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Why Is My Dog Honking Like a Goose? 7 Vet-Verified Reasons

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on April 7, 2024 by Dogster Team

old dog lying on the grass sneezing

Why Is My Dog Honking Like a Goose? 7 Vet-Verified Reasons


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs make all sorts of noises, from the cute to the hilarious and even the alarming. One of the most concerning weird noises to hear is a honking sound that sounds uncannily similar to a honking goose. One of the biggest problems when it comes to pet noises is that the sound could mean a variety of things, and the only real way to figure it out is to see a vet.

When it comes to a honking sound, it could very likely be that your dog has a collapsing trachea. However, it could be a range of other things as well, with many people mistaking a honking sound for reverse sneezing.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why your dog is reverse sneezing like a goose down below. However, you should take this seriously and get your dog in to see a vet as soon as possible, as you’d rather be safe than sorry.

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The 7 Potential Reasons Your Dog Is Honking Like a Goose

1. Tracheal Collapse

One potentially fatal condition that causes the sound of your dog honking like a goose is tracheal collapse, which is common in small breeds with delicately built tracheas. This progressive condition is when a dog’s cartilage rings lose strength and collapse in on themselves, making it hard for air to get to the lungs. It can cause a persistent bout of coughing and reverse sneezing, which rapidly worsens with heat, exercise, and overstimulation. Tracheal collapse can be difficult to treat and absolutely requires a vet’s expertise to properly diagnose.

funny spitz puppy is on lawn grass outdoor
Image Credit: Petr Smagin, Shutterstock

2. Allergies

Dogs with sensitive allergies to pollen or other irritants often honk or reverse sneeze to signal their itchy, watery discomfort. This type of reverse sneezing may be described as honking by some, and can be comically loud if your dog’s allergies are delicate enough. The silver lining here is that you can typically manage this with an elimination diet or medications, like antihistamines. This shouldn’t become anything more serious, but you can always give your vet a call if you’re concerned.

3. Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a very contagious canine respiratory infection that causes a persistently deep, crackling dry cough. This cough often can sound like honking, as your dog’s airways become extremely irritated and inflamed. Kennel cough has the potential to be fatal if not immediately treated by a qualified veterinarian, although this is rare, so it’s best to take your dog to your vet ASAP if your dog coughs or reverse sneezes for more than a day. Sooner if there are other concerns.

Dog Vet Checking Dog
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

4. Nasal Mites

Dogs with insidious nasal mites may reverse sneeze a lot, which sounds like honking to some people. These parasites feed on the blood vessels in your dog’s nasal cavity, causing extremely itchy discomfort. The signs are fairly obvious, but let’s check those out just below for quick reference.

Signs of nasal mites may include:
  • Vigorous head shaking,
  • Blood in the nose
  • Watery or bloody nasal discharge
  • Loud, labored breathing

5. Strong Fragrances or Chemicals

A dog’s nose is incredibly powerful, and they rely on their sense of smell a lot more than we humans do. If you have a sensitive nose to strong scents like garbage, perfume, or cologne, your dog is even more sensitive. These strong smells could cause sneezing, which could sound like a honking sound to some.

Take care to not liberally spritz air fresheners near your dog or their bedding so they avoid the bulk of the smell. If they’re still frequently reverse sneezing, we’d suggest you just stop using those strong scents around your dog altogether so they can feel more at ease.

Bleach, floor cleaners, wood varnishes, paint, soap, and other common home chemicals have offensively strong odors that your dog is particularly sensitive to. Honestly, smelling those isn’t really good for you either! If you’re painting or cleaning with a strong-smelling cleaner, try letting your dog play in the yard or talk them on a nice walk right after you’re done. You can also open a window or two and turn on a fan for air circulation.

wolfdog smelling plants
Image Credit: AvinaCeleste, Pixabay

6. Overstimulation

Brachycephalic breeds are especially prone to bouts of explosive goose-like honks when they get too much exercise or become overexcited. The respiratory system can become agitated and irritated when these breeds are overstimulated, causing reverse sneezes along with rapid panting. If your dog reverse sneezes often while playing or on long walks, try reducing their exercise. And speak to your vet for further help.

7. Eating or Drinking Quickly

Gulping too much food or drinking too much water can introduce a lot of air into your dog’s airways, irritating the throat and causing reverse sneezing or coughing. Try slowing down your voracious eater with puzzle-feeding bowls that force your dog to eat slowly and chew their food. This will help any digestive problems, like excessive gas or diarrhea, as well.

beagle dog drinking water from metal bowl
Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock

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It can be funny at first if your dog honks, but it can become serious if it persists and your dog is in obvious discomfort or pain. Sometimes the cause is just seasonal allergies or a very strong smell, but other times, it can be something serious like tracheal collapse. If you have questions or concerns about your dog making weird noises, we urge you to consult your vet for a more accurate diagnosis.

Featured Image Credit: Kristina King, Shutterstock

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