Picture this – you arrive home after a hard day at work and you’re ready for a relaxing evening in front of the TV with your favorite drinks and snacks. However, just minutes after sitting down you find yourself frustratedly searching for the remote because you can’t hear the TV show over the sound of your snoring dog! Sound familiar? If your snoozing pooch is snoring, it’s not just irritating or inconvenient, it can also be a sign that they need to see a veterinarian.
Why do dogs snore?
There are many reasons why dogs snore, and sometimes they can even snore when they’re awake! Sometimes it is completely normal, but it can be a sign that something is wrong. So, why might a dog snore?
Certain breeds, such as those with flat faces, long soft palates, or small nostrils, are prone to making snoring and snorting noises when they breathe. These breeds are often termed “brachycephalic” and include Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers. Although breathing noise is often expected in these breeds, it is caused by obstruction of the airflow by the soft tissue of the airway. The extent of this obstruction varies so that some dogs are just a bit noisy, whereas for others their breathing is so affected that their body doesn’t receive enough oxygen, leading to signs like collapse.
If your dog is a brachycephalic breed, it is recommended that they have a check-up with a veterinarian so that their airways can be assessed, because severe cases can be improved with surgery.
Other breeds that tend to snort and snore, but not for concerning reasons, are bull terrier breeds, like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They can snort when excited, and snore when asleep, but as long as they have always made these noises, it’s not likely to be a worry.
Just like in people, if your dog is carrying a few extra pounds it can make them more likely to snore. The airways can become narrower due to the extra fat around their neck and throat, which leads to turbulence, which means more noise!
Tumors, polyps, and other growths
If your dog has started snoring when they didn’t before, it could be a sign that they have a lump or growth within or near their nasal cavity. If this is the case, you might also notice them sneezing or having a runny nose or nosebleeds. While some of these lumps are benign, like polyps, others can be cancerous.
If your dog suddenly starts snoring and snorting, it could be a sign that they have a foreign object, like a grass blade or seed, lodged up their nose. However, it’s rare for snoring to be the only sign, and your dog would normally be having severe sneezing fits and rubbing his face and nose.
Inflammation and infection of the nasal passages can lead to increased mucus production, as well as narrowing of the airways due to swelling. This congestion can cause snoring but will likely also cause your dog to have a runny nose, sneeze, and feel under the weather.
Air fresheners, incense, and essential oils can also lead to irritation of the airway, which can cause rhinitis and snoring. They can also be unsafe to use around pets so even if your dog’s snoring is not caused by these products, it’s worth checking that they are pet-safe.
When should I take my dog to the veterinarian for their snoring?
If your dog is not a brachycephalic breed and has always been a snorer, it is unlikely to be a problem. Equally, if your dog has gained weight recently, and the snoring began at a similar time, it may not be necessary for them to go to the veterinary clinic if they are well unless you need weight loss advice and support. Starting a diet program and assessing the snore for improvement as they lose weight would be a good first step.
However, if your dog has never snored previously, or if they are snoring more than usual or snoring louder than usual, you should book an appointment for them to be checked over by a veterinarian. They may also need a veterinary examination if they are showing other symptoms like sneezing, discharge from the nose, nosebleeds, or seeming off-color.
If you have a brachycephalic breed, it is common for them to snore. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a concern. If their airways are severely compromised by their face shape it can cause serious health issues, as well as noise. Multiple surgical procedures can widen the nostrils, shorten the soft palate, or widen the laryngeal space (throat). So, even if you think your brachycephalic dog is coping, and their snoring isn’t bothering you, it is still worth having them examined by your veterinarian, to see if they would benefit from any treatment.
Are there any home remedies for snoring dogs?
If your dog’s snoring is bothering you, but they are unphased, it might be tempting to try to fix the problem at home first before contacting the veterinarian. As long as your dog isn’t in breathing distress or acting unwell, there are a couple of dog snoring home remedies you could try. If in doubt though, always speak to your veterinarian.
1. Check your home for triggers
Think back to when the snoring started and try to identify anything new that could have triggered it. This could include new home cleaning products, air fresheners, fabric fresheners, candles, or incense, all of which can be irritating to the airways. If you began using a new product around the same time as you noticed the snoring, stop using it and see if your dog’s snoring improves.
2. Cut back on the treats
Even if your dog doesn’t look overweight, a bit of extra fat around their airway can have a profound and noisy effect! Try cutting down on treats, reducing meal sizes, and making sure that everyone in the household knows who is feeding the dog and when. A little bit of weight loss could work wonders and make their snoring disappear as quickly as it started.
Summary on Snoring
If you have a dog who can’t snooze without snoring, it can be a bit irritating. You might be able to attribute new snoring to a change in cleaning product or air freshener, or your pooch’s expanding waistline. But if your dog has suddenly started snoring with no obvious cause, has other symptoms, or if they are a breed that is prone to brachycephalic breathing problems, it’s definitely worth a visit to the vet. After all, it could be a sign of a health problem and your veterinarian may need to do tests or start treatment.
Featured Image Credit: Sandeep Handa, Pixabay