Shih Tzus snore and snort, it’s a huge part of their character. But whilst your Shih Tzu’s snoring can be cute and adorable at times, when you can’t even hear yourself think, it’s a problem. In this guide I’ve put together a list of tried and tested methods that you can use to stop your Shih Tzu snoring at night, and even when they are awake!
The simplest way to stop your Shih Tzu snoring is to move them. Everybody knows this, so I won’t go into too much detail on this one; in truth, it only stops the snoring for a short time anyway before they start again!
If you do want some peace and quiet with the best ways to stop your Shih Tzu snoring without having to resort to invasive and painful surgery, read on!
How to stop my Shih Tzu snoring at night
Before getting into the detail on the Shih Tzu snoring problem, just a very quick primer: Shih Tzus can’t help snoring. As a brachycephalic breed and how they have been bred, they will snore more than most breeds.
And if you think it’s bad now, wait until your Shih Tzu gets older. With old age comes even more snoring as the muscles in their airways weaken and they start putting the pounds on – all of which leads to more snores.
There is a surgical solution called stenotic nares surgery which will open up your Shih Tzu’s nostrils wider. However, unless completely medical necessary, you might want to look as non-surgical snoring remedies first.
Speaking of which, the first few items here on how to stop your Shih Tzu snoring could help.
19 Shih Tzu snoring remedies
1. Prop them on a pillow when sleeping
When Shih Tzus sleep, they can restrict their airways due to the angle they lie at. You could prevent snoring by having them propped up against a pillow with their head raised up.
2. Give them a bed with raised up sides
You can buy ones to fit Shih Tzus that come with raised sides or built-in pillows – here’s one on Amazon.
3. Give them a rounder bed
Another bed option would be a round and circular bed (see on Amazon).
According to my vet, if you can encourage your Shih Tzu to curl up when asleep, it can take the pressure off their oesophagus, giving more room for air to come in and out when breathing.
4. Keep their air fresh and circulating
A Shih Tzu that sleeps in a hot and stuffy room will be a Shih Tzu that snores. It will block their nasal passages so make sure there’s fresh air circulating around, without of course making it too cold.
5. Don’t expose them to second-hand smoke
Dogs are affected by cigarette smoke, and smoky environments are one of the leading causes of Shih Tzu snoring. Smoke increases phlegm in their throat, and further constricts their air passages… it can also lead to canine heart disease according to VetStreet.com.
6. Increase air moisture with a humidifier
But you can help by using a humidifier (view on Amazon) that will put moisture into the air, thus reducing snoring.
7. Ask the vet to perform an allergy check
Your Shih Tzus snoring could be allergy related. Just like us, dogs can be allergic to pollen and dust, and it will make their snoring worse. I also recommend keeping them away from busy roads, as exhausts can cause similar issues – then ask your vet to test them for allergies.
8. Keep their bed linen clean
To help with this, keep their bed and linen clean. You don’t need to be constantly washing it, you could perhaps vacuum the bed every two days, and do a full machine wash every two weeks to remove any potential allergens.
9. Keep their weight in check
Excess weight leads to snoring as it puts additional flesh and pressure on the pharynx or soft palate. If your Shih Tzu is overweight, it could be that just by getting their weight down to a respectable level with dieting you help resolve their snoring problem.
10. Keep them active
As well as making changes to your Shih Tzu’s diet, make sure you keep them regularly exercised. They don’t need a lot, just a couple of short walks a day or 30 minutes of total activity should be enough.
11. Check if it’s a side effect of medication
If your Shih Tzu is on a daily medicine routine, then the drugs might possibly be the root cause of the snoring problem. Some dog medicines such as antihistamines, muscle relaxants, pain killers, and sedatives are known to contain elements that relax throat muscles and create snore vibrations.
12. Check for blockages airway blockages
If your Shih Tzu has suddenly started snoring, then check their throat and nasal passages for blockages. Something as simple as blades of grass in the throat or a small obstruction in a nostril can create snores – as well as more serious health conditions such as tumors!
13. Check for signs of infection in their mouth or nose
It could be something else altogether blocking how they breathe. Some Shih Tzus can develop allergies, colds, and infections in their airways – if the snoring is partnered with a runny nose and sneezes then get to the vet for a check-up.
14. Check their teeth for abscesses
A dental problem can also cause snoring, so regularly take a look at your Shih Tzu’s teeth and gums. Decay and abscesses can block air flow leading to significant breathing issues.
15. Ask your vet to check for other possibilities
I’ve detailed some of the more common illnesses and ailments that can cause Shih Tzu snoring problems, but it’s not an exhaustive list by any means – here are all of those again plus some more possibilities:
- Allergic reactions
- Blocked airways
- Brachycephalic syndrome
- Cold or flu
- Dental problems
- Fungal infections
If you believe your Shih Tzu has a health problem that could be snoring related, don’t take any chances and book a vet appointment.
16. Don’t use snoring remedies for humans
Don’t ever give your Shih Tzu a snoring remedy that has been designed for human consumption, and this includes popular homeopathic treatments. It can be dangerous, with the American Veterinary Medical Association saying this on the matter:
“Given that all medicine involves balancing risks against benefits, the case against homeopathy seems clear. There is a conspicuous absence of evidence of benefits despite centuries of use and investigation. And there are real risks, not to mention ethical concerns, associated with substituting an ineffective therapy for truly beneficial medical care. The balance seems unquestionably weighted against treating homeopathy as a legitimate veterinary therapy.”
17. Change the position they sleep in
At the beginning, I kind of promised I would not give the obvious option, but’s it still the most popular and quickest Shih Tzu snoring solution you can try, albeit a temporary fix. All you do is move your Shih Tzu, and definitely don’t let them lie on their back – this is when the snoring will be at its worst!
18. Stop them sleeping in your bedroom
This won’t stop your Shih Tzu from snoring, but it will mean you can finally get a good night’s sleep away from the noise. If you can’t bear to have your Shih Tzu sleep in a different room to you, the only other option I suggest is you wear earplugs.
19. Consider a surgical solution
As a last report you could consider Shih Tzu snoring surgery. It’s often recommended when Shih Tzu’s nostrils and airways are so constricted that it’s affecting their health and quality of life. Vets will suggest this surgery when your Shih Tzu has episodes of breathing difficulty.
Whilst it will be painful in the short-term, it’s a great solution where your Shih Tzu is struggling with day to day life due to restricted airways.
The success rate of the stenotic nares surgery is also said to be very good, with up tp 75% of dogs reporting a reduction in how severe their snoring was (see the report).
Shih Tzu snoring surgery
I hope that the tips I gave on how to get a Shih Tzu to stop snoring have helped. If you have tried them all and still have no luck, then vets might consider surgery.
However, surgery won’t be permitted just to stop snoring, but only when your Shih Tzu has a bigger breathing issue that needs fixing.
Now you’ve read all the tips on how to get a Shih Tzu to stop snoring, I wanted to explain the last one in a bit more detail; the surgical solution and remedy.
The surgical option is performed by correcting your Shih Tzu’s stenotic nares. This is the medical terminology for narrowed nostrils. Shih Tzus with stenotic nares cannot get as much air through their nose, meaning lots of snoring, but more drastically, breathing issues.
The surgery involves enlarging your Shih Tzu’s nostrils by cutting flesh and excess tissue out to create wider passages whilst reducing the size of their elongated palates.
Stenotic nares surgery has a high success rate and is very routine with your Shih Tzu recovering within 7 days.
How much Shih Tzu snoring surgery costs?
Shih Tzu snoring surgery costs will depend on the severity of the breathing problems, the surgical method used, and even where in the country you are. In the USA, you might have to pay anywhere between $500 and $1,500.
The two types of snoring surgery that could be performed include:
- Soft palate resection: $500 to $1,500
- Stenotic nares resection: $250 to $1,000
Why do Shih Tzus snore so much?
But why do Shih Tzus snore so much in the first place?
It’s all due to their brachycephalic nature and the popularity of this breed to be bred with flatter and flatter faces.
I will leave the last word to a professional vet based in Los Angeles; here’s what Dr Jeff Werber has to say on the matter.
“As we breed dogs to have shorter snouts, the soft palette in the back of their throat doesn’t change, and that can be a problem. A lot of factors can go into your dog’s snoring, especially when they’re a breed with a smaller snout. How your dog’s body is positioned when sleeping, the shape of the dog’s neck, and the length of its nose are all factors that can influence a dog’s breathing. It can all contribute to the snoring”
Shih Tzus have all of these characteristics so will always have snoring problems. Whether we should be breeding them or not is a question that has an ethical angle, and one I will probably cover another day.
To be honest, you probably won’t be able to get your Shih Tzu to completely stop snoring. Their breed has been designed in such a way that it is always bound to be a side effect of their genetics. Unfortunate, but true.
Whilst I have described the surgical solution as Shih Tzu snoring surgery, it’s not really a name that it should be described as, as the surgery is more focussed on helping your Shih Tzu breathe properly.
Unless your Shih Tzu’s life is compromised, you should not opt for surgery, but instead help stop them snoring by just taking care of them better – and that’s often achieved by just giving them a more comfortable way of sleeping!
You might also like…
If you love Shih Tzus and want to give yours the best quality of life possible, then you might also be interested in these other Shih Tzu-related blog posts:
- How cold is too cold for the Shih Tzu breed and winter care guide
- What a limping Shih Tzu could mean
- Do Shih Tzus and cats get along ok?
Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/shih-tzu-puppy-shih-tzu-puppy-dog-5273314/