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Yorkie Snoring

Yorkie snoring and sleeping funny

Why a Yorkie May Snore

Many owners wonder if it's normal for a Yorkshire Terrier to snore. Not all dogs snore, but approximately 20% of them do. This is most common with breeds that have short snouts, such as the Pug dog. However, a dog of any breed may indeed snore at night. It may be as quiet as a whisper or loud enough to wake you up. Sometimes, but not always, if it is very loud this can be a sign that it is caused by a medical issue and should be addressed with the veterinarian.

Snoring is caused by the vibration of respiratory structures and some may refer to this as the dog making a snorting or grunting noise while asleep. 

This may come on suddenly or it may have started as a small problem that has gradually increased in both duration and volume. 
Reasons can range from an obstruction in the nasal passages to allergies to how a dog is positioned. 
While weight issues are the cause of snoring for many breeds, since overweight dogs do tend to snore more often than dogs of appropriate weight, this is rarely true for the Yorkshire Terrier breed. It is normal for a puppy to have "puppy fat"...and those under the age of 1 year should never be put on a diet....The growth rate is rapid and they need lots of nourishment for proper growth....Most will thin out by 1 to 1.5 years of age. 

Is Snoring a Bad Thing?

The snoring may be keeping your awake and it also may be interfering with the deep sleep that your dog needs. Just like humans, canines enter a deep sleep, known as REM sleep. This is vital to maintaining good motor and mind skills during the day. If you notice that your Yorkie is moody during the day or wakes up quite a bit at night you may want to make some changes.

Light, random snoring is usually nothing to be concerned about and is usually due the Yorkie's positioning while sleeping.

However prolonged and severe snoring may be a sign of a more serious health issue. Therefore, if your Yorkie snores the majority of the time and that snoring is very loud, it is highly recommended to bring your dog to the veterinarian. 

The vet will check for any blockage or other medical issues that can cause this.
Yorkie laying down

Medical Conditions That May Cause Snoring

Anything that affects the mouth, nose and/or windpipe can cause a dog to snore. This includes but is not limited to:

Rhinitis - This term refers to swelling and inflammation in the nasal passageways. It may be due to allergies or an upper respiratory infection.  Treatment will vary on the root cause.

Dental problems - The oral and sinus cavities are connected and therefore if there are dental issues that are causing swelling, this can radiate to the nasal area and cause snoring.  Issues can include infection or abscess and these are considered quite serious.  Infection left unchecked can spread throughout the entire body.

Fungal disease -  There is a type of fungus found in piles of grass clippings from the yard or garden and other similar types of environments that can harbor the Aspergillosis fungal disease. This often begins with snoring and can escalate into sneezing, having a swollen nose, nasal pain and/or nasal discharge. It is treated with anti-fungal medications. 

Foreign bodies or tumors - Sudden onset snoring can be a simple matter of a small object being stuck in one of the nostrils. And less likely, but possible would be a growth or tumor. 

Misaligned jaw or tension in the jaw muscles- With an older Yorkshire Terrier, the issue of a misaligned jaw would most likely have already been discussed by the veterinarian.  For those with puppies that snore loudly, this is something that you will want to have ruled out as a possible cause. 

Elongated soft palate - This is much more common with brachycephalic breed (flat faced), however it can be seen with any breed. This refers to the soft tissue in the back of the throat. If it is too large, the tissue can overlap causing both breathing problems during the day and snoring at night. 

Stenoic nares - Also an issue more typically seen with flat-faced dogs, this refers to the nasal openings being too small for air to properly pass through. It is not uncommon for the openings to be slightly swollen during the teething phase and if so, they will most often revert back to normal afterward. 

Sleep apnea - While not overly common with the Yorkie, this is a possible cause for sleeping issues that include not getting enough deep REM sleep and snoring throughout the night.  With this condition, a dog suffers from episodes of interrupted breathing. You may notice that he snores and also becomes startled; briefly waking up before settling back down again. 

Preventative Treatment for Light Snoring

Light snoring is often a matter of slight irritation to the throat and nose or it is due from positioning.
Yorkie dog sleeping on sofa
There are a few things that you can do:

1) Sometimes, a simple change such as a new dog bed can stop a dog from snoring. Bed typically last 4 to 5 years before the inner mattress begins to wear down and they simply do not offer the same support and before. 

Also, the shape and/or sizing of the bed may be encouraging your Yorkie to sleep in an odd position. It may help to obtain a new bed if his is getting old or to transition to a larger one that allows your dog to stretch out more.

2) In some cases it will be a matter of how the head is supported when the dog sleeps.

Slipping a small pillow under your Yorkie's head can help gently move the head back a bit, which opens up breathing passageways and can stop snoring from occurring. 
Another alternative is to use a small baby coddling blanket, as these are a good size for this tiny toy breed

3) Any sort of air pollutant in the house may cause snoring even if a dog has not been diagnosed with any particular allergies. This would include secondhand smoke but also pollen that has entered into the home or dust mite issues.

For this reason, vacuuming with a HEPA certified vacuum and running the fan, heating or AC central air unit while using a quality HEPA filter can help remove microbes from the air that may be causing some irritation.  

4) If the air in the house if very dry, this can cause snoring as well. This is most common during cold winter months since the outside air is often arid (even if it is snowing out) and that air inevitably comes right into the home.  At-home remedies to add humidity include keeping the bathroom door open when showering and adding houseplants to various rooms, however this is often not enough to really combat a dry environment.

Running quality humidifiers usually does the trick. If human family members are not experiencing any issues with this, keeping just one near the Yorkie's sleeping area may be just the thing to add some moisture to the air he's breathing at night and decrease the snoring noises.  
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