Why does my Chihuahua snort like a pig?
Our Chihuahua is adorable and she sleeps at my feet as I type this. She is snoring today, although she often makes those snorting noises which make her sound just like a pig!
The good news is that most types of snorting is normal in dogs. However, there are a few times when snorting may need you to take your pet to the vet.
If you find yourself wondering ‘why does my Chihuahua snort like a pig’ often, then there are a few factors that could be at play.
I have got all the answers to ‘why does my Chihuahua snort like a pig?’- so read on!
In this article, you will learn:
- 4 Tips To Help Your Chihuahua When It Is Snorting Like A Pig
- 7 Reasons Why A Chihuahua Snorts Like A Pig?
- And more…
7 Reasons Why Do Chihuahuas Snort Like A Pig?
You come home from work and your cute and cuddly Chihuahua rushes to greet you at the door.
But suddenly it starts snorting and wheezing and your chihuahua sounds like a pig. Your Chi might also have a panicked look on its face.
Here are some reasons why do chihuahuas snort:
1. Reverse sneezing
Reverse sneezing, also called paroxysmal respiration, occurs when your Chihuahua experiences some kind of irritation at the back of the throat. In this condition, a dog rapidly pulls air inside the nose.
Don’t worry, it isn’t always dangerous. In fact, reverse sneezing is as normal as regular sneezing. It just sounds a lot more awful than it actually is.
Many factors can cause reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas:
- Allergies to dust, grass, smoke, perfumes etc.
- Nasal mite (thankfully these are very rare)
- Foreign object stuck in the back of the throat such as food or a grass blade
- A sinus infection can also cause reverse sneezing.
Many Chihuahuas snorts and reverse sneeze if they have an infection or allergies to pollen, dust, grasses, etc. To relieve the irritation, your dog will try expelling the air out of the mouth and nose.
Unlike regular sneezing, this type of snorting is done on purpose to get rid of the irritating foreign particles. I will talk a little bit in detail about reverse sneezing later in this guide.
Almost all brachycephalic dog breeds have regular bouts of reverse sneezing and snorting.
Since Chihuahuas are brachycephalic (which means they have short noses and flat faces), they are genetically prone to making snorting sounds in their sleep.
Other dogs with ‘pushed-in’ faces like Boston terrier, English bulldog, pug, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, etc. are also known to make snorting noises.
Conversely, dogs with long nasal passage or long noses could also suffer from snorting and reverse sneezing.
3. Mass or elongated soft palate
A mass in the back of the dog’s nostril or elongated soft palate can also cause reverse sneezing episode.
The soft palate is the flap at the back of the mouth. If something irritates your dog’s nose while sleeping, there will be a spasm in the soft palate that will create that snorting sound as if your chihuahua sounds like a pig.
If your Chihuahua wears a collar and leash and it excitedly pulls on it, then the action can cause the soft palate to elongate resulting in snorting sound.
4. Excitement, stress, and anxiety
Even innocuous activities like eating, drinking, excitement, stress, and anxiety can sometimes cause your pet’s soft palate to spasm.
That is why some chihuahuas snort like a pig when they greet you in excitement or while eating and drinking.
5. Tracheal collapse
This is a serious issue that can cause breathing difficulties and snorting or wheezing in Chihuahuas.
The trachea is also known as the windpipe. It is a tubular structure that allows the passage of air from the nose to the lungs and back from the lungs out the nose.
The trachea consists of C-shaped rings which can collapse. This usually occurs in small dog breeds like Chihuahuas when they pull on the leash causing the weak tracheal rings to collapse on themselves.
The result: your dog will try to extend its neck to breathe normally resulting in a snorting sound that is similar pig snorting. This is a serious condition and your pet will need treatment. (More about tracheal collapse later in this guide.)
This can also cause snorting-like sounds in chihuahuas. Hyperventilation is characterized by rapid labored breathing and breathing with the mouth open.
Your dog might also drool with its mouth open or collapse due to it. I will discuss hyperventilation in detail below.
Should you be Concerned about Reverse Sneezing in your Chihuahua?
Reverse sneezing itself is not a matter of concern. Many Chihuahuas reverse sneeze to relieve irritation and it rarely needs a trip to the vet, let alone treatment.
Once the irritation is gone, the reverse sneezing stops too. If reverse sneezing becomes a chronic problem, then your vet might suggest rhinoscopy to see what is causing the irritation.
If there is a mass, your vet might perform a biopsy to see if it is a tumor.
Don’t worry, in many cases, the spasms stop on their own. A few Chihuahuas develop the issue as they age and there is nothing we can do about it.
Some Chis have the reverse sneezing episodes all their lives but without any after-effects.
What To Do If Your Chihuahua Continues Reverse Sneezing?
1. Massage its throat
Often times, if your chihuahua snorts and continues to reverse sneeze, you might have to massage your pet’s throat to stop the spasm.
You can also cover your Chihuahua’s nose as this will force it to swallow and along with the swallowing action, the irritation will go away too.
This will help put a stop to the reverse sneezing.
2. Depress your pet’s tongue
If covering your chihuahua’s mouth does not work, you can try depressing its tongue to open its mouth and direct the moving air through the nasal cavity.
3. See your vet
As suggested earlier, if the episodes of reverse sneezing are frequent, then take your dog to the vet to determine what the cause of irritation may be.
4 Tips On How To Help Your Chihuahua When It Starts Snorting?
To prevent or minimize your Chihuahua’s snorting sound, you can take the following steps:
1. Massage your Chihuahua’s throat
Gently massage your Chihuahua’s throat. This can help relieve the irritation and allow your pet to breathe normally.
Speak in calm, soothing tones to reduce your pet’s anxiety.
2. Gently blow air on your dog’s mouth
Aim small puffs of air on your Chihuahua’s nose and mouth. This will distract it from reverse sneezing and allow it to resume normal breathing.
Be gentle when you puff air on it – not like blowing out candles on the cake!
3. Pinch your Chihuahua’s nose
This maneuver will help your Chi breathe normally. Just pinch your Chihuahua’s nose quickly and gently for a few seconds and then release.
Do not pinch too hard that it hurts your pet.
4. Distract your dog
You can easily prevent mild cases of reverse sneezing by distracting your Chihuahua. Take it outdoors in the fresh air or offer it its favorite treat.
How to Prevent Chihuahua’s Snorting for Good?
You can take the following steps to prevent episodes of reverse sneezing
1. Minimize allergens
While you cannot prevent allergens outdoors, you can take steps to keep your Chihuahua away from cigarette smoke, pollution, etc.
Also, try to keep your pet off grass and prevent it from eating the same. If possible, vacuum the house with a HEPA filter to minimize dust, pollen, and allergens.
Speak to your vet regarding prescription antihistamines and medicines to prevent snorting caused by allergies or sinus infections.
2. Prevent your dog from getting overheated
Keep your dog indoors on hot summer days. You can exercise it during the cooler parts of the day.
In brachycephalic dogs like Chihuahuas, overheating can cause heat strokes, panting, snorting, and hyperventilation. So keep your buddy cool.
3. Avoid drastic temperature changes
In winters, some Chihuahuas could develop breathing issues when they move from warm indoor air to cold air outdoors.
Prevent these changes by using protective clothing and warm winter wear.
4. Use a snug collar and harness
If leash pulling is causing the tracheal collapse and snorting, switch to harnesses. Harnesses prevent pressure on your pet’s delicate windpipe, minimize pulling, and could prevent the rings of the trachea from collapsing.
What is Tracheal Collapse in Chihuahuas?
What causes tracheal collapse in dogs?
As mentioned above, Chihuahuas (like most small dog breeds) have weak trachea or windpipe.
Resultantly, they are prone to developing collapsed tracheal walls. This usually occurs when the dog is exercised strenuously, or when it is excited and pulls on its leash.
Tracheal collapse can also occur due to anesthesia, obesity, respiratory infections, kennel cough, inhalation of respiratory irritants, heart enlargement, etc.
What are the symptoms of tracheal collapse?
Once the tracheal rings collapse, your pet might strain to breathe normally. It will extend its neck to get in air to the lungs.
The result is that, there may be a wheezing or honking sound as the air pushes through the collapsed trachea.
Tracheal collapse could also be a reason as to why do chihuahuas snort. As your dog calms down, the trachea get back to normal.
Medication and treatment for tracheal collapse
Mild cases of tracheal collapse do not need any treatment.
Your doctor might prescribe medication for treating secondary symptoms – mainly antihistamines, anti-inflammatory medicines, or medicines to suppress cough.
In rare cases, the trachea may not get back to normal. Your pet might struggle for breath and if the episode lasts for more than a minute, please rush to the vet right away.
Some dogs with tracheal collapse need surgery to put back the rings in place. This surgery only works in early stages of the disease and needs a specialist.
What is Hyperventilation in Chihuahuas?
Another answer to ‘why does my Chihuahua snort like a pig?’ is hyperventilation. You might recognize this in your pet when it pants for no reason. Other signs of hyperventilation are:
- Shallow rapid breaths
- Breathing with the mouth open
- Mucous membrane color changes – bluish or pale pink
- Excess drooling
In hyperventilation, a dog might collapse since it does not get adequate oxygen. Please do not ignore the signs of hyperventilation and see your vet right away.
Causes of hyperventilation
Heat stroke, reverse sneezing, stress, anxiety, anemia, collapsed trachea, and pain can all cause hyperventilation in small dog breeds like Chihuahuas.
Never attempt to treat your Chihuahua at home. Take it to the vet right away. Your vet might cool your pet down using steroids, sedatives, antihistamines, bronchodilators, etc.
Your Chi will also need supplemental oxygen. If there is an obstructed airway, your pet might need surgery.
You can prevent hyperventilation by keeping your Chihuahua cool. Make sure it does not get stressed or anxious by minimizing triggers.
Have your vet examine your Chi regularly to prevent episodes.
Is it normal for Chihuahuas to snort?
Snorting in chihuahuas can be normal if is it due to reverse sneezing. However, if your chihuahua snorts a lot and it is not due to reverse sneezing, it could be a sign of tracheal collapse and should be checked by the vet.
When chihuahuas snort, their eyes may water and they will show exaggerated movements of their chest and abdomen. Whether your dog is a Chihuahua or any other breed, prolonged or habitual snorting can be a sign of respiratory problems.
FAQs on Why Does My Chihuahua Snort Like a Pig?
1. Why does my Chihuahua sound like a duck?
If your pet sounds like a duck or makes a honking sound like that of a goose, it could be kennel cough, tracheal collapse, or reverse sneezing caused by allergies or nasal irritation.
In most cases, this resolves on its own. If symptoms persist over the next few days, please see your vet.
2. What does a Chihuahua with tracheal collapse sound like?
A Chihuahua with collapsed trachea might cough repeatedly. The sound it makes while coughing is very distinct and you will hear it when your pet is excited or stressed or even when it is eating or drinking. In most Chihuahuas, the sound is like a goose’s honking.
3. Can tracheal collapse kill a Chihuahua?
Yes, collapsing trachea, if left untreated, can cause edema or swelling of the tracheal rings. It can cause severe respiratory distress and eventually death.
Why does my Chihuahua snort like a pig?
Snorting in dogs occurs due to reverse sneezing, hyperventilation, or tracheal collapse. In most cases, it is nothing to worry about and will resolve on its own.
If your pet continues snorting frequently, please see your vet to start the right treatment.