7 Reasons Why Your Dog Huffs and Puffs at You

If you’ve never owned a dog before, or have limited experience with them, then a dog huffing may be new to you. So why do dogs huff? This guide will explain many common reasons why your dog starts huffing, growling, and panting.

So, why does your dog huff at you? There may be many reasons, including allergies, nasal mites, and respiratory problems. Dogs may also huff to communicate. Or after eating or drinking too fast or because they’ve become overly hyper and excited. Huffing can also occur due to happiness or irritation.

Keep reading to discover more details about the potential health issues behind your dog’s huffing and the variety of emotions that lead to doggy huffs and sighs.

So, Why Does Your Dog Huff at You?

Your dog huffs and puffs for all kinds of reasons, including:

  1. Nasal mites or other irritants in the throat
  2. Allergies
  3. Respiratory issues
  4. Drinking or eating too quickly
  5. Your dog’s typical way of communicating
  6. Your pup is content or excited
  7. Your pooch got upset and irritated

Below, we delve further into these potential reasons for your dog’s huffing.

Irritants in the Throat

Your pup may end up with an irritant in his mouth or throat. Just like humans try to expel things we accidentally inhale by sneezing, dogs will try to “huff” an irritant out. They may also try coughing or reverse-sneezing.

If you’ve ever had something stuck in your nose, you know sneezing doesn’t always work! You may need to clear your throat, cough, or huff to work it out. Dogs do the same thing.

Nasal Mites

Nasal mites may also be a potential culprit. These tiny bugs can cause allergic reactions, a decreased sense of smell, and nasal leakage.

If you suspect mites, take your dog to the vet for antibiotic treatment.


Huffing noises can relate to allergies. The dog might be allergic to dust or pollen or react to specific scents when playing outdoors. For instance, the smell of a flower or perfume could trigger an allergic reaction.

If you notice your dog huffing more around certain scents, plants, or perfumes, take your dog to the vet so you can prevent his allergies and huffing behavior in the future.

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Heat Stroke

During hot days, your dog may huff to relieve heat stroke.

You’ll need to focus on cooling your pup immediately if this happens. Untreated heat stroke can worsen and lead to death or other long-lasting health issues.

Respiratory Problems

Many respiratory problems could lead your dog to start huffing and coughing. These include:

  • A collapsing trachea
  • Chronic issues like asthma
  • An upper respiratory infection

If your pup’s huffing and puffing sound serious and she starts panting, take her to the veterinarian for a check-up.

Your Dog Ate or Drank Too Fast

Does your dog start huffing after eating too quickly or drinking too fast? If so, you should consider purchasing several slow-feed dog bowls for your pup.

You can also add some ice cubes or provide less water to the water bowl. Doing so should help slow down your canine’s drinking speed.

Your Dog Is Communicating

Sometimes, your dog might try to talk to you and communicate by huffing.

For instance, your pup may start huffing, barking, or whining to communicate with you. The huff may occur before a bark or growl. Your dog is trying to let you know its thoughts or feelings.

Your Dog Is Excited and Happy

Once in a while, your dog might get overly hyper and excited. Doing so may lead your puppy to start huffing and making happy noises.

Overexcitement with an excess of physical activity can also lead your pup to huff. If your dog has been playing with other canines, you can expect him to huff.

Your Dog Is Upset

When your dog starts huffing, she may be expressing contentment and happiness. However, she may also be trying to communicate that she’s upset and frustrated, especially when your pup starts growling or whining after huffing. Irritated dogs may also begin barking at you.

Use circumstances and pay attention to body language to determine the difference.

What To Do if Your Dog Is Huffing

In most cases, huffing is not a cause for concern. It’s part of a dog’s language and as natural as sneezing is for us.

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However, if your dog is huffing and breathing heavily due to heat, he may have a heat stroke. Put a cold washcloth or a wet towel on your pup’s head. It’s also a good idea to put a whirring fan right in front of your dog.

If your dog is angry and irritated, he might start huffing, puffing, growling, and barking. Try natural calming techniques to soothe it. In rare cases of extreme irritation or when stressful, anxiety-inducing events occur, a low-dose sedative may help resolve the behavior.

Lastly, if you suspect your dog has respiratory issues or allergies, take him to the veterinarian.

The Importance of Veterinary Care

If your dog starts having breathing and respiratory issues, the vet is the first place you should go. Specialized care may be necessary to treat the problem.

Annual veterinarian visits also prevent health problems from worsening and ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Read below to learn the answers to some commonly asked questions about dogs’ behaviors.

Why does my dog huff and puff when excited?

Often, dogs start huffing and puffing when they get excited because they’re waiting for a reward. Once they get their treats, the huffing may subside.

Does my dog get annoyed with me?

While dogs can get annoyed and upset, they do not associate those feelings with their dog owners or other people.

Why do dogs sigh?

Sighs and even moans from dogs exhibit their positive emotions and pleasure. A sigh from a pup means the canine feels relaxed and calm.

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Before You Go

Now you should know exactly why your dog starts huffing and what you can do to help alleviate those huffs and puffs. Remember, if you suspect your pup may be experiencing a serious health issue, take it to the vet.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!