If you’ve ever noticed your dog snorting but don’t know why, you’re probably puzzled but this and are curious to know more about it. Maybe this behavior has just started today, and you’re worried about your dog’s health and are probably asking, “Why does my dog snort like a pig?” In this article, we discuss the reasons behind this behavior and what you can do to correct it.
Why Does My Dog Snort Like a Pig?
The most likely reason why your dog snorts is reverse sneezing; in general, this is nothing to worry about and is caused when your dog’s throat muscles spasm. There are also times when the soft palate is irritated, and in an effort to clear their passages, they will inhale a lot of air which creates pig-like snorts. The worrisome sound of your dog sounding pig-like could also sound like coughing, hacking, wheezing, or other alarming sounds.
Another common explanation behind your dog snorting is a condition known as paroxysmal respiration or a “reverse sneeze.” While there are other kinds of explanations for the strange sounds that your dog makes, the most common reason is a reverse sneeze.
What is a Reverse Sneeze?
Dog reverse sneezes occur when a dog forcefully and quickly breathes in too much air through its nose, in contrast to a regular sneeze which pushes air out of the nose. As a result, a snorting noise is created by the reverse sneeze instead of a normal sneezing noise. While it’s not known exactly what causes reverse sneezes, we do know that irritation to a dog’s nose, throat, or sinuses will often trigger it.
These irritants include allergens such as pollen, grass, dust, smoke, nasal drainage, specific smells, as well as nasal mites. When triggered, your dog will make long and rapid inhalations also known as “aspirations” which leads to the pig noises. You’ll then notice their head and neck stretch, their trachea narrowing, and their chest expanding.
It may also sound like your dog has caught something at the back of the throat or nose and may be trying to exhale it. In general, a reverse sneeze will last for a minute for the whole duration. Other times, the pig-like noises made by your dog may be the result of something else.
Are Reverse Sneezes Dangerous?
Luckily, reverse sneezes are no more dangerous compared to when your dog sneezes regularly, which will do little to no damage. While the experience may be stressful for your dog and scary for you as an owner, there are no dangers or risks associated with reverse sneezing. Much like involuntary responses such as hiccups or sneezing, it will only startle your dog more than anything else.
Some dogs will have reverse sneezing their entire lives and others won’t get it until they’re much older but will often be temporary and won’t last long. While it might be concerning, hearing your dog make funny noises isn’t something that needs to be treated at the vet. All your dog is doing is getting rid of unwanted things from their body which is completely natural.
Each episode of reverse sneezing won’t last too long but you can reduce the time your dog does this by massaging its throat, holding its nostrils closed for five seconds, or softly blowing its face. This may help to force the foreign object out of its passageways and will hopefully shorten its reverse sneezing. But if your dog experiences frequent episodes of reverse sneezing or ones that go on for too long, your dog may need veterinary care.
Which Dogs Make a Loud Snorting Sound?
Reverse sneezing can be a common condition found in small dogs or brachycephalic breeds such as Boxers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bull Mastiffs, Shih Tzus, and Chow Chows. Brachycephalic dogs come with smaller throat and nose structures which is why they’re more likely to get reverse sneezing. They will also snore and make other kinds of noises due to their short noses and flat faces.
Unfortunately for these types of dogs, snoring is the least of their problems; smaller breeds like these will come with a plethora of health problems which include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Respiratory distress
- Gaining extra weight
- Congestive heart failure
- Sinus infections
- And more
These dogs are bred for only one purpose, which is for their cute appearance — irresponsible dog owners will often take these dogs home without concern for the potential signs of illness that come with them. Before you adopt or purchase these dogs, make sure that you do your research and purchase healthy dogs from responsible breeders who raise their pups in a good environment.
Other Reasons for Your Dog’s Snorting
As discussed, snorting can be fairly common and isn’t limited to certain breeds of dog. To help you find the underlying cause of this behavior, there are a few factors for you to think about. Take note of whether your dog grunts, oinks, or snorts and think about the situation during the time that it takes place; was your dog pulling on the leash, was it excited, or did it encounter strong scents such as perfume?
If you see a pattern, you’ll be able to make changes to help your dog reduce its snoring. For instance, rather than using a lead, a harness can be a great way to take the pressure off your dog’s neck to reduce snorting. You can also keep cigarette smoke or perfumes out of the way and reduce the number of air fresheners around your home to see if you’ll see a difference.
If you notice that your dog has trouble breathing and has something stuck in its airways, a vet should be able to safely remove it. Dogs that get reverse sneezing due to an allergic reaction can be prescribed antihistamines to provide relief. The same thing goes for nasal mites and your vet will provide you with the medical treatment your dog needs.
If your dog’s snorting is regular and persistent, you’ll need to go to your vet to rule out respiratory infection. A loud cough can also come from a foreign body that’s stuck in your dog’s nose such as a blade of grass. Ruling out the possibilities can help you determine whether your dog’s snorting is due to environmental factors or the result of an underlying health problem.
These are the most common causes behind snorting on a regular basis, so be sure to check on your furry friend. Other possible causes behind your dog’s snorting include nasal tumors, an upper airway obstruction, a collapsed trachea, or foreign bodies around the nose. While these respiratory problems are rare, they can be serious so it’s a good idea to look for signs of illness.
Your vet might also take a few x-rays to help diagnose what’s happening to your pooch. Pet owners should err on the side of caution by giving their dog the proper medical attention it needs. When it comes to small dog breeds, the reason behind their snorting isn’t the result of reverse sneezing; but what other different reasons are there?
What is a Collapsed Trachea?
A different cause for dog snorting could be the result of a collapsed trachea, a condition when part of the trachea is obstructed by a collapse of the cartilage rings. Because the trachea helps your dog breathe, this can be a serious problem and you’ll need to tell your vet as soon as possible. Having a collapsed trachea leaves your dog’s airways blocked, so you might be able to see symptoms like a lack of interest in exercising and labored breathing.
This progressive condition will be commonly seen in a small breed dog such as a Yorkshire Terrier. If you see that snorting is happening frequently with your puppy, be sure to visit your vet to determine if you’re dealing with a collapsed trachea or something else. When dealing with a collapsed trachea for the first time, there are different ways for your dog to receive the proper treatment it needs.
Your vet can prescribe steroids, cough suppressants, or antibodies. They may also recommend changes for your dog such as using a harness instead of a leash during your daily dog walks, weight loss for your canine, or reducing contact with possible irritants. By following these suggestions, you should be able to treat and manage this condition.
How to Stop Reverse Sneezing
Pet parents have many ways to manage their dog’s reverse sneezing based on their own experiences. However, many of these depend on the particular type of stimulant that triggers their reverse sneezing. Unfortunately, much like when we treat hiccups, the success of treating reverse sneezing will depend on each individual dog.
As mentioned above, a few techniques you can use to treat this condition include:
- Blowing their face
- Massaging their throat
- Closing their nostrils
Keep in mind that these treatments are based on experience and those who wish to use them should do so with caution when applying them to dogs, especially with one that has no experience with these remedies. These actions can scare some dogs and could make the situation worse. Other dog owners who encounter reverse sneezing in their dogs will gently tap their pooch on the nose to encourage them to swallow.
Sometimes, this can help to clear passageways and reduce the time and effort needed for reverse sneezing. When your dog sneezes, don’t put your hand over its mouth; this will confuse your dog which may lead it to bite you accidentally. The best thing to do is to keep your hands far away from its mouth at all times so you don’t get bitten during the process.
Dogs that are stressed or surprised may behave differently compared to those that aren’t. If your dog sneezes for a long time or if they’re doing so more often, then consider calling your vet. You should also take notes when sneezing occurs because this can help your vet see any triggers or causes behind this condition and may help you reduce these instances in your dog.
How Do I Stop My Dog from Snorting?
Unfortunately, once your dog starts snorting there isn’t much you can do to lower its chances of reverse sneezing. Whenever possible take note of the triggers or causes behind your dog’s condition to help determine ways to reduce or even eliminate them. You should also remember that some dogs will naturally be more prone to reverse sneezing compared to others, in the same manner that some pups are more likely to get hiccups.
Reverse sneezing is a known cause behind pig-like noises in dogs but there are many other reasons why dogs sometimes snort like a pig. There are dogs that will be more susceptible to this condition, and it will take some time for dog parents to become familiar with the noises. However, you can rest easy knowing that the usual explanation for it won’t be a serious problem and can be remedied at home.
But if you suspect respiratory illnesses as the cause of your dog’s snorting, look for other symptoms that come with it and quickly take your furry friend to the vet for the proper treatment.