Monday, January 2, 2012

Why Do Some Dogs Snore?

By Linda Cole

Some dog breeds, both purebred and mixed breeds, that have shorter, pushed in noses have a tendency to snore. Most of us don't pay a lot of attention to our dog when he’s lying at our feet snoring up a storm. In fact, we've probably gotten so used to hearing them snore that we don't even notice it. However, if your dog does snore, it may be an indication there's a problem that needs to be addressed.

A sight that always brings a smile to the face of a dog or cat owner is watching their pet while they're sleeping. The jury is still out as to whether or not pets dream, but watching your dog's legs move as if he's running or a cat's twitching whiskers would make a case that they do. Some of my dogs let out cute little yaps every now and then in their sleep, and I had one dog that would howl in her sleep.

Dogs are more apt to snore than cats, and share a similar sleep pattern with humans. They also go into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep just like we do. The fact that dogs can fall into a deep sleep shows how much they trust their owner. When they are relaxed and feel comfortable around the ones they love, they don't feel threatened and are more likely to fall into a deep peaceful sleep at your feet, by your side on the couch or snuggled next to you in bed.

Cats, on the other hand, are always on guard even during deep sleep. Their senses are always paying attention to what's going on around them and unlike a dog, can be awakened from a deep sleep and be fully alert in seconds to everything that's happening around them. A dog in deep sleep wakes up confused and disorientated just like we do. It takes them a minute to get their bearings.

For the most part, a snoring dog isn't a problem for him as long as it's not waking him from a deep sleep. Dogs need their sleep just as much as we do, and if they aren't getting a restful sleep, they're likely to be cranky. If you notice a behavior change in your pet, it's best to have him checked out by your vet to make sure there's no medical issue that’s causing him to snore.

Dogs with pushed in noses like Shih Tzu, Pug, Bulldog, Boston Terrier and Pekingese have a tendency to snore because their airway passage is shorter and narrower which causes them to use a lot of energy to breathe properly. They are also more likely to have a blockage somewhere in their airway that causes them to snore.

Like people, some dogs can become stuffed up and congested because of allergies. Household cleaners, dust, mildew, mold, air fresheners, perfume, incense or secondhand smoke can constrict their airway and cause them to snore. If you think your dog has an allergy, it's best to work with your vet to try and to figure out what's causing his allergic reaction. Dogs can be allergic to cats, other dogs, birds, small pets in the home and even their owner.

An overweight dog is more likely to snore, and this can be easily dealt with by giving your dog more exercise and limiting his treats. Feeding your dog a premium quality pet food like CANIDAE can help because he eats less while getting the proper nutrition he needs to stay at a healthy weight. Obesity can contribute to a variety of health problems. However, before signing your overweight dog up for agility or any other exercise routine, have him checked out by your vet to make sure he's healthy enough for an increase in his activity level.

Genetics can be a factor in snoring if a dog is born with extra tissue in their throat or surrounding the neck. It can interfere with their breathing and cause them to snore. Even the position your dog sleeps in can bring on the sound of sawing logs. Medications like pain killers or tranquilizers could be the culprit, or an obstruction in the windpipe.

There are a variety of reasons that can cause your dog to snore. For most dogs, it's not a problem and isn't something to be overly concerned with, but if it's excessive and loud, he's overweight, appears grouchy and is keeping you up at night, it may be time to have him examined by your vet. An exam can help you figure out what's going on with your pet, and it's always better to err on the side of caution.

Photo by Miss Chien

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. We don't know anything about dogs, but our mom sure snores. And she has said that angel Chumley snored too.

    Hmm, maybe we ought to make sure our mom eats fewer treats and gets more exercise during the day.

  2. Our dog doesn't snore but I love watching her sleep. She runs and yelps with abandon. So sweet.

  3. Finnie is a snorer and sometimes we think she's running while she sleeps too - very interesting read!

  4. TW sez I snore. That's why I attack her at night so she won't get close cos I don't snore.

  5. my pub snore he healthy though

  6. Both of my rotti puppies tend to snore and make the silliest little noises in their sleep from chattering to lip smacking. You name it and youll hear it in the night.


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