Why Do Dogs Make Snoring Sounds

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Going to bed with a snoring partner beside you…has this ever happened to you? Yes, life can be just as tough with a snoring dog in the room. Or maybe your pup is having trouble breathing while awake? Whatever the situation may be, one thing’s for sure: it needs to stop.

Your four-legged companion may be just as prone to snoring as any one of us. While snoring can be normal in some dog breeds, it usually signals a problem that has to be addressed as soon as possible. Don’t get too worried yet, many of these issues are easily correctable. So let’s find out more about it!

The Root of the Behavior

When it comes to breathing and snoring, dogs are very much like us. When a dog makes such an involuntary sound, it’s because they have little to no control over how loud they are. So it shouldn’t bother them too much, however… it may bother you. And for all good reasons: a snoring sound appears when there is some sort of blockage anywhere along the dog’s upper respiratory tract.

Not only is the sound itself disturbing to you, but uncomfortable breathing in dogs is often related to certain respiratory issues that need to be addressed by a veterinarian. Noisy breathing is described as stertor and stridor. Stertor is noisy breathing that occurs during inhalation, while stridor refers to high-pitched, noisy breathing which results from the turbulent air flow in the larynx or the bronchial tree.

Noisy breathing is common in short-nosed, flat-faced dog breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, and Boxers. The problem is caused by the breed’s shortened muzzles and elongated soft palates. Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands or large-breed dogs, such as Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers are also more prone to paralysis of the voice box (laryngeal paralysis).

But there are other probable causes that determine this behavior: if your dog has something stuck in his nose or throat, if he has sensitivities and allergies to dust, pollen, perfume and other pets, if he has problems with obesity, if he is on certain drugs such as painkillers, muscle relaxants, and tranquilizers, if he has dental problems, fungal disease, rhinitis, or simply because of his sleeping position.

Some of the symptoms of noisy breathing include open mouth breathing, restlessness, coughing, gagging, movement of the chest, change or loss of bark and so on. A visit to your veterinarian can help establish a proper diagnosis and treatment, so make sure you have him checked, especially if you notice any sudden changes in your pup’s breathing patterns. 

Encouraging the Behavior

Whether your dog was born this way or not, checking up with your vet to make sure the condition doesn’t call for surgical intervention is the best thing you can do. Normally, some of these conformation abnormalities can be corrected through surgery if they interfere with your dog’s normal ability to breath.

While at the vet, they will use a stethoscope to catch sounds that indicate some sort of an obstruction or abnormality. In addition, the veterinarian can perform radiographs of the head, neck, lungs, and chest, as well as a complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis of your dog in order to provide a correct diagnosis and future treatment.

Make sure he gets regular exercise in order to avoid obesity. More so, if you suspect your pup has caught a cold, take him to the vet immediately and ensure he stays warm during colder seasons. You also have to be careful of what he is sniffing around the house or outside because he could potentially inhale small foreign bodies that could do a lot of damage.

Be sure to treat or manage your dog’s allergies, in case they are the problem and check your dog’s nose and mouth for any foreign bodies on a regular basis.

Other Solutions and Considerations

The best thing you can do is to keep your pup cool, quiet, and calm. Avoid high ambient temperatures and extreme excitement, as they can lead to increased movement of air into and out of the lungs, which in turn will worsen the airflow. By monitoring him closely, you can prevent any type of unwanted situations and be able to give your veterinarian as much information as possible.

What about smoking? No, we’re not talking about the pup…obviously. However, secondhand smoke can be a significant factor in your dog’s uncomfortable breathing. Secondhand smoke can not only damage his respiratory system but it can also lead to asthma or bronchitis. Isn’t this a good enough reason to quit?


If your dog is breathing noisily or displays any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above, be sure to take him to the vet for a full checkup. Generally, snoring isn’t a major issue unless your pup has trouble breathing throughout the day or shows signs of interrupted sleep. The best way to keep your dog safe is to find out the cause of his abnormal breathing and let your vet provide proper treatment.