Pet owners always get concerned when they think there might be any issues with their dog, cat or other animal, and in the case of an animal’s breathing, it can be one of the more worrying concerns.
So, what does it mean when your dog has noisy breathing – when it sounds like they are snoring? In short – it can be a whole host of different reasons . A common cause of this could be laryngeal paralysis, which is a congenital type of issue with a respiratory system in a pet. However, there are a whole host of breathing that can explain noisy breathing in dogs – some are dangerous, some are not, most revolving around air access into the animal.
There are even some dog breeds that are naturally flat faced, meaning that these dogs are genetically predisposed to having soft palate issues, potentially leading to air flow problems.
This article will walk you through all of the big questions you might have surrounding the breathing of your pets, the types of things that can cause these breathing problems, particular breeds that might be affected and whether or not your dog should have these types of breathing patterns. As always, before making any changes to the diet or medication of your dog, please also seek the advice of a vet or other veterinarian expert with professional experience on anything involving the health of your pet.
So, if you ever wanted the answer to a question like any of the above, then read on to find out more!
Why is my dog making snoring sounds when he’s breathing?
If a dog makes a snoring sound when it is breathing, there is normally something wrong with air access into or through the creature’s windpipe, nasal passages (and nasal cavity) or voice box – so it can often be hard to narrow down.
Often these snoring noises are referred to in the veterinarian community as stertor and stridor. Stertor is the name of the snoring or gasping noise, and stridor is the name for the raspy vibrating sound from exhalation and inhalation.
The first cause we will have a look at here will be that of laryngeal paralysis. This condition occurs in animals most commonly from age. Older and middle aged dogs (roughly nine and a half years old) of a larger breed are the most likely breed and type of pet to develop this condition. This problem affects some of the vocal folds of an animal within a voice box, or “larynx”. When laryngeal paralysis affects these folds, it means they are unable to properly open, obstructing air flow within the throat.
This may also affect some dogs congenitally – meaning that they had i passed down form a family member, and as such they always make a strange noise when they are breathing. These breeds may include a Bouvier de Flanders, Bull Terrier and Dalmatian pup – who could have these breathing issues since they are born.
Other causes of a dog making odd snoring noises while breathing include the following:
- Neoplasia (rapid, unexpected tissue growth).
- A foreign body in the nasal cavity or naval passages.
- Problems in the trachea (like a foreign object, tracheal collapse or restriction of windpipe access).
- Masses between the vocal folds.
- Having a flat face.
- Problems within the chest.
- Airflow access issues in the trachea.
- Airway collapse (more common in older pups)
- Low oxygen levels within the blood count
A lot of the above causes involve the invasion of foreign bodies that cause blockage to air access in parts of the dog’s throat, breathing tract, mouth, and air passageways. These common foreign bodies include objects that enter through food the pet is not meant to consume (for example the nuts in cookies), live creatures entering through the mouth of the dog, or small material objects inhaled through the nose.
As a result of the size of these blockages, they can often only be identified by x rays performed at the hospital (if a human is affected) or at a local veterinarian centre by a vet, after which some surgery or operation maybe be required to clear airflow access for your pet.
Allergies may be another of the common causes of this kind of respiratory distress – one that manifests as snoring sounds. Often allergies can cause swelling of the throat or or mouth, making the breathing of your dog or dogs more laboured and difficult and reducing the air access even more.
What are the signs of respiratory distress in a dog?
Some of the symptoms of respiratory distress in dogs can be quite startling. Again, if you are at all worried about blockages, a cough or any resistance in breathing with your dog, please make an appointment with a vet – or use your email address to sign up for online consultation services and relevant information with a trusted veterinarian website. A website of this kind could be available from many veterinarian centres in the United States.
There are a few tell-tale signs of respiratory distress, if your pet exhibits any of the following, it may be worth contacting a vet in the ways mentioned above.
One of these signs is problems within the bark of your dog. This symptom can take a few forms. It could involve a slight catch, or crack in the bark of the dog, maybe sounding like the noise is getting caught in the airways of the animal.
There are also noises it might make when it is in bed, while it is sleeping. The snoring noises your dog makes at this time if they are suffering from respiratory distress might be scratchier, raspier or interrupted, as if there is not enough room in the dogs nose to breath properly. This could also register as a lack of breath control when sleeping, the more regular breathing of a healthy dog would be replaced with ragged, irregular breathing.
The reverse sneeze is another one of the common symptoms. This is slightly different from a persistent cough, as the reverse sneeze is almost like a loud, broken hiccup from a dog. The breath coming into the dog with that reversed sneeze will sound like it has no proper access into the animal through its nose or mouth, so like the sleeping noises it will catch as it goes in.
This type of sneeze is also known as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration. It occurs when a muscle spasm takes place at the very back of a dog’s mouth, right at the spot where it meets the throat or trachea. This spasm causes a quick narrowing and opening of the trachea, lasting approximately thirty seconds, which can stop the dog from being able to properly breathe and inhale.
Should my dog have noisy breathing?
There are several breeds of dog for which noisy breathing is perfectly natural. It is not necessarily that they should have noisy breathing, but it is not necessarily a thing to be worried about for the pet in question.
Breeds that are naturally born with flat faces, a flattened nose, or as a vet might call it, Brachycephalic syndrome, include:
- Shih Tzu
- Chow Chow
- Lhasa Apso
- Shar Pei
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Boston Terrier
This particular syndrome comes from complications including an elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules (where a foreign body enters the larynx) and problems with the nasal passages of different dogs.
Other dogs do not congenitally have problems with this type of problem, but are predisposed to develop it more than others, so this kind of snoring-like breathing with other dogs may not be such a concern. The crossbreed of golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, have this, as well as other smaller breeds like a pug or shih tzus.
If your dog is not included in the list of commonly predisposed dogs above, it might be worth considering an appointment with a vet at a veterinarian centre – as there may be a serious but preventable problem in the throat, airways or airway access of your dog – or maybe all of these things! Do not be too worried, if you take your pet to a United States veterinarian they will have some way of solving the problem for their patients, or at least be able to provide expert information on the subject.
Now, at the tail end of this article (get it?) we hope to have given an answer to any question you might have about noisy breathing with your dog. The most common cause of something like snore sounds when breathing comes from problems with the larynx or access through the throat or airways of your animal. These either come from genetic characteristics of some flatter faced dogs, or from the invasion of foreign bodies into the air passages of your pet.
So, if your pet is not one of the commonly affected breeds, and you have concerns about how they are breathing, it is worth seeking conformation from an animal heath expert, or signing up to some kind of online appointment or newsletter that might have professional advice on how to deal with the issue.