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Is snoring normal for pets?

  snoring for pets

From sweet little snuffles to loud resonant snorts, snoring is a fairly common phenomenon in both dogs and cats. In order to know if your pet’s nighttime noises are normal, it is helpful to understand a few facts about snoring first.

What is snoring?
Snoring occurs when air breathed in vibrates the upper airways, including the nose and throat. Anything that narrows or blocks these airways will alter how the air flows through them, making the tissues vibrate more and therefore producing a louder snore.

What causes snoring?
There are several common reasons a pet may snore:

  • Sleep position: funny sleep positions may change how air flows through the nose or cause the tongue to lol in the way.
  • Brachycephalic anatomy: the cute, smushed noses of brachycephalic (flat-faced) pets, like pugs, bulldogs, Persians and exotic cats, come hand-in-hand with other airway abnormalities, like narrow nostrils and an elongated soft palate that dangles into and potentially blocks the windpipe. 
  • Obesity: Extra pounds may pad airways, narrowing them.
  • Swelling: Allergies or other conditions that may cause the upper airways to swell can likewise contribute to airway narrowing.
  • Obstructions: Masses or foreign bodies in the upper airways create a roadblock to normal airflow.

When is snoring cause for concern?
Any pet who develops a new snore when they have never snored in the past should be examined by their veterinarian to check for an underlying condition. The same goes for pets whose snoring seems to be worsening.

Snoring is likely to be normal for any pet who has snored their whole life. However, even pets who are born to snore may benefit from veterinary help, since some brachycephalic pets can have airway changes that are so severe that their breathing is compromised and even mild physical activity, like short walks or gentle play, is overwhelming.

So the best way to breathe easy about your pet’s snoring is to discuss it with your veterinarian. They can help you determine if it’s time to check some diagnostics or . . . to invest in a good set of earplugs!


If your pet has been diagnosed with obesity, check out our comprehensive weight management resource on Shop myVCA for practical tips and support >>