Why Does My Dog Snort Like a Pig?

By John Martin - March 30, 2022

Dog mid-sneeze in leaves

Dogs do a lot of strange stuff but snorting like a pig is probably one of those behaviors that are impossible to ignore. You’re not sure whether it is normal or if they need help and it can be very confusing when it happens out of the blue.

Well, you’re not alone. A lot of dogs tend to do this and there can be many different reasons behind it. Read on for everything you need to know about your dog’s snorting.

Reasons Behind Your Dog Snorting Like a Pig

If your dog is making pig-like noises, it is usually not a cause for concern. It can be because of many reasons but most of them are harmless.

Here is a detailed list of all possible reasons for your dog snorting like a pig:

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is the most common reason behind your dog’s snorting. It usually happens when something enters the nasal passage and causes irritation to the dog.

The dog snorts to get the irritant out of his system. You might notice that it happens only when they have been playing outdoors or when they knock over something powdery like flour or a spice.

If your dog is snorting because of reverse sneezing, it will go away within a minute and your dog will be no worse for the wear.

Reverse sneezing can be triggered in the following situations:

Something Stuck in the Nose

A dog’s snout is very important to them. They have a keen sense of smell and they rely heavily on it.

If something gets stuck in a dog’s nose, it can be very distressing for the dog. It can cause reverse sneezing, sneezing or excessive mucus formation.

What seems like snorting is actually your dog breathing very heavily through his mouth because there is an obstruction in his nasal passage.

Anything small, like food or grass particles, can get stuck in the nose and your dog will start snorting in an effort to breathe properly.

Your dog might even pant or breathe very heavily. It will be very obvious to you if your dog is snorting all over the house but it is also possible that he may not even notice that something is wrong.

It all depends on the dog and the nature of obstruction whether you need to intervene or not. Most times, the dog will be able to clear the obstruction on his own without your help.

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If the snorting happens a lot or only happens at a certain time of the year, it could be allergies. The snorting will sound more like snoring in this case and it will last longer too.

If your dog is on an allergen-free diet, it is unlikely that his snorting is caused by allergies. When dogs consume an allergen, it causes inflammation in their windpipe and makes it hard for them to breathe.

As a result, they start snorting and wheezing. If it happens very often, it can be very taxing on the dog and you need to consult a vet to figure out the exact cause.

If the snorting is accompanied by rashes, itching, red eyes or excessive licking of the paws. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you should consider changing the dog’s environment or diet.

If your dog is suffering from allergies for a long time, he is probably not getting enough sleep as he keeps waking up because of the blocked airway. He might even be suffocating from the mucus forming in his nose.

These symptoms can cause damage or lead to other problems in the long run, so it is best to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Getting treated for allergies will bring a lot of relief for your dog and save him from unnecessary complications.

Brachycephalic Breeds

Some dog breeds are unfortunately predisposed to respiratory problems that include snorting and difficult breathing. It can happen in many different ways—dogs’ snorts can be short or continue for a long time.

It can sound very similar to a pig, which is a little strange when it is coming from your dog. Brachycephalic dog breeds and certain small dog breeds suffer from this condition.

Dogs are specifically bred for certain functions or because a specific look is popular with pet owners. This has led some dog breeds to have flat skulls or smushed facial features that give them chronic respiratory issues.

Some dog breeds vulnerable to this condition are bulldogs, Shih Tzus and Pekingese. If you look at their facial features, they have small skulls and small noses.

Internally, they also have a narrower windpipe. Sometimes their tongue is too large for their skull or the soft palate is too elongated.

These dogs also snore a lot and can suffer from UARS. If the snorting and snoring are causing too much difficulty to your dog, you should seek treatment to make him more comfortable.

Laughter or Strong Odors

Dogs can indeed laugh. It sounds very similar to a heavy exhale and experienced dog owners will be very familiar with the sound of their dogs laughing.

However, not every dog is the same. Some dogs’ laugh is more of a snort. It might not be obvious at first but it is possible that what sounds like snorting is actually them laughing.

If your dog is snorting or sneezing when you come home or when they meet a furry friend at the dog park, it is probably due to his excitement and happiness.

Dogs are easily excitable and sometimes it shows in strange ways. Some dogs pee when they are excited and others may laugh or snort. It isn’t anything to worry about and will stop when your dog calms down.

Dogs also have sensitive noses and can sniff out scents from miles away. This is sometimes uncomfortable as their nose will get irritated if they catch a particularly unpleasant or pungent smell.

If you’ve spilled something that smells strong or you walk into an environment with a strong odor your dog might start snorting and sneezing. Take your dog to a different place immediately so that he can breathe comfortably.

You cannot always control things when you are outdoors with your dog. You need to be extra careful and vigilant when you are out with your dog as he might react strongly to the elements around him.

Also Read: How Long Should a Puppy Wear a Cone After Getting Neutered?

What You Can Do

It is not always clear whether you need to intervene when your dog is snorting or not. With reverse sneezing, if it clears up under a minute it is nothing to worry about.

However, if it persists for a long time or happens too often, you need to figure out the exact cause. If your dog starts reverse sneezing when he is lying down on the floor or walking normally, it is a cause for concern.

The best way to understand the problem is to talk to your vet. Observe your dog carefully so that you can explain the exact circumstances and symptoms and he should be able to give you a definite diagnosis.

When your dog is starting, you might be tempted to put your hand in his mouth to see if something is stuck in his mouth. Do not do this as it will make it even harder for him to breathe and he might bite you out of distress.

You can gently stroke or massage his back or throat to help him get through the snorting. Take care not to squeeze him or hold him tight as he’ll be trying hard to breathe.

Collapsed Trachea

A collapsed trachea is a very rare situation. It is a very serious condition and can lead to death if you ignore it for too long.

A collapsed trachea occurs when the windpipe gets damaged in some way. The muscles in the trachea are C-shaped.

When these rings collapse, they can no longer carry air to the lungs properly. The damage can be small or extreme depending on the situation.

It can happen because the windpipe was genetically weak or because the owner pulled too hard on the leash. This is one of the reasons harnesses are considered better than collars.

It is more likely to happen if your dog is overweight. It will take more energy to perform everyday activities and he will have difficulty breathing in general.

What You Can Do

Snorting or coughing very loudly could be signs of a collapsed trachea. The dog will seem tired and disinterested in playing or going out.

Collapsed trachea gets worse as time passes. If you notice these symptoms, get your dog to a vet immediately.

The vet will prescribe medication depending on the condition of your dog. He might also suggest that you start using a harness or put your dog on a special diet and exercise plan to help lose weight.

It might sound very scary, but as long as you seek help in time your dog will be fine. It is manageable if you follow the vet’s advice and your pooch will be back to normal very soon.

Also Read: Are Stink Bugs Poisonous to Dogs?

The Bottom Line

Snorting like a pig is most often harmless and will go away on its own. If it is very persistent or there are other symptoms like a honking cough, it can be more serious. Visit your vet to diagnose and treat the problem as soon as possible.