Dear Porky and Buddy,
This may not be the most earth shattering problem you have ever heard about, but my dog, Shorty, snores sometimes. “Just shut the door and ignore that horrible sound,” you might suggest, but, OK, I let him sleep in the bed with me. And I don’t want to hurt his feelings. So help me figure something out.
Sleepless in Hannibal
Actually, snoring in dogs is not uncommon. It might just be congestion caused by a cold or allergies, especially if it does not happen every night and if his breathing seems otherwise normal. You would do well to consult with your veterinarian. Do it over the phone so you won’t hear her staff laughing in the background.
There is, however, another more serious possibility to be concerned about. Dog breeds with broad skulls and short muzzles, like pugs and Boston terriers, have their breathing through their noses somewhat obstructed and tend to breathe through their mouths and to snore.
So it may be the way his breathing passages are genetically constructed, especially if he does it all the time.
That is called “brachycephalic syndrome” and this potentially very serious syndrome can negatively impact a dog’s quality and length of life.
The syndrome includes four different anatomical abnormalities that contribute to the disease, all of which occur more commonly in brachycephalic breeds: an elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, a hypoplastic trachea, and everted laryngeal saccules.
All of these components make it more difficult to breathe, especially in situations of exercise, stress or heat.
So a dog with brachycephalic syndrome may be unable to take sufficiently deep or fast enough breaths to exhale the carbon dioxide in his system. This further increases respiratory rate and heart rate, causing great distress and can threaten a dog’s life.
If Shorty is one of the brachycephalic breeds, it is very important to consult with your vet if his snoring occurs on a consistent basis or if he shows any other signs of having trouble breathing.
There are surgical interventions that can at lease alleviate these conditions and keep them from deteriorating to the point that they are life-threatening.
They are most effective with younger dogs.
If Shorty has this syndrome, we hope you find a way to manage it successfully so that he leads a long and happy life.
But, on a more general note, or possibly a rant, understand that this syndrome occurs and has become a prevalent problem in brachycephalic breeds because these dogs have been bred specifically for shorter muzzles, for cute little pushed in faces, not for health.
Dogs who are very cute, to be sure, but who can’t catch their breath have become the new normal.
That is not right.
There is a long but well worth reading article about this “purebred paradox” on the HSUS website at http://www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2010/05-06/the_purebred_paradox.html
You should read it. It might be earth-shattering.
Maybe you can find a wonderful mutt for adoption at www.oswegohumane.org, one with great genes and no fashion sense.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!