Noisy breathing is quite common for some short-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs and Pekingese. Should I worry if my dog sounds congested when breathing? If the loud breathing persists, then yes. You should worry.

What Is Noisy Breathing?

Troubled breathing can be separated into three types: stertor, stridor, and wheezing.

Stertor refers to inspiratory snoring and gasping due to a blockage in the nasal cavities. In the case of stridor, congestion near the voice box produces a raspy sound. Lastly, longs with obstructed airways will make a wheezing, high-pitched noise.

What Makes My Dog Sound Congested When Breathing?

There are many reasons why dogs sound congested: it could be caused by odd, yet normal sleeping positions, serious respiratory issues, or a broken bone.

Odd Sleeping Positions

Dogs, like ourselves, tend to find the weirdest of positions to sleep in. These positions may cause your dog to sound quite congested as if it were snoring.

If you notice your dog sounds congested when sleeping, then there’s nothing to worry about. On one hand, their noses get dry when they sleep, which in turn makes breathing more difficult, but not enough to be an issue.

On the other hand, some positions create respiratory obstructions in their throat or nose and produce congested-like breathing. These sounds shouldn’t persist when their sleeping position is normal. If they do, there’s another reason behind their rugged breathing.

Dog Colds

Since animals can’t control the level of fluids stored in their noses the same way humans do, they tend to breathe loudly due to their runny noses.

Dogs with colds will have their noses obstructed for hours, even days. Bear in mind that, to confirm this, you should check your dog’s temperature and sneezes. If the loud breathing, alongside the fever, stays for too long, it’s time to pay a visit to a veterinarian.


Usually, extra weight equals respiratory problems. In the case of obese dogs, their breathing will become more challenging and noisier.

Fat can indeed originate obstructions in the breathing cycle., This is why it’s important that your pet maintains a healthy diet. If not, you may witness other health issues apart from congested breathing.

Foreign Bodies

Dogs, especially puppies, chew almost anything. This chewing habit can actually harm them and obstruct their respiratory cavities with small foreign bodies.

Whenever your pet has a tiny foreign body in their nasal cavities or throat, they’ll reflexively start wheezing and coughing to take it out immediately. This is very noticeable because the symptoms will start abruptly with great intensity.

If the object is not removed, the insides of the throat or nose will start to swell and originate a feedback cycle that will only worsen over time.


Allergies and breathing don’t go very well. Fortunately, it’s very easy to spot and treat.

Allergic reactions on dogs will inevitably generate a bump on them. Depending on where the reaction was, your dog will have different troubles in their daily lives until the inflammation shrinks. One of those troubles will be respiration.

Swollen noses and mouths are a clear blockage in their respiratory cavities. You’ll also notice a lot of sneezing due to their noses realizing mucus for protection.

Luckily for us, allergies can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine. Despite the simple solution, making your dog take those medicines will be a real hassle.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

This chronic syndrome makes dogs have stenotic nares, long soft palates, and everted laryngeal saccules.

In other words, their noses are flatter and/or shorter. This causes the dogs’ airways to be shorter due to oversized palates (for instance, the larynx) and makes breathing harder.

Regardless, since these breeds are born with these conditions, they are used to these genetic handicaps and live normal lives. Congested breathing will appear when they are old naturally.

Bronchitis and Other Infections

When an organism has an infection, the body will usually fight it and inflame the are in turn. The same applies to airways, even if it makes breathing much more difficult.

Bronchitis, among other types of bacterial infections, will cause a dog’s trachea and nose to clamp down and fill it with mucus in order to prevent the infection from spreading through the body.

Since mucus is annoying to dogs, they will try to expel it by coughing. Sometimes, they might even wheeze when exhaling if it gets too bad.

Collapsed Trachea

This is a chronic condition that weakens the cartilage rings in the trachea.

Dogs that are born with collapsed trachea have a mild to severe obstruction in their tracheas. Thankfully, since these obstructions can be treated with medications and even surgery, this condition is not lethal and your pet can lead a normal life anyway.

What to Do When Your Dog Sounds Congested

Most reasons are not dangerous at all and will fade away soon. However, the danger comes when the loud and congested breathing doesn’t go away. Consult with a vet if that ever happens. Obstructed air passages will lead to a very sick pet.

So, what do I do if my dog sounds congested when breathing? Simply take note of how it progresses and see for yourself whether treatment is needed: most of the time, it’s not!