What is Snoring?
Snoring has many sources of origin, including a weakening of the throat muscles which causes a partial closing of the throat leading to snoring as air is forced along. Another reason could be your dog is overweight, or it may even be his sleeping position. Lying on his back can put pressure on the throat area and obstruct normal breathing. For some breeds, it comes from having a short snout and pushed in faces. But whatever the cause, if it is persistent or annoying, it is time for a checkup to see that it is not one of the following.
- An obstruction within the nasal or throat area
- Dental problems
- Fungal disease (Aspergillosis)
- Sleeping position
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Why Snoring Occurs in Dogs
Blockages may occur due to a weakness of the throat muscles, or excessive fat around the throat, and even a cold can cause a blockage with mucus and enlarged capillaries. If your dog has only just started snoring it could be a blockage caused by seed heads or even a part of a toy that he has been chewing on.
If your dog is Inhaling secondhand smoke fumes, pollen, dust or mold spores, these irritants can all create allergic reactions. Snoring will be a symptom that can be accompanied by wheezing.
If your dog is one of a breed with a short snout and pushed in nose, he may have a problem known as brachycephalic airway syndrome. These dog breeds (Boxers, Pugs, English Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and the Shih-Tzu) have small nostrils known as stenotic nares, which are not that effective during breathing. Combine that with an elongated soft palate protruding into the dog’s airways, and a narrow windpipe with soft tissue protrusions into the larynx area, you have a recipe for a habitual snorer. If your dog is overweight regardless of the breed, the extra fat (especially around the neck area) can be the cause of the snoring, which when your pet reduces weight will naturally cure the condition.
Untreated dental problems in your dog’s mouth can cause snoring. A tooth abscess or any swelling in the oral cavity or sinus can be the cause.
Fungal Disease (Aspergillosis)
Disease can result from inhaling mold spores while outside and can enter your dog’s body through the lining of the nasal cavity causing nasal swelling, nasal discharge and snoring. Medication will be needed to clear up the infection.
Tumors that are growing within your dog’s airway can be a cause of snoring. Veterinary evaluation is essential in order to determine the location and severity of the tumors.
The position in which your dog sleeps can also impact on the snoring. If your dog assumes the flat on his back position, it is more likely that he will snore than if your dog sleeps on his side.
What to do if your Dog is Snoring
In the case of obstruction, your dog needs to be checked by your veterinarian to see whether it is a foreign object such as a seed head or whether the weight your dog is carrying is causing an obstruction. Your dog may need to be anesthetized to carry out the removal of a foreign object, or a diet may be prescribed to help your pet lose some weight. Usually, with the weight loss and more exercise, the snoring is resolved.
Allergies are tricky to correct unless you can pinpoint the cause. Certain months like spring and summer when there are hot, dusty winds and pollen blowing around it can be hard to avoid unless your keep your dog indoors. If you are a smoker, opening windows to disperse the smoke will help, or smoke outside, or perhaps giving it up are all options.
For those dogs with a short muzzle, snoring is almost a certainty due to the shape and structure of their nose. If your dog’s breathing is labored even when he is awake, it would be advised to take your dog to your veterinarian to be checked. Corrective surgery may be carried out to enlarge the small nostril or reduce elongated palates or everted laryngeal saccules. But usually, a bit of snoring is considered part of the personality of the short nosed type pooch. After a check with your veterinary specialist and if they have the health clearance, then you must decide whether you want your dog sleeping in your room or perhaps moving him into another room.
If you suspect your dog has a tooth problem, then it is time your dog has a dog specialist dental appointment to get his gums and teeth checked, and if there are any problems, they need to be treated. An infected tooth can lead to inflammation within the nasal area which in turn can cause snoring.
Fungal infections that may cause Aspergillus disease can be treated by administering an antifungal drug into the area of the nose where the trouble is and throughout the nasal passages. This procedure is done when your dog is under anesthesia. Other diseases, such as tumors, are more difficult to treat. Tumors may be benign - for example polyps, or they can be malignant. Your veterinarian will advise of the treatment required as it depends on the location of the tumor, size and other health associated issues.
The way your dog sleeps can cause snoring issues. Try to encourage your dog to lay on its side; perhaps a nice new round bed may keep him curled up. You can try a new pillow to elevate his head and clear breathing passages. If your dog has allergies, ensure his bedding is fresh and clean and vacuum the area to ensure dust is minimal.
Prevention of Snoring
Keeping your dog fit and slim will help prevent snoring caused by weight gain. Exercising your dog in the early morning will avoid the dusty breezes of summer and the pollen that is flying around for those dogs prone to allergies. Simple measures, such as keeping your dog’s bedding fresh, and regular health and teeth checks will all go a long way to preventing your dog from snoring. Unfortunately, for those dogs who are brachycephalic breeds (short nosed) such as the Pug, Pomeranian and others, it is a matter of acceptance (after your veterinarian has checked them and given the all clear signal). If it is a problem, you may have to get them used to sleeping in another room so you can both get a good night’s rest. It’s important that both people and pets get a good night’s sleep, so experiment to find what works for you.
Cost of Snoring
The costs for treatment depend on the severity of your dog’s condition. If it is weight reduction that is needed, it will just cost your time to exercise your dog and to offer different food quantities. But for Aspergillosis, it can cost up to $3000 to treat with the average cost of $300, while for tumors, average cost of treatment is $8500. Breathing problems can be expensive, ranging from $500 to $5000 depending on how severe your dog’s condition is, with the average cost around $1,200.