Dogs bark and make noises to communicate with humans.
But how can you tell if those mumbling during a belly rub means “Ohh, I like it. This feels refreshing,” or a “Come on, please stop it” thing?
It can also be an “Ugh. I’m hurting somewhere. Please help me” sign when they’re lying down, and you’ve ignored it. And mistaken it as a normal sigh.
This behavior may not be easy to understand at first. But once you know the possible reasons, it’ll be simple to determine whether your dog needs help or not.
Keep reading to learn:
- Whether your pooch does that on purpose or not.
- Why dogs make those sounds and what they’re telling you.
- When you should be concerned about their grunting and groaning.
- 5 helpful tips when your dog does this all the time and it isn’t normal.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog grunt and groan?
- People also ask:
- 13 reasons why your dog grunts and groans
- #1: They have doggy dreams
- #2: To say hello
- #3: Your dog is enjoying it
- #4: To make you stop
- #5: Your dog wants to be noticed
- #6: To show their disappointment
- #7: Your dog is naturally expressive
- #8: Growing pains
- #9: Abdominal problems
- #10: Osteoarthritis
- #11: Hip dysplasia
- #12: Your dog has breathing problems
- #13: Reverse sneezing
- 5 tips on what to do when your dog grunts and groans
Why does my dog grunt and groan?
Your dog grunts and groans because they’re dreaming, saying hello, enjoying what you’re doing, expressing comfort, asking for attention, or they love vocalizing. It can also be a sign of disappointment, rejection, growing pains, old age, health conditions, breathing problems, and reverse sneezing.
People also ask:
13 reasons why your dog grunts and groans
#1: They have doggy dreams
Does your pooch usually grunt while sleeping?
PetMD says that dogs can also make noises aside from twitching when they’re in a deep sleep. They can bark, whimper, or groan.
But what makes them do it? And what could they see in their vision at the moment?
Experts said they could be dreaming about past experiences. Or things that are in their memories.
So, if you spot your dog grunting in bed, they might be having flashbacks of getting belly rubs in their sleep. Or playing fetches with you.
However, if they mumble a lot but don’t seem to be having dreams, it might be something else. And that’ll be discussed later on.
#2: To say hello
A groan, or more like a sigh, can also be equal to a simple “hi” or “hello” for some dogs.
They may do it when you move closer to them while they’re lying or sitting down. It’s a casual greeting saying it’s nice to see you.
#3: Your dog is enjoying it
Dogs that are expressing their contentment may also grunt or groan.
Does it mostly happen when you’re petting them? And then if you stop, they’re going to touch you with their paw as if they’re asking for another round?
If so, they’re only telling you that they love it. And that you shouldn’t stop whatever it is you’re doing. Because you got their permission to continue. So, carry on.
Those sounds can also be a sign of comfort and relief. Like when they crash on a warm couch during a cold night then grunt. Or when they sit on your lap and snuggle with you.
#4: To make you stop
It’s possible your dog is telling you that they don’t like it.
If they could talk,they’d probably say something like:
“No, human. This isn’t the right time for this.”
So it would be best if you stopped at once. Or else…you might not like what’ll happen next.
Dogs could get grumpy sometimes. And by groaning, they’re warning you to stop because they’ve had enough.
They might not be in the mood for cuddling at the moment. Or they might be too sleepy to play or be petted.
You can also see it in their appearance. If they’re uncomfortable, they would’ve ‘whale eyes’ (a lot of whites), tucked ears, and lowered tail.
Grunting is usually a harmless caution which is different from a bark. But if they’re showing their teeth, it’s not.
#5: Your dog wants to be noticed
Grunting can also be your pooch’s way of getting some attention.
And there’s also a high chance that you let them do this before. That’s why they keep on doing it when they seem to be ignored.
Dogs might do this when they want something from you.
They might be asking for a walk or a fun playtime outside. They may also remember that they can get treats from you by doing this. Or they might need help getting their toy or wiping their feet.
#6: To show their disappointment
Does your dog always let out a deep sigh?
It might be because they aren’t getting what they want. So they mumble to express that they aren’t satisfied.
You may notice it when they had their hopes up, and you might’ve let them down.
For example, your dog might’ve seen you grab their leash. They thought it’s time for a walk, so they waited for you to come closer. But then you went back into your room. And boom, their excitement was all gone.
It’s the same with humans. We also do it when they are displeased with something.
#7: Your dog is naturally expressive
Well, do they seem healthy with no signs of pain at all?
Is your dog still young? And oh, one more thing…
Have they been doing this ever since?
If yes is the answer to all those questions, this might be it. This could be funny at times because they grunt at everything they do. Like when they walk, eat, lay down on the floor, or in any simple activity that isn’t tiring at all.
Your dog might only be on the ‘talkative’ side, such as:
- Siberian Huskies.
- German Shepherds.
#8: Growing pains
This is for puppies who often groan while lying down.
It’s a condition where their bones grow faster than they should be. As a result, they become painful, for their body can’t adapt to those changes right away.
So, you may see your dog limping or have trouble walking, which could last for 3 weeks at most. But if their episode is longer than that, it might be another ailment.
You may also notice other symptoms like:
- Weight loss.
Note: They’ll be alright. This is only natural for dogs and will be gone when they’re 2 years old.
#9: Abdominal problems
It’s also called ‘ascites.’ This happens when there’s a huge volume of fluids in a dog’s abdomen.
One of its signs is frequent grunting. Especially when doing the lying position. So observe your dog. Do they make noises even when resting? Do they seem in pain when you touch their bellies?
You need to contact an expert if you notice any of these other symptoms:
- Gaining weight.
Further reading: 7 reasons why dogs arch their back
This happens when the protective layer of the bones declines as dogs age. It’ll result in swelling of joints which will then cause pain.
And it might be the reason why your dog grunts so much these past few days.
Are they also limping and less active? Stiff and irritable? Or gets uncomfortable when touched?
A recent study shows that 20% of dogs over 1-year-old in North America have this ailment. So it’s common in senior dogs.
But why do they develop this?
Most dogs will have this because of old age. However, they can also get it from their parents. And also, if they’re overweight.
#11: Hip dysplasia
This condition is due to the abnormal growth of joints in the hip. Resulting in painful and weak hind legs. Dogs who have this will have trouble standing up and climbing stairs.
It’s reported that out of the dogs owned by 70-80 million fur parents in the US, more than half of them are suffering from hip dysplasia.
Even though its symptoms are mostly found in older dogs, puppies could also develop it. But they’ll not show any signs until they turn 1 or 2 years old.
Genes and diet are also the major factors in this one. And it’s also common in large dogs, such as German Shepherds, Retrievers, and Saint Bernards.
Cruciate ligament injury
Now, this is also linked with the two ailments above. And is also common in most older dogs.
This is where their knees hurt as a result of damaged tissue that connects the bones. Because of this, the joints will swell. And it will be hard for them to walk.
As per PetsWebMD, dogs like Rottweilers, Retrievers, and German Shepherds have higher risks.
It’s also said that most dogs will recover from this as early as 3 weeks. But, the ripped ligament may still cause problems like arthritis. While treatments will depend on the breed and weight of the dog.
#12: Your dog has breathing problems
Does your dog snore a lot when fast asleep?
If yes, it might be hard for them to breathe. That’s why they grunt involuntarily.
BOAS, or brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, is more common in dogs who are flat-faced. Examples of those are Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus.
What happens is that due to their short noses, it’s more difficult for them to breathe.
It’ll also be problematic in hot weather. Because for them to release all the heat in their body, they need to pant. And they can’t easily do that. That’s why they may overheat and collapse.
Most dog parents might overlook its symptoms as they may appear as normal snoring.
But here are the signs you should look out for:
- Blue gums.
- Noisy breathing.
- Excessive panting.
- Too much sneezing.
- Having trouble doing exercises.
#13: Reverse sneezing
Have you heard your dog grunting like a pig out of the blue?
And it’s scary because they seem to be gasping for air?
It’s called paroxysmal respiration. Where dogs try to inhale air while sneezing instead of exhaling it. And hence, the name – reverse sneezing.
This rapid breathing in of air results in a sound that’s like a pig’s snort. Which sounds like this:
What may have caused this is still unknown, but strong scents and obesity could be one of the factors.
This happens to dogs when they’re sleeping, got overexcited, and exhausted.
It’ll be shocking to witness for the first time as they may appear to be choking. But here’s the good thing. There’s nothing to worry about when this happens.
It isn’t harmful and they’re not in grave danger at all. But the sound they produce may be painful to hear.
Don’t worry. There’s a way for you to fix it. It’ll be discussed shortly.
5 tips on what to do when your dog grunts and groans
Those noises are usually indicators of pleasure in dogs.
So if your pooch is healthy and their behavior doesn’t affect you, you should just let them be. It’s like a cat’s purring, which is never a bad thing.
But if they do it so much, you can tone it down. How?
Discourage it by giving them treats when they’re quiet. And ignore them when they’re groaning.
However, if it’s due to health problems, here are some things you must do.
#1: Manage their weight
Aside from aging, body weight is also proven to be a factor in joint problems in dogs.
Based on research, losing 6% to 8% of it greatly improves a dog’s condition suffering from arthritis.
Having extra weight will add stress to their joints and muscles. It’s also studied that those fats produce hormones that make them even more painful.
So imagine how hard it’ll be for your dog. It’ll affect their way of life. That’s why if they’re not yet on that stage, you should prevent it from happening. But when they already are, it isn’t too late.
Have your dog checked by a vet. This is for you to verify whether they have an ideal weight for their age or not. It’s also important for you to know how much they need to lose.
If they’re overweight or obese, you need to watch their food. You can ask your vet about the adjustments needed. Because giving them a small amount of food will only lead to malnourishment.
Stop giving them too many treats and snacks. Replace them with healthier ones like their favorite vegetables or fruits.
Be consistent and feed them according to plan.
Measure their weight at least once a month. This is to track their progress. And to ensure that you’re in the right direction.
Now, if they lose all the excess fat, maintaining it is the last step. Just do what you did for the past weeks. And never give in to those “puppy eyes” when they beg for extra goodies.
Note: They still need exercise along with a proper diet. But for older dogs, avoid straining physical activities like running. You can make them do these simple stretching positions instead to help ease the pain.
#2: Take care of their BOAS
If your dog has trouble breathing, it’s best to take note of these things:
- Lose those extra fats to ease their breathing. It’s best to keep your dog at a healthy weight, especially if they’re flat-faced.
- Watch out for hot weather. They may need extra care during those days. Avoid going out for a walk when the sun’s too hot. Make sure they’re always cool, and there’s water nearby.
- Don’t forget to exercise. But only do things that are comfortable to them. You’ll know your dog if they’re having a hard time keeping up. Just do casual walks outside when it’s not hot. And give them rest in between.
- You may also consider getting surgery for your dog. This will adjust their nostrils and soft palate for easier breathing. So you may not need to worry anymore.
#3: Help them with reverse sneezing
It might be shocking to see your dog having this kind of problem. It may appear that they’re choking and need medical help.
But don’t panic. Just stroke their neck or chest. Gently do this until you hear them exhale through the nose. And when the ‘pig snorting’ is gone.
It’ll usually last a minute at most, but it still depends on every dog.
Note: If it happens in your pooch several times a day, you must consult a vet. They might need medication. Or they might have a different issue that you aren’t aware of.
#4: Feed them the right food
If your puppy has growing pains, it might be because they’re eating food that’s not suitable for them.
For example, if your pup is a large breed, you should give them food for their kind. Not regular ones or even adult dog food.
Because they can’t provide them the nutrition they need while growing up. Resulting in that kind of problem.
Experts say to give them high-quality food that fits their age and kind. Also, avoid overfeeding. Keep them at the standard bodyweight.
#5: Visit the vet
Lastly, if your dog’s grunting has something to do with old age or they’ve shown other symptoms, seek a vet at once.
You’ll never know their real condition unless you bring them to a clinic. They’ll let you know how to take care of them at home. Or if they need any treatment or changes in routine.