Why Does My Dog Huff at Me? (7 Reasons)

If you have a new puppy in your family or have ever had a dog before, you may be wondering about your canine’s behaviors. One thing dog owners often get concerned about is the kind of noises their pet makes and what they mean.

If you’ve heard your dog huffing, you may be wondering, “Why does my dog huff at me?”

why does my dog huff at me
Why does my dog huff at me? What are the reasons?

In this guide, I outline why your dog might be huffing and whether the puppy is feeling okay or not. Keep reading to learn all about this typical behavior in dogs.

What Does a Huff Sound Like From a Dog? 

A dog huffing sound is similar to a reverse sneeze. The huffing noise could sometimes sound like your dog is sick or is making choking sounds. It is similar to a spasm in the throat. Yet, it usually doesn’t last too long, and your dog gets back to normal soon after. 

Feel free to get a vet to see your dog and make sure no medical conditions are causing this huffing noise. Your dog may be huffing due to respiratory problems or nasal mites. Sometimes, your dog may have an allergic reaction causing the huffing.

Why Does Your Dog Huff at You?

sad poodle
Poodles are smart and social – and a prone to separation anxiety. This can lead to problem behavior like excessive barking.

When my dog sees me after I get home from work, he tends to huff at me more than usual. So, why does my dog huff at me? Since I just got home and my pup hasn’t seen me for a while, he may just be getting overexcited and ready to go for a walk. This is one reason for a dog huff.

Some other potential reasons why your dog might be huffing at you are:

  • Allergies or irritants in the throat
  • Eating or drinking too quickly
  • Getting too much exercise and running out of breath
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Feeling playful
  • Getting aggressive

Your Dog Has Allergies or an Irritant in the Throat

If your dog has something scratching the back of the throat, a sneeze or cough may not always be enough to get rid of it. As such, your dog may start making huffing noises. This might occur if the irritant is too far down the throat and past the nasal passageways.

The huffing noise could be due to something as complex as an allergic reaction or due to something simple like your pup swallowing an insect. If your dog has a collar on or is on its leash, the throat might be somewhat restricted, and huffing might take place.

Your Dog Ate His Food or Drank His Water Too Fast

two dogs eating outdoors
Two dogs eating together outdoors. Sharing? Kinda.

Does your dog tend to eat his bowl of food super quickly? Or does he lap up his water very fast? This might lead your canine to start huffing if the food or water got stuck in his or her throat.

How long does the huffing last? Usually, it should last only 30 seconds or less. If your dog’s huffing gets too serious after eating or drinking, ask a vet if there could be an issue with your pup’s esophagus. 

Figuring out the reasons for your dog’s huffing could help alleviate this issue.

Your Dog Got Too Much Exercise or Got Too Excited

If your dog has been running around too much or even going on a long walk, the dog huffing noise could occur. If you play catch with your puppy, too much running and grabbing tennis balls can lead your dog to run out of breath as well. This can lead to a huffing noise as well.

Does your canine get very excited easily? If so, this can also bring about an excess of huffing. Have you seen this occur when your dog is playing with other pups? Or when you bring out the leash? Then, overexcitement might be causing the huffing.

Your Dog Might Feel Stressed Out

apricot goldendoodle color coat
Apricot Goldendoodle coat color. One of my favorites!

Humans tend to have common responses to severe stress, including moaning or crying. Much like humans, dogs may have certain responses to feeling stressed out. Some puppies might get scared or stressed and exhibit their feelings by making a huffing noise.

For instance, if a dog sees another aggressive canine coming at him, then he might start making a huffing noise. If another dog comes into their home, they might be worried about their environment changing and start huffing.

Below, I will outline how to help your dog better cope with stress and alleviate anxiety.

Your Dog Might Be Feeling Playful

Sometimes, a dog who is huffing might actually be quite happy and content. Your dog might want to play and use their toys. If you’re playing and cuddling your pup, you may hear the huffing noise.

This can especially occur when the two of you are playing outside with a tennis ball or some other toy. So, huffing could be your dog signaling that he’s having fun playing. The playful noise could take place when your canine is playing with other dogs or with people.

Your Dog May Be Feeling Aggressive

dogs that looks like pandas
Some dogs look like pandas (and some are just creatively groomed to a Panda style)

If your dog’s huff sounds like it is angry and getting close to barking, then your canine might be getting more aggressive. For example, does your dog hate having a bath or having his nails trimmed? If so, your dog might display an angry huff or growl noise.

This type of huffing noise might occur before your dog starts barking, whining, or even growling while baring his teeth. Yet, there are ways to reduce the aggressiveness in your dog. I will go into detail about these steps below.

How to Decrease Aggressiveness and Stress in Your Pup

There are several simple steps to reduce aggressive behavior in dogs, such as:

  • Having the veterinarian rule out any medical problems or treat potential issues
  • Hiring a dog trainer to better manage your dog’s aggression
  • Avoiding punishing your dog
  • Giving your dog medication if the training was not enough

Furthermore, if your dog is huffing due to stress, you can alleviate stress or anxiety by:

  • Making sure your dog gets plenty of physical activity
  • Giving your dog pats and cuddles 
  • Using relaxing music to calm down your dog
  • Giving your dog a massage

Wrap Up

This guide should have provided you with the information you need to understand why your dog may be huffing at you. If you believe your canine may have an allergy or some type of medical condition, be sure to visit a vet to get the dog checked out.

However, if your puppy is feeling stressed or aggressive, follow the steps above to alleviate these problems. Soon enough, your dog will be back to normal, and you’ll be playing happily with them!