Catch some Zzzzs: Petplan pet insurance looks at snoring in pets

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Dec 19 2011

My husband snores. My dog snores. And one of my cats snores. Suffice it to say, I wake up quite often looking for which body to (gently) nudge so that I can get back to sleep, and in truth many days I'm so tired I need some torpor, hibernation, or estivation. Snoring pets and partners are just a way of life for many of us, and for both our pets and our significant others, snoring can be quite normal. But there are other times when snoring should be further investigated.

Snoring is a result of abnormal air flow caused by a partially blocked airway. Occasional snoring is usually nothing to worry about - you nudge your pet to wake him briefly, then you both fall back to sleep. As your pet gets older and sleeps more soundly, you may notice an increase in snoring.

Snoring that occurs because of other problems should be addressed, however. If your pet has never snored before, and then all of a sudden develops a snoring problem, it’s wise to schedule a visit with the vet to get it checked out. Upper airway disease, such as nasal polyps, respiratory infection or other problems may be to blame.

Overweight dogs (just like overweight humans) are prone to snoring. Excess fat gathers in and around the throat, contributing to partially blocked airways. There are many more important reasons for overweight pets to slim down, but this is just one more to add to the list. Better snoozing helps too.

Some dogs are born with a conformation perfect for snoring. Brachycephalic breeds like Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, and Persian cats have short snouts and are likely to suffer from brachycephalic syndrome. This syndrome includes a condition called stenotic nares, or narrowed nostrils. This easily contributes to snoring the same way a stuffed up nose does. In addition, brachycephalic syndrome includes an elongated soft palate and redundant tissues in the back of the throat. With all that extra tissue back there, of course they snore! Luckily, surgical correction of those conditions reduces respiratory distress and snoring.

Snoring is a nuisance, but make sure it’s not a health problem in your pet. New or sudden onset of snoring should always be checked out.