I Have a Snoring Dog: Sleep Apnea and Other Pet Sleep Disorders

dog sleep apnea

We cannot deny the fact that we love our pets. The love and care we have for them make us treat them as our own kids. We do things to the point of letting them sleep in our room, some even their beds! And that is when you notice it – your dog is snoring. While watching your pets snooze peacefully sounds adorable, snoring might be a sign of sleep disorder that comes from a dental health issue, just like how humans have it. Any sleep issue may pose serious harm to your cats and dogs. However, before we go any further to the point of buying sleep apparatuses, undergoing dental procedures, and whatnot, keep reading to understand how to recognize different sleep disorders in pets, like dog sleep apnea, and what you can do about it.


Dog Sleep: How they Fall Asleep

Through a combination of daytime naps and nocturnal slumber, the normal adult dog sleeps 12 to 14 hours each day. Sleep is essential for a dog’s general health, just as it is for humans. It also makes a dog feel more energized and rested.

Sleep-deprived dogs may whimper, cry, or wake up often throughout the night, become sluggish during the day, or appear disoriented when doing regular duties. Dogs with sleep issues may become more aggressive or develop other behavioral problems as a result of a buildup of stress hormones caused by sleep deprivation. In addition, a dog’s immune system might be weakened by a lack of sleep, raising the danger of illness.



Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Other Breathing Problems

We have four common sleep disorders that can contribute to your dog’s snoring.


Narcolepsy is a nervous system sleep condition that mostly impacts puppies and young dogs. It’s usually attributed to a genetic disease that causes unusually low amounts of hypocretin, a hormone that helps maintain awareness and regular sleep cycles. Dog breeds like Doberman Pinscher, Poodle, Labrador, and Golden Retriever types are all susceptible to this hereditary disease. Weight issues, laziness, and immune response malfunction are just some of the other reasons for narcolepsy.

However, narcolepsy is neither dangerous nor painful. Because narcolepsy is diagnosed primarily on clinical symptoms, taking a video clip of a sleeping episode can assist a veterinarian in making an accurate diagnosis.


You can develop insomnia Insomnia in dogs is uncommon and typically signals the presence of another health issue. Physical health conditions that are unpleasant (like arthritic pain or trauma), itchy (like fleabites), or cause frequent peeing can all contribute to it (like renal disease or diabetes).

Insomnia can also be caused by anxiety, worry, and built-in energy. Cognitive impairment, which is caused by brain deterioration in older dogs, can disturb regular sleep patterns and lead to insomnia.

Your vet should have the knowledge and experience to diagnose the condition and recommend the best course of action. Pain-related medication, for example, can help alleviate arthritic pain, allowing you to sleep longer and sounder.

REM Behavior Disorder

Does your dog look like he is dreaming of hunting down a squirrel? If that’s the case, he might have a Rapid Eye Movement issue or REM Behavior Disorder, one of the common dog sleep disorders that cause physical movements when sleeping. This behavior can become severe or aggressive in certain dogs, such as scratching walls, tossing and turning, or destroying toys or nearby things. You may notice dogs with REM Behavior Disorder wake up properly, without any signs of looking confused or disoriented. This distinguishes this REM sleep issue from a seizure.

Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea in dogsIn dogs, vets consider sleep apnea as uncommon. Obese dogs and flat-faced breeds like English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs are more prone to it. Excessive internal fat or faulty respiratory architecture can cause sleep apnea, which causes the airway to collapse or constrict, jolting the dog awake for 10 to 20 seconds at a time. Constantly interrupting a dog’s sleep might make him weary and sluggish during the day. Snoring that is loud and persistent is a typical symptom of sleep apnea.

Obese dogs can benefit from weight loss, surgery, and steam humidifiers. Your pet’s veterinarian may tell you that sleep apnea can take a fatal turn if left untreated.

Dog Sleep Apnea: One of the True Sleep Disorders

As pet owners, we may find it shocking to find that dogs, like people, can have sleep problems such as sleep apnea. While you consider snoring as a harmless nocturnal noise, your pet vet can note this as an indication of a more serious condition.

Sleep apnea in dogs can come from three main causes:

  • allergies
  • obesity
  • obstruction in the dog’s airway

All these can contribute to your dog’s difficulty to breathe properly. Thus, your dog snores.

Your dog’s sleep apnea, as we mentioned earlier, can turn out dangerous. The most serious occurrences can end your pet’s life. And even if the chronic snoring counts as a little incident, it can still cause disruption to your dog’s sleep.

Among the signs and symptoms, experiencing sleep apnea makes your dog

  • Snore both loudly and frequently
  • Gasp and choke while sleeping
  • Feel and look tired after sleeping during the day
  • Act irritable

Sleep Apnea Treatment: What you can do for your pooch

maintaining good oral healthWhat should you do if your dog has trouble sleeping and snores? Well, first, never panic. The vet considers dogs snoring loudly as a normal thing. For instance, if they sleep in awkward positions that affect their breathing, your pets snore while having better sleep. They can also grind their teeth, so make sure you maintain the good oral health of your pets. However, regular snoring that becomes an every night thing can spark concern. Even humans who consistently snores should consult a medical professional to have their health check.

Consult your veterinarian right away if your pet is having trouble breathing.

Sleep apnea in cats and dogs can develop slowly, so it’s vital to keep track of how they sound when sleeping over time.

If your pet’s sleep apnea isn’t addressed, it might lead to:

  • Elevated blood pressure or hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke (brain damage)
  • Diabetes (learn more about diabetes-related blindness here)

Sleep Apnea in Dogs: What to do

Watch out for snoring-related nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, or sores.

This might be a sign that your pet is suffering from a cold or a respiratory illness that can be treated with medicines.

If your pet does have sleep apnea, the most frequent treatment options are surgery, antibiotics to address allergies, and weight loss, depending on the cause of the sleep apnea.

While studies are presently being conducted to examine how well cats and dogs respond to CPAP therapy, no equipment appropriate for use by pets has yet been developed.


My dog snores: Does he have sleep apnea?


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