Have you ever heard your dog make a strange noise that sounded like a mix of a snort, cough, sneeze, gag, and hiccup? If so, then you aren't alone. Often referred to as a snort, most dog owners have probably heard of it. But have you ever wondered why dogs make the sound? Also, what does it mean?

So why is my dog snorting? Let us first differentiate a snort from other sounds that a dog may make. While there may be similarities, dog snorting is different from a normal sneeze or a honk, among other sounds.

With a normal sneeze, the air is pushed outwards from the nose. This is the opposite of a snort or a reverse sneeze. Meanwhile, a loud and honking sound may be a sign of tracheal collapse which is a chronic disease.


  1. What Causes Dog Snorting?
  2. What to Do if Your Dog Starts Snorting Suddenly?
  3. Treating and Preventing
  4. FAQ
  5. Conclusion

What Causes Dog Snorting?

If you've heard your dog make the sound, you've probably asked yourself - "Why is my dog snorting?"

According to veterinarian research, the sound may often be referred to as a snort, but experts commonly refer to it as a reverse sneeze. While it may sound weird, what happens when a dog snorts is the opposite of a sneeze, thus the term 'reverse sneezing'.

On one hand, a sneeze is an involuntary action where the air is pushed from the lungs and out of the nose. On the other hand, a snort is the exact opposite and is often voluntary.

Whether it's a sneeze or a snort, it generally has the same goal: to remove something that is obstructing their airways. So when a dog snorts or reverse sneezes, it may be because they want to clear their airway from anything that may be getting in the way.

Read more: Different Dog Sounds And What They Mean

Weight may also be a factor since overweight or obese dogs tend to snort more often. These dogs show symptoms that are similar to those who are experiencing an obstruction or irritation in their airways. If so, you might have asked: Why does my dog snort like he/she can't breathe?

Having that extra weight, overweight or obese dogs may have difficulty in breathing and may feel like there is something that's blocking their airways. Thus, resulting in snorting.

Note that there are also some breeds or specific types of dogs that are more susceptible to snorting compared to others. For example, smaller breeds have tinier airways than others, making them more prone to snorting than larger dog breeds.

Another example is brachycephalic dog breeds. Because these dogs have short noses and flat faces, they are more prone to breathing difficulties, making them more likely to snort more often.

Other possible causes include respiratory issues, tumors, and having inhaled a foreign object.

Read more: 7 Critical Signs Your Pet Needs Immediate Veterinary Attention

What to Do if Your Dog Starts Snorting Suddenly?

Occasional snorting may just be normal. However, if your dog starts snorting all of a sudden, they may need immediate attention. Because of this, it is best to bring your dog to the vet for a checkup, especially if they are showing signs of stress or difficulty.

One reason why your dog may be snorting all of a sudden could be that they are suffering from flu or a respiratory infection that is obstructing their airways. Among the other symptoms that they may exhibit alongside snorting are sneezing, coughing, and wheezing.

If your dog starts snorting and shows signs of distress or restlessness, a possible reason for this is they might have inhaled a foreign object which could be obstructing their airways. Snorting may be their way to try to remove the object or they may be making an effort to breathe while something is blocking their airways. This is an emergency so it is important to bring your dog to the vet immediately. And that's where Petcube's Emergency Fund comes super handy right in.

Treating and Preventing

In cases when your dog’s snorting has become severe or when a more pressing problem is involved, treatment may be needed. Depending on the results of the diagnosis, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications.

In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove a growth blocking their airways such as a mass or polyps.

“How can I prevent my dog from snorting?” you might ask. If your dog is brachycephalic and has always made sounds like snorting, it might not be prevented. However, when the snorting becomes more severe and if the frequency suddenly increases, you can consult with your vet about what you can do about it.

It also helps us pet owners to be aware of not doing anything that might worsen our dog’s snorting. For example, harnesses prevent putting pressure on your dog’s neck so it is more preferred over a collar.

Also, during warm days, it is recommended that your dog gets proper ventilation to prevent breathing difficulties and stress in general. In addition to this, keeping your dog’s weight in check is ideal to make sure that they are within normal range. This helps lessen snorting since excess weight can worsen breathing difficulties, among other symptoms.

Depending on the case, one practical way to prevent dogs from snorting all of a sudden is to determine the outside factors that may be causing it. Making sure that they don’t sniff anything that might get caught inside their noses may help, but this may not always be easy especially if your dog loves to play outside.

Finding ways to look out for our dog will go a long way in preventing or addressing any medical issue. One way is by using pet cameras such as the Petcube Cam, which allows us to connect with our dog, wherever we may be. Not only will it help us monitor our pet, but it also comes with an Online Vet service that allows us to consult with certified vets 24/7.


Is dog snorting normal?

If you’re a dog owner, you’ve likely heard your dog snort. Yes, occasional snorting is normal in most cases. However, there are cases when snorting is a sign of distress or danger, especially if your dog does it all of a sudden and with more frequency at that. If so, it is important to have your dog checked with the vet immediately.

Why does my dog snort like a pig?

While it might be worrying to hear your dog snort like a pig especially when you hear it for the first time, it is usually not a cause for concern. This usually happens when your dog does a reverse sneeze and is more common in small and brachycephalic breeds.

If my dog keeps snorting, should I be worried?

If your dog’s snorting is just occasional, then it might just be normal. If it happens more frequently or if there’s a sudden onset, this may indicate a medical problem that needs to be addressed. If so, having them checked with the vet is essential.


Our dogs may make different strange noises like snorting, which may just be normal if done only on occasion. On the other hand, some noises may mean that something is wrong. Determining which is which would depend on different factors such as body language as well as other symptoms that may accompany the snorting.

If you feel that something’s wrong or if you are unsure, it is best to consult with your veterinarian for a proper examination and diagnosis.

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