Why Do Dogs Snore So Badly?

4 Min Read | By Gemma Curtis

Last Modified 21 December 2022   First Added 28 March 2017

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

It’s one thing having a partner who keeps you up at night, but having a dog who snores loudly can be even worse. At least you can tell your partner to stop! But why do some dogs snore more than others? If so, is there any way we can get them to stop? We look at what makes dogs snore more than others and how we should deal with it.

Why do dogs snore?

While there are numerous reasons why dogs snore, here are some of the more common:

1. Blocked nasal passages

Like humans, dogs snore because the airflow in nasal passageways or the throat is restricted. This can be perfectly normal and can be caused by something as simple as your dog sleeping on his back. The tongue can drop back towards the throat, blocking the breath from moving easily.

2. Obesity

Another common cause of snoring in dogs is obesity. You may think you’re doing your dog good by feeding him treats, but it could be the root cause of his noisy breathing. Overweight dogs can have a build-up of excess fat in the throat, says Dr Carol Osborne, owner of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic. She told PetMD,

When a dog is overweight to morbidly obese, extra fat can also collect in the throat, which blocks the airways and causes snoring.

Dog sleeping

3. Sleep Apnoea

Another possible, but less probable cause of your dog’s snoring is sleep apnoea. Dogs can get develop this illness just like humans, but it is much less common. People and dogs with sleep apnoea’s breath is very shallow and sometimes they stop breathing altogether for a brief moment during sleep. When they start breathing again, it is usually with a sharp inhale which sounds like snoring. If you are concerned that your dog may have sleep apnoea, it’s important to take him to the vets to get checked out.

Related: Do Men Snore More Than Women?

Pug sleeping

If your dog has suddenly started snoring and seems a bit under the weather, it might be his body’s way of telling you that something else is wrong. Here are a few other reasons as to why your dog might be keeping you up at night.

4. Allergies

Again, like humans, dogs can have allergies too. Your dog may be allergic to dust, perfume or even other animals within the house. They may also have hayfever which could be causing them to snore. Rinsing your dog’s feet when it comes indoors, bathing it with hypoallergenic shampoo and dusting with a damp cloth can reduce the effects of allergies.

5. Dental problems

Your dog may have a tooth abscess or other growth within the oral cavity or sinuses. This will make him snore. Tooth problems can be extremely painful, so if you think your dog may have dental trouble, take him to the vet immediately. Mother Nature Network says, ‘Untreated, an infection can spread through a pet’s body and cause much more serious problems.’

6. Fungal disease

Aspergillosis is a fungal disease usually obtained from grass clippings, hay, straw and dusty objects. It is triggered by mould and the fungus can enter the dog’s nose through its moist lining. This is most common in farm dogs and dogs that spend a lot of time outside. The usual symptoms are sneezing, swelling, nasal discharge and snoring. It can be quite serious if not treated, but usually clears up with a course of antifungal medicine.

7. Rhinitis

Similar to our own common cold, rhinitis in dogs affects the nose. Your pet may have a stuffy and runny nose, as his mucus membranes become inflamed. You may notice sneezing, laboured breathing, and snoring in your dog if it has rhinitis. This can be treated with antibiotics. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air can also create a more comfortable breathing environment.

Woman and dog on bed

Do brachycephalic breeds snore more loudly than other dogs?

Dogs with short snouts and squat faces such as pugs, bulldogs and boxers are known as brachycephalic. Pets 4 Homes tells us:

Because dogs such as these have such short muzzles and so, a very short soft palate, this generally leads to snoring caused by collapsed nostrils (Stenotic nares), an elongated soft palate, or eversion of the laryngeal saccules.

Most dogs of this description have at least one of the problems listed, sometimes even requiring surgery. This means that almost all dogs that are brachycephalic will snore. If your dog snores and has always snored, don’t worry too much. If you notice any change in your dog’s breathing or they seem to be struggling, consult a vet.

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