No doubt about it, a snoring puppy is an adorable thing to behold. However, while many puppies -- especially of particular breeds -- snore once in a while, heavy or chronic snoring points to possible health concerns. If you think your puppy's snoring is either too loud or excessive, it's best to mention it to your vet in order to rule out any serious health issues.
Your Puppy's Breed
Puppies with broad heads, relatively flat faces and short muzzles have a physiological predisposition to breathing troubles and snoring. Boston terriers, bulldogs, chow chows, English toy spaniels, Pekingese, pugs and shih tzu breeds fit this description and commonly have signs and symptoms of obstructed breathing. If your puppy is one of these breeds, consult your vet about your options to improve her respiration and reduce her snoring. Your vet will evaluate your young dog for a few possible conditions. For example, stenotic nares, or nostrils that collapse during inhalation, may clear up by 6 months of age or may be corrected surgically; an elongated short palate can be surgically shortened; and everted laryngeal saccules -- naturally occurring soft tissue masses in a dog's throat that stick too far out into the larynx -- can be surgically removed.
Being overweight or obese contributes to snoring. Extra tissue in the throat obstructs the airways and excess fat can constrict the respiratory tract. If you can't feel your puppy's spine and ribs without pressing down and see a defined waist when looking down at her from above, she has extra body fat. Consult your vet about a proper diet with the appropriate number of calories for your overweight puppy. Use small treats sparingly for training purposes, too. Also, increase your puppy's physical activity by taking her out for walks and to the park, playing active games like fetch with her and providing balls and other toys that encourage movement. She'll not only stop snoring, she'll be happier and healthier and she'll have a longer life with a better quality of life.
Allergies and Irritants
Your puppy can develop nasal congestion that causes snoring if she has allergies or is exposed to environmental irritants. Food allergies to particular meats, wheat, soy, corn or other ingredients may be to blame, as may environmental allergies to dander, pollens, dust, feathers, mold, flea bites, fabrics, grooming or cleaning products or other possible allergens. Look for other common signs and symptoms of an allergy, including itchiness, runny eyes or nose, sneezing, constant licking, swollen paws, vomiting and diarrhea. Also, cigarette and cigar smoke, dust and other irritating substances in your puppy's environment can be irritating and problematic, even without an allergic response.Work with your vet to get to the bottom of what's bothering your pet. He'll use food exclusions to uncover food allergies and possible skin or blood tests.
All sorts of infections can cause congestion and other breathing problems that lead to snoring. Viral infections, including a cold, kennel cough, influenza, adenovirus and plenty of others may be the source of snoring. Even some more dire viral infections like tuberculosis and canine distemper are concerns. Bacterial and fungal infections -- particularly in the respiratory tract -- also lead to breathing troubles and possibly snoring. Your puppy may also have a parasitic infection, including heartworms or other internal worms that spend part of their time in the lungs, heart or trachea. The treatments of course vary depending on the type of infection. Options usually include appropriate antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal or antiparasitic medications. See your vet if your puppy appears sick for a diagnosis and course of treatment.
By Jon Mohrman
About the Author
Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.