French Bulldog Sleep Apnea

While a French Bulldog’s snoring can be adorable, it can be a telltale sign for a very dangerous sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Because of a French Bulldog’s unique facial structure, they are more prone to sleep apnea than other dogs. 

Don’t panic if you hear your Frenchie snoring during nap time. Instead, know what sleep apnea is and why you want to monitor your dog’s condition, as well as what to do if you suspect your dog has sleep apnea. It’s important to take it seriously if your Frenchie does get diagnosed with sleep apnea so you can offer your pup the best care to manage it. 

french bulldog sleep apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause a dog to stop breathing while sleeping at night. This can happen because the airways are not as clear as they need to be to operate efficiently during sleep. 

What Are The Signs My French Bulldog Has Sleep Apnea?

One of the most commonly witnessed signs of sleep apnea is snoring. French Bulldogs are known to snore, so this doesn’t necessarily mean they have sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea will also often cause a dog to wake up suddenly, seemingly startled, as they try to get control of their breathing. You might also notice that they wake up and sound like they are choking, or they gasp for air until they are able to breathe regularly again. 

Why Are French Bulldogs Susceptible To Developing Sleep Apnea?

French Bulldogs are more susceptible to sleep apnea because of their facial structure. Unfortunately, this very cute feature of French bulldogs can cause them a little bit of trouble. 

A French Bulldog has a shorter snout than most dogs, which is what causes them to have a squishy looking face. Unfortunately, this also means that the air passages in their nose are smaller than other dogs. 

Thus, these air passages can get blocked very easily, making them snore regularly when they sleep. 

How Can I Know That My Frenchie’s Snoring Is Or Isn’t Sleep Apnea?

It can be really confusing and overwhelming trying to monitor your French Bulldog closely enough to catch subtle hints that their snoring might be more than just snoring. 

They make a lot of noise with their mouths and noses naturally, even when they are awake. They often snort and wheeze as they go about their day, which is cute but might also worry some new Frenchie parents that aren’t used to it yet. 

If you notice your dog is sniffling and coughing, it’s possible that their snoring may just be because of a respiratory infection, which is not ideal but it can be treated relatively quickly. 

If your Frenchie seems to be getting less sleep than usual, this could also be a sign that their sleep has become more restless because of difficulty breathing. They might also become grumpier and more irritable because they aren’t able to rest. Frenchies like to sleep a lot, so they won’t be very happy if they can’t. 

Are There Other Reasons My French Bulldog Might Be Snoring A Lot?

The position your Frenchie falls asleep in might either prevent them from snoring or make their snoring louder and more constant. If your Frenchie is a back sleeper, chances are their snoring is going to continue. If you can roll them into another position, you may be able to get their snoring to stop. 

Apart from allergies, strong odors, candles, air fresheners, and large amounts of dust can also irritate their noses and airways. Their sense of smell is really strong and sensitive and their nose could get runny or congested by being exposed to these irritants for so long. 

Is Sleep Apnea Preventable?

As your Frenchie gets older, it is possible for sleep apnea to become an issue for them. A dog having allergies can also make them more prone to developing sleep apnea, as their airways can become clogged if they are exposed to the allergen often. 

Your Frenchie’s weight is also really important to monitor, as excess weight can result in sleep apnea becoming a health concern, even if your pup didn’t have it previously. Keeping them as healthy as possible is the only way to try and prevent sleep apnea, but it isn’t a guaranteed method.  

What Can Happen If Sleep Apnea Goes Unnoticed?

If you have any concerns that your French Bulldog has sleep apnea, it’s best to get them checked out by your vet. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to some very scary health issues. Some of these issues include heart disease, stroke, seizures, and diabetes. 

How Can My Vet Help Me Figure Out If My Frenchie Has Sleep Apnea?

Chances are, your vet will try to rule out other potential causes of your Frenchie’s snoring or disrupted sleep before jumping to sleep apnea. This might include an allergy test or recommending a diet change to help your Frenchie lose weight. 

Your vet might also recommend you make an effort to get your Frenchie to be a little bit more active. This could mean an extra walk or some interactive toys they will enjoy. French Bulldogs can get a little bit lazy, but exercise is important to help them get to and stay at a healthy weight.

There are also some devices that exist such as smart collars that your vet might recommend or even have access to that will monitor your pooch as they sleep. It’ll be able to detect any breaks in breathing, as well as what positions they sleep in and how long they stay sleeping.  

How Is Sleep Apnea In French Bulldogs Treated?

Sleep apnea is treated in different ways depending on what the root cause is. For example, surgery might have to be done in order to clear up some type of blockage that is causing the apnea. 

If your Frenchie is overweight, helping them drop some of those extra pounds could be enough. If allergies are exacerbating the issue, your Frenchie might just need some antibiotics or medication to help manage those. 

What Changes Can I Make To Help My French Bulldog Sleep Better?

A humidifier is a good thing to try in the room your Frenchie sleeps in, as this will help clear the air and remove any allergens that might be making your dog congested. You might also want to vacuum or sweep a little more often to manage dust, as it can be very hard to get rid of. 

You can also use blankets, towels, or small pillows to crowd around your Frenchie while they sleep so they can’t roll over on their back. You can also try getting them their own pillow so their head is in the right position to keep their airways open.


Sleep apnea can be dangerous for your French Bulldog, but it’s possible they might just be snorers or congested. It’s essential to pay attention to any changes in behavior and keep them as happy and healthy as possible.

If all else fails, a trip to the vet can give you some peace of mind and put you on the right track to manage your Frenchie’s sleep apnea the best you can.

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Dan James

Dan James is the founder and editor of FrenchBulldogio, a canine enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a French Bulldog owner and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

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