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Living with a snoring partner can sometimes make life almost unbearable for those who have to listen to it, and yet for some reason, snoring in pets is often considered to be cute and entertaining! Why this is may well remain a mystery for many years to come, but the fact of the matter is, a significant number of dogs snore, either from a very young age and throughout their lives, or as they get older and possibly put on weight. But why do some dogs snore, and is it perfectly normal, or is it cause for concern? Read on to find out.
Snoring- that low snuffling rattling sound made alongside of breathing when asleep, is caused by a partial obstruction of the natural air movement across the soft palate and the uvula at the back of the throat. This generates a vibration that causes the inimitable snoring noise. Snoring may be very light and quiet, or may sound very loud and laboured depending on the degree of the obstruction in question, and the stage of sleep that your dog is going through.
There are a variety of potential reasons for snoring, and one or more of the reasons combined generate the noise. How these reasons themselves come about will be covered later on. The most common physical reasons for snoring in dogs are:
Identifying the way in which your dog is snoring, especially if the snoring is a new development, is an important part of working out the root cause of the issue, and so, being able to deduce whether the snoring is indicative of a health problem that may require treatment, or is generally no cause for concern.
Firstly, it is important to note that while not all dogs that snore are brachycephalic, it is almost universally true that all brachycephalic dogs will snore. Brachycephalic dogs are those dogs with very short, squat faces, such as boxer dogs, pugs and many other breeds. Because dogs such as these have such short muzzles and so, a very short soft palate, this generally leads to snoring caused by collapsed nostrils (Stenotic nares), an elongated soft palate, or eversion of the laryngeal saccules. Often, two or even all three of these issues can be found in combination in brachycephalic dogs. Exactly how much of a problem this is, and if it is manageable or requires surgical intervention, varies from case to case. Some dogs are able to breathe sufficiently well despite their snoring, whereas for dogs whose breathing is laboured even when awake, or that suffer from extremely laboured snoring and shortness of breath when asleep, veterinary intervention may be required to correct the underlying problem and ease your dog’s breathing.
If your dog is not of a brachycephalic breed, then identifying the cause of his snoring can be more of a mystery.
Identifying the other causes of snoring, such as a misaligned jaw, weak throat muscles or the tongue dropping back while asleep can be more complicated, and you might need to ask your vet to perform some diagnostic tests to find out the cause and establish whether this is a problem for your dog.
In some dogs, snoring is simply a minor problem caused by a very slight flaw or anatomical problem that your dog can live with quite happily without it affecting their health adversely at all. However if the snoring is very loud, particularly laboured or seems to be getting worse, it is important to get your dogs checked out by your vet to determine what, if anything, can or should be done about it. Owners of brachycephalic dogs should always have their dog examined by the vet when they first buy or adopt them, in order to identify any potentially serious breathing problems that might require intervention to correct. You may also wish to bear this in mind before buying a brachycephalic dog, or only make an offer on a pedigree dog subject to veterinary inspection.
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