Stranded Whales & Snoring Slumber
You have just dozed off into that deep slumber, you dream of beautiful beaches, white sand, sunshine and brilliant blue water, when suddenly you’re wakened by the sound of a stranded whale. Hang on, how can that be possible, you are still in bed. So what is that sound? Your dog snoring.
Does your dog treat you to a symphony of snoring every night? Although snoring is often harmless, in some cases, it can also be a sign of health problems. Understanding the reasons your dog may be projecting more noise than a lighthouse, can help you decide if it’s time to speak to your veterinarian.
Snoring occurs when tissues in your dog’s nose, mouth, or throat vibrate as air passes through them. The sound effects are more likely to happen if your pet’s airway narrows due to inflammation, an obstruction, congestion, or other issues.
Similar to their owners, dogs can have health problems causing them to snore.
Upper Respiratory Infection: Just like humans, we are more likely to snore if we have a cold or upper respiratory infection. Nasal congestion clogs your sinuses, making it more difficult for air to flow freely through your nose. Your dog too may develop congestion and begin snoring because of a cold or illness.
Obesity: Your dog does not just gain weight around its midsection. Weight gain can also cause excess tissues to form in your pet’s neck or throat. These tissues restrict airflow, making it more likely that your dog will snore.
Allergies: Allergies could be to blame for your pet’s snoring. Allergens inflame the nasal passages, causing swelling that limits airflow.
Sleep Position: Do you notice that your dog only snores when sleeping on its back? That sleeping position may cause the tongue to fall back against the throat, partially blocking the airway.
Abscessed Tooth: The bacterial infection that causes a tooth abscess may be responsible for inflammation and swelling in nearby tissues.
Hypothyroidism: Snoring could be a sign that your dog doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Other signs of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can include dull coat, flaky skin, and lack of energy, cold intolerance, reduced appetite, weight gain, shedding, and skin and ear infections.
Breed Characteristics: Dogs with short noses, like boxers, pugs, Boston terriers, English bulldogs, and Shih-Tzus are more likely to snore, according to the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Obstructions: Anything that prevents the free flow of the air, whether it’s a growth somewhere in your pet’s airway or an object stuck in its nose, can trigger snoring.
So what can be done? Stopping or reducing snoring can often be as simple as gently nudging your dog to roll over or helping your pet lose a little weight. Exercise and a balanced nutrition program can help your pet shed those extra pounds. If a cold or upper respiratory infection is the cause, snoring is likely to stop once your pet starts to feel better.
If there is no obvious reason for your pet’s snoring or snoring started suddenly, your Veterinarian can help you determine the cause. Removing an abscessed tooth and treating the infection with antibiotics should relieve tooth-related snoring, while prescription medication will improve your pet’s health and reduce snoring caused by hypothyroidism.
If it is determined allergies are responsible, making a few changes to your pet’s environment can be helpful. Wiping your pet with a moist cloth after trips outside can reduce exposure to allergens, as can washing floors and bedding often. Air-conditioners and air filters will eliminate allergens in your pet’s environment, while a humidifier will keep your pet’s nasal passages moist. Your veterinarian may also recommend medicated shampoos or prescribe allergy medications.
Snoring isn’t always a sign of a health problem, but if your dog is keeping you up at night, consult your Veterinarian so you both can get a restful night’s sleep.
Sources: Zoetis, American Veterinary Medical Association, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Tricia Montgomery, CEO
Paws Humane Society