Why Does My Dog Snore?

As a general rule, Dogs snore when something is limiting airflow, either in the sinuses or nasal passages, or when something restricts clear breathing in the throat. It is extremely common and is usually not something to be concerned about.

Dog snoring is a very normal and common occurrence, and it is rarely a cause for concern. While it can be disruptive to your sleep, and you may want to consider some ways to reduce your pet’s snoring, in general, if a dog snores, he snores.

However, if your dog begins snoring when he never has before, or if his snoring seems to become more laborious, you may want to consider taking him to be examined.

These could be signs that the snoring is due to some issue with the dog’s breathing.

But what even is snoring? And what are the common reasons your dog may be snoring? And when do you know if it needs to be checked out?

What Even Causes Snoring?

Common causes include:
• A dog sleeping on his back
• Allergies
• The specific breed of dog
• Rhinitis

A few more serious causes include:
• Sleep apnea
• Obstruction
• Obesity
• Infection of some kind

Let me break down these possible reasons and if they should concern you or not, and if somewhat to do about it.

Back Sleeping

If a dog flops over onto his back, the possibility of his tongue dropping back in his throat and impeding airflow is very high. This is nothing to alarm you, but if you are trying to sleep while your dog is snoring like this, you could always consider repositioning your sleeping dog and tipping him back onto his side.


Dogs can be allergic to any number of things. Some dogs are allergic to pollen, dust, and seasonal allergies, just like we are.

Other dogs are sensitive to perfumes or smoke and may have an allergic reaction to a candle being lit or living with a smoker. Some dogs are even allergic to other pets. While not generally cause for concern, you should do your best to contain the problem.

Washing your dog’s face and paws after going out for a walk can reduce seasonal allergies significantly. Dusting with a damp towel will keep dust allergies to a minimum.

Not using air fresheners or lighting candles will prevent your dog from an adverse reaction to strong fragrances. It is strongly advised that you not smoke if you have a dog since the smoke can do severe and permanent damage to a dog’s lungs and respiratory system.

Breed Type

Some dogs are more prone to snoring only because of their breeds’ facial structure. Broad, short-skulled dogs, with short snouts and flat faces, are almost always guaranteed to snore for their entire lives.

They are brachycephalic breeds, with elongated soft palates and nostrils prone to collapsing. Owners of breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and Shih Tzus will find snoring is the expected normal for their dogs.

There is not much to be done about this snoring. Some dogs will have procedures or surgery done, but this is generally only advised if your dog struggles to breathe because of it.


Rhinitis is like a dog cold. It can cause mucus buildup as the dog’s body fights infection, and as such, snoring might be an issue while he is unwell.

A vet may prescribe an antibiotic to speed recovery, but you can also consider getting a humidifier, which can significantly help keep the sinus passages clearer.

As long as your dog is still acting normal, eating well, yet playful and happy, this is nothing to be concerned about. However, if the problem lingers, even after treatment, check in with your vet to ensure your dog’s “cold” doesn’t lead to a sinus infection.

Sleep Apnea

Snoring because of sleep apnea would be a reason to be concerned for your dog. Sleep apnea occurs when a dog (or human) breathes shallowly in their sleep, now and then, not breathing at all for a few seconds.

When the breath restarts, it is quite sudden and sharp and may sound like snoring

If you think your dog suffers from sleep apnea, take him to your vet immediately.


This is another concerning reason your dog might be snoring. If your dog suddenly begins snoring in his sleep when he never has before, it may be that sometime during the day, something became lodged in his throat or nose and that it is the cause for the restricted breathing.

This can be a serious, even life-threatening problem if not dealt with promptly. If your dog shows other signs of distress when awake, take him to the vet immediately.

Obstructions can become infected, but they can also result in increased difficulty of simple breathing.

Dog Obesity

When a dog is overweight, the excess fat can collect in his throat and neck area, leading to the partial blocking of an airway, which could result in snoring.

For many more and serious reasons than just snoring, you must keep your dog a proper and healthy weight. Obesity comes with many health risks and reduced life expectancy.

Be sure your dog eats a balanced diet and get regular exercise, adequate for his breed and size.

Infection, Fungal or Bacterial

I already touched some on this earlier, but it bears mentioning again. If your dog is snoring when he doesn’t usually, it may be that he is suffering from an infection of some kind.

You will need to take him to your vet to be diagnosed, and your vet will show you how to best attend to your dog as he heals.

You know what your dog looks like when he’s healthy and well, so if ever he doesn’t seem right, you need to call a vet or take your dog in as soon as you can.

Final Thoughts

What it boils down to is this. Snoring is rarely ever a cause for concern or worry. Your dog may snore because of the type of dog he is, or it may be his sinus is inflamed due to allergies.

If the snoring bothers you, do what you can to keep the air clean from allergies, make your dog sleep on his side, or get a humidifier. However, if you have one of those breeds with squat faces, you’re probably stuck with a snorer for good.

When snoring should concern you is when it starts suddenly, in a dog that never previously snored. You should also be concerned if your dog snores because he is obese or if the snoring could be due to sleep apnea. It is rare, but it is also something you should be aware of.

Dogs snore as people do. There’s not a lot you can do about it, but it is harmless enough in most cases. It may just be you don’t want your dog sleeping with you anymore. Or, get earplugs. I hear they work wonderfully.

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Diane is a lifelong owner of Labs, Retrievers, a Poodle, Labradoodle, and, more recently, a Goldendoodle. She loves dogs and enjoy's taking her Goldendoodle Nala for walks in the woods with her daughters.

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