
So, if snoring can be bad in humans, does the same apply when your dog snores?
The answer is: it depends.
Snoring can be relatively normal in some dog breeds or when your dog snores occasionally. In other instances, it’s best to schedule a visit to the vet to find a snoring solution for your pet companion.
Just like humans, dogs snore when airflow in their upper airway becomes restricted. As dogs inhale during sleep and airflow meets resistance, the tissues in their upper airway start to vibrate, producing that well-known snorting/rattling noise.
There are many reasons for a dog’s airway to become restricted:
Dog breeds with short snouts, known as brachycephalic dogs, are most prone to snoring. Breeds that fall under this category include pugs, shih-tzus, and Boston terriers, as well as English bulldogs. In these breeds, snoring may not indicate anything serious.
In other cases, brachycephalic or not, a dog’s snoring can either be a sign of an underlying health problem or cause health problems down the line.
Snoring is essentially abnormal breathing during sleep. When severe, chronic, and worsening, it makes it difficult for your dog to get enough oxygen and to have undisrupted sleep. That’s why you may need to take it seriously.
According to a piece by the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, snoring in dogs can indicate problems when:
Some brachycephalic dogs struggle with breathing during their wake hours, showing symptoms like continuous panting, loud breathing, poor tolerance of heat, and even fainting. These dogs will sometimes need surgery to correct an elongated soft palate or pinched nostrils, for example.
If your normally quiet sleeper is now snoring regularly, on the other hand, you may want to take her to the vet to check for things like an abscessed tooth, an airway infection, or edema.
In other cases, a dog may develop a snoring habit after gaining weight — just like humans do. That’s because extra fat tissue in the neck area can constrict the airway, leading to snoring. Excess weight worsens breathing troubles in all dog breeds, so keeping their weight within healthy ranges is recommended.
Like humans, some dogs snore. And just like in humans, this can either be a harmless annoyance or a serious health problem.
An experienced veterinarian is the best person to determine whether your pooch’s loud snoring is a sign of an underlying problem that requires treatment. If your dog is a breed with a short snout, then you’re more likely to hear there’s no reason to worry. But if you’re dealing with a new case of snoring in an otherwise quiet dog, then your dog may be dealing with an infection or other health problem.
But unlike humans who can address their snoring problem with a wide range of snoring solutions like weight loss, changing sleep positions,tongue-stabilizing devices, our pet companions need help on our side to get the restful sleep they deserve.
Bhattacharyya N. Sleep and health implications of snoring: A populational analysis.Laryngoscope. 2015;125(10):2413-2416.doi:10.1002/lary.25346
WHY DOES MY PET SNORE? University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine website. Jan 7, 2013.https://vetmed.illinois.edu/pet_column/pet-snore/
ASK A UW VETERINARIAN: PUZZLED BY DOG’S SNORING. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine website. Dec 14, 2020.https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/ask-a-uw-veterinarian-dog-snoring/
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