December 11, 2023

How that snoring and heat stress are related

How that snoring and heat stress are related
Dr. Chris Brown


There’s no disputing it. Snoring is a thousand times cuter when a pet does it rather than your (human) partner. But have you ever wondered why they snore? It can actually give you a great insight into their health.

And says a lot about their risk of heat stress and even heatstroke.

Here’s why…

If the furry family have a talent beyond being completely adorable, it’s for sleeping. Yet, so often that nap comes with its own unique soundtrack. But just why some dogs and cats snore more than others might surprise you.

It’s all about what’s happening in the back of their mouth. This is a high traffic area with food, treats, air and occasionally toys vying for space. But for some, the lack of space becomes a factor when they fall asleep and everything relaxes. And then, the air has to push past the membrane in the roof of their mouth that hangs down.

While this soft palate is only thin, it’s long enough in some dogs and cats to act like a flag that flaps in the breeze with every in-breath.

The result? That snoring sound we know all too well.


So who are the biggest snorers?

Well, typically, it’s those with the longer soft palates and shorter mouths. Meaning…


  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • Cavalier King Charles
  • Staffies
  • Bulldogs


  • Persians
  • British Shorthairs

But how do I say this? Umm...being a little overweight reduces the space in their throat making snoring more likely for any dog or cat.

 So is snoring a problem?

Well, aside from the obvious sleep disturbance, it does mean two things.

  1. They won’t get air in as freely so won’t have the deepest, most restorative sleep.
  2. Heat tolerance. For pets, there’s no sweating as a way of cooling down on hot summer days. Instead, they’re heavily reliant on panting to cool down. Yet, if the back of their throat is narrow with a long soft palate in the way, that internal air-conditioning never goes to the high setting and they struggle to get cool.

It all means that big snorers typically are more at risk of heat stroke and stress. So that snore sound should make you more careful with exercise on hot and humid days. They’re just not equipped to cope like other pets are.

 So how do you help?

Plenty of fresh, cool water, shade, airflow and a cold floor to lie on will always be welcome…

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