Dog snoring can be both endearing and concerning. While the gentle snores of a contented pup might bring a smile to a dog owner’s face, more pronounced snoring can sometimes indicate a health issue. It can sometimes even disturb a dog owner so much that they have trouble sleeping themselves – owners of brachycephalic breeds such as French Bulldogs will know this pain all too well. Let’s delve into the causes of dog snoring, how to determine if it’s a problem, and what you can do to help your dog breathe easier at night.
Just like humans, dogs snore when the airflow in their upper airways is partially obstructed during sleep. This causes the soft tissues to vibrate, producing the sound we recognize as snoring. Dog snoring can be influenced by a variety of factors, including breed, weight, and overall health.
Why Dogs Snore
Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers are more prone to snoring due to their facial structure. These breeds have compressed upper airways, making it more challenging for them to breathe freely during sleep.
Overweight dogs are more likely to snore, as excess fat can accumulate in the throat and neck, further obstructing airflow.
Allergies can cause inflammation and congestion in a dog’s respiratory system, making it difficult for them to breathe and increasing the likelihood of snoring.
Just like humans, dogs can experience nasal congestion due to colds or other respiratory infections, leading to snoring.
A dog’s sleeping position can impact the airflow in their upper airways. Dogs that sleep on their backs are more likely to snore than those that sleep on their sides or stomachs.
Second-hand smoke, dust, and other irritants can contribute to respiratory issues and snoring in dogs.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Although relatively rare in dogs, OSA is a serious condition where a dog’s airway becomes completely blocked during sleep, leading to periods of interrupted breathing and loud snoring.
When to Worry
While occasional, mild snoring is usually not a cause for concern, there are certain signs that may indicate a more serious issue:
- Sudden onset of snoring: If your dog has never snored before and suddenly starts, it could be a sign of a respiratory infection, allergies, or other health concerns that require veterinary attention.
- Increased intensity or frequency: If your dog’s snoring becomes louder or more frequent over time, it may be a sign of worsening respiratory issues or obesity.
- Difficulty breathing during the day: If your dog is struggling to breathe or making noisy breathing sounds while awake, it could be an indication of a more severe respiratory problem.
- Interrupted sleep: If your dog seems restless, wakes up frequently, or exhibits signs of sleep apnea, such as gasping for air during sleep, consult your veterinarian immediately. Not only can this cause your dog to become lethargic during the day, it can have more serious health consequences in the long run.
How to Stop Your Dog Snoring
Manage your dog’s weight
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can help reduce the likelihood of snoring. Consult your veterinarian for dietary recommendations and exercise guidelines.
If your dog has allergies, work with your veterinarian to identify the allergens and develop a treatment plan. This may include medications, special diets, or environmental changes.
Change your dog’s sleeping position
Encourage your dog to sleep on their side or stomach by providing a comfortable, supportive bed. Some dogs may benefit from using a pillow to elevate their head.
Improve air quality
Minimise exposure to second-hand smoke, dust, and other irritants by maintaining a clean and smoke-free environment. Regularly vacuum and dust your home, and consider using an air purifier to improve air quality. Purifiers with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will be the most effective.
Keep your dog’s nasal passages clear
Some dogs will produce so much mucus that they block their own nostrils! Regularly check your dog’s nose for debris or blockages, especially in brachycephalic breeds. Gently clean their nose with a damp cloth as needed.
Use a humidifier
Dry air can exacerbate snoring and respiratory issues. A humidifier can help maintain proper humidity levels in your home, making it easier for your dog to breathe.
Rule out underlying health issues
If your dog’s snoring is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns.
While there are various anti-snoring products available for dogs, their effectiveness is variable, and some may not be suitable for all breeds or situations. Consult your veterinarian before trying any anti-snoring product for your dog.
While dog snoring can be adorable, it’s essential to keep an eye on your pet’s sleep patterns and overall health. If you notice any sudden changes, increased intensity or frequency, or if your dog is struggling to breathe during the day, consult your veterinarian immediately. By addressing the root causes of your dog’s snoring, you can help them sleep more peacefully and improve their overall quality of life. Remember, a well-rested dog is a happy and healthy dog.