Why Does My Dog Snore?

Picture this, you’re sat on your couch after a long day at work. To relax you put on a movie and have a cuddle with your dog. Suddenly out of nowhere you hear really loud snoring and you realize it’s coming from your dog. If this happens a lot you may ask yourself “Is this normal?” or “should I be worried?”.

Don’t panic, we’re here to answer all questions you could possibly have about dogs snoring. Read on to discover why your dog may snore, and if you should be worried. 

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What Is Snoring?

The noise we call snoring happens when the movement of air is disrupted in the airways. The air trying to find a path through the airways causes vibrations and resistance, creating the snoring sound. This is how snoring works for nearly all animals, including people. 

Why Does My Dog Snore? 

Restricted Airways

While there are many reasons why your dog may snore, the most likely cause is probably a restriction of the airways. Like with people, the sleeping position of your dog can impact whether or not they snore, and the loudness of the snore if they do.

Dogs who sleep on their backs are more likely to be chronic snorers, as this position makes them partially block their throat with their tongue disrupting airflow. The position of their neck can also contribute to loud snoring. 

While this sounds scary, this type of snoring isn’t harmful to your dog, just like how it isn’t harmful to people.

If the sound does bother you, you could try gently moving your dog’s head to improve airflow, but this is a natural sound that we all make from time to time so there’s no need to panic. 

Breed

Do you own a pug, english bulldog, shih tzu, or any other flat-faced breed? Then your dog might be predisposed to snoring. These breeds are ‘brachycephalic’, meaning that they have short noses and flatted faces.

Although their faces are shorter, the amount of soft palate they have (the area between the nose and the throat) remains the same size as dogs with longer faces. 

It’s these bits of pallet that cause the snoring sound, as they often vibrate back and forth when air is drawn in. Flat-faced dogs also tend to have smaller nostrils than other dogs, meaning that the air faces more resistance on the way in. 

While these issues make snoring very common in these breeds, flat-faced dogs also commonly suffer from breathing difficulties, and snoring can be a sign of these. If you’re that worried about your dog snoring then it’s best to get them to a vet as soon as possible to make sure nothing is going wrong with their airways. 

Obesity

We’re all guilty of giving our dogs one too many treats sometimes, but if your dog has put on weight and started snoring recently it may be a sign they’ve had too much.

In dogs, snoring has a very strong link to obesity. Any extra weight your dog carries will put more pressure on their breathing. Fat can build up in the tissue and palate around the airway, making noise as your dog breaths in.

Fat can also be stored around the ribcage, meaning their breathing systems have to work harder for every breath. 

If you think your dog snores for this reason you should consider putting them on a diet and improving their exercise habits. If you’re unsure how to do this you can ask your vet for advice. 

Allergies Or Infections

Just like people, when dogs get sick or are allergic to something they tend to snore more. Allergies affect a dog’s airways in the same way they do with people.

Particles from pollen or dust can cause inflammation in their airways, which then causes their body to produce mucus to try and get these particles out of them. All this together creates snoring. 

Allergies and illnesses can be very uncomfortable for your dog so these are another reason why you should get them checked by a vet. 

Obstruction Of Airways

This is the most dangerous reason your dog could be snoring, and if you think it may be the cause then you need to go to a vet as soon as possible. A sign of a blocked airway is if your dog suddenly starts snoring when they never have before. 

Obstructions can be anything from a seed stuck in their nose, abscesses in their airways, or polyps, which are benign lumps. There can also be much more serious causes like tumors of the throat. 

If you have an older dog the risk of obstruction can be much higher as they can suffer from laryngeal paralysis – a condition where their vocal cords don’t open all the way.

Signs that your dog may have this include a snoring noise being made when they breathe while they’re awake, and discharge such as blood or mucus coming from their nostrils. 

When Should I Worry?

If you think your dog has any of the above conditions, then you should take them to vets so you can get the problem sorted. But if your dog is only snoring at night and is acting completely normal during the daytime, there’s most likely nothing to worry about.

You only really need to worry if your dog starts snoring suddenly when they never have before, or their snoring gets a lot worse.

You need to pay attention to their behavior as well as if they’re not acting right during the daytime then this can be a sign that something is wrong and you should seek medical advice immediately. 

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Snoring?

If your dog is just snoring because they’re sleeping weirdly then try to encourage them to change positions so that they lie on their side.

It’s also best to keep your dog on a good diet as a slimmer dog is less likely to snore (unless they’re flat-faced then there’s no stopping them, unfortunately). 

As you can see, there’s often no need to panic if your dog is a snorer, though if they’re very loud back sleepers you might want to invest in some ear plugs!

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.