Dog Snoring: Is It Normal Or A Cause For Concern?

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Dog sleeping on back (Caption: Dog Snoring Guide)

There’s nothing cuter than a sleeping dog. But what happens if your sweet pup is snoring like a train. Not only does it take away from the cuteness, but it can also cause concern if you aren’t sure why it’s happening or if it’s normal.

Is It Normal For Dogs To Snore?

The short answer to this question is yes, but not always. For some dogs, snoring is normal and harmless. In other situations, it can be a sign of an underlying health concern. Talking to your vet is your best bet.

Puppy Snoring

Puppy snoring is super cute, but it could be a sign of more severe health concerns or the start of a life-long battle because of their skull’s anatomy.

Snoring In Older Dogs

It’s not normal for dogs to start snoring just because they’re getting older. If your dog never snored before, you may want to check with your vet to make sure something else isn’t going on.


The cause of snoring is simple: airflow restriction in the nasal passage and throat. It gets more complicated when you want to know what factors restrict the airflow. Here are a few factors that obstruct the airway and cause snoring.

  • Overweight lab in grass (caption: Best Dog Food for Weight Loss)Allergies: Allergens can cause nasal passages to swell and have inflammation. This swelling makes nasal passages narrow, restricting airflow. It may help to know the symptoms of allergies if you think this may be the cause.
  • Anatomy: Some breeds are more likely to snore because of the shape of their skull. For instance, brachycephalic dogs, like English Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Pugs, have a shorter breathing passage than other dogs because their head is short and broad.
  • Common Cold: Dogs can get a cold, just like humans. Many of the symptoms flare up the nasal cavity and restrict airflow.
  • Dental Issues: Infections in a dog’s tooth can put pressure on the nasal cavity and block airflow.
  • Hypothyroidism: Snoring is one of the initial signs of hypothyroidism in dogs. This health issue occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce an adequate amount of the hormone that regulates metabolism and may require medication.
  • Obesity: Overweight dogs can have extra fat in their necks that constricts the airway. You may need to consider how to help your dog lose weight.
  • Obstruction: Snoring may be a sign that your dog has something stuck in his nose. Sticks and other small objects might get lodged into his nose when he’s digging and sniffing around.
  • Second-Hand Smoke: If someone is smoking around your dog or in your house, it can cause irritation and inflammation in his nose and lungs, leading to snoring.
  • Tumors: Tumors can grow in the nasal passage or places that might pressure it, causing the airway to narrow.

Why Does My Dog Snore So Loud?

How loud snoring gets depends on how narrow the airway becomes. The thinner the airway, the louder the snoring will become.

Snoring And Congestion

Does your pup sound like he’s snoring when he’s awake? This sound commonly results from your dog having nasal or chest congestion. When mucus from a cold or infection gets into the airway, it can cause your dog to snore.

Dog Sleep Apnea

Apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start during rest. It can be very serious but is rare in dogs. If you think this may be a concern, keep an eye out for gasping and choking while sleeping, extreme tiredness, and irritability, in addition to snoring.

Heavy Breathing While Sleeping

Like snoring, you can expect heavy breathing while your dog is sleeping, especially if he’s warm and panting to regulate his temperature. However, if it seems different from normal, it could be a sign of something more severe, like a respiratory infection or heart disease, and it would be wise to consult your vet.

If It Comes On All Of A Sudden

If your dog has never been a snorer and suddenly starts, this could signal a problem. You should check in with your vet. Sudden onset snoring could indicate a problem with your dog’s nose, like a severe infection or growth.


If you have concerns about your dog’s snoring, you should talk to your veterinarian about the cause and how to treat it. Here are some possible treatments to consider.

1. Treat Any Underlying Condition

If there’s an underlying condition, like allergies or hypothyroidism, treat that first. Clearing up the problem may stop the snoring. Treatment may be costly, so you may want to consider if pet insurance is worth having in this situation.

2. Adjust The Sleeping Position

Dog allergy test (caption: Best At-Home Dog Allergy Test)

It’s best for snoring dogs to sleep on their side rather than their back. If you have a back sleeper, try gently rolling him to his side.

3. Reduce Allergens

When you know what your dog is allergic to, you can reduce his exposure. If you’re not sure if your dog has allergies, you can try an at-home allergy test kit.

4. Add Moisture To The Air

Adding a humidifier to the room where your dog sleeps will help moisturize their airway, reduce inflammation, and may ease snoring. (It may also help the humans, especially in winter!)

What Does A Snoring Dog Sound Like?

If you aren’t sure what to listen for, here’s a video of two of our Canine Journal pup’s snoring (thanks Lexie and Lily!).

Make Sure Your Dog Gets A Good Nights Sleep

Snoring is only one reason you might feel concerned about your dog’s sleeping habits and behaviors. Some pups experience insomnia, sleepwalking, or vivid dreams that prevent restful sleep. Our experts have researched melatonin for dogs to help you decide if it might be the right choice for your furry friend’s sleep or anxiety disorders.

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