Why Do Shih Tzus Snore?

why do shih tzus snore - long haired shih tzu sleeping with head on a pillow
Depositphotos ID: 41220603 Copyright: chaoss

If you own a Shih Tzu then there is a good chance you have heard them snoring from time-to-time if not every night, but why do Shih Tzus snore? There are a few reasons such as genetics, but one of the biggest is being overweight.

Most Common Reasons Your Shih Tzu Snores

It seemed like a great idea to have your adorable Shih Tzu sleep with you. That was until they started snoring and keeping you awake. I know that’s what I thought when I first let my Truman share the bed with me. (Learn more about Truman in Truman’s Corner right here.)

Not to mention, Shih Tzus are known for moving around a lot when they sleep, snorting, and kicking their legs. Add in the snoring and its a wonder you get any sleep at all.

But why are they snoring in the first place? Here are some of the most common reasons.

black and white shih tzu sleeping on brown sofa
Image from Canva Pro

Their Breeding

Shih Tzus are part of the brachycephalic breeds. This means they have been bred to have a longer short palate. This can flap down their throat which causes a grunting noise. 

Basically, this means they have short noses and flat faces. They also have small windpipes.

Put all this together and it causes them to snore and have other breathing issues.

These breeds can even develop sleep apnea which could require surgery, but this is rare.

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They Like to Sleep On Their Backs 

Another reason some Shih Tzus snore is that they tend to sleep on their backs. 

Dogs are no different in that when their air movement is restricted in either their throat or nasal passages, they snore. When your dog is sleeping on its back their tongue can partially block these passages. 


It could be that your Shih Tzu is allergic to something in its environment. Allergies can cause their nasal passages to be stuffed up just like they do yours and this can lead to snoring. 

These could be seasonal allergies like my Shih Tzu Truman has, or your Shih Tzu could be allergic to dust or even second-hand smoke.

shih tzu sleeping with its mouth open leaning against a pillow
Depositphotos ID: 42141615 Copyright: chaoss

They are Overweight

One of the most common reasons Shih Tzus snore is from being overweight. 

Your Shih Tzu doesn’t have to gain that much weight for it to be an issue. Even a pound or two can cause breathing problems that will lead to snoring.

When your dog gains weight the fat can put pressure on its face or neck. This compresses that area even more than it already naturally is. 

If you feel your Shih Tzu is overweight, be sure to consult your vet to see what options they think are right for your specific situation.

Normally, there are a few things you can do to help them lose weight including reducing their snacks, reduce or cut out any people food you are giving them and increase their activity.

Keep in mind, if they are already having breathing issues, you should introduce exercise slowly. Don’t start out on an hour-long hike. Just add a couple of extra blocks or so at first and see what happens.

You want to shoot for about a 1 pound per month weight loss. 

Serious Health Issues

It could be that your Shih Tzu has a serious health issue that is causing the snoring. These can include sleep apnea or an abscessed tooth that has found its way into your dog’s nasal sinus passages. 

Both could require surgery.

If your Shih Tzu has never snored and all of the sudden has started to you need to see your vet, so they can determine if there is a serious issue.

If your Shih Tzu has always snored and seems to be fine in all other areas of their life, then it is most likely normal Shih Tzu snoring. 

Related Questions:

Is It Normal for My Shih Tzu to Snore?

Yes, it is normal. Most Shih Tzus snore throughout their lifetime. However, if this is something new and your Shih Tzu is older, you should have their vet check them out for serious health issues.

How to Stop Shih Tzu Snoring?

If your Shit Tzu has always snored, then there isn’t much you can do to change that. You may just have to remove them from your bedroom at night, so you can get a good night’s rest.

If they have just started snoring and they are overweight, even by a pound or two, you will need to put them on a diet.

If they have never snored before and just started and aren’t overweight, you should take them to the vet to have them checked out for more possible serious issues.

To Sum it All Up:

Shih Tzus snore for a lot of reasons including weight gain, genetics, and sleeping on their backs. Most of the time there is nothing to worry about, and if they are keeping you awake at night, you might have to kick them out of your bedroom.

However, if they have just started snoring for the first time, you should see your vet to make sure they don’t have sleep apnea or other serious issues


Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu’s behavior. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.


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