You turn off the lights and tuck yourself into bed and all of a sudden this freight train-like racket starts rumbling from a corner of the room. Before you violently nudge your spouse awake for snoring, take a second look. There's a good chance it could be the dog.
Like people, dogs sometimes snore.
"While snoring can be normal in some dogs — my Dobermans would saw logs when they were 'dog' tired — it can also be an early sign something isn’t right," says Kwane Stewart, D.V.M., chief veterinary officer of the American Humane Association.
"Just like us, your dog requires solid sleep as a component of good health. They even experience REM sleep as we do. If the snoring is consistent and pervasive, particularly if it’s waking your pooch up from a deep sleep, then it’s time to see your vet."
Or if it's waking you up. The good news? Many of these problems are easily correctable. Here are 10 possible causes for your dog's snoring.
Obstruction. If your dog has something stuck in his nose or throat — whether it's part of a pine cone or part of his favorite toy — it can block normal breathing and cause snoring.
Anatomy. Certain breeds are just more prone to snoring than others. Dogs with very short noses — pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers — are more likely to have breathing issues at night. These brachycephalic breeds have shorter air passages than other dogs and have to work harder to breathe in some cases. You may still want to check with your vet to make sure that the condition doesn’t call for medical or surgical intervention.
Allergies/sensitivities. Dogs can have sensitivities and develop allergies to many of the same things we do, says Stewart, including dust, pollen, perfume and other pets — all of which can lead to airway constriction and snoring.
Obesity. More than half of all dogs are estimated to be overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). If you're pup has packed on some extra pounds, extra tissue in his throat can block the airways. Or the rings in his trachea can collapse or close when he's asleep.
Medications. Certain drugs, such as painkillers, muscle relaxants and tranquilizers can relax your dog so much that the muscles in the throat loosen up and cause snoring.
Dental problems. An abscessed tooth or any growth or mass in the oral cavity or sinus can be the root cause of snoring. Untreated, an infection can spread through a pet's body and cause much more serious problems.
Secondhand smoke. Need another reason to stop smoking? "Many people overlook their habit as a factor in their pet's life," says Georgia veterinarian Kaylin Touché, D.V.M. "Just like people, secondhand smoke can damage an animal's respiratory system, leading to asthma, bronchitis and snoring."
Fungal disease. Snoring can be the result of a fungal disease called aspergillosis. The disease is triggered by mold, often picked up on grass clippings, hay, straw or dust. The fungus can enter through the nose's moist lining and cause symptoms such as sneezing, swelling, nasal discharge and snoring.
Rhinitis. Dogs can get "colds" just like we can and that can lead to stuffy noses. Your pet's mucus membranes get inflamed and irritated from an infection, fungus, trauma or other cause. That can result in symptoms that include nasal discharge, sneezing, snoring and labored breathing.
Sleeping position. Just the way your dog likes to sleep can trigger snoring. Dogs that lay on their backs are more likely to snore than those that curl up or sleep on their stomachs.
Think your dog is loud when he sleeps? Listen and watch these snoring pups: