Why Do Dogs Snore?

By Kat Walden

Common among dogs, snoring is caused by an obstruction in the nostrils, nasal passage or airway, constricting the dog's breathing. Not only will your dog's snoring interrupt your restful slumber, but he also may suffer from adverse health consequences if his snoring inhibits normal oxygen intake. To find a way to help your dog stop snoring, you must first understand the underlying cause.

The Fat Cat

An overweight or obese dog develops excess tissue in his throat, which creates an airway obstruction and causes snoring. Obese dogs are at risk for other health issues as well, including diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. The best way to help your dog remain healthy and curb his snoring habit is to ensure he receives a proper diet, doesn't indulge in too many treats and receives a good amount of daily exercise. (See Reference 1)

The Push-Faced Dog

Some dogs are prone to snoring and other breathing disorders by nature of their physiology. Brachycephalic breeds, such as bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston terriers and pugs are characterized by abnormal upper airway anatomy. That anatomy could include a lengthened soft palate, which partially blocks the airway, tissue directly in front of the vocal cords occluding the trachea, a narrow trachea or collapse of the larynx. In addition to snoring, these dogs are also at increased risk for hypersomnia -- excessive daytime sleepiness -- dry mouth, sore throat, headaches and irritability. Diet and exercise may help to reduce snoring. Surgical procedures designed to clear the airway of abnormalities also may offer relief, although they are more effective on young dogs than on older dogs.

Halting Hay Fever

As with humans, many dogs suffer from hay fever and other allergies. Tree and weed pollen, smoke, dust and other irritants cause cold-like symptoms including increased mucus production, sneezing, congestion and sinus pressure. You can help to alleviate your dog's allergy symptoms by cleaning his bedding daily, keeping your home dust-free with daily vacuuming, altering his exercise schedule so his walks or playtime are during periods when pollen and pollution are at lower levels, and by not walking him near high vehicle traffic areas. Antihistamine medications prescribed by your veterinarian also may alleviate his allergy symptoms and help clear his airway.

Curing Illness and Infection

As with allergies, respiratory illnesses or other medical conditions may induce snoring in your dog. If he suddenly has developed a snoring habit, take him to his veterinarian for a thorough examination. Respiratory infections may be accompanied by a fever, sneezing, coughing or nasal or ocular discharge. If your dog has a physical abnormality in his respiratory system, remain alert for bluish gums or tongue, shallow breathing, wheezing or abnormal panting. Occasionally, tumors in the nasal cavity can block the airway and cause snoring. All of these cases require appropriate veterinary care.