We all love our pets. We treat them like family members, and in many ways we treat them better than people.
But can they cause you misery where you least expect it? Indeed: snoring pooches in our bed can wreak havoc on our sleep. And we’re not always as inclined to kick them out as we would a snoring spouse.
- If you suffer from insomnia aside from your snoring bed partner, then your problems finding sleep are even more challenging—especially if you awaken in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep thanks to the nasally roar of your neighbor.
- The same physical issues experienced by humans when they snore (airway obstruction) must also affect snoring dogs. Dogs who snore are almost certainly experiencing some degree of respiratory compromise that affects their waking lives too. (So yes, I guess dogs can be victims of sleep apnea just like humans.)
- But unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat; they regulate their body temperature through panting—using their tongue and airway as a cooling mechanism. Dogs who are unable to move air efficiently are not only more likely to suffer heat stress, they’re also less likely to move enough air into their bodies to oxygenate their blood efficiently. Which helps explain why snore-prone breeds can suffer from chronic fatigue.
- Dogs that endure a lifetime of poor breathing can end up getting hiatal hernias, which can be life-threatening. So yes, something as seemingly harmless as snoring can instigate other health troubles that create a domino effect down a dangerous path. But then again, the same can be said for humans who snore due to something like obstructive sleep apnea, which can trigger respiratory and circulatory distress farther down the line
All this brought to mind a recent headline about dogs who die while traveling on planes. It turns out that short-snouted dogs are most likely to die on planes—bulldogs, pugs, and similar breeds made up about half of deaths in past 5 years. Short-nosed breeds—known as "brachycephalic" in the dog world—have a skull formation that affects their airways. They can’t cool themselves off so easily and are prone to heat distress and, in severe cases, death.