My Dog Keeps Huffing! Why?

Dogs are tiny furry angels that will relieve your stress with their mere presence. They are always active and excited to the extent that you’d find it challenging to match their energy levels. However, all is not well as sometimes they’ll exhibit some peculiar behavior that’ll leave you baffled.

One such instance is huffing – a rapid inhaling accompanied by low-key barking – that can quickly turn into a concern for dog parents. You will have questions like why does my dog keep huffing? Is it a normal dog thing or something worrisome? And most importantly, what could be the reason behind this?

Well, we have answers to every question of yours, and by the end of this article, you will know why your doggo keeps making weird noises like a sick goose and what you can do to help them. So without further ado, let’s get straight into the details.

Why Might a Dog Keep Huffing?‎

There can be a lot of reasons behind your dog’s huffing, including allergies, nasal mites, respiratory problems, or intolerance to exercise. The basic logical reason is that they are trying to take in more oxygen than they can actually use. When huffing appears normal without any alarming sound or symptoms, it actually serves as a mode of communication for your doggie as it’ll keep on huffing to show his excitement and high energy levels.

Often your dog will give the illusion as if they are having some sort of difficulty in breathing. Like they will be gasping for air and will make that rattling noise in their chest. That’s exactly what huffing looks like. Apparently, it is due to their effort to inhale more oxygen. However, on a deeper level, there could be several reasons behind your dog’s chronic huffing that just don’t seem to go away. First off, most of the time, the problem is obvious as they are just dehydrated. So all you need is to increase their water intake.

Another reason your dog keeps huffing might be an irritant that won’t get out with a sneeze or cough and is deep in the throat. The irritation might also arise because of your pup swallowing a bug. Likewise, a firmly tied leash around the neck or your careless pulling can also trigger huffing as it becomes too uncomfortable for your pooch. Some dogs start huffing after their exercise time, and some make strange noises after rapidly eating or drinking.

Now, if your dog keeps huffing just at you, then this literally means two things; either he is happy and content or is feeling worried. In any case, it is his language to communicate his emotions.

Should I Be Concerned if My Dog Is Huffing Too Much?‎

Huffing is a natural phenomenon; you shouldn’t be concerned about it as your dog is merely communicating his excitement. But too much huffing without any obvious reason in sight is a matter of concern and requires your serious attention. Try to look for the pattern to help understand the cause, as it may indicate that your dog is overheated, has some health issues, or has been through serious trauma.

Since dogs do not have a proper system to regulate their temperature like humans, they’d keep huffing to evaporate water from their mouth and respiratory tract. Accordingly, if the heavy huffing is accompanied by shaking, then you must consider this as a stress response by your dog. In this case, it is better to contact your vet as soon as possible as there could be other reasons behind your dog’s shaking.

So if your dog starts huffing out of nowhere, watch out for the symptoms to tell if they are serious. If they seem mild and treatable on your own, it shouldn’t bother you as such. But in case of severe huffing and alarming symptoms, consult a certified vet as it may indicate a deeper level health issue.

What Can I Do to Get My Dog to Stop Huffing?‎

You can not stop your dog from huffing altogether as it is a natural behavior. However, you can take different measures to minimize it. Huffing or even sniffing is a dog’s way of exhibiting that they are nervous, stressed, or overly excited. You can adopt different ways to calm them down or even try removing them from stressful situations. You can implement tips like obedience training or providing positive reinforcement when the dog does not huff. ‎This behavior can be irritating at times, but you can easily break the pattern with some effort and by ‎teaching your dog to control it.

Here are some sure-fire ways that can use to cut down the huffing episodes when they feel going off limits.

Nose workout

It is good to give your pup’s nose a workout before an event or activity. This will tire your dog’s nose, making him not huff every now and then.

Introduce him to new scents

Dogs are curious creatures and are obsessed with sniffing and huffing. To quench his thirst for new scents, it is better to offer new and interesting scents more than usual. You can turn this activity into various games to keep him mentally engaged.

Allow your dog to huff at you.

Letting your dog huff at you can actually work as a remedy. Whenever your doggo is huffing at you, do not back away. Instead, try to stand erect before him and command him not to do such an act. Hold your ground, and don’t forget to reward him for being a good guy.


It is obvious that huffing is normal, and you shouldn’t be overwhelmed if your dog keeps huffing. However, if you find it to be aggressive or notice other signs such as shaking or color changes, then it’s an alarming situation. In such a scenario, it is better to contact your vet and have a proper treatment plan. Remember that huffing is not always considered a health issue but is more of a behavior that you can always improve with training.