If you’ve had your Pug for a while, then you may have noticed that this breed makes a lot of noises. It’s not unusual for them to snore, wheeze, and snort or gasp for air. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the adorable and snorting sounds that can come from a Pug, as well as the causes and what to do about it.
Why Do Pugs Snort So Much?
Pugs are a brachycephalic (short-snouted) breed. Breeds such as the English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, and Shih Tzu, have a shortened upper respiratory system, as well as nasal passage, which can lead to breathing difficulties causing them to snort or snore.
Brachycephalic breeds such as the Pug have a higher risk of respiratory illness, due to their narrower tracheas, which can collapse easily, and soft long palates. That being said, this is why these breeds snort more than other dog breeds.
Now that you know what causes these Pug noises like snorting, let’s take a look at what you can do about it when it does happen.
What To Do During A Pug Snort Attack?
When you see the first episode, it’s going to be scary. It’s going to appear as though your Pug is having trouble breathing and is gasping for air. Their eyes will widen and it looks as though they are trying to cough up a hairball.
When in reality, they are just having a snort attack because they are having trouble breathing. Here’s a video of a Pug snorting uncontrollably, to help you understand what it looks like.
As you can see, their snorting can get very loud.
When Do Pugs Snort?
Every dog is different, but Mindy my black Pug used to snort violently when she got really excited. However, there are other reasons that can trigger a snorting episode for your pooch.
Upper Airway Obstructions: Some people snore heavily and suffer from sleep apnea. Both dogs and cats can suffer from an inherited condition known as “brachycephalic syndrome,” which can cause them to snort more frequently than other breeds.
The snorting process is their attempt to clear their respiratory tracts of fluid, debris, or any disease that can cause irritation to your pet.
Excess Weight: Pugs and prone to being overweight. An overweight Pug can suffer from upper airway obstructions or irritations, which can cause them to snort more frequently.
If your Pug is snorting due to them being overweight, you’ll want to change their diet and help them lose weight. When Mindy gained excess weight, we started feeding her weight management food.
Excitement: You may also notice your Pug snorting if they become overly excited. It’s not uncommon for Fido to greet you at the door after a long day at work, they may even be snorting like a warthog or pig.
Maybe they become overly excited when you give them a new toy to play with or a treat. Both these examples can cause a Pug to snort.
Allergies: Just like in humans, your pet can suffer from respiratory problems due to allergens in their environment. If you notice that your Pug is suddenly snorting and allergy season has arrived, then your pooch is probably suffering from seasonal allergies.
Pets are sensitive to certain environmental changes, household cleaners, and perfumes just like humans.
Hot Temperatures: If your Pug is exposed to hot temperatures for long periods of time, it can lead to a snort attack. The heat can cause your pooch to have trouble breathing, which in turn will cause them to snort.
To minimize these types of attacks, keep your dog in controlled temperature environments.
Unfortunately, you NEVER really know when your Pug is going to have a snort attack. They usually just come on suddenly.
Can You Stop Your Pug From Snorting?
If your Pug has always make snorting sounds, there’s not much you can do about it, unless the problem becomes more frequent and severe. These weird noises are just a part of the brachycephalic dog breed you are living with.
As a pet owner, you’ll just have to get used to them and ensure that you do your best to minimize these snorting episodes, by controlling your dog’s weight, managing their stress, and creating a good home environment to prevent allergies.
Pug owners should also use a harness instead of collars when walking their pet. Collars will put unneeded pressure on your dog’s neck, which can lead to breathing issues.
If your dog starts snorting more frequently, then you will want to contact your veterinarian to perform an examination and assess what’s causing the uncontrollable snorting problems. At that point, they will determine whether surgery can help your Pug breathe easier.
Surgical options would include the opening of the narrowed nasal passages, shortening the soft palate, and removing the laryngeal pouches.
Most Pug owners never pay for a costly surgery, and just use the preventative measures I have shared.
Treating Pug Snorting
For the occasional snorting attacks, there’s not much to do. In fact, your dog will be fine without any help with you. It’s okay if monitor them and massage their throat gently to try to help them through the spasm. (I used to do this with Mindy)
There’s no reason to rush them to the vet every time they have a snorting attack. This behavior is very common among these flat-faced breeds.
When To Contact Your Vet
If you notice that your dog is breathing through his mouth most of the time or they are always in distress and having trouble breathing, it could be a sign of other medical problems.
These symptoms could be a sign that your pooch is suffering from asthma, or a respiratory illness such as pneumonia, or kennel cough.
Only you know what’s normal snorting for your pooch. If you’re concerned that your dog is snorting more often and having trouble breathing, then it’s time to take them to the vet for an exam.
Final Word On Pug Snorting Problems
That occasional snorting sound you hear from your Pug, it’s normal for this breed. Pugs are born snorters and you just have to get used to it.
As long as your pooch stays happy and healthy, there’s no concern with this behavior whatsoever. I’ve shared some of the common reasons that Pugs snort, that being said, your dog may snort for other reasons as well.
Snorting is just one of the adorable traits that come from owning a Pug!
References and Further Reading
VCA Hospital – Krista Williams, BSc, DVM; Ernest Ward, DVM – Reverse Sneeze In Dogs
Dogster – Jennifer Lesser – Dog Snorting – Why It Happens and What to Do About It