Strange, snorting and even oinking noises can make your dog sound much more like a pig than part of the canine family. But why does your dog make these strange sounds, is it harmful and what can you do to stop the awful piggy noises?
What Are The Common Causes Of Snorting In Dogs?
Most commonly, that snorting, oinking or honking sound is the result of what is referred to as reverse sneezing. This happens when the air is forced in through the nasal passages instead of outward. Reverse sneezing is caused by an irritation in the upper airway.
The irritation could be from an outward source such as dust, pollen or larger particles being breathed into through the nasal passages. It could also be as a result of excess mucous being created or collecting in the upper airway or a result of inflammation. Alternatively, the membranes in this area could simply be more sensitive in some dogs than others resulting in sneezing in reverse.
It could also be the sign of a respiratory tract infection or infection in the nasal passages. This is more likely to occur in dog breeds that are prone to these infections. However, the strange noises should be short-lived and not result in permanent or ongoing snorting or oinking. The infection may recur which can result in the sounds recurring.
It is also important to note that some dog breeds (called Brachycephalic) are more likely to make these strange noises than others. It is most common in smaller breeds with longer nasal passages, smaller nasal openings, narrow tracheas and soft palates such as Pugs, Shih Tzu, Pekingese and Bulldogs. This may occur whether an irritation exists in the upper airway or not and is not necessarily as a result of reverse sneezing. The noises will seem aggravated when the dog becomes overexcited or due to overexertion.
Are Piggy Noises Harmful Or Are They A Sign Of Disease Or Illness?
The strange noises are probably not harmful to your dog. A reverse sneeze is actually quite natural and does not hurt the dog. However, in rare cases, where sneezing becomes chronic, it may be recommended to visit the vet to prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate the swelling and therefore the sneezing.
If your pet suddenly starts snorting, oinking and honking, it may be due to an infection. Should it not resolve on its own in a couple of days, a visit to the vet is recommended to treat the inflammation.
How Can You Stop The Strange Noises?
If you have a dog breed that is known for making strange noises, there is very little that you can do to stop it. However, if the noises are combined with trouble breathing, then there are some steps you can take to minimize their distress.
Look for environmental factors that could be irritating the airways and reduce exposure to these. If stress or overexertion are triggers, try to keep your canine friend calm and relaxed and limit extreme exercise and activity.
If you are really concerned about the odd noises coming from your dog, visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.