Most dog owners have at one point or another been baffled by their dog’s behavior. Why do they chase their tail? Why do they bark at nothing? And, perhaps most puzzling of all, why do they make pig noises?
While it may seem like a random act, there is usually a reason behind a dog’s actions. In the case of pig noises, there are actually several possible explanations
Here are seven of the most common reasons why dogs make pig noises:
Pig Noises Explained
If you have ever heard your dog make grunting or oinking noises and wondered what on earth they were doing, you are not alone. This strange noise is actually called reverse sneezing, and while it may be alarming to hear, in most cases it is completely harmless.
Reverse sneezing occurs when a dog’s throat muscles spasm and the soft palate is irritated. The dog will breathe in too much air through their nose, which will cause the trachea to narrow and the chest to expand.
This sequence of events results in the characteristic pig-like sound. Although it may look like your dog is struggling to breathe, rest assured that they are not in any danger.
Reverse sneezing typically lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes, after which the dog will return to normal.
Veterinarians believe that reverse sneezing is caused by a number of different factors. Here are some of the most common:
1. They Are Brachycephalic Breeds
When it comes to making noise, not all dogs are created equal. Breeds with smaller throats and noses, such as Pugs and Chow Chows, are more likely to make sounds that resemble those of a pig.
This is due to the way their throats and noses are structured – they have narrower airways which makes it harder for them to breathe.
As a result, they tend to snort, grunt, and wheeze more often than other breeds of dogs.
It’s well known that their short noses and flat faces can cause a number of health problems, including difficulties with breathing. In fact, many brachycephalic breeds are prone to airway obstruction, which can lead to dangerous respiratory distress.
While there are surgical options that can help to improve airflow, it is often best to prevent airway issues from developing in the first place.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent an airway issue in brachycephalic dogs:
If you have a brachycephalic dog, it’s important to take steps to prevent airway issues. One of the best things you can do is to avoid stress and heat. Brachycephalic dogs are prone to respiratory distress, and stressful situations can trigger an attack.
Likewise, high temperatures can also cause problems for these dogs. If it’s hot outside, make sure to provide plenty of water and shade. Limiting exercise in hot weather is also a good idea.
Use a Harness Instead of a Collar
When it comes to preventing airway issues in brachycephalic breeds, using a harness instead of a collar is often recommended.
The main reason for this is that collars can put pressure on the dog’s trachea, which can lead to difficulties in breathing.
Harnesses, on the other hand, distribute the pressure more evenly and are less likely to cause problems. In addition, harnesses provide more control over the dog’s movement, which can be helpful in avoiding situations that might trigger an airway issue.
Excess weight can put undue strain on the respiratory system, making it harder for the dog to breathe. In addition, fat deposits around the neck can narrow the airway, further restricting airflow.
As a result, it is important to feed brachycephalic breeds a balanced diet and to avoid overfeeding.
By keeping your dog at a healthy weight, you can help to prevent respiratory problems and ensure that your dog enjoys a long and healthy life.
2. They Have Allergies of Some Kind
Allergies are a common problem for dogs, and they can cause a variety of symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, and itchiness. In severe cases, allergies can also lead to swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing.
This can sometimes cause dogs to make strange noises, such as honking or grunting, as they struggle to get enough air. While it may sound comical, these noises are actually a sign of distress and can be quite dangerous.
If your dog is making pig noises due to allergies, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately. With proper treatment, most dogs can recover from allergies without any long-term problems. However, if left untreated, allergies can be fatal.
Here are some tips for managing allergies in dogs:
Identify the Allergen
The first step in managing allergies is to identify the allergen. This can be difficult, as there can be many different allergens that trigger a reaction. However, your veterinarian can help to narrow down the list of possible allergens and may recommend testing to determine the specific allergen.
Remove the Allergen from the Environment
Once you have identified the allergen, the next step is to remove it from the environment. This can be difficult, as allergens can be hidden in many different places.
By taking a close look at your dog’s environment and making some changes, you can help to reduce the number of allergens your dog is exposed to.
Use a Vet-Prescribed Medication
If you cannot remove the allergen from the environment, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication to help manage the allergy. There are many different types of medications available, and your vet will be able to recommend the best option for your dog.
3. Something Struck in Their Nose Like a Blade of Grass
When a blade of grass, or some other small object, gets stuck in a dog’s nose, it can cause the dog to make strange noises as it tries to dislodge the object.
The noise may sound like honking, snorting, or choking, and can be quite alarming to owners who are not familiar with the condition.
In most cases, the object will eventually work its way out on its own, but in some cases, it may need to be removed manually. Here are some tips to help remove an object from a dog’s nose:
Massage Their Throat
If your dog has something stuck in their nose, the first thing you’ll want to do is try and massage their throat. This will help to loosen whatever is lodged in there and make it easier for them to cough it up.
Softly Blow In Their Face
Another way to try and loosen the object is to blow softly in their face. The gust of air will help to dislodge the object and make it easier to remove.
Hold Their Nostrils Closed For a Few Seconds
The third way to try and remove the object is to hold their nostrils closed for a few seconds. This will force the dog to open their mouth and should make it easier to remove the object.
4. They Have an Infection
If your dog starts making strange noises, it could be a sign of infection. When dogs are infected with certain diseases, they may start to experience neurological changes that can affect their vocalizations.
For example, some dogs with meningitis will start to make high-pitched squealing noises, while others may grunt or make other pig-like sounds.
In some cases, these changes in vocalization may be the only symptom of disease, so it’s important to pay attention to any changes in your dog’s voice.
If you notice your dog making unusual noises, contact your veterinarian for an evaluation.
5. They Have Nasal Mites
Nasal mites are tiny parasitic creatures that live in the noses of dogs and other animals. These mites feed on the host’s blood, and they can cause a variety of health problems, including anemia and respiratory infections.
In some cases, nasal mites can also cause the host to make strange noises, such as pig-like grunting or wheezing. While the exact reason for this is not known, it is believed that the mites may interfere with the host’s vocal cords, causing them to vibrate in an unusual way.
Regardless of the reason, nasal mites can be a serious problem for dogs and their owners, and it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The Symptoms of Nasal Mites
In addition to making strange noises, dogs with nasal mites may also exhibit other symptoms, including:
- Excessive sneezing
- Discharge from the nose
- Nasal congestion
- Bleeding from the nose
- Decreased sense of smell
- Labored breathing
- Facial itching
Treatments of Nasal Mites
The most common treatments for nasal mites are anti-parasitic medication which kills the mites and prevents them from reproducing. Antihistamines can also be used to relieve symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose.
In severe cases, steroids may be necessary to reduce inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages. With prompt treatment, most dogs recover from nasal mites without any long-term problems.
6. They Have Collapsed Trachea
One condition that can lead to a dog making pig-like noises is a collapse of the trachea. The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is a tube that carries air from the nose and mouth to the lungs.
Tracheal collapse is a progressive respiratory condition that occurs when the tracheal rings of cartilage collapse. This can cause your dog to have breathing problems as the windpipe collapses.
In most cases, the cause of the tracheal collapse in dogs is unknown. However, there are some possible risk factors that may include genetics, trauma, chronic irritation, or inflammation.
This condition usually affects small breeds of dogs, such as Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, and Chihuahuas.
However, any breed of dog can be affected. If your dog has tracheal collapse, you may notice a harsh dry cough. In severe cases, your dog may have trouble breathing and may even faint.
If you suspect that your dog has this condition, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away as it can progress to become life-threatening if left untreated.
The Symptoms of a Collapsed Trachea
In addition to making pig-like noises, dogs with a collapsed trachea may also exhibit other symptoms, including:
- Harsh dry cough
- Difficulty breathing, especially when exercising
- Gasping for breath
- Coughing when picked up
- Turning blue when excited
Treating a Collapsed Trachea
While it can be a serious problem, most dogs with tracheal collapse can be treated with medications and preventative care.
Weight loss is often recommended for dogs with tracheal collapse, as even a small amount of excess weight can put additional pressure on the trachea.
Using a harness for walks is another important preventative measure, as collars can put too much pressure on the neck and aggravate the condition.
Finally, avoiding airway irritants such as smoke, perfume, and dust is essential for preventing further damage to the trachea. With proper treatment and care, most dogs with tracheal collapse lead normal, happy lives.
7. They Drank Too Much Water Quickly
When dogs drink too much water too quickly, they sometimes make a characteristic pig-like noise. This is due to the fact that their stomachs fill up with water and put pressure on their diaphragms.
The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the stomach cavity, and it is responsible for helping the lungs expand during inhalation.
When the stomach presses up against the diaphragm, it limits the amount of air that can enter the lungs, and this causes the dog to make a grunting noise similar to that of a pig.
Fortunately, this condition is usually not serious and will resolve itself after a few minutes.
While the causes of a dog making pig-like noises can be varied and serious, most often they are simply a result of minor conditions. With prompt treatment, most dogs recover quickly and without any long-term problems.
However, to err on the side of caution, if you notice any strange or excessive pig-like noises coming from your dog, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian for a check-up.