Many dog breeds are known to make funny noises on a regular basis. Here is a list of the 12 most common sounds and what they mean.
In most cases, the following sounds are completely normal and harmless. In exceptional cases, however, they can also be a symptom of an underlying disease.
In addition to the sound itself, body language is also important here. A tucked-in tail and a stooped posture usually indicate pain.
1. Reverse Sneeze
As the name suggests, no air is blown out when you sneeze backward. Instead, the dog sucks in air through its nose at almost the same rate.
The resulting noise often sounds like the dog choking. Sometimes it also resembles a cough or a duck-like croaking.
Most often it occurs in the following situations:
- After eating and drinking
- In the relaxed state
- After a nap
The same cause of reverse sneezing is still unclear. However, it occurs more frequently in Great Dane species and other dogs with a short muzzle.
As frightening as this strange noise may sound to new dog owners, in the vast majority of cases it is completely harmless.
However, a visit to the vet can be helpful in the following cases:
- The sneezing attack lasts longer than a minute.
- Your dog also makes funny noises when breathing.
- Backward sneezing occurs every day.
If your dog seems scared while sneezing backward, gently pet the back of the head.
Back sneezing in dogs makes an odd noise that can sound like choking. The cause here is not yet known. It is also considered harmless and is part of everyday life for dogs with flat faces.
Dogs explore the world with their noses. For this reason, they also take in large amounts of dust, allergens, bacteria, and germs through their nose every day.
Occasional coughing will help them clear the inhaled matter out of their throat. In this case, coughing is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Coughing dog
However, if your four-legged friend is constantly coughing and making other strange noises, the following reasons may also be behind it:
- Kennel cough
- Heart disease
- Lungs problems
- Heartworms or roundworms
Kennel’s cough, in particular, sounds very strange. Because it is a particularly deep and dry sound and is often accompanied by a gag reflex.
The treatment is individually tailored to the underlying cause. Your vet can help you with this.
A healthy cough in dogs is similar to that in humans. However, if the coughing is accompanied by other strange noises, then more serious diseases can also be behind it. The veterinarian is the right contact person here.
Dogs are originally descended from wolves, which are known for their loud howls. The howling is used here to warn of other predators or to communicate one’s own position.
In domestic dogs, however, the howling usually has other reasons:
- Separation anxiety – The howling here is a cry for the master.
- Territory Marking – Howling is used here to intimidate neighboring dogs.
- Alert – The howl here is a warning of imminent danger.
In particular, very trusting or very territorial dogs tend to make these strange noises. In addition, many dogs often imitate it when they hear it on television.
In the vast majority of cases, separation anxiety is responsible for crying. In this case, you should ignore your dog and not pay him any attention.
Otherwise, he will keep repeating it whenever he wants more attention. Instead, it is much better to ensure sufficient mental and physical activity.
Wolf-like howls are often frightening in domestic dogs. However, there is no reason to worry here. Since dogs are originally descended from wolves, these funny sounds are completely natural.
According to studies, dogs should go through similar sleep phases as humans. They also process the situation they have experienced while they are sleeping.
In the so-called REM sleep (rapid eye movement) those dreams take place that we can still remember afterward. But even in deep sleep, we have strong dreams.
Since running, barking, and growling are also part of everyday dog life, dogs often make funny noises even when they are sleeping.
Barking in a dream can also sound like choking or coughing to first-time owners. But no worry. Here your dog is probably just barking at a cat in a dream.
According to studies, dogs should spend around 12% of the day in REM sleep and another 23% of the day in deep sleep. That’s the equivalent of around 8.4 hours a day.
In concrete terms, this means that the probability that you hear such sounds every day is relatively high.
Dogs dream about ⅓ of the day and process the situations they experience. Strange noises during sleep are therefore usually a sign that the dog is barking, growling, or making other sounds in the dream.
Growling is also one of the many ways dogs use to communicate. Depending on the initial situation, this means:
- Warning → “Go away!”
- Joy → “Let’s keep playing!”
- Fear → “Leave me alone!”
If a dog growls when you approach it, you’d better back off. Otherwise, you often risk a bite – even from otherwise very friendly four-legged friends.
This noise sounds really strange when your dog suddenly starts growling while romping around with other dogs.
However, this is only an expression of great joy. The most common triggers for growling are fear:
- Fear of someone stealing the food.
- Fear of a strange dog.
- Fear of the toy being taken away.
With the right training, however, it can be stopped in almost all cases.
If your dog suddenly makes funny noises in the presence of strange dogs or when approaching, then it is usually a growl. Depending on the situation, this is used to express joy, fear, or as a warning.
Compared to humans, dogs perceive a large part of their environment through their noses. Sneezing serves as a mechanism to blow irritants out of the nose.
Typical harmless triggers are:
- Crumbly lining
Many tracker dog breeds also get a sneezing attack more often when playing with other four-legged friends. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
However, if your dog is constantly sneezing and making other strange noises, then the following could be the cause:
- Nose mites
- A cold
- Nasal infection
- Tumor disease
In this case, you should consult a veterinarian. Especially if there are other symptoms.
Occasional sneezing in dogs is a natural mechanism for clearing the nose and is nothing to worry about. However, if the dog keeps sneezing or makes a combination of other strange noises, you should see your veterinarian.
Snoring in dogs is often perceived as cute. Some breeds, on the other hand, snoring so loudly that their owners can hardly sleep.
This occurs particularly frequently in all bulldog species, the pug, the Shih-Tzu, the Pekingese, and other dogs with a very short snout.
The reasons for this are very diverse:
- Unfavorable sleeping position
- Sleep apnea
- Breathing problems
- Respiratory tract infection
Occasional light snoring is usually not a cause for concern. However, you should consult a veterinarian in the following situations:
- When you snore, you make other strange noises.
- Strange sounds occur during normal breathing.
- When snoring, it sounds like the dog is choking.
Treatment is individualized depending on the underlying cause. Adjusting the diet, a more suitable dog bed, and regular exercise also help.
The respective breed, overweight or sleeping position are usually responsible for snoring in dogs. However, if there are other strange noises or breathing problems, professional help is advisable.
8. Moans and Groans
A groan and groan is usually an expression of relief, happiness, and relaxation. Dogs often groan, especially when they lie down after a hard day.
In large and very old dogs, however, the groaning can also be an indication of existing pain. Typical causes are here:
- Arthritis – the painful inflammation of the joints.
- Ascites – accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
- Hip dysplasia – the malformation of the hip joint.
Dogs often moan when they stand up. In addition, they often make strange noises while lying down or breathing.
In puppies and very young dogs, moaning is also often an expression of existing growing pains. These occur when bones grow too quickly.
This is relatively easy to detect with an ultrasound examination. Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed for treatment.
Moans and moans in dogs usually signal that they are happy and content. In exceptional cases, pain can also be responsible for this. Caution is advised here, especially with puppies and large old dogs.
9. Whining & Howling
Whining and yelping are also part of the natural communication of dogs. However, the reasons for this are relatively varied, depending on the initial situation:
- Fear – “No, please don’t go to the vet again!”
- Excitement – “Hooray, we’re finally going for a walk!”
- Boredom – “Hey you, I need more attention!”
- Desires – “Your salmon looks great. I want a bite too!”
- Pain – “Gosh, my stomach hurts.”
- Bad conscience – “Sorry. I know that was your favorite shoe.”
- Squeezing Bladder – “I really need to urgently!”
Sometimes whimpering is also mistaken for a whistling of the nose. Because the sticking together of the mucous membranes often leads to strange noises when breathing.
It is also important to observe the posture of the dog. A contracted body with a tucked-in tail can indicate pain.
Already knew? Some dogs don’t howl but yodel instead. The “Basenji” is the best example of this.
A dog whimpering can be an indication of fear, excitement, boredom, or longing. Dogs also howl more often when they are in pain, have a guilty conscience, or have a tight bladder.
Barking is by far the most common form of communication among dogs. The reasons for this are therefore also very diverse:
- Happiness – Barking is a common way dogs greet each other.
- Territory Protection – Territorial dogs bark to defend their territory.
- Boredom – Barking is not only communication but also a hobby.
- Warning – Watchdogs bark to indicate impending danger.
- Scream for Help – In desperate situations, dogs often bark 2-4 times in a row to request assistance.
- Separation Anxiety – Overly clingy dogs will bark when they are feeling lonely.
Sick dogs in particular tend to bark constantly or make other strange noises when barking. Here you should visit the veterinarian.
Small dogs tend to bark higher than large breeds. In large dogs, a high-pitched bark is usually an expression of friends. Deep barking, on the other hand, serves to intimidate.
Some German Shepherd breeds, such as the Portuguese Water Dog, can also deliberately bark in different octaves.
Barking too low is often too threatening for the herd animals, so they run away. The breeds that bark the most are:
- Fox Terriers
- Yorkshire terriers
Constant barking, on the other hand, is usually a sign of loneliness.
Dogs bark out of friends, boredom, fear and to protect their territory. In large dog breeds, the barking usually sounds much deeper. However, if there are other strange noises, then it can indicate an illness.
11. Belly Growls
Occasional stomach and bowel noises are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. The most common causes are here:
- Hunger – In addition to the feeling of hunger, the stomach often growls.
- Swallowed Air – From eating and drinking too quickly.
- Digestion – During digestion, liquids, and gases move in the intestines.
These funny sounds are particularly common after eating. In the case of permanent and very loud noises, the following causes can also be behind it:
- Intestinal parasites
- Ingested toxins
- Metabolic problems
- Side effects of medication
- Liver and kidney diseases
A visit to the veterinarian is particularly useful if other pathological symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting occur.
A belly growl in dogs is usually triggered by hunger, swallowed air, or digestion. In rare cases, the funny noises can also be caused by intestinal parasites, metabolic problems, toxins, or even diseases.
12. Panting and Panting
Many dog breeds are known to stick their tongues out of their mouths almost constantly while panting. Typical causes of wheezing are:
- Heat – Panting helps regulate body temperature.
- Joy – Some dogs gasp with excitement.
- Medications – Constant panting is part of the side effects.
In these cases, panting is not a compelling cause for concern. The situation is different if your dog makes strange noises while breathing at the same time.
Dogs with short muzzles are particularly affected. The wheezing here can be a symptom of the following diseases:
- Cardiac insufficiency
- Heat stroke
- Breathing problems
In this case, you should also assess your dog’s posture. If he gives any indication of pain, then I advise you to see the vet immediately.
Panting and panting in dogs are mostly used to regulate body temperature. Sometimes it is also an expression of joy. If you have breathing difficulties at the same time, illnesses can also be responsible.