Can Dogs Have Sleep Apnea – Here’s The Real Truth

Are you one of those dog owners who constantly worry about their pooch’s health? If so, you’ve probably wondered can dogs have sleep apnea. Well, wonder no more!

Believe it or not, this serious health condition can impact dogs of all breeds and ages. And while it may not be as common in dogs as it is in humans, sleep apnea in dogs is a real and potentially life-threatening condition.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the real truth about canine sleep apnea, what causes it in dogs, and how it can be treated.

So keep reading to learn everything you need to know about sleep apnea in dogs!

Can Dogs Have Sleep Apnea – Here’s The Truth

Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that occurs when a person (or animal) stops breathing for short periods of time during sleep. In humans, this condition is relatively common, affecting an estimated 18 million Americans.

While sleep apnea in dogs isn’t quite as common, it’s still a real and potentially dangerous condition. Canine sleep apnea most often affects middle-aged and older dogs, especially those who are obese. However, any dog can be affected by this condition.

Indeed, some breeds of dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, are more prone to developing sleep apnea due to their short noses and flattened faces. But any dog can end up with sleep apnea, regardless of breed or age.

Does Your Dog Have Sleep Apnea – Watch Out for These Symptoms

So how can you tell if your dog has sleep apnea? Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to diagnose this condition in dogs. However, there are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate that your dog has sleep apnea.

If you notice any of the following signs in your dog, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Obstructed Nose or Throat

One of the most common signs of sleep apnea in dogs is an obstructed nose or throat. This can cause your dog to snore loudly or make choking noises when they breathe.

labrador sleeping on the floor

If you notice that your dog is snoring more than usual, it’s worth having them checked out by a vet. However, not all dogs with sleep apnea will snore. So don’t assume that your dog doesn’t have sleep apnea just because they don’t snore.

If you’re not sure whether your dog’s snoring is normal or not, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and talk to your vet.

Allergies (Achoo! Allergies)

Another common sign of sleep apnea in dogs is allergies. If your dog has allergies, they may have trouble breathing through their nose, which can lead to snoring and other respiratory problems.

If you think your dog’s snoring might be due to allergies, it’s important to talk to your vet. They will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for your dog.

Shallow Breathing

If you notice that your dog is taking shallow breaths, this may be a sign of sleep apnea. Dogs with sleep apnea often have difficulty breathing, which can lead to shallow or irregular breathing.

How do you notice it? Take a look at your dog’s chest while they’re sleeping. If you see that their chest is barely moving, or if their breathing is irregular, this may be a sign of sleep apnea.

Loud Snoring

As we mentioned earlier, one of the most common signs of sleep apnea in dogs is loud snoring. If you notice that your dog’s snoring has become louder or more pronounced, it’s worth having them checked out by a vet.

However, not all dogs with sleep apnea will snore. In fact, some dogs with sleep apnea don’t make any noise at all while they’re sleeping. Try to pay attention to your dog’s sleep habits. If they seem restless or if they stop breathing for brief periods, these could be signs of sleep apnea.

Excessive Weight

Another common sign of sleep apnea in dogs is excessive weight. If your dog is obese, it’s more likely that it will suffer from sleep apnea. This is because the extra weight can cause the throat and neck muscles to collapse, which in turn causes the airway to become blocked.

If you think your dog may be overweight, take them to the vet for a check-up. They will be able to give you advice on how to help your dog lose weight safely.

Tiredness (During The Day)

One of the most common signs that your dog has sleep apnea is if they seem tired during the day. If your dog is taking regular naps and still seems exhausted, this could be a sign that they’re not getting enough rest at night.

With sleep apnea, a dog’s snore can be noisy, which can disrupt their sleep and make them tired during the day.

french bulldog sleeping near door

Irritability

If your dog is normally a calm and gentle dog but suddenly becomes irritable and snaps at you, this could be a sign that they’re suffering from sleep apnea.

Dogs with sleep apnea often can’t get enough rest, which can make them cranky. If you notice your dog is acting out of character, take them to the vet for a check-up.

Treating Sleep Apnea in Dogs – When You Should Call The Vet

If you think your dog may be suffering from sleep apnea, it’s important to talk to your vet as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of treatment.

There are a few different options for treating sleep apnea in dogs. The most common and effective are:

  • Try using Air Purifier or Humidifier

If your dog’s sleep apnea is caused by allergies, using an air purifier or humidifier in their room may help to reduce the symptoms. It helps to clean the air and keep the room moist, which can make it easier for your dog to breathe.

  • Help your dog lose some weight with regular exercises

As we mentioned earlier, one of the most common causes of sleep apnea in dogs is obesity. If your dog is overweight, helping them to lose weight will often reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

The best way to help your dog lose weight is to make sure they’re getting regular exercise. Try to take them for a walk or run every day, and make sure they’re eating a healthy diet.

  • Try some prescribed nasal congestion medications 

If your dog’s sleep apnea is caused by nasal congestion, your vet may prescribe some medication to help clear the airway. These medications can be in the form of a spray or drops.

  • Change your dog’s bed

One simple change you can make is to invest in a memory foam bed for your furry friend.

Memory foam contours to your dog’s body and provides support where they need it most. This can help to reduce snoring and improve airflow. In addition, memory foam is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, which can be beneficial for dogs with allergies or respiratory problems.

  • Last resort: call your vet

If the above methods don’t seem to be helping, your last resort is to call your vet for a consultation. They may recommend surgery to remove the excess tissue in the throat that’s causing the obstruction.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition, but it can be treated.

What if the Sleep Apnea in Your Dog Is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause several serious health problems in dogs. These include:

Diabetes – Sleep apnea can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

golden retriever sleeping on a tiled floor

High blood pressure – If not treated properly, it can lead to high blood pressure, which is potentially dangerous for your dog.

Heart disease – It can put a strain on your dog’s heart, and over time this can lead to heart disease and failure.

Stroke – Sleep apnea can cause a stroke by blocking the blood supply to the brain.

As you can see, sleep apnea is a serious condition that should not be ignored. If you think your dog may be suffering from sleep apnea, be sure to talk to your vet as soon as possible.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Sleep Apnea?

If your dog is snoring loudly or has difficulty breathing, it may have sleep apnea. Other signs include irritability, weight gain, and exercise intolerance.

What Does Sleep Apnea in Dogs Sound Like?

Dogs with sleep apnea often snore loudly. You may also notice that they stop breathing for short periods of time and then start again with a gasp or a snort.

Is There a CPAP Machine for Dogs?

No, there is not currently a CPAP machine for dogs. However, there are a few different treatments available that can help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea in dogs such as weight loss, exercise, and nasal congestion medication.

How Do You Treat a Dog With Sleep Apnea?

The best way to treat sleep apnea in dogs is to first identify the underlying cause. If your dog is overweight, help them to lose weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet. If allergies are the cause, using an air purifier or humidifier can help to reduce the symptoms. Nasal congestion can be treated with medication.

Conclusion

Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious implications for dogs. If you think your dog may have sleep apnea, be sure to talk to your vet as soon as possible.

However, there are a few different treatment options available.

If you think your dog may have sleep apnea, be sure to talk to your vet as soon as possible. They will be able to help you determine the best course of treatment for your furry friend.

Effective treatments include weight loss, exercise, and nasal congestion medication. Surgery may also be an option in some cases.

Have you ever faced sleep apnea in your dog? What was your treatment?

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Lovelia Horn

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