Labradors are hard not to love ‒ but that love can be sorely tested if they start snoring in bed with you. With how important getting a good night’s sleep is, you might almost be tempted to lock your lab out of the bedroom at night. No one wants to upset their beloved pet like that ‒ so it’s best to get to the bottom of this snoring mystery as soon as possible.
Why does my labrador snore? Your labrador could be snoring for a number of reasons:
- They’re sleeping on their back.
- They have sleep apnea.
- They weight too much.
- They have hypothyroidism.
- They have an abscessed tooth.
- They have allergies.
The rest of this article will talk about these potential causes in more detail, as well as what you can do to prevent snoring in your labrador.
Possible causes for your Labrador’s snoring
Sleeping on their back
One reason your labrador might be snoring is that it sleeps on its back. When this happens, the tongue can flop back and partially block your lab’s airway. When air tries to get past the tongue and into the lungs, a snoring sound can occur.
The fix for this is fairly simple, though it might annoy your lab ‒ just wake them up and move their sleeping position. If your lab loves you, they might be more than happy to wake up to your face.
You should know that this might be an exercise in futility. If your lab prefers sleeping on their back over other positions, they’re going to keep reverting to that whenever they get comfortable enough to fall back asleep.
Sleep apnea is another potential cause of your lab’s excessive snoring. Sleep apnea in dogs generally takes the form of obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the throat muscles relax and make it difficult to move air into the lungs.
In addition to snoring, here are a few more signs your lab has sleep apnea:
- Frequent episodes of not breathing while sleeping
- Waking up gasping or yelping during the night
- Extra tired or cranky during the day ‒ this is caused by a lack or sleep at night
While rare in dogs, sleep apnea is nevertheless a serious medical issue. If you suspect your labrador is suffering from it, you should schedule a vet appointment right away.
If your lab is overweight, that can also contribute to their annoying snoring habit. If enough fat collects in the neck area, it can partially block the airway and cause your pet to snore.
While extra neck fat is a direct cause of snoring, weighing too much doesn’t have to directly contribute to your lab’s snoring. Being overweight can also make snore-inducing health issues like sleep apnea more likely to occur.
One of the more common medical causes of snoring in labradors is hypothyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of a hormone called thyroxine. This hormone regulates your lab’s metabolism, and a lack of it can result in a number of unsavory symptoms ‒ including snoring.
Signs that your labrador has hypothyroidism include:
- Hair loss on the rear legs and tail
- A diminishing of coat luster. The color of your lab’s hair will be dull and muted rather than vibrant and bright.
- The skin will be flaky and potentially have patches of black.
- Their pulse will be noticeably slower.
- They might appear tired and sluggish in their movements.
If you suspect your labrador has hypothyroidism, a vet appointment is in order. Fortunately, the solution for a lack of thyroxine is pretty simple. Your lab will just have to take an inexpensive hormone replacement pill every day.
An abscess is basically a collection of pus that forms around an infection. If one of your lab’s teeth is infected, you’ll be able to tell by the redness and swelling that affects the gums surrounding the tooth. If the swelling gets bad enough, it can start to impede your lab’s airway ‒ which can lead to that bothersome snoring sound.
In addition to redness and swelling, there are a few other telltale signs that your labrador has an abscessed tooth.
- Avoiding chewing on one side of their mouth.
- Frequently dropping food ‒ especially if chewing on the side of the infection.
- Swelling around the eye. This can occur if the infected tooth is in the upper part of the mouth.
- Using their paws or other objects to scratch the side of their face.
- Consistent bad breath.
If your labrador does have an abscessed tooth that is causing them to snore, you’ll need to get it on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication as soon as possible. The potential consequences of an untreated abscessed tooth are pretty bad. Mass tooth loss, serious eye infection, and potentially fatal internal infection are all things an abscessed tooth can cause.
And even if you do get your lab the proper medication in time, it still might need to get a root canal or even a total tooth removal.
Because the consequences can be so severe and costly, the best way to approach an abscessed tooth is to prevent it from ever forming in the first place. Here are a couple of easy prevention tips:
- Many abscessed teeth are caused by tooth breakage from biting on hard objects. You can prevent this by feed your labrador softer treats ‒ especially if they’re on the older side.
- Brush your labrador’s teeth. This will prevent your lab from getting canine periodontal disease, which can contribute to the formation of an abscessed tooth.
Allergies are another common cause of snoring. The two most common causes of allergies in labradors are dust mites and second-hand smoke.
Dust mites are tiny little creatures that live in couches, beds, carpeting, and other fabric-based furnishings. While these annoying little mites are generally harmless, the type of protein they emit can cause an allergic reaction in labradors ‒ which can result in snoring in some instances.
Here are some signs that your labrador is dealing with a dust mite infection:
- Hard time breathing
- Increased licking
- Excessive scratching
- Runny eyes
If your labrador is exhibiting any of these symptoms in addition to snoring, you should consider taking steps to decrease their exposure to dust mites. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Leave your fabrics in the sun. If you let your sofas, bedding, and other fabric-based furnishing air out under the sun for a day, you should see a substantial reduction in mites. Once the fabrics have been aired out, you can vacuum them for good measure.
- Bathe your dog. Dust mites love to hang out on your lab’s skin and fur. Giving your pup a bath every now and then should cause those pesky mites to clear right out.
- Use hot water when washing bedding. Many people have a habit of using cold water to wash all of their stuff. While this can save a bit of money on the energy bill, you’re also helping any dust mites hidden in your bedding stay alive. A soapy wash in hot water should get rid of the dust mites that are living in your bedding and causing your lab to snore.
- Buy anti-allergy covers for your dog beds. If your lab is anything like most dogs, they spend a lot of time in their doggie bed. These beds can become infested with mites, so buying and using an anti-allergy cover can work wonders at eliminating their dust-related allergies.
The other common allergy your lab might be dealing with is a second-hand smoke allergy. If you’re a smoker ‒ or you live with a smoker ‒ you should be aware of the negative health effects smoking is having on your labrador. In addition to snoring, frequent exposure to smoke can also cause the following problems in your lab:
- Shortness of breath
- Lung cancer
- Nasal cancer
- And many more…
If you do enjoy smoking, I recommend doing all you can to avoid smoking around your labrador. Not only might it be causing their snoring problem, it will also decrease both their quality of life and the overall length of their life. Try smoking primarily outdoors, where secondhand exposure will be limited, or at least putting your pet outside when you do smoke.