As your puppy settles down to sleep, you may well be breathing a sigh of relief! After all that play and mayhem, you likely both need a bit of shut eye. However, what if your puppy suddenly starts snoring like a bear?
Is it normal for a puppy to snore noisily at times? Is this something you need to worry about or discuss with your vet? Read this article to learn all about your puppy and their snoring.
What Causes Snoring In Puppies
Snoring is audible breathing that occurs while sleeping. It happens when the airways are in some way restricted and the airflow is not smooth. It can be the tongue, throat, or upper airways vibrating as the breath passes through.
A normal, healthy pup should not really snore. A mild or infrequent snore is not a big concern but persistent and loud snoring is something to take note of.
6 Reasons Why Puppies Snore
Let’s explain the six most common causes behind puppy snoring
1. Mucus or discharge in the nose
Any build-up in the nose means that the air will not flow smoothly and we can hear a range of snorting and snoring noses. These dogs will usually have noisy breathing while awake and other signs such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and a reduced appetite.
We can help our pups by cleaning any discharge away with cotton wool and warm water regularly. We should also keep the air around them well ventilated and free of cooking fumes, smoke, and dust.
Upper respiratory infections may be viral or bacterial and, as young puppies can go downhill quickly, we should have them checked over by their vet.
Some pups may need some medicine such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Once back to normal, their snoring should fade away into the night.
2. Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome (BUAS) and Sleep Apnoea
This airway condition includes a range of disorders including narrow nostrils, an overly large tongue, a narrow windpipe, and an elongated soft palate.
Breeds most likely to be affected are those with short faces and snub noses such as the Pug, French Bulldog, Shih Tzu, and Boxers. Signs can include chronic snoring, excess panting, and trouble coping in the heat.
When asleep, the excess skin and soft tissue narrow airways further and can lead to disturbed sleep and periods during sleep when the dog is not breathing. This is known as ‘obstructive sleep apnoea’.
For mild cases of BUAS, we tend to manage signs by controlling the dog’s environment and keeping them slim and cool. For more severe cases, surgery is available and can be potentially life-changing. This is usually a specialized surgery performed by a surgeon.
3. An awkward sleeping position
If your pup is not normally a snorer and is suddenly making noises like a banshee while they dream, take a look at them. Are they scrunched up awkwardly or is their head buried into their bed or blankets?
It may be that your silly pup has fallen asleep in a manner that makes it tricky for them to get the air they need; such as lying flat on their back. Oftentimes, they’ll correct their sleeping position themselves and their snoring will stop. If they don’t, go ahead and pick them up, placing them somewhere with more space for them to stretch out.
If your pup has a habit of contorting themselves within their bed and scrunching their heads to their bodies, consider getting them a donut bed. These beds allow for pup to stretch their neck up, allowing for good airflow and preventing snoring.
4. Allergic rhinitis
Allergic Rhinitis is one of the most common respiratory disorders of the dog. While we tend to see it developing from the age of one, it can occur in younger pups too. There is inflammation of the mucous membranes within the nose, triggered by inhaled allergens.
The trigger will vary from pup to pup and common allergen triggers include pollen, dust mites and spores. If you notice a seasonal pattern to the snoring, there may well be an environmental allergen (such as a grass or pollen) at play.
Additional signs can include sneezing, open mouth breathing and a runny nose. The discharge is usually clear unless there is a secondary bacterial infection. Reverse sneezing is also a common occurrence in those affected.
Treatment is not always straightforward, and we can sometimes struggle to get this condition under control. Anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories can play an important role in treatment. Some dogs may need to take long-term medicine to manage flare-ups.
5. A foreign body in the nose
Anything stuck up your dog’s nose is certain to cause some irritation! While awake we may notice nose rubbing and frequent sneezing and snoring is likely to occur when sleeping.
Pups can inhale a variety of things into their nostril including grass seeds, thorns, and burrs. We may see a discharge that is only coming from the affected nostril.
We do not tend to be able to easily visualize the foreign body inside the nostril without special instruments, as the hole is so small.
Once the foreign body is removed and any inflammation has settled, the snoring should be a thing of the past.
When acid flows from the stomach or the intestinal tract up the food pipe, the resulting swelling can cause snoring. Those with a congenital hiatal hernia are more at risk than others. Bulldogs and Shar Peis are over-represented, but any pup can have these hernias.
Signs of reflux can include regurgitation, lip licking, vomiting, and bad breath. An endoscopy may be performed to reach a definitive diagnosis. Treatment often includes ant acids and a low-fat prescription diet.
Do All Dogs Snore?
Any dog can snore but we certainly see it a lot more commonly in brachycephalic breeds.
It also occurs more often in those who are overweight and who have certain underlying health issues.
Will My Puppy Stop Snoring With Age?
Whether or not snoring improves with age will depend on what the primary cause is.
If the issue is a respiratory infection, we’d expect snoring to stop once it has been resolved.
However, if the dog has BUAS and excess skin folds, their snoring may only improve with surgery.
When Should You Be Concerned?
Snoring can be a sign that your dog struggles to get enough oxygen.
Signs to watch out for:
- Noisy breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Nasal discharge
If you notice any of these signs it’s important to consult to your vet.
If your dog sometimes snores lightly and has no other signs, we don’t need to be overly alarmed.
It is good to familiarise yourself with what is their norm and to keep an eye out for any changes.
How Can I Stop My Puppy From Snoring?
If your puppy is snoring and this is unusual for them, take a closer look at the situation. If they have contorted themselves awkwardly or are flat out on their back, you can change their sleeping position if they seem uncomfortable.
If your dog has something else going on; perhaps episodes of regurgitation or a runny nose, a vet check is in order. Treating any underlying medical problem can resolve snoring quickly.
Certain dogs may always snore. Signs may worsen as the dog gets older, particularly if they put on weight. Snoring can be a sign of chronic health disease and conformational issues; not all of which can be treated.