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11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Snorts Like A Pig

Why Does My Dog Snort Like A PIig

Dogs make a lot of sounds to communicate. 

All the grunts and howls sound so cute.

But what’s this you hear?

Snorting pigs? 

Nah, it’s just your pooch. 

Why does your dog do this?

Is it a dangerous behavior?

Continue reading and discover:

  • 11 reasons why your dog snorts like a pig.
  • 3 simple methods to stop them from snorting.
  • When it’s safe to ignore this behavior in your pup.
  • A simple way to correct snorting when they pull at the leash.
  • And much more…

Why does my dog snort like a pig?

Your dog snorts like a pig because of their facial bone structure. Or due to excitement, sniffing, stress, or heavy collars. Dogs also do it because of allergies, respiratory distress, and blocked nasal passages. Other reasons include respiratory tract infections and a collapsed trachea. 

11 reasons why your dog snorts like a pig (all the time)

#1: Their facial bone structure

Dog breeds have specific face shapes. 

And for some, their facial structure makes it easier for them to snort. 

Take for example…

Brachycephalic breeds.

This term means “shortened head”. And this is the signature face shape of popular dog breeds. 

Such as:

  • Pugs.
  • Boxers.
  • Shi Tzus.
  • Pekingese.
  • Bull Mastiffs.
  • Lhasa Apsos.
  • Boston Terriers.
  • French Bulldogs.
  • English Bulldogs.

They might look cute and cuddly. But their unique face shape hides some dark secrets. 

Brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS)

VCA defines this term as a set of upper airway abnormalities. And this is common in brachycephalic dogs.

This is why flat-faced dogs have breathing-related problems. Which can result in lifelong management treatments. Or even death.

“What are these abnormalities?”

According to BlueCross UK, BAS results in the following:

  • Blocked airways.
  • Narrowed nostrils.
  • Tendency to overheat.
  • Deformed/narrowed windpipes.

Even though these breeds look like they have small heads, the tissue inside hasn’t decreased in size.

It blocks airways and limits oxygen intake as the tissue moves when breathing. 

“What are the signs of BAS?”

The MSPCA tells us that, aside from snorting, dogs with BAS will experience:

  • Gagging.
  • Vomiting.
  • Coughing.
  • Loud snoring.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Exercise intolerance.

Warning: Observe your dog for the abovementioned signs if you have a brachycephalic breed. Most dog parents often ignore these. Which will result in more terrible problems for your pooch. 

Take your dog to the vet to see if they have BAS. 

The vet will check their breathing and airway sounds. 

Affected dogs often need to have surgery to correct the abnormalities. And after that, they won’t have to struggle to breathe. 

#2: Reverse sneezing

Your Dog Snorts Like A Pig When They're Reverse Sneezing

I remember when my friend told me that her dog was having difficulty breathing. 

She sent me a video. It sounded like a hairball was stuck inside her dog’s throat.

My friend told me it only lasted for about 30 seconds. But it took 30 years off her life. 

She thought her pooch was going to die.

“What could have caused this?”

Now, if your dog does this, there’s no reason to panic. 

It may look like it’s hard for your pooch. But it’s pretty normal for them to do this.

TAMU says that it’s caused by a muscle spasm which causes the trachea to become narrow. 

The spasm occurs in the area at the back of the throat, the nasopharynx. Which is above the nasal passages and soft palate.

For a short time, your dog will find it difficult to inhale. So their body moves involuntarily to breathe in air. 

But they have blocked airways. So they have to make forceful inhalations through their nose.  

This is what we call reverse sneezing.

According to VCA, this happens commonly in dogs with narrow nasal passages.

The AKC tells us that there are 3 simple remedies for this:

  • Lightly blow in their face.
  • Move your dog outside where there is fresh air.
  • Hold your dog’s nostrils closed. And gently massage their throat.

Note: Reverse sneezing is normal. But if your dog does it all the time, it might be a sign of a more severe problem.

Want to learn more about what causes this?

Read on and discover more.

You can also check out: Reverse Sneezing In Chihuahuas: 5 Reasons + 15 Tips

#3: Irritants

Dogs will often reverse sneeze because of irritants in their air passages.

These can be any of the following:

Nasal mites

These are tiny parasites that crawl around your dog’s nasal cavity.

They can jump around from dog to dog. Especially when they touch noses.

The MSD Manual states that the presence of these mites can lead to an infestation. 

And this could be very dangerous for your dog.

Here are the signs:

  • Itchy face.
  • Noisy breaths.
  • Head shaking.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Reverse sneezing.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Bleeding from the nose.
  • Impaired sniffing ability.

If it’s severe, your dog might get restless. And even collapse. 

But the only way to confirm is through nasal scoping or flushing. 

In one case study, the vet recommended ivermectin as a treatment for the affected dog. Within 48 hours, the symptoms disappeared.

Foreign bodies

These can trigger the temporary muscle spasm that causes reverse sneezing. 

Dogs find it enjoyable to keep their nose on the ground. 

And that’s why it’s no surprise that foreign bodies can get inside.

Such as:

  • Pollen.
  • Seeds.
  • Grass blades.


PetMD states that it happens because of the following irritants:

  • Infectious. 
  • Chemical.
  • Inflammatory.

As a result, their body wants to expel it. The production of secretions indicates that the immune system is working to do so.

But, these can block airways. Which results in reverse sneezing for your pooch.

#4: They’re excited

Excited Dog Snorts Like A Pig

Showing excitement is quite normal for our dogs. 

But has your pooch snorted when they’re greeting you at the door?

Overexcited dogs can jump around a lot because of high arousal

This means that they can overexert themselves.

This can trigger a muscle spasm in the nasopharynx. And cause your pooch to snort. 

Again, it comes back to their breed. As flat-faced dogs are more prone to do this than other breeds. 

#5: Stress

There are many signs of stress. But the ones that can contribute are panting and pacing.

In brachycephalic breeds, this may cause pig-like snorts. 

Especially with dogs in very stressful situations. Such as:

  • Unfamiliar people.
  • New environments. 
  • Changes in routine.

According to Blue Cross UK, there are both subtle and obvious signs of stress:

Subtle signs of stress in dogsObvious signs of stress in dogs
YawningLoss of appetite
PantingBacking away from a situation
PacingTucked tail
Lip-lickingLowered posture
Dilated pupilsDiarrhea
Pinned back earsTrembling
Showing whites of eyes (whale eye)Shivering

Note: If your dog displays signs of stress, let them decompress. Take them to a quiet place and perform a few commands like “Sit”  or “Lie down”

The familiar repetitions of the commands can do a lot in calming them down. 

You can also do that by putting them in their crate. But do this only if they’re well-adjusted. And see it as a safe space. 

It’s important to do this because stressed dogs can become defensive. They may even bite people because they feel threatened or unsafe.

#6: Allergies

All dogs are allergic to something.

VCA tells us that allergies make themselves known after the dog is 6 months old.

The following factors contribute:

  • Food. 
  • Genetics.
  • Environment.

The allergens that can cause snorting in dogs are in their environment.

For example, 

Sensitivities to pollen or dust can cause a reaction where the dog will:

  • Cough.
  • Sneeze.
  • Wheeze.

There may even be nasal secretions (reason #3). Resulting in reverse sneezing or snorting.

#7: Heavy pressure from collars

Is your pooch a puller?

If so, there was probably a time when they pulled too hard. And ended up choking themselves. 

My friend’s dog, Hela, was a puller when she was still a puppy. 

At that time, she had on a collar. 

One night, while on their walk, Hela started to pull. It seemed like something in the bushes caught her interest. 

She only stopped when she started choking.

That made her sit down. And struggle to breathe in lungfuls of air. 

Hela started reverse sneezing. 

It was so traumatizing for my friend that she started researching ways to remedy this.

And this is what she found…

Front-clip harness

This is a great training tool when teaching your dog loose-leash walking.

Most people can handle a puppy pulling at the lead. Some even find it cute. 

But this becomes a problem when the dog grows up. They don’t have control over their impulses. And will try to pull their fur parents every which way.

With most harnesses, the pulling pressure from the lead is at the back. 

And if you’ve seen sled dogs, their instinct is to pull forward. 

The front-clip harness negates that inclination.

But how do you use it?

Watch this video for valuable tips:

According to PetMD, it is ideal to teach your dog the lesson that only a loose leash will allow them to go forward. If the leash tightens, it means “Stop”.

So train your dog through these steps:

Step 1: Attach the front-clip harness to your pup. 

Step 2: Take your dog to a quiet area. Walk around for a bit. This lets your dog familiarize themselves with the feel of the harness. 

Step 3: While practicing, reward your dog every time they look at you for direction. Give them treats when they walk by your side. 

Step 4: If your dog gets back into their habit, gently pull from the side. This redirects their attention back to you. 

Once your dog learns how to walk without pulling, you can transition back to a collar. 

Don’t miss out on: The Ideal “Puppy Harness Age” (9 Benefits & 9 Tips)

#8: Blocked nasal passages

Nasal tumors can develop inside the passageways. And cause an obstruction that makes breathing difficult. 

This is why dogs will snort and reverse sneeze. 

This type of tumor represents 1-2% of cancer in dogs. And it’s unlikely that the tumors will spread. 

But if they do, it will affect the regional lymph nodes in the lungs.

Radiation therapy is the most effective treatment for this condition. 

There are also options for chemotherapy and surgery. But they don’t have the same results as radiation.

Dogs can live up to 1 ½ years after their diagnosis. 

But sadly, they will still succumb to their tumor.

#9: Respiratory tract infections

Your dog’s respiratory system is prone to a lot of infections. 


Infections can travel via blood and air. And both need to pass through the respiratory system. 

If their body works as expected. And their immune system is strong, these infections don’t even stand a chance. 

But according to this review, there are situations when dogs need treatment:

  • Toxins.
  • Environment stress.
  • Virus or bacteria mutations.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Infections are happening at the same time.

Warning: If your dog is having problems breathing. Or the reverse sneezing doesn’t stop. Take them to the vet for examination.

To determine the cause, your veterinarian may do the following tests:

  • Cytology.
  • Radiograph.
  • Bacterial culture.

They will also ask for your dog’s history of respiratory problems. And other diseases they have. A list of clinical signs is also needed.

#10: Respiratory distress

Respiratory infections are dangerous if not treated. 

Your dog might go into respiratory distress without the right help. 

It’s also called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). 

VCA says that it will happen about 1-4 days after the start of respiratory infections or diseases.

It means that your dog’s condition gets worse. 

The infection has spread to the point that the blood vessels in the lungs are leaking. 

This leakage doesn’t allow for oxygen to pass through the lungs. 

It can lead to tissue damage in the whole body and even death.

“What are the signs of respiratory distress?”

Dogs with ARDS will display the following signs:

  • Coughing.
  • Low blood oxygen level.
  • Increased breathing rate.
  • Pink, foamy fluid from nose or mouth.
  • Blue discolored skin and mucous membranes.

There are only a few dogs ever recorded to survive ARDS.

In this study, 2 doggos made it through. Dog 1 spent 5 days in the hospital. While Dog 2 had to be in the ICU for 12 days. 

Both of them recovered. 

Before that, they had to go through:

  • Nursing care.
  • Intense critical care.
  • Short-term positive pressure ventilation.

It wasn’t an easy fight. And for Dog 2, it was touch and go for a while. 

Dog 2 had to go back to the hospital because of paralyzed airway muscles. 

The vet had to perform corrective surgery to let the dog breathe again. 

Warning: This condition has an almost 100% fatality rate. Even with a prompt examination, diagnosis, and treatment.

So if your dog has signs of respiratory infections, don’t let it go untreated. Prevent it from escalating into ARDS.

#11: Collapsed trachea

The trachea is a tube that delivers air into the lungs. 

Cartilage rings support it. And it runs beside the esophagus.

A collapsed trachea means that the rings providing structure have weakened. Which results in a blocked airway.

VHC Missouri tells us that the collapse can happen at any of these points:

  • In the neck (expiration).
  • Within the chest (inhalation).
  • Inside and outside the chest (breathing in and out).

Dogs can have a minor collapse and not show any signs. 

They can also have a severe collapse. Which can result in severe coughing or respiratory distress.

“What are the signs of tracheal collapse?”

According to ACVS, one of the first signs is dry, harsh coughing. Which will sound like a honking goose.

Other signs include:

  • Fainting.
  • Wheezy breaths.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Exercise intolerance.
  • Turning blue when excited.
  • Coughing and crying when picked up.

Warning: Tracheal collapse is a fatal condition. So take your dog to the vet if they display the signs. 

Once there, your vet might perform the following tests:

  • Endoscopy.
  • Fluoroscopy.
  • Chest x-rays.
  • Echocardiogram.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the collapse. 

Vets recommend medications for mild cases. While a severe collapse will need surgery.

Medical management of tracheal collapseSurgical treatment of tracheal collapse
– Sedatives.
– Weight loss.
– Corticosteroids.
– Bronchodilators.
– Cough suppressants.
– Stent procedure.
– Plastic rings/spirals as trachea support.

People also ask:

Why does my dog snort like a pig when excited?

Your dog snorts like a pig when it’s excited because of their facial bone structure. This happens with flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds.

Their airways get partially blocked when they breathe in or out. 

As a result, you might hear them wheeze when exercising.

And when they get excited, they will keep moving about. 

Why does my dog snort like a pig when breathing?

Your dog snorts like a pig when breathing because of abnormalities in their airway structure. 

This is also called brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). And it happens to dogs like Pugs or Bulldogs. 

They have small faces but still have a lot of tissue inside. This can block their trachea or their soft palate. Which results in snorting.

Why does my dog snort like a pig when sleeping?

Your dog snorts like a pig when sleeping because of blocked nasal passages. There may be nasal mites or tumors inside. Another reason could be allergies or irritants.

Snorting while sleeping is a sign that your dog has breathing problems. If the problem continues, take your dog to the vet. 

Read further: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Breathing Fast While Sleeping

Why does my dog snort like a pig when sniffing?

Your dog snorts like a pig when sniffing because of pressure on their airways. This can happen due to brachycephalic airway syndrome. Or it’s because of their collars. 

Dog breeds who are prone to breathing problems will snort when sniffing. 

If you observe this during walks, it might be time to change to a harness. 

These take the pressure off of your doggo’s airways.

Here are some that you can buy online: