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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Help - My Dog Keeps Snorting!

By July 25, 2008

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Belle the Dog - GenGloFrom the Forum - Drew0311 asks: "My dog keeps doing this snorting thing. Like his throat is clogged up. Anyone else have a dog doing this right now? Thanks in advance."

See my reply in the forum and learn about a common cause of canine snorting. As always, if you suspect that your pet has a problem is just isn't quite normal health-wise, please see your veterinarian for diagnosis and any necessary treatment.

2011 Update:

Photo © GenGlo used with permission

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July 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm
(1) Beth says:

Yeah my beagle keeps doing it!
I thought it was Kennel Cough but he’s done it a while now

September 10, 2009 at 11:12 pm
(2) ally says:

my beagle is doing it too! he has been for about two weeks. we have tried cleaning it out with a baby nose aspirator but it doesnt seem to be helping, any suggestions?

October 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm
(3) Chauncey says:

My dachshund mix is doing it right now, and has been for the last ten minutes or so. It’s not reverse-sneezing hacking, more like a mucusy snort thing.

It happens sometimes, sounds like he snorted something into his nose or throat or something…?

Any advice would be appreciated!

October 12, 2009 at 11:40 pm
(4) Kim says:

My 13yr old shih tzu started “coughing” yesterday. it sound like he has something stuck in his throat. He hasn’t eaten or drank much today. He did have a ruptured anal gland last week and was given some antibiotics. Could have have gotten the swine flu since being on antibiotics lowers his immune defensive system? I think he could have the flu and this is the first time I’ve heard him make this noise not backward sneezes and not a seizure.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!!!
Thanks, Kim

November 19, 2009 at 9:13 pm
(5) Michelle says:

My puppy (13 weeks old) starting that snorting noise tonight. She was also crying with it and running rolling on the floor like something was wrong. When I tired to pick her up she snapped at me and then jumped down. Earlier in the evening I caught her playing with a rock from the fire place. She had it in her mouth and I took it out. She has eaten a treat for me and drank a little water. I called the Vet and they want $125.00 just to call me back. Does anyone have any suggestions???

December 9, 2009 at 8:53 am
(6) kely says:

my ridgeback staffy cross keeps doning this 2 generally when excited i have been told to lay of dairy products see if this helps

March 8, 2010 at 10:05 am
(7) joe says:

My 7 yr old staff cross started doing it, sounds like he’s got somthing stuck, but he still plays runs round the garden etc . no signs towards him bieng ill . Any comments plz

March 17, 2010 at 8:23 am
(8) Joy says:

My bull mastiff started “hacking” a few days ago. I’ve talked to some people who said that it sounds like allergies.
I’ve noticed it more when she goes outside, so they suggested giving her some benedryl to see if it helps.

April 2, 2010 at 8:30 am
(9) Jennifer D. says:

What you probably witnessed is the condition in dogs known as reverse sneezing. It actually has nothing to do with sneezing, but is a spasm caused by an irritation of the soft palate. The soft palate is a soft, fleshy tissue extension off the hard palate, or roof of the mouth. Small dogs in particular can exhibit this behavior and certain breeds may be predisposed to it. It has sent many a distraught owner to the vet in panic.

Some animals can have this condition for their entire lives, or it may develop as the dog ages. During the spasm, the dog will usually turn her elbows outward and extend her neck while gasping inwards with a distinctive snorting sound. Gently massaging the throat area or pinching the dog’s nostrils shut so she must breath through her mouth can help shorten the episode. Sometimes taking the dog outside in the fresh air stops the spasm. Once the attack ceases, all goes back to normal.

(Another technique sometimes used to stop a bout of canine reverse sneezing: behavior specialist Sarah Wilson suggests trying to get the dog to swallow, touching the back of the tongue if that is safe.)

It is thought that the pharyngeal spasm can be caused by a number of irritants, including dust and pollen, or household chemicals. Moreover, some dogs can launch an episode after eating, drinking or running around, or while pulling on the leash.

If your dog experiences this behavior fairly frequently and the episodes are severe, a trip to the vet is in order to determine other possible causes, which can include viral infections, polyps, excessive soft palate tissue, and nasal mites. However, many cases of reverse sneezing appear to have no identifiable cause.

April 23, 2010 at 1:27 am
(10) Cathy F says:

We have a 13 year old Beagle and she has done this for years. It seems to get a little worse in the Spring during allergy season, but other than that she’s healthy. The vet said it’s nothing to worry about.

June 13, 2010 at 7:54 pm
(11) Ginger says:

My 11 years old German Shep mix has been “reverse sneezing for 2 months now, deveoloped alot of pus and yellow mucus from her sinuses and developed a horrendous urinary tract infection. Afterh Tetracycline and Amoxycilin, her infection has subsided but not that “snort”. Benedryl every 8 hours (1 per 25 #) seems to help us both sleep at night. It is truly frightening to watch and hear.

June 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm
(12) Walter Alex Mannon says:

My German Sheppard mix was doing the same as your pet. I took her to my vet, after checking Sheba the vet determined that she was suffering from a sinus infections. He gave me some medication for her condition, she stopped for a while.
Now that I know she suffers from sinus infection I keeper in during those times when the pollen count is high. She snorer and snorts when the pollen count is high and I give her liquid sinus medication for children and it help allot. Iíll take her back to my vet to make sure that she doesnít have anything up her noise which can happen with some like ours dogs.

July 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm
(13) Rodriguez Family says:

I came to this page because my 2yr old Beagle also makes this noise and pretty much always has…..i find it interesting that many comments on here are from Beagle owners. Must be common in that breed.

September 26, 2010 at 2:21 am
(14) Cynthia Olsen says:

I am so glad to finally find out what this snorting thing is about. Jennifer post explains exactly what my beagle “Augie” does. I could not find anything on this, and all I knew that helped my dog is that during the “hacking” attacks is to gently stroke his neck until spasms quit, and that seems to stop the spasm. A drink of very cold water after a “attack” makes my dog happy, and life returns back to normal. Thanks for sharing!

October 11, 2010 at 9:12 am
(15) Ashleigh MacNeil says:

I have a 18 month old German Shorthaired Pointer , “Eika”. She has recently started doing this snorting thing, it usually happens when shes eating, and sometimes when she gets excited ( on the way to the dog park in the car she starts whining) and this triggers the snort, Also i caught her outside eating dead leaves and sticks and when she came inside she started snorting. I am wondering if she may have sticks or soemthing caught in her throat? I have looked in her throat and cant see anything, she did wake up in the middle of the night last night and threw up some foam with little sticks and leaves in it.. it is just quite scary when she has a snorting episode her whole body goes ridged and i feel so bad for her. She doesnt seem to be in any pain and they only last for a few seconds…

October 24, 2010 at 11:25 am
(16) Edith Kortus says:

My dog did that earlier this morning. I was in a panic as it is
Sunday and my vet is not open. So I gave him some peanut bbutter in a Kong to distract him and googled “my dog is snorting like he has water up his nose”. I found this web site…..and was relieved to read the advice…….because once my dog started on the peanut butter his snorting has stopped. Now I will know in the future that I stumbled on an OK remedy.

January 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm
(17) mikey says:

it is called a reverse sneeze, it is common in small dogs. it usually happens when they’re exited. but you should still talk to a vet.

February 4, 2011 at 3:30 am
(18) millie says:

My dog keeps doing this sneezing but he is acting unormal and lying around and when he does sneeze he wacks his head on the ground!!! This happened during a walk after he sniffed something.It is night time and to take him to the vet would be a lot of money and suggestions please,please,please comment!!!!!

February 7, 2011 at 8:33 pm
(19) vetmedicine says:
February 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm
(20) Amir says:

My 7 years old Labrador started doing this since last night. I noticed this is started after we installed a new dryer. Farther investigated and found out that she stuck her nose in the trashcan containing cleaned lint from the dryer’s filter. Some lint might be stuck in her nostrils. She can eat and drink just fine. I am not sure what’s the best way to clean her nostrils. Now when we go out, we can’t get far because in addition to panting, she stops frequently and tries to clean her throat. Any idea how to clean her nostrils without causing too much discomfort?

March 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm
(21) Danielle says:

MY BEAGLE DOES IT AS WELL! And she’s been doing it ever since she was a puppy.

It scares me because I feel like she can’t breathe. :(

March 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm
(22) sam says:

yeah my beagle does that too!
is it normal or not ?

April 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm
(23) Bev says:

My Beagle Sammy has been doing this for years too. And I feel bad that I haven’t taken her to the vet, but she seems happy . She is also 13 yrs. old and has some tumors on her too.

April 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm
(24) Kay says:

My lab-pit bull mix who is 11 has been reverse sneezing for a couple years. Doesn’t seem to affect him in a negative way. I believe it does get worse in the springtime.

June 12, 2011 at 9:17 am
(25) Hershy&Ginx says:

We have two German Short Hair Pointers and a queensland mix. We live in the country now all the dogs are doing the “Hawlking a luggie sound.” I am going with the allergen Idea and will keep an eye out for any type of infected mucus.” But spring is here and its even sneezy for us humans :) . I was concerned but this forum has helped because the sneezes are in all the dogs.

June 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm
(26) marie says:

my dog is a colli cross with a pit she does this and its like she cant breath i do rub her neck to try and help her i look into her eyes and its like she is saying HELP she is only 9 month now and has done it a few times but seems to be more now i think she has something stuck what do i do HELP

July 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm
(27) Lori says:

I have two dachshunds. One has always had these spells of honking and it looks and sounds dreadful, but now the past two days BOTH dogs are having mild constant little coughs and one is constantly puffing air out of his nose. Since they both started with this at the same time, am I safe in assuming it’s a virus or cold?

July 6, 2011 at 9:36 am
(28) han says:

my chihuahua does that.. most of the time its when he gets excited. but im not sure whether it is that reverse sneezing or something else, it frightens me when he does it coz it looks like he cant breathe :/

July 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm
(29) debbie Collino says:

My 3 year Beagle Honey does it all the time, normally only for very short episodes but today after a walk I noticed her leg had a deep gash . Took her to the vets where she had it treated, I had to hold her really firmly which she didn’t like! This evening she had an episode lasting 2hours, stoking her neck seemed to help and a tiny bit of meat in between the acute episodes seemed to ease it. Now she’s sound asleep and I’m still recovering. Seems to be a beagle problem, whether excited, stressed, anxious or from neck pressure either from pulling on leash or restraint.

August 15, 2011 at 5:40 am
(30) Sarah hurry says:

My 8 year old bulldog has just started doing this over the past week everyday more so when she eats I am worried as she has never done this before she has also lost a lot of her appetite never finishing her meals I was wondering if maybe she has this reverse sneezing or if it could be something more sinister.

November 5, 2011 at 7:13 am
(31) grace says:

my year old cavalier Corgi cross does it at least once a day. it worried me at first but he’s done it for a while..

November 13, 2011 at 12:44 am
(32) Brad says:

both my staff crosses have done it their whole lives. they seem fine

January 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm
(33) Juley Hands says:

Hi Everyone. Happy New Year, my little Jackchi ,Reebi, has started doing this, he did it tonight when I put some face cream on containing honey . I noticed how strongly it smelt & shortly after Reebi started having the snorting attack, so I calmed him & waited for it to pass then washed the cream off my face & hands etc.
He has thankfully stopped so I deduct from that , the reason must be an allergic reaction to the cream! I have noticed the same thing happening to him with some of my perfumes! Poor Little poppet, I shall exclude him from my room in future & stop using the offending cream!

February 12, 2012 at 5:12 am
(34) holly says:

My dog lola whom is a shih tzu keeps on snorting and getting hichups at night , she next to me asleep now snoring i wanna know why

March 7, 2012 at 4:51 am
(35) megan says:

We have 2 beagles, they both do the snorting thing, one more than the other. Our previous 2 beagles also did it. I find gently rubbing Kennys neck and talking to him helps calm him and the snorting stops.

May 26, 2012 at 10:21 am
(36) Mirism says:

So pleased I read this. our Cavalier Oliver, 3,reverse sneezes very occasionally. But today he has been at it non stop and vomited on our daughter. Seems funny as our whole (human) family has flu/ bronchitis right now… I was thinking ” no not the dog too”. Babysitter suggested kennel cough. But this morn hubby had his hair cut at home and says the dog ate his hair. I will take him to vet to be checked tomorrow but that could be it! Checked Olivers appetite which was good but I think that even if a Cavalier was dieing it would eat anything in sight

November 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm
(37) Pam says:

My weiner dog is doing this, gave her a drink of COLD water and a Benadryl. She is doing fine now. Going to call the vet tomorrow. She acts like she is so scared when she does this breathing. I am just getting over a cold and I’m still coughing. I don’t know if that is the reason but I’m going to find out. She means the world to me. Thank you all for this information. I was so scared until i read al of your comments. Thank You, Pam

January 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm
(38) jen says:

my 9 year old beagle roscoe started the snorting about a week ago,he does it occasionally

January 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm
(39) Niqui says:

When my 2yr old pomeranian drinks water too fast, she makes tis snorting noise almost as if shes choking, and it seems as if it was because she’s trying to breathe through her nose. Its a really throaty nasaled sound that’s quite disturbing. You can feel it in her throat when she makes this noise. When She does it, i try to stand her up on her hind legs to get her to open her mouth or to get air to her lungs easier, but it doesn’t work. What can I do to help her not make that sound, or to ease her breathing when she is having one of those attacks?

January 27, 2013 at 8:13 pm
(40) Brenda says:

Our dachshund/beagle/who knows mix does this and drives us nuts, especially after eating, so I am very glad to have found this post. I was telling my husband that it sounded like something was wrong with her soft palate and it probably is.

February 19, 2013 at 11:50 am
(41) mina says:

i have a pekingese puppy that always snorts when he takes a deep breath or something and when he gets hyper. maybe its just his flat face.

February 23, 2013 at 6:04 am
(42) Dee Evans says:

I have a pit bull and she started to do it two days ago. It’s like she is trying to clear out her nasal passages, or like she has something in her throat. She sounds like a old man who inhale thick snot from nose to spit out, but nothing comes out. I’ve tried using a Turkey Baster to push water into her nose to flush it out. but nothing has helped. Since I’m not making the best money anymore a Vet visit is out of the question, but I refuse to give her up because she will be put down.

April 9, 2013 at 8:36 am
(43) Tamara says:

Our spitz dog and also our hound mix dog make this awful snorting sound, like a pig. It is upsetting because it goes on for about a minute or so without stopping. It’s Spring now and pollen is thick, so I think it might be due to allergies. They were both exposed to a sweet doggie who has kennel cough, but they were both vaccinated against kennel cough, so I’m hesitant to think that’s what it is. Also, the rescue dog has a dry, hacking cough and they both just snort in their noses and don’t cough. Very odd, but it sounds more common than I realized. (The rescue dog is getting better on antibiotics, by the way.)

July 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm
(44) Sarah says:

My beagle has been doing it and it just keep getting worse!!!

August 11, 2013 at 11:06 am
(45) trey says:

My Chihuahua does this all the time and she acts like she can’t breath through her nose. She’s done this all her life. I always try to calm her down when this happens. When she stops she is fine playful and don’t act as if she’s in any pain or distress but always worries me.

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