Why does my dog make a snort sound? Tips and Tricks

What is Causing My Dog to Snort?

In the article below, you’ll find a list of 6 of the most common causes of snorting in dogs. Read through this list to see if you can narrow down which one may be contributing to your dog’s snorting.

The breed of your dog can significantly increase the risk of snorting behavior. Dogs who have very short or upturned snouts are naturally more prone to snorting than those who have long, slender snouts. Brachycephalic dogs, like pugs, snort all the time, and also tend to snore a lot when they sleep as well.

Although snorting because of his breed is not a serious risk on its own, it can mean your dog is having trouble breathing most of the time. Some dogs with very flat faces may need to be undergo surgery to help open up their airways and encourage better airflow.

Snorting is associated with respiratory infection in many instances. A sudden onset of snorting may mean your dog is dealing with a cold, flu, or other type of respiratory infection that is clogging his airways. He may also have symptoms like wheezing, coughing, or sneezing along with snorting in this situation.

If the infection is bacterial or fungal, your vet can give your dog medication to treat the problem. If it is viral, you’ll need to follow the vet’s directions and make sure your dog gets enough rest and fluids to help him heal.

Reverse sneezing is very common in dogs. It can sound very alarming, but it isn’t anything to worry about, and it is just as normal as regular sneezing for many dogs. This condition causes dogs to sharply take in air, rather than expelling it, when sneezing. The result is a goose honk snort that can be startling.

Although this problem doesn’t cause serious health risks for dogs, it can make your dog anxious to experience a reverse sneezing fit. Pet your dog gently, avoiding his face and mouth, to soothe him during an episode.

Despite the name sounding intimidating and frightening, collapsing trachea isn’t that serious, and it’s very common in dogs. Smaller dogs are more prone to this condition than big dogs, but any dog can experience it. It is mostly associated with dogs who are in their senior years.

This condition basically causes the trachea to flatten, or prevents it from opening properly, when the dog breathes. It is aggravated by physical activity and may cause the dog to snort and wheeze after he has been playing or walking for a little while. Your vet may give your dog steroids to help with severe flare-ups, but otherwise, there is no specific treatment.

If your dog is suddenly snorting and seems to be restless or in distress in some way, this may indicate he has inhaled a foreign object into his nasal passages or into the back of his throat. He may be trying to dislodge the object, or he may be trying to breathe properly with something in his airways.

This is an emergency situation and will require a trip to the emergency vet. Rarely, you may be able to remove the object yourself, but you should not try unless you’re very confident. Otherwise, get to the emergency vet for very prompt treatment.

Tumors, both benign and malignant, may contribute to snorting behavior in dogs. If your dog’s snorting has slowly gotten worse over time, this may indicate a tumor in the nose, throat, or other respiratory passages that is causing him to snort.

In some instances, you may be able to visibly see a tumor, especially if it is in or on your dog’s nose. Otherwise, however, your vet will need to diagnose your pet with this condition.

Dog Snorting — What Causes It?

For some pet parents, those dog snorting sounds are just a part of life. If you happen to share your home with a Pug, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Bulldog or another brachycephalic breed (think any dog with a “pushed-in face”), your dog will likely snort from time to time because of his flat, wide skull shape.

“Brachycephalic pets have a higher risk of respiratory illness, given that they have smaller openings to their nasal passages, narrower tracheas that can collapse, and long, soft palates,” explains Dr. Kathryn Boyle, DVM, Banfield Pet Hospital. “These attributes are part of why brachycephalic breeds tend to snore and snort more than other breeds.” She notes that the nasal issues often associated with these dogs can also put your pet at an increased risk of overheating, pneumonia and severe respiratory distress.

“At best, brachycephalic dogs have noisy, everyday breathing when they exert themselves through exercise or when they’re overheated in warm weather,” adds Dr. Heidi Houchen, DVM, VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists. “They often snore when sleeping and snort when excited … and if a dog is severely affected by their upper airway abnormalities, they may cough, gag, retch or vomit — and may even collapse when they are overheated, overexcited or exert themselves.”

My dog has been diagnosed with reverse sneezing. What is reverse sneezing?

Some dogs have a condition known as paroxysmal respiration or, as it is more commonly called, reverse sneezing.

With this condition, the dog rapidly pulls air into the nose, whereas in a regular sneeze, the air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. The dog makes a snorting sound and seems to be trying to inhale while sneezing.

Why Is My Dog Snorting/Why do Dog Snort: Explained and Answered

Reverse sneezing (Pharyngeal Gag Reflex) is a sudden, rapid and extreme forceful inhalation of air through the nose causing the dog to make repeated snorting noises, which may sound like he is choking.

It sounds like the dog is trying to inhale a sneeze, and it is therefore known as reverse sneezing.

Reverse sneezing is often caused by irritation of the palate/laryngeal area. It causes a spasm in the muscles of the pharynx. Reverse sneezing is characterized by honking, hacking or snorting sounds (gasping inwards). It primarily occurs when the dog is excited, but it can also happen after drinking, eating, running, or pulling on the leash.

A typical episode lasts only a few seconds, but some dogs may experience this for a few minutes and usually several times a day. Most of the time you can stop the spasm by gently massaging the throat of your dog, or briefly closing its nostrils until the dog swallows.

In some cases reverse sneezing is caused by foreign bodies in the nasal passage (grass blades), irritation from allergies or irritants (pollens, smoke, perfumes), or even tooth root infections. In those cases you should always consult a vet.

If the dog is having repeated attacks of reverse sneezing, your vet may prescribe antihistamines to see if that helps stop the sneezing.

When reverse sneezing occurs right after the nose-inoculation against kennel-cough, it would be advisable to give the dog some antibiotics.

Most dogs that have infrequent episodes of reverse sneezing, can lead a perfectly normal life, cause reverse sneezing is a harmless condition and medical treatment is not necessary.

Although, it is important not to confuse reverse sneezing with a collapsing trachea or a heart problem. In case of doubt, it is important to have the dog examined by your veterinarian.