In the most basic terms, the snoring sound itself occurs when there is some type of blockage in the upper respiratory tract. This blockage can be anywhere along the respiratory path from the nose to the trachea (the tube that takes air to the lungs). As air is forced through these passages, it moves unevenly past the blockage and creates the groaning, creaking noise we recognize as snoring.
There are several factors that can make your dog snore including abnormal confirmation and structure of the face, obesity, nasal congestion, infections, polyps, allergies, medications and sometimes even the sleeping position.
Take a look at these common causes for snoring and see if any sounds like something your dog might experience:
Flat Faces – Dog breeds with flat faces (brachycephalic breeds) or pushed-in noses often have several structural abnormalities that affect their noses and airways. Their cute squished up faces typically mean that the same number of body structures must fit into a much smaller space. The nasal cavity, already quite small in dogs, is even smaller in these dogs but must hold similar tissue and structures. Redundant skin folds (like the wrinkles in a Pug's face) often result in blocked passages and snoring. Breeds which are commonly affected include Boxers, Pugs, Pekingese, Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers and Bulldogs. Some of these breeds require surgery to remove excess tissue and relieve the blockage.
For the most part, snoring in dogs is not a problem as long as they are getting plenty of good sleep and they continue to breathe normally while awake. Snoring becomes a problem if it interrupts or prevents normal sleep patterns or causes difficulty breathing during exercise.
If you are worried about your dog's snoring or see a behavior change, nasal discharge, sneezing or a bloody nose, please see your veterinarian for an examination.