Why Do Dogs Snore?

Just like humans, dogs can snore. Maybe your dog has always been a snorer, or he just recently started snoring, preventing you from sleeping well. To solve the problem, you first need to know why dogs snore.

Dogs can snore for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for dog snoring are improper sleeping position, obesity, face shape, allergies, and medical reasons such as swelling of nasal cavities or upper respiratory tract infection.

Dog snoring can not only be very annoying, especially if they sleep in the bedroom with you. It can also be a cause for concern, depending on the cause.

In this article, we’ll explain the main reasons for canine snoring in detail after briefly touching on how snoring occurs in the first place.

You will also learn how it happens when a dog suddenly starts snoring, in which cases it is advisable to take the dog to the vet because of snoring.

How Does Snoring Occur?

Before we discuss the main reasons for your dog’s snoring, we should first clarify what snoring is in the first place. Snoring in dogs occurs just like snoring in all other mammals.

Snoring is simply the result of interference with the normal flow of air through the nasal passage and throat. This causes the tissues in this area to vibrate.

These vibrations cause the characteristic snoring sound during sleep, which varies in severity from dog to dog.

The snoring sound usually only occurs when the dog is asleep. However, it can also happen when the dog is awake when the nasal and pharyngeal mucous membranes are severely constricted.

For this reason, brachycephalic dog breeds, dogs with short muzzles, can be heard snorting when they are excited. They are also among the dog breeds most likely to snore.

Which Dog Breeds Are Most Prone to Snoring?

As mentioned earlier, brachycephalic dog breeds are more prone to snoring than other dog breeds.

Their short noses and elongated soft palate can restrict the airway, increasing the likelihood of snoring during rest periods.

Dog breeds that are particularly prone to snoring include:

  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Chow-Chow
  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Mastiff
  • Pug
  • Shih Tzus

The above are some of the most common brachycephalic dog breeds that snore, but there are many others. If your dog has a shortened snout, it may be classified as brachycephalic.

What Are the Main Reasons for Loud Snoring in Dogs?

Many factors can cause loud snoring in dogs, from face shape to allergies.

To help you get to the bottom of your dog’s loud, uncomfortable sleeping habits, we present the most common reasons dogs snore in the following sections.

Sleeping Position

The dog’s sleeping position can affect whether or not he snores. Dogs that sleep on their backs are much more likely to snore than dogs that sleep on their sides, as the supine position can interfere with airflow.

When a dog sleeps on its back, the tissues in its throat and nasal cavity collapse slightly.

This slight collapse can cause snoring and noisy breathing in dogs, even those with long snouts.

If your dog only snores when sleeping in a specific position, it’s safe to assume that the sleeping position is the cause.


Obesity can affect many aspects of a dog’s life, including sleeping habits.

When a dog is overweight, the extra fat can restrict his airway every time he takes a breath. Not only does this make breathing more difficult, but it can also cause the dog to snore in his sleep.

If the snoring did not occur until your dog had gained some weight, the cause of the snoring may be his physique.

This means it is time to increase the daily exercise slowly and also think about reduced-calorie dog food.

If you’re unsure your dog is overweight, you can always ask your vet for advice.

Not only can your veterinarian determine the optimal weight range for your dog, but they can also create a diet and exercise plan for healthy weight loss.

Facial Shape

As mentioned earlier, facial shape is the leading cause of snoring in some dog breeds.

A shortened muzzle and elongated soft palate can make breathing difficult, often leading to snoring.

Brachycephalic dog breeds struggle not only with snoring but also with their breathing in many other ways.

Some cases are severe enough to be considered for surgery, which involves opening the nostrils and shortening the soft palate.

If you think your dog’s facial shape affects his daily life, you should talk to your veterinarian about ways to help your dog.

Nasal cavity swelling

Nasal cavity swelling is another possible cause of snoring in dogs.

If you ever have a stuffy nose, you know how difficult it can be to sleep peacefully and restfully.

Finding a position that allows normal airflow is nearly impossible and, in many cases, can lead to snoring. Dogs can also be affected by this issue.

Swelling of the nasal cavity, also called rhinitis, can be caused by an infectious respiratory disease, foreign objects in the nose, and more.

If you suspect swelling of the nasal cavity is the cause of the snoring sound, you should contact your veterinarian.


If your dog only seems to snore at certain times of the year, he may suffer from seasonal allergies.

Dogs can be sensitive to substances in their environment, causing sneezing, stuffy noses, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

For example, many dogs suffer from seasonal allergies in the spring and summer due to plum pollen in the air. This is basically like hay fever in humans.

These allergies can cause nasal congestion and irritation, which in turn causes snoring when the dog is resting.

If you believe allergies cause your dog’s snoring, you should discuss how to reduce the symptoms with your veterinarian.

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

A cold can cause us to snore, but it can do the same for dogs. Upper respiratory infections can cause excessive mucus production, making airflow through the nasal passages difficult.

However, respiratory disease can lead not only to the production of excessive mucus in the nose but also to swelling of the nasal passage.

When these factors come together, the result is often that the dog starts snoring all at once.

Therefore, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect your dog is suffering from a respiratory illness. Without medical attention, an infection can progress quickly, leading to more severe symptoms.

Health Issues

While this is less common than the other causes, sometimes a dog will snore due to another health problem.

Some conditions can cause changes in breathing, block the airway, or even seriously affect the dog’s metabolism.

These underlying conditions can range from nasal tumors to laryngeal paralysis to sleep apnea, which occurs in rare cases.

To diagnose any of these health problems, a veterinary visit with thorough diagnostics is required.

So, if you are concerned that your dog’s snoring is due to one of these conditions, you should talk to your veterinarian.

What Should You Do if Dogs Suddenly Start Snoring?

A snoring dog is not a cause for concern in every case. But if a dog suddenly starts snoring, it can cause concern.

You should always take any sudden change in a dog’s behavior seriously. Most of the time, it warrants a conversation with your veterinarian.

As mentioned earlier, dogs can experience sudden changes in overall health, leading to snoring.

While some health issues are minor and easily treated, others are more serious and require action.

If snoring suddenly appears out of nowhere, you should schedule an examination appointment with your veterinarian.

To prepare for the appointment, you should also check your dog’s daily routine for other changes and take a detailed list of symptoms to your veterinarian.

When is snoring in dogs a cause for concern?

It can be challenging to tell when a dog needs medical attention. Especially since dogs can’t easily let their humans know how they’re doing.

To figure out when to see your veterinarian, knowing the symptoms to look for in a snoring dog is helpful.

You should take your snoring dog to the vet if it exhibits at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of snoring.
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Tears from the eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased frequency of breathing without exertion
  • Swelling of the face
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Other health changes

Summary: Why Do Dogs Snore?

If your dog is a recent snorer, knowing what might be causing it is essential. There are a few possible causes, most of which are relatively harmless.

However, if your dog is having breathing problems, be sure to have him checked out by your veterinarian.

Depending on what is causing the snoring, the vet may be able to treat the cause and solve the problem that way.