Does snoring indicate a health issue?
Michael Abdella, DVM
Q: I am writing with regard to an annoying trait that my 5-year-old Chow mix has developed in the last year. She snores terribly! She insists on sleeping in the same room with me, which is fine except that her snoring has become some loud and frequent, I cannot sleep. I can't close her out of my bedroom, and I hate to wake her up constantly so she'll be quiet. What can I do?
A: While this sounds like a simple and straightforward problem, I have definite concerns. You describe a progressive situation that could strongly indicate underlying adverse health conditions. Snoring is simply loud respiratory noises caused by abnormal airflow or partial obstruction of airflow during sleep. A sudden development of snoring or increase in its severity should alert the dog owner to the possibility of developing airway disease.
Conditions that may contribute include anatomic defects, allergies and infections of the airways that cause swelling of tissues, foreign bodies and growths, such as polyps or tumors. Tracheal collapse or laryngeal paralysis (paralysis of the voice box, the opening to the trachea) also can cause snoring. Laryngeal paralysis is not uncommon in dogs, especially those with hypothyroidism. I also tend to see snoring develop in older dogs with no apparent underlying disease, perhaps because of increased relaxation and decreased hearing. I strongly encourage you to have your veterinarian thoroughly evaluate your dog's general health and airway health as soon as possible. If no problems are identified and the problem continues, I recommend a good pair of earplugs.
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