Rolls of skin, chubby bellies, and squashed faces are some of the iconic features that make pugs as adorable as they are.
But if you’re a new pug owner and hear your dog making snorting noises for the first time, it might get you wondering—why do pugs snort? And is there a cure for it?
We understand first-hand how scary it can be to hear a pug undergo a snorting spell. But here’s some reassuring news: It’s normal and rarely requires a trip to the veterinarian.
So, we’ll help you understand why pugs snort and give you tips for minimizing the possibility of it happening.
An Anatomical Look at Why Pugs Snort
If you haven’t heard of the word “brachycephalic” before, we’re happy to be the ones to introduce it to you. Brachycephalic means short-snouted and is the reason your pug has a predisposition to snorting.
Sadly, your pug’s adorable, squashed face is a significant contributor to why they snort. That’s because a short nose equates to a smaller upper respiratory tract system. They also have a shorter nasal passage. Together, it causes them to have difficulties breathing. This is one of the common health issues for pugs.
Snorting sounds. You may also hear your pug snore more often than your longer-snouted dog, which is also the result of your pug’s brachycephalic makeup.
Is Being Brachycephalic Bad?
Brachycephalic dog breeds like pugs have a higher chance of respiratory issues than many non-brachycephalic dog breeds.
Issues that your pug can have as a result of them being brachycephalic and snorting include:
- Collapsed tracheas
- Higher chance of respiratory diseases
- Long palates that are too soft
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
Needless to say, breeders didn’t craft the pug to hunt or run long distances. However, they serve as wonderful companion dogs. While it’s impossible to prevent your pug from snorting, it’s essential to understand when your pug is snorting and when they’re undergoing a reverse sneeze episode.
Recognizing a Reverse Sneeze
When considering the question, “Why do pugs snort?” it’s important to understand that the noises you hear your pug make might not be snorting at all. Instead, it might be a reverse sneeze.
Reverse sneezing is common in pugs since they have a short nasal passage and upper respiratory system. As a result, your pug has a higher likelihood of soft palate and throat sensitivity.
So, what does this mean for your beloved pet?
Irritants will cause your pug to undergo spasms, akin to someone having a seizure. We understand first-hand how scary watching it can be, especially for new pug owners. The good news is that it’s normal and rarely a reason to call your vet.
Signs that your pug is experiencing reverse sneezing include:
- Snorting or gasping sounds
- Bulging eyes
- Expanded chest
- Difficulty breathing
Causes of Reverse Sneezing
Pugs may vary with what causes them to have a bout of reverse sneezing. However, according to the American Kennel Club, the following items can cause reverse sneezing in dogs like pugs:
- Over excitement
- Irritated or inflamed nasal, pharyngeal, or sinuses
To help reduce the chances of reverse sneezing, take note if there’s a pattern when your pug has a bout of reverse sneezing. Does it happen when you use a certain perfume? Or when you vacuum your house?
It’s nearly impossible to 100% prevent your pug from ever experiencing reverse sneezing during their lifetime. However, by being aware of triggers, you can potentially reduce the number of times it happens.
In rare cases, reverse sneezing can signify a more severe condition. Therefore, if you notice your dog’s reverse sneezing lasting more than a couple of minutes or that they’re doing it often, you should bring them to the vet.
Other Reasons Why Pugs Snort
Pugs often make snorting sounds when they don’t have a reverse sneeze. The snorting can arise from many reasons within and out of your control.
- Over excitement
- Brachycephalic syndrome
In fact, brachycephalic syndrome is a condition that practically all pugs have. That’s because your pug naturally needs to snort to clear out fluids, debris, and other particles from their respiratory tract system.
It should go without saying, but you should never reprimand your pug for snorting. When they snort, it’s often an involuntary reaction to help clear their respiratory tract so that they can breathe easier.
How to Help Your Pug When They Snort
Although snorting is a normal part of a pug’s survival, it doesn’t mean that you can’t try to make an environment more friendly to your pet’s respiratory system.
Making sure they’re in temperature-controlled environments so that it doesn’t get too hot, keeping their weight in check, and soothing them when they get excited are ways to prevent snorting.
But when the inevitable moment happens when they snort or have a reverse sneezing episode, there are steps you can take to help ease their snorting and help them get back to breathing easier.
For example, if your pug is reverse sneezing, try following these steps:
- Use a soothing voice to help keep them calm.
- Carefully massage their throat.
- Gently tap their nostrils with your fingers.
Covering your dog’s nostrils may seem like a counterintuitive thing to do when they’re having trouble breathing, but it’ll encourage them to swallow. As a result, it’ll help them clear the irritant from their throat.
Similarly, when your pug snorts, it’s helpful to encourage them to drink water.
Supporting Your Snorting Pug
Now that you know the answer to the question, “Why do pugs snort?” setting up your pug’s environment so that it reduces their chances of snorting or reverse sneezing is crucial.
As a final recommendation, we suggest using a harness when walking your pug. Since collars place pressure on your dog’s neck, a harness will help them breathe easier during exercise.
It’s uncommon to need veterinary intervention for snorting pugs. But if you notice your pug snorting excessively for long periods, it’s best to take them to the vet. In rare cases, they may need an operation to help open their respiratory system.
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.