Close up of a dog nose or a dog sick or sad on the floor.

Dog Snorting — Why It Happens and What to Do About It

Is your dog snorting? Is dog snorting normal for some types of dogs / breeds … or should you see a vet ASAP? We’ve got answers.
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Our four-legged friends are adorable, but sometimes the sounds they make are anything but. Dogs of all ages, lifestyles and breeds make snorting sounds from time to time, but if you find yourself wondering, “Why is my dog snorting?” often or if dog snorting is unusual for your pooch, here are a few factors that could be at play — and what you should do about dog snorting!

Close up of a dog's nose.
What causes dog snorting? Photography ©BiMKA | Thinkstock.

Dog Snorting — What Causes It?

For some pet parents, those dog snorting sounds are just a part of life. If you happen to share your home with a Pug, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Bulldog or another brachycephalic breed (think any dog with a “pushed-in face”), your dog will likely snort from time to time because of his flat, wide skull shape.

“Brachycephalic pets have a higher risk of respiratory illness, given that they have smaller openings to their nasal passages, narrower tracheas that can collapse, and long, soft palates,” explains Dr. Kathryn Boyle, DVM, Banfield Pet Hospital. “These attributes are part of why brachycephalic breeds tend to snore and snort more than other breeds.” She notes that the nasal issues often associated with these dogs can also put your pet at an increased risk of overheating, pneumonia and severe respiratory distress.

“At best, brachycephalic dogs have noisy, everyday breathing when they exert themselves through exercise or when they’re overheated in warm weather,” adds Dr. Heidi Houchen, DVM, VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists. “They often snore when sleeping and snort when excited … and if a dog is severely affected by their upper airway abnormalities, they may cough, gag, retch or vomit — and may even collapse when they are overheated, overexcited or exert themselves.”

What If You Notice Your Dog Snorting Suddenly?

If your pet has suddenly starting snorting, or is not a brachycephalic breed, Dr. Heather N. Mitchell, DVM, Animal Health Clinic in North Dakota, warns that both dog snoring and dog snorting can be early signs that there’s something blocking your pet’s nasal passages, such as an infection, inhaled plant material or a mass. “If the snoring or snorting continues for a while, it definitely warrants a check over with a veterinarian,” she advises.

Just like in humans, common allergens can cause respiratory issues. If your pet is suddenly snorting and you’ve noticed that your eyes are watering or you’re sneezing more than usual, your pet is probably suffering from the same seasonal allergies you are. In addition to allergies, dogs may also have difficulty breathing — or make more noise when they breathe — as a result of weather changes or other environmental factors. “Remember that pets are sensitive to the same things as people, such as allergens, high humidity, hot or cold temperatures, and smoke,” Dr. Boyle says. “If you are uncomfortable, you pet is likely also uncomfortable.”

Dog snorting may also happen on occasion for reasons that don’t require medication or even a trip to the vet. According to Dr. Houchen, some examples include when you hear your pet “reverse sneeze.” This is a dog’s normal reaction to the mucosal lining of their nasopharynx being irritated, she explains. “Only very rarely does a dog ‘reverse sneeze’ so persistently that it requires a trip to the vet,” Dr. Houchen adds. “In those instances, medication to decrease inflammation may be administered.”

Can You Prevent Dog Snorting?

If your Bulldog has always made snorting sounds, there’s probably not much you can do about it … unless the snorting becomes frequent and more severe. “If, despite an owner’s best efforts, a brachycephalic dog is having more difficulty breathing on more frequent occasions or with decreasing amounts of stress … a veterinarian will fully examine and assess the pet to determine if surgery could be warranted or bring some relief to the effort of breathing,” Dr. Houchen notes. Surgical options for dog snorting would include opening the narrowed nasal passages, removing the laryngeal pouches and shortening the soft palate.

Pet owners should also remain aware of doing anything that might make dog snorting worse. Dr. Boyle advises using harnesses instead of collars when walking to prevent putting additional pressure on a dog’s neck. “We also recommend keeping these dogs in more controlled temperatures and environments, such as in the air conditioning on warmer days,” she says. Dr. Houchen notes that helping your pet maintain a healthy weight can also help lessen any dog snorting, as obesity tends to worsen these symptoms.

In some cases, determining any outside factors that may cause dog snorting is the only prevention. “Being aware of what your dog is sniffing can sometimes help … but as every dog owner knows, sometimes that’s not possible,” Dr. Mitchell says.

Treating Dog Snorting

If your dog’s snorting has gotten severe or is caused by a more serious issue, such as a foreign body, you may need to treat it. Whether the dog snorting is caused by chronic rhinitis, a nasal or sinus mass, an anatomic abnormality or bleeding, Dr. Houchen notes that your veterinarian will conduct a workup with the goal of assessing clotting status or determining the presence of bacterial or viral infections, sedating and examining of the nasal passages and upper airway, assessing nasal secretions for the presence of bacteria, fungi, or parasites, taking x-rays of the skull or performing a rhinoscopy.

Depending on what your veterinarian finds, she may recommend medications such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatories, or surgery to remove polyps or masses. “The prognosis is highly dependent on what is found during that workup — finding a small, benign polyp that will eliminate a respiratory situation upon removal will warrant a good prognosis, while discovering a highly invasive cancerous mass carries a poorer prognosis,” Dr. Houchen concludes.

Top photograph: 19msa05 | iStock / Getty Images Plus. 

Read Next: How to Understand and Help Your Noise-Phobic Dog

32 thoughts on “Dog Snorting — Why It Happens and What to Do About It”

  1. Hi my one year old corgi has snorting problems it only happens at night it’s been going on now for couple of months now she does have reverse sneezing is snorting at night a symptom of reverse sneezing I’m just very worried that she has a tumour

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  13. I think you need to distinguish between voluntary snorting as a form of communication (which my Husky does all the time) and involuntary snorting that might be a different issue.

  14. I’m not sure why you would say that this article is misleading. I Googled this exact issue because my 1 year old pup suddenly started having serious problems with this. Some dog owners care and are searching for answers…. not bashing those who are putting out articles that might help others. ????

  15. You can find out how to cease snoring naturally. However, you initial have to discover the loud night breathing solutions that function nicely for you. Not each and every cure will operate equally nicely for every person. You need to have to experiment right up until you find that one particular that performs for you. Listed here are 3 remedies you can try now.Consume Kefir Just before Going to BedDo you have difficulties sleeping? Do you just take some type of treatment to support you rest? No matter what you consider to make you slumber could be calming the muscle tissue in your throat and leading to you to snore. If you have a loud night breathing issue, you shouldn’t take any relaxant medicine.There is a answer. Consume kefir before likely to mattress. In addition to being truly good for you digestive tract, it also contains tryptophan and other contents that make you sleepy normally. Kefir is actually good for you and can also be a element of your strategy to cease snoring.What About Anti Loud night breathing Capsules?I often advocate all-natural solutions to handle any situation, like snoring. However, not everything works for everybody. If you you have tried out almost everything else with no good results, then search into stop snoring drugs.There are also sprays you can use. Once more, no treatment is one particular-measurement-suits-all. What works for some will not automatically function for all. Whether you consider capsules or sprays, be positive to also check with your doctor. Snoring can be a symptom of a much more severe situation identified as slumber apnea. You will want your medical professional to rule that out for you.Does Honey Actually Operate?It is explained that honey will carry out the very same operate that loud night breathing sprays do. Sprays endeavor to lubricate the throat thus avoiding snoring. Probably just before you try a spray, which most probably is made up of chemical compounds and other additives that are harmful to your physique, first attempt having honey. If it operates for you, you just located a healthier and low-cost answer to your issue.You can understand how to stop snoring if you give each of the loud night breathing solutions you try a honest likelihood. Do not just attempt one for a evening and then give up. Give each cure a week. If it will not function, then attempt an additional. At some point you will discover the one that operates for you.

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  17. What a misleading article this is. Our Bichon’s snort all the time (they also kow tow – chest down, feet thrust forward) when they want to grab our attention. They have both always done this and it is a clear bit of communication. Your article more than suggests that this behaviour is always a problem but, at least with Bichon’s this is NOT the case.

    1. Hi Simon, We do mention that some dogs snort and that it’s no cause for concern. Ex. “For some pet parents, those dog snorting sounds are just a part of life.”

    2. I’m not sure why you would say that this article is misleading. I Google d c exact issue because my 1year old pup suddenly started having serious problems with this. B

      1. My fur baby is 2 years old, for the first time last night during the night 1:30 this morning, I was woke up with the sound of snorting. It really scared me. Never had I heard that sound since we’ve had her. Reading all the articles and information I feel better I thought I had to take her to ER today. sounded like to me there was something stuck in her throat . D

    3. Misleading? I disagree and wonder why you’re even at this site since you know this is normal for your breed. I’m here reading because my dog’s snorting has become more frequent , longer bouts that are alarming. We’re going to the vet. I’m grateful for helpful wed sites and weary of the complainers! It cost you nothing.

      1. Nancy C Fastenau

        My dog too. It has become more frequent in his older age and he takes shots for allergies… but sometimes when he gets excited to see his little friends and just walking he gets these snoring attacks and cannot move. Really getting nervous about it

  18. My 11 year old Yorkie makes a snorting sound when he is told, “No” or doesn’t get his way. We think it’s pretty funny, LOL.

  19. Snorting is part of my dog’s communication process. She is a fiest and uses snorts to mainly communicate that she wants to go out and sometimes when she needs food or water. Only if she gets ignored will she escalate it to barking. It is an aspect of her language and I always considered it perfectly normal.

  20. Hearing my dog snore is a sound I love!!! However, the snorting may be another story. It doesn’t happen often, but after reading this, I’m definitely going to pay closer attention to what’s going on next time it does happen.

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