Do Dogs have Sleep Apnea Too?

sleeping beagle photo
Photo by lopongoaca
Like humans, some dogs are prone to snoring. And dogs can suffer from a canine equivalent to sleep apnea, a common and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in people, although there are key differences.

If you or a loved one suffers from loud, persistent snoring accompanied by daytime fatigue and drowsiness, Austin, Texas, dentist Dr. Dan Matthews may be able to help you and your family restore healthy, restful sleep. Please call 512-452-2273 to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.

Causes of Snoring in People and Pets

There are a number of reasons dogs, and people for that matter, snore. In dogs, snoring is common among the so-called brachycephalic breeds; these are breeds such as English bulldogs, pugs and boxers that have short snouts. These breeds also often have excess tissue in the pharynx region, near the real of the throat and the nasal passages.

Excess tissue in the back of the throat can also contribute to snoring and sleep apnea in people. During sleep, this tissue can become relaxed and obstruct airflow in both people and dogs.

Obesity is also a major factor in snoring and sleep apnea for both humans and dogs. Weight loss and routine exercise are important measures in preventing and treating sleep apnea-related snoring.

Narrow nasal passages, allergies and sleeping position can also lead to snoring.

Dogs and Sleep Apnea

Veterinarians are cautious to use the umbrella term “sleep apnea” for dogs. Because the causes of what we consider sleep apnea are so closely associated with certain breeds, veterinarians often refer to the condition as brachycephalic syndrome.

These dogs often snore from an early age, although the snoring and instances of breathing interruptions may increase with age or with weight gain. If your dog was not previously a routine snorer and begins to snore regularly, you should consult with your veterinarian.

As with people, untreated sleep disorders in pets can lead to further health problems.

Treating Sleep Apnea

There are a number of treatment options for people who suffer from sleep apnea. In many cases, human snoring and sleep apnea can be addressed with custom-made oral appliances designed to hold the jaw in a comfortable resting position and maintain an open airway as you sleep.

Unfortunately, there are no such devices for our furry friends. Dogs with severe apnea-like sleep disorders generally require surgery; the bright side is that soft palate and nasal procedures used to treat brachycephalic syndrome are relatively minor and have a high success rate.

If you or a family member suffers from chronic snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact Dan Matthews, DDS, online or call our office at 512-452-2273. Dr. Matthews welcomes patients from and visitors to the greater Austin, Texas, area.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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