Why is My Dog Making Weird Pig Noises?

Dog snorting like a pig

Dogs can make quirky sounds from time to time, but it can be quite alarming for pet parents when observing your furry friend for the first time snorting like a piggie and looking like he can’t breathe. One common reason for this unusual sound is reverse sneezing, also called paroxysmal respiration. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of reverse sneezing in dogs.

What is Reverse Sneezing?

Reverse sneezing is a condition in dogs where they pull air into the nose instead of pushing it out. The dog grunts while trying to sneeze and makes sounds like a pig.

It is more common among small dogs with narrow nasal passages, such as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, Boston terriers, Pugs, Pekingese, Boxer Dogs, Chinese Shar-Pei, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzus.

What Happens During an Episode?

During a reverse sneezing episode, the dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still, and extend the head and neck.

To help your pup, gently hold his head and bring it up, try to calm him, cover one nostril for a few seconds to make your dog clear any possible irritant, and massage the neck. Once your dog exhales through the nose, the episode will come to an end. These episodes typically last from a few seconds to a minute.

🆘 How to stop a reverse sneeze episode?

Causes of Reverse Sneezing

The piggie-like snort in dogs can be triggered by various irritants affecting the nose, sinuses, or back of the throat, such as

  • Mites
  • Secretions
  • Foreign bodies (pollen, seeds, grasses)
  • Allergies
  • Smoke or strong odors
  • Masses or polyps

Tales from the Tails 🐕

My dog, a Pekingese mix, experienced this condition when being exposed to certain triggers. We noticed that he was sensitive to strong smells, smoke, and humidity, so we stopped using certain products with strong smells at home such as cleaning products with strong chemical irritants, essential oils, and perfumes. We also made sure to keep the house well-ventilated as we lived in a very humid city.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

Reverse sneezing itself is a harmless condition and usually does not affect the health of a dog. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms it could indicate underlying health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, tracheal collapse, or age-related conditions to mention some. That’s why it is always a good idea to visit the vet to rule out any health issues.

Pay close attention if you observe additional symptoms such as

  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Pale gum

Diagnosis and Treatment

The vet will conduct a thorough examination to determine the cause of the pig-like noises and rule out any abnormality, such as respiratory tract infection, collapsing trachea, nasal tumors or polyps, foreign bodies, etc. Sometimes, the vet will order blood tests, allergy tests, or X-rays if the physical examination is not conclusive.

In most cases, dogs won’t need medical treatment. The vet will instruct you on how to act during an episode, and only if required, he may prescribe an anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, or decongestant. 

Final Thoughts

Pig-like snoring sounds may be unsettling for pet owners, but they are generally caused by a harmless condition called reverse sneezing. You can help your dog by reducing his exposure to certain irritants such as mites, allergens, smoke, strong smells, etc. This way you avoid triggers and decrease the number of episodes. 

In addition, it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog’s overall health and watch out for any concerning symptoms. If in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian for professional advice.


Why does my dog snort when I pet him?

Dogs make grunting noises to show they are feeling good. This behavior is more common in puppies while feeding or next to their littermates, but adult dogs also do it when they are relaxed, being petted, or near their family. You may have seen your dog do it when being scratched behind the ears or getting a belly rub.

Why does my dog make a sound like something stuck in his throat?

Symptoms such as a persistent, forceful, and dry cough– that sounds like your dog has something stuck in his throat– may be closer to a condition called Kennel cough, which is a type of canine infectious respiratory disease. This is different from the piggie-like sound in the reverse sneezing. Also, there may be other symptoms accompanying the infection such as sneezes, runny nose, discharges, decreased appetite, low energy, etc. 


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Katherine Ortega

Blogger and pet lover. I've been around dogs my whole life and have experience caring for all types, sizes and ages of pups. Senior dogs hold a special place in my heart 💗

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