Is it Normal for a Dog to Snore?

It’s normal for dogs to snore. However, loud or persistent snoring could point to a soft palate issue. This is common in bulldogs.

Dec 17, 2023By Sara Payne
is it normal for dog to snore

Dogs love a good nap. They climb into their beds or onto your couch, sprawl out, and catch some Z’s. However, you may be concerned if every time your canine companion goes to sleep, you can hear them snoring loudly from another room. Is snoring normal for a dog?

It is normal for dogs to snore while sleeping, but if they make snoring sounds while they are awake, the dog may have a soft palate issue. Brachycephalic dogs (flat-faced dog breeds) are especially prone to these issues.

It’s Normal for Dogs to Snore

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As noted, it’s perfectly normal for a snoozing Schnauzer to snore. But, just like with humans, loud or persistent snoring could point to a respiratory problem.

An obstruction in the flow of air in your dog’s nose or throat can cause snoring. For instance, if a Rottweiler has fallen asleep lying on its back, it may snore because the airway is obstructed but not closed. A dog may snore because of:

  • Its sleeping position
  • Its breed
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Anatomical issues
  • Masses in the throat
  • Foreign bodies
  • Fluid

If you notice your dog snoring only occasionally, this isn’t cause for alarm. Yet, if you notice discharge from the dog’s nose, eyes, or ears, this calls for a vet visit. Excess mucus may cause excessive snoring.

Brachycephalic Dogs Snore More Than Other Breeds

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Brachycephalic dogs are breeds with short snouts. These flattened snouts can have narrower nostrils and smaller airways that may lead to breathing issues and excessive drooling in dogs.

Brachycephalic breeds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), include:

These dogs may have issues with certain parts of their anatomy, which causes snoring while they sleep. Brachycephalic dogs can have defects such as long soft palates, narrow nostrils, narrow airways, and/or abnormal laryngeal tissue that makes it difficult for them to breathe.

If you have a brachycephalic dog with these abnormalities, they may snore more frequently. It is important to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and voice any concerns you may have. With your concerns in mind, the vet can determine whether these issues are depriving your dog of much-needed oxygen.

There are surgical treatments that your vet can perform to improve your dog’s ability to breathe. While not required, some procedures can significantly improve a dog’s quality of life.

When Is Snoring a Problem?

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In general, snoring, although loud and sometimes obnoxious, is usually not a problem. Most dogs (like their humans) snore on occasion. However, if your dog has other symptoms in addition to snoring, you may want to get your pet checked by a vet.

If you are worried about your dog’s snoring, check for nasal discharge, sneezing, and changes in activity. Believe it or not, dogs can get colds and upper respiratory infections that affect their breathing. If your dog is obese, this may also cause snoring. A vet can outline a healthy diet and recommend reputable dog food brands that could help with weight loss.

Fun Facts About Sleeping Dogs

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Dog sleep works very similarly to human sleep. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep are two major sleep stages. REM sleep is the stage in which you dream. In this stage, the eyes move around rapidly, brain activity increases, and muscle atonia (temporary paralysis) occurs.

For humans, REM sleep occurs every 90 minutes after they fall asleep. Humans spend around 25% of their sleep time in REM. Dogs, in contrast, enter REM sleep 10 minutes after their slow wave cycle. They only spend about 10% of their sleep time in REM, which means they wake up faster––an adaption that would keep them safe in the wild.

Certain dogs sleep more than others based on their age and energy levels. For instance, an eight-week-old German Shepherd puppy can sleep 18 hours in a single day. A three-year-old Australian Shepherd, however, will require much less sleep, spending its days herding and exploring.

Do Dogs Dream When They Sleep?

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Although scientists have not performed dream studies on dogs, they have noticed dreaming in other animals, such as mice and cats. Scientists found that mice had brain activity like their waking state while asleep. This suggests that their sleep is recreating tasks they completed while awake.

Since dogs have sleep cycles that are remarkably like humans’, it makes sense that they dream similarly to us. The brain makes dreams by synthesizing memories. So, your dog is dreaming about their day-to-day activities, which involve you, the rest of the family, and even that squirrel just beyond the sliding glass door.

What a dog dreams about may also depend on its breed. A working dog may spend its sleeping hours dreaming about protecting livestock, herding sheep, and being on the prowl for coyotes. A toy dog breed may dream about being pampered on the couch or riding in its owner’s purse.

Many Snoozing Dogs Snore––And It’s Fine

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Snoring by itself is not a concern for your dog. Often, dogs snore when they are in odd positions. However, if your dog is a brachycephalic breed, snores while awake, or has other symptoms, such as nasal discharge, snoring could be a sign of breathing difficulties or infection.

Anytime your dog’s behavior worries you, contact your veterinarian. They can help run diagnostics or ease your mind to keep your canine healthy and happy.

Even if a vet finds that your dog does have an issue causing snoring, your vet can prescribe antibiotics for infections and perform surgery to widen your dog’s airway. These treatments could give your dog a better quality of life and help them breathe easily.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.