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Why Does My Dog Snort Like a Pig?

You’re playing with your loyal companion, and he makes this sound that’s not a bark, a whimper, or even a yelp. Of course, you think you have misheard, so you continue to play. Then there it is again. No question about it now; it’s a snort. Did you know that dogs make a noise that sounds like a pig’s snort (not to mention a few other odd sounds)? Don’t worry, this snorting is not necessarily a sign of anything serious or wrong with your dog. We’ll discuss some of the reasons your dog snorts like a pig. 

Related: Dog Barking at Nothing 

What is Reverse Sneezing

The snorting sound comes from an involuntary action called reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing is when your dog’s throat muscles spasm and his soft palate becomes irritated, and then he draws in too much air through his nose. You may also notice that his neck expands, his chest broadens, and his trachea narrows. This is why the reverse sneeze can sound more like wheezing, hacking, or coughing. 

Some dogs will always experience reverse sneezing, while other dogs only develop it when they’re older and only temporarily. The reverse sneezing episodes, like regular sneezing episodes, shouldn’t last long. You can shorten the time by blowing softly in their face, massaging your dog’s throat, or holding their nostrils closed (briefly). 

There’s nothing to worry about unless your dog’s episodes become especially frequent or last a long time. If either of these happens, then you should contact your vet. They can let you know if there is a problem and how to treat it. 

The Reasons Your Dog Snorts Like a Pig

Now that you know how the snort is made, here are a few reasons for this phenomenon. 

Your Dog May Be Predisposed to Reverse Sneezing

The dogs that may be predisposed to reverse sneezing are small dog breeds, and a group called brachycephalic. The way to know if you have a brachycephalic breed is to look at their face. Are his features smushed with a flat skull? Breeds that fit this description are pugs, Pekingese, bulldogs, and Shih Tzus. And small dogs like Yorkies and Beagles are also susceptible to reverse sneezing because of their size. These dogs’ smaller noses and throats make them apt to chronic reverse sneezing.  

Your Dog May be Laughing or Excited

Pet parents already know that their dogs can express great joy, but did you know they could actually laugh? It usually sounds like an exhale, but there are times when your dog will reverse sneeze (snort) while playing with their favorite buddy, playing with a new toy, or really happy when you get home from work. He will snort at these times when he’s excited or full of cheerful energy.  

Related: How to Clean Dog’s Mouth After Eating Poop

Nose or Throat is Irritated

For larger dogs who aren’t a brachycephalic breed, they’re likely reverse sneezing because there are irritants in their nose or throat. These irritants can be something like a piece of a toy, a bit of grass, or some other small debris they have managed to get into their nose or throat. They will continue to reverse sneeze until they dislodge it from their body. You can help the process if they seem to be having trouble.

  • Don’t put your hands in their mouth for manual removal. They might bite you by mistake.
  • Tap them gently on the nose or close their nostrils for a few seconds. Either of these will make your dog swallow and hopefully stop the muscle spasms. 
  • Try massaging your dog’s back or throat to calm them while they work the obstacle out. Don’t panic or hold them too tightly. 

If their reverse sneezing is accompanied by signs of allergy, like usual sneezing or watery eyes, consider that the irritant is causing an allergic reaction. Take them to your vet

Do you want to give your dog a treat or toy? Check out the large selection of toys and treats from Runball!

A small dog resting on the arm of his owner.

Bad Smells

Believe it or not, like us, your dog doesn’t like everything he smells. Reverse sneezing can result from your furry friend inhaling a strong, unpleasant odor. Have a look around their surroundings to see if you can find the source. He may not like perfumes or other strong scents and will need you to protect him from them. 

Pressure on the Trachea

Your dog’s collar can put pressure on their throat, causing their trachea to narrow. This is the reason harnesses are preferable to collars for the safety of your pooch. 

If your dog wears a collar and begins to snort and cough without stopping, he may have a fully or partially collapsed trachea. This doesn’t happen often but is not impossible. This could occur if your dog is pulling too hard on his leash or because the cartilage in his throat is naturally weak. A collapsed trachea can be a progressive condition leaving your dog struggling to breathe. It can be fatal or leave your dog with a damaged windpipe. If you suspect that your dog has a collapsed or narrowing trachea, seek immediate medical attention for them. 


If your dog is overweight, this could explain why they have shortness of breath and snort on occasion. They’re simply having a tough time breathing well when moving their extra weight to walk or run. 

Related:  Why Does My Dog Pee on My Bed

Last Thoughts on Dog Snorting

While hearing your dog make snorting sounds can be concerning, you probably need not worry. This behavior could be a sign of any of the above things. Don’t ignore the situation; they may need your help or medical attention. But also, don’t panic or think the worse.  

Along with a loving pet, you might want to give your furry friend a delicious treat! Runball has a line of treats and toys to keep your dog happy!