Sleep Apnea in Dogs?

April 14, 2014 | Sleep Apnea |

Today is International Moment of Laughter Day, so we wanted to focus a post on a subject with a little levity. Does your dog snore? Does sleep apnea in dogs really exist? Some veterinarians think that sleep apnea can be a risk for the furrier members of our families. Many of you have questions about canine and feline sleep apnea and some evidence shows that overweight dogs, similar to overweight people, are at a higher risk for sleep apnea.

Even specific breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Persians might be more prone to sleep apnea because of their shortened faces, according to some veterinarians. And while there’s no such thing as a doggy CPAP, there are surgical procedures that can help cure sleep apnea in dogs depending on where the issue resides.

sleeping dog

Those of us who have pets know how important they are in our lives, so it makes sense that we’d want to take care of them to the best extent that we can. It is a silly thought, though, to picture a dog with sleep apnea wearing a CPAP mask, and just FYI we’d probably recommend a full face CPAP mask to handle the whiskers and make a good seal.

Here at The CPAP Shop, we wish you and all of your furry friends a happy and easy-breathing International Moment of Laughter Day. We’d love to hear whether you think your dog has sleep apnea, and whether your vet helped to treat it!  And we hope to have brought you a smile!

We’re not experts on treatments for animals, but if you have a question about CPAP equipment for humans, feel free to get in touch with us. You can find many ways to connect with us at the very bottom of the page.


Sue McCrossin

17 Comments Leave new

  • Bryan

    I found this because my wife and I are sitting here late at night joking that our Rott needs a CPAP as bad as I do. I have had one for over two years now. I spent five years resisting getting one, those are for old people, I don’t need it blah blah blah. If you even think you need one or if a family member tells you that you stop breathing then get tested and if you need one, get one. Yes, I hated it at first. It was a bitch to find the right mask and get used to it. But now I won’t go to bed without it. I can once again sleep 8-9 hours straight and wake up refreshed.

  • Aurora Delanty

    My husband has sleep apnea and he snores very loud the dog she sounds just like him between the two of them it’s hard for me to get any sleep at night I’m still trying to get my husband to go to the doctor with his sleep apnea I was just wondering about the dog sorry to hear that you don’t make products for them cuz she really needs something

    • Chris Vasta

      I am afraid I am not able to give advice regarding your dog’s snoring. However, if you guys are located in TX, OH, CA, FL, NJ, PA or IL we offer a home sleep test service. If you think your husband would be more comfortable taking an at-home sleep study, please take a look at Sleep Care Online’s website.

      He should look into a sleep study, but if it is determined he does not have sleep apnea, he can use the Somnifix Mouth Strips to help prevent snoring.

    • Sandra L Gray

      I sure hope you got him to go see about if he has sleep apnea cause if not tell him I hope he don’t end up like me, I ended up in a very long coma due to my doctor at chabert hospital didn’t care to run test like I asked to be done and alot more to my story but anyway one night I woke up and ttold my husband to call 911and ended up waking up from a coma for 47 days the after that I was sent to nursing home cause I needed therapy to learn how to do everything all over again like a baby and how to breath on my own again to where I get the Trech in my throat out and then 5 months later they found me unresponsive in my bed again and sent with 911 back to hospital and ended up back in my 2nd coma for over 50 days I ended up living away from home for 2 yrs due to doctors at chabert hospital not listening to me and ended up with sleep apnea so bad that I almost died they had to bring me back 5times they said so please I hope your husband goes get checked on

      • Chris Vasta

        We are sorry to hear about the health issues you have had and agree sleep apnea is not something that should be taken lightly, as it can affect your overall health. Thank you for your feedback.

  • Darcy

    Yes I have a bagel and he sleeps on his belly because if he sleeps on his side he doesn’t breathe very good is plugged up in the sinuses as long as I keep moving them on his belly to him on his belly to the sidYes I have a beagle and he sleeps on his belly because if he sleeps in the side he doesn’t breathe very good he’s plugged up in the sinuses as long as I keep moving them on his belly to hit on his belly Is Brees blood better because his chin is pointing straight out when his chin is pointing close to his chest he can’t breathe at all and if he falls asleep in that position he’s not getting in the air so I’m always watching them at night he sleeps against my leg propped up and or against the pillow to keep him from sleeping on his side

    • Chris Vasta

      Sorry to hear your puppy has breathing issues while sleeping. Your best bet would be to see if your vet has any solutions.

  • Steve heflin

    I have a bully, not sure of his lineage, but rather large pet maybe with American bulldog in him. He does have close nostrils and snores. He definitely has apnea, he will stop breathing for 10 to 20 seconds, start twitching, then let out An Extremely Loud snore and breathe heavily for 5 to 10 breaths. I’m going to tell the vet next time I see him and right now I give him Benadryl before bedtime to keep his sinuses from swelling. I intend to switch to a non-drowsy antihistamine to prevent depressed breathing. I really thought you taken comments was awesome. You should post some more suggestions as to what people treat them with. Thank you!

  • Tammy

    My dog has it bad…my vet didn’t realize sleep apnea existed in dogs…wow unbelievable
    You need to get a cpap masks for dogs asap! My dog won’t last long

  • Lyman Martin

    My little pomeranian is not sleeping more than 10th breaths before he starts shollow breathing and a very short time is gasping for air . What can I do

  • Bee

    I have a Boston terrier who absolutely has sleep apnea. He stops breathing (verified by hand on chest) for 8 sec then starts up with a loud snore, followed by 4 breaths each of lesser volume, until the 5th breath is shallow and barely audible. And the pattern repeats. As a nurse I’m fairly sure this ol boy can be written up in a Doggy medical journal.

    • Deana Owens

      They now have more advanced surgeries to help dogs with breathing issues. I have a Boston Terrier and they think she may have central and obstructive sleep apnea combined. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has a Surgeon by the name of, Dr. Heidi Phillips and she trained with a surgeon from Leipzig, Germany by the name of Dr. Oechtering. He pioneered a surgical procedure called, laser assisted turbinectomy. He also taught Dr. Phillips how to thin a soft palate. I don’t mean shorten an elongated palate, I mean thinning of a thickened soft palate so it doesn’t obstruct the airway when sleeping.
      Fortunately I was able to get my dog the laser assisted turbinectomy but unfortunately when I went there she was not trained on thinning the palate at that time. My dog is now 10 years of age and has a stage II-III laryngeal collapse but only presents most clinical signs while sleeping and not much when awake. She has some paradoxical breathing, as well as many apnea episodes throughout the night when in REM sleep. I really wish a sleep doctor and Dr. Phillips could work on this issue so dogs could have CPAPs when needed. I know she tried to reach out to some sleep specialists but I don’t think she got much feedback. Breeders are not going to stop breeding Brachycephalic animals especially since they have become overly popular and with no warning label to alert owners of all their congenital and hereditary defects. They don’t care about making the nose longer to help the dog breathe and cool itself better. It’s all about a standard and what people like. I hope one day a sleep specialist will be interested enough to help on the Veterinary Science portion of this problem to help find a resolution. Palate thinning and laser assisted turbinectomy (LATE) seems to have corrected several dogs that had apnea events but not everyone can go to Germany and the University of Illinois’s waiting list is long. This procedure is not their entire focus at U of I, so only so many weeks of the year can be allotted for these surgeries. I hope that you can share this info with other sleep specialists and maybe someone will eventually want to help and come out with a new opportunity for those who are not fortunate enough to get all these specialized surgeries that cost over $6,000.
      Hoping for new studies and opportunities. It’s not about finding a cure, the knowledge is there it just needs to be researched and applied to work for the precious animals.

      • Chris Vasta

        Aw, sorry to hear that your puppy is struggling with laryngeal collapse and paradoxical breathing. Thank you for trying to get the word out there to promoting cpap related therapies for cherished pets. Hopefully new studies and opportunists will become available to help soon.

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