Why Does My Dog Huff at Me? (6 Possible Reasons)

Dogs are funny creatures who can be found doing funny things that sometimes make no sense!

If you have ever witnessed them making noises beyond explanation and feeling like they were choking while they were not, chances are you spotted them huffing.

There is always a reason why dogs make some noises and behave a certain way. There usually is never one particular reason for such actions, but knowing why they do this can help you assist them in case they are dealing with a serious issue.

But if your dog huffs casually when you pet them, it does signify they are happy. But at the same time, if you showed them anger, they could be huffing to express their fear.

So, the next time you find your dog huffing, consider the below-given reasons before panicking. Keeping these reasons in mind will help you understand their behavior better and give them proper treatment accordingly.

Is Huffing a Serious Problem in Dogs?

Huffing a Serious Problem in Dogs

Huffing in dogs sounds quite similar to reverse sneezing. Sometimes, it may sound like your dog is choking on something or has some muscular spasm in its throat, making it quite sick. But the big question remains if this sound is an alarm for you or not.

Fortunately, you must have noticed that these sounds don’t last long. They stop on their own, and your dog returns to its usual self after some time. But if the condition persists, don’t waste time on home remedies and consult your vet as soon as possible.

Vets are better positioned to determine if the huffing sound is due to underlying respiratory problems.

If that is the case, early detection can make it easier for your dog. Otherwise, your dog may have been infected by mites in its nose, causing the sound. This condition will also require medication.

There is a high chance that your dog is huffing out of an underlying medical reason, so you must seek immediate medical assistance. If their huffing begins to feel unusually loud and extended for longer, consider talking to your dog’s vet.

At times, dogs develop elongated soft palates, which is an abnormality known as a brachycephalic syndrome. This, too, can be a reason your dog huffs at you.

Possible Reasons Why My Dog Huffs At Me

Dogs’ actions cannot be explained or generalized in most cases. Sometimes when under pressure, many of them will huff. A dog could huff, for instance, when they come across another dog.

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So, if someone brought their dog over to your house, your dog could be frightened since they are unsure of why there is a new dog in the house. This is a reason enough for them to freak out and start huffing.

Identifying why your dog is huffing could help alleviate this issue. We have listed all the possible reasons that can impact your dog’s health and the possible reasons for their constant or occasional huffing.

1. Eating Improperly

Eating Improperly

If you have noticed your dog tends to eat his meal super quickly or to gulp down a whole bowl of water instantly, chances are that this is why they may be huffing.

Also, if the food or water gets stuck in its throat, it can lead your dog to start huffing.

Ensure that you train your dog slowly and adequately, as this habit of gulping down food and water can be costly for their health in the long run.

Under normal circumstances, a regular huffing should not last more than half a minute. If your dog continues to huff for too long and it gets difficult for them to cope, seek medical assistance from a vet, as there could be an issue with your pup’s esophagus.

2. A Way To Communicate

A Way To Communicate

This may be their way of trying to communicate with you for the lack of better options. Unfortunately, we sometimes can’t bring ourselves to pay attention to each activity.

If they cannot seek our attention after several unsuccessful attempts, they tend to find alternatives to conventional talking methods. This is because their means of communication are limited, and they try to do their best to ensure they pass on the message they wish to.

3. Exercise Intolerance

Exercise Intolerance

Is your dog hyperactive and quickly become overexcited? Or are there temperament issues where they become aggressive?

If so, it could also result in excessive huffing. When your puppy is playing with other puppies, you can easily witness this happening to them.

This may also happen when you pull the leash out and let them loose. The huffing may then be brought on by excessive enthusiasm.

After engaging in excessive running or‌ any other type of physical exercise, you might notice your dog huffing. They tend to seek rest or relief from all the exhaustion that they just had.

If you take your dog for lengthy walks, then also, you will notice them huffing.

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Similarly, just a casual catch and throw of a ball too can make them huff if the play was intense or got extended.

4. Allergies


If your dog has something stuck in its throat, remember that sneezing or coughing may not always be effective in clearing it up. As a result, your dog can begin huffing.

The cause of the huffing sound might be something as complicated as an allergic response or something as simple as your dog ingesting a bug. For example, the throat may feel slightly constrained if your dog wears a collar or is leashed, which might cause puffing.

5. Nasal Mites

nasal discharge

There is a possibility that your dog has developed nasal mites that are becoming a cause of irritation for them. Signs include nasal discharge, itchiness of the face, sneezing, reverse sneezing, and nosebleeds.

The best thing to do is to focus on getting rid of these mites.

Try to keep your dog’s nose clean to avoid nasal mites in the first place. Ensure that you maintain the proper hygiene of your dog’s nose and take care of them when they suffer from cold.

They may sound like a reverse sneeze when your dog suddenly and forcefully inhales air through their nose, causing you to hear your dog grunt and hack.

This huffing typically results from factors like intolerance to physical activity, irritants, or underlying disorders.

Take it to a vet if the problem doesn’t go away or has become a serious issue.

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6. Respiratory Issues

Respiratory Issues

A spasm typically brings your dog’s puffing fits in the throat or the back of the mouth. For some time, your dog may have trouble breathing regularly when the windpipe gets restricted. However, the situation will improve eventually.

If the issue persists and they cannot find relief, consider getting them to a vet who can provide treatment and medications to help them feel better. Once their respiratory issues are fixed, you notice their huffing habit disappears slowly.

Huffing in Dogs: What to Do?

While huffing is not a serious problem in most cases, it can sometimes indicate underlying health issues. While, fortunately, most of the time, dogs stop huffing on their own, you should still be careful and follow some simple steps to lessen huffing.

Let’s quickly look at the possible ways you can control your dog’s huffing.

  • Ensure that your dog is given ample time to eat its food. Be physically present when it is eating its meal to ensure it is not gulping down its food too quickly. If required, take the help of a slow feeder.
  • If your dog is huffing to communicate with you by grabbing your attention, make it feel comfortable by being near it. You can also try to snuggle and hug your dog, which will make it feel at ease. Remember, do not scream at your dog, as it will affect it negatively.
  • You don’t necessarily have to get your dog rigorous exercise of their hyperactive nature. Hyperactivity can be dealt with at home as well. Besides, professional services will take care of your dog’s hyperactivity. Additionally, calm and composed dogs are easier to deal with at the dog park or while on a walk, and they tend to choke less on a leash compared to hyperactive ones.
  • Take precautions to ensure your canine friend does not catch nasal mites or allergies. Yet, if they begin to suffer from such issues, do not forget to seek medical assistance.
  • Take your dog to regular medical checkups, as this can detect any respiratory disorder early. If there are any impending respiratory problems, early detection will enable your vet to decide on the future course of treatment for your dog’s early recovery. This, in turn, will help with its huffing.
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Why does my dog huff at me? The first thing to do if your dog is huffing for the first time is to take them to the vet to be examined. Then, once the more alarming alternatives have been checked out, you may rest easy knowing that your dog is acting in a typical canine manner.

Most of the time, huffing is neither a medical emergency nor a cause for concern. However, you can take certain precautions.

Reduce your dog’s exposure to certain scents or allergies if they are causing them to huff. Use a harness rather than a collar if your dog whines while pulling on the leash during walks.

As soon as your dog starts to huff, pay close attention to see if you can see any patterns.