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Why Does My Chihuahua Make Weird Noises? Find Out Here!

If you own a chihuahua, you know that these dogs express themselves through sounds. Whether they’re moaning or barking, your chi is always trying to tell you something. But what happens when something sounds wrong? Why does my chihuahua make weird noises? These strange noises can be signs of pain, trouble, or simply a chihuahua having fun.

Read on to see the most common causes of weird noises among chihuahuas—and what you can do to help.


Why Does My Chihuahua Make Weird Noises?

Why Does My Chihuahua Make Weird Noises infographic

Although there are many reasons why chihuahuas make weird noises, here are the most common ones:

Communication

Since chihuahuas can’t speak like humans, they express their thoughts and feelings through sounds. As a result, you’ll hear chis making various sounds to communicate with you or your other pets. And when combined with their body language, these sounds should be easy to understand. 

From barking to whining—chihuahuas can make strange noises to communicate. 

Respiration

Weird sounds like snoring, wheezing, or snoring are associated with your chi’s breathing. These are especially common in smaller dogs like chihuahuas. After all, they have abnormally narrowed passageways in the lungs. As a result, you’ll often hear ensuing sounds when your chi breathes. 

These sounds are normal for chihuahuas, but take action once you see any of these intensify.

Digestion

Your chi’s digestive tract is another primary source of weird noises they may produce. Gurgling, burping, or breaking wind are the byproducts of healthy digestive processes! So, these shouldn’t alarm you as much as the other strange sounds your pup might make.

However, if any of these sounds come with other gestures such as vomiting, take action. These might be the cause of more serious medical conditions that need treatment. 

Discomfort

Please pay attention to weird noises like hacking or gagging since they might come from more severe issues. These showcase your chi’s discomfort and may also signify illnesses. So, if you notice your chihuahua making these strange sounds, visit your vet immediately! 


Common Weird Noises Chihuahuas Make, and What Do They Mean?

Cough! Snort! Wheeze! As a chi owner, have you ever wondered, “why does my chihuahua make weird noises?” From whining to sighing, here are common strange sounds chis make—and what each one means:

🐶 Whining 

black and brown chihuahua on gray wooden floor during daytime - why does my chihuahua make weird noises
Photo Courtesy of Katie Bernotsky

When chihuahuas whine, cry, or whimper, it can mean several things.

Your chis might be vocalizing their need for food or want your attention. Another possibility that few owners consider is that your dog might be whining as an apology after getting scolded. 

But commonly, whining pertains to dogs under stress or in pain. Either way, whining is a normal noise that most chihuahuas make, young and old.

So, unless weird gestures accompany these sounds, you don’t need to worry about anything. 

🐶 Grunting

Usually, dogs grunt when they’re content. However, this isn’t always the case for chihuahuas. 

Like people, chis like to grunt now and then to express their content. That’s why many dog owners associate this weird noise with happiness. For example, when chihuahuas settle into their bed and grunt, this showcases their joy. 

But grunting doesn’t always refer to happiness. After all, it can be an involuntary action by your chi, or it might also indicate pain. So, when you hear your chihuahua making this sound, it might be suffering from an illness. 

If so, bring your chi to the vet immediately!

🐶 Honking

Although a chihuahua honking like a mad goose might sound silly, it can signify something more serious. Honking in chis typically results from a medical condition known as tracheal collapse. It happens when a dog’s trachea or windpipe cartilage rings cave in. 

As a result, your chihuahua will sound weird and make it difficult for the dog to breathe. And some air can still get in, causing the strange honking noise from your chi. Unfortunately, this is a common issue in toy breeds such as chihuahuas, so pay attention!

Luckily enough, you can treat tracheal collapse with medication. For instance, cough suppressants can help by keeping your dog’s airway open. But for more severe cases, your chi might need surgical intervention. 

I suggest visiting the vet once you hear your chi honking. This way, you can confirm the reason behind the weird noise and treat your chihuahua immediately!

🐶 Reverse Sneezing

chihuahua mid-sneeze
Photo Courtesy of Kristoffer Volinsky

Despite the term, reverse sneezing in chihuahuas isn’t an actual sneeze at all. This sound, which resembles a long and drawn-out snort, results from a spasm in the soft palate. During this momentary compulsion, your chi’s airways narrow down—making it difficult for your chi to breathe. 

This condition is common in dog breeds with short muzzles, like chihuahuas. Aside from spasms in the palate, reverse sneezing may also result from the following:

  • Allergic reaction to perfume or natural pollens
  • Inhaling cigarette smoke
  • Foreign bodies or dust mites enter the chihuahua’s nose or throat
  • Anxiety
  • Overeagerness
  • Viral infection

Fortunately, reverse sneezing has no lasting effects and disappears on its own. But if you wish to intervene, encourage your chihuahua to swallow more gently. You can do this intervention by stroking your chi’s throat while covering its nostrils for a few seconds.

Your chihuahua might need surgical intervention to remove the soft palate entirely in severe cases. 

🐶 Baying

Baying refers to the long and deep barking noises chihuahuas make when pursuing prey. For example, scent dogs like to go baying to let their owners know they’re hot on the trail. But baying isn’t limited to alerting humans of prey.

After all, some may bay when facing a threat. For instance, when chihuahuas see an unfamiliar face in their territory, they might make this weird noise.

🐶 Coughing

Coughing in chihuahuas is normal and is typically not a huge deal. However, it can become an issue over time. 

If your chihuahua keeps coughing persistently, this might be a sign of a more severe issue. These conditions can include but are not limited to kennel cough or heart disease. But if your chi only coughs now and then, don’t fret, as this is normal behavior. 

I suggest bringing your chihuahua to the vet once you notice consistent coughing. This way, you can give your pup treatment early on.

🐶 Howling

adult brown chihuahua
Photo Courtesy of Zachary Casler

Chihuahuas like to howl for many reasons, and it also dates back to their ancestral roots. This weird noise can mean many things—for instance, feral dogs like howling to inform others in the pack of their location. 

So, your chihuahua might be howling to call you back home if you’re away. On the other hand, your dog might also be letting other animals know that your home is their territory.

Aside from that, other common reasons behind howling are anxiety or alertness. Your chi might express its anxiousness in response to environmental triggers like a revving car passing by. Moreover, a chihuahua might howl to alert you of something or attract attention. 

🐶 Sleep Barking

Chihuahuas, like people, also dream in their sleep. And some chihuahuas go into a phase of deep REM sleep. It’s where your dog might have all kinds of stimulating dreams. 

These dreams range from digging holes to chasing the neighborhood squirrel. And when these occur, your chi might bark in their sleep. 

If you notice your chi barking while asleep, you don’t have to intervene. After all, it’s simply their reaction to whatever dream they’re having. Also, it’s best to avoid waking up chihuahuas as they need REM sleep now and then. 

Moreover, your pup might lash out at you if you suddenly wake them up from a dream. 

But if you need to wake up your chi, do it gently and never touch or shake them. I recommend using a gentle tone to coax your pup back from its dreams. And once you wake your chi up, comfort them if they seem stressed out. 

🐶 Borborygmi (Gurgling Stomach)

Normal digestive processes in chihuahuas might sound noisy. And these weird gurgling sounds in the stomach are dubbed “borborygmi.” These range from low gurgling noises to high-pitched squeaking. Either way, these can be a bit distracting. 

Luckily, these are entirely normal. It shouldn’t be something to worry about, especially if your chihuahua is as energetic as it can be. However, if other physical signs like vomiting accompany borborygmi, take action. 

Symptoms such as diarrhea, appetite loss, and restlessness are common signs of gastrointestinal illness. And this often requires immediate medical intervention. 

🐶 Gagging

chihuahua running on a flower field
Photo Courtesy of Ellie Burgin

If you hear your chihuahua gagging, immediately intervene as they might be choking. Try to remove whatever your chi has in their mouth by gently sweeping your fingers inside. However, practice with caution. After all, you don’t want to push the thing that’s choking your chi further down. 

Do the pet version of a Heimlich maneuver to your dog if that doesn’t work. Here’s how you can do it without harming your chihuahua:

  1. Hold your chihuahua with its head facing downward. 
  2. Bundle up a fist and put it under your chi’s bottom ribs.
  3. Gently push up the area multiple times till your chihuahua spits out the object. 

A quick and hard blow between your chi’s shoulder blades might also expel the object swiftly. But do this cautiously with chihuahuas as they’re more fragile than most dog breeds. 

Aside from gagging on a swallowed object, this weird noise may also have other causes. And these include the following:

  • Your chihuahua might have a sinus or respiratory infection.
  • Kennel cough, which is a weird noise that’s similar to dry coughing followed by gagging. 
  • Your pet may have parasites like roundworms infecting its internal organs. 

Regardless of the method you perform, I recommend doing it while your chi is awake. So, if you notice your chihuahua becoming unconscious, perform a quick CPR to revive them. 

But if none of these methods work, immediately bring your chihuahua to the vet!

🐶 Sneezing 

Like humans, chihuahuas can sneeze too. And doing so now and then isn’t something you need to worry about among dogs. But when it becomes persistent, your chihuahua might be experiencing severe health problems. 

Here are common causes of sneezing in chihuahuas:

  • Irrititans, such as dust mites or smoke
  • Nasal mites
  • Sinus infection
  • Sinusitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Inflamed nose or nasal passages 
  • Tumor

So, if you notice your chi sneezing often, it’s time to take action and bring them to the vet!

🐶 Purring

Not many chihuahua owners know that their canine friends can purr like cats! And though it’s not exactly like a cat’s purr, it’s pretty similar. For dogs, it sounds more like a motorboat, resembling growling. Either way, purring can indicate that your chi is mad or happy. 

🐶 Sighing

In the discussion of ‘why does my chihuahua make weird noises?’, many owners overlook sighing. After all, many of us have become accustomed to sound being associated with boredom. But this isn’t the case for chihuahuas. 

Sighing is a sign of happiness among chis, especially when combined with sleepy eyes. But if wide eyes and alertness accompany it, it might mean your chi wants some attention. Either way, this weird noise shouldn’t raise any concerns. 

🐶 Snoring

chihuahua sleeping on soft bed - why does my chihuahua make weird noises
Photo Courtesy of Julia Filirovska

It can be adorable when your chihuahua snores, but not only is this annoying—it can be concerning as well. Snoring is regular among dogs, but it might be a disease sign if it sounds loud or happens often. 

You especially need to pay attention to this weird noise in chihuahuas. After all, snoring is common in dogs with short snouts like a chihuahua, and too much of it can be dangerous. 

Your chihuahua might be snoring due to something simple as its weird sleeping position or an allergic reaction to dust. But this weird noise can also be caused by more severe conditions such as obesity, sleep apnea, or hypothyroidism. 

So, keep an eye out for potential issues, even if snoring is regular for your chi! 

🐶 Growling

Snarling and growling are the prominent noises a chihuahua makes when mad. But it can also mean that your pup is having fun playing or is simply happy. Look at your chi’s body language to see whether it’s either. This way, you’ll be able to know when to give your chihuahua some alone time or play with them.

🐶 Laughing

One of the weirdest noises you can hear from a chihuahua is laughing. But keep in mind that this sound is slightly different from what humans make. It involves opening their mouths while sticking their tongues out and jaws open for dogs. And this usually sounds like panting and is considered a form of laughter among chihuahuas. 


What Can I do When My Chihuahua Makes Weird Noises?

Decoding weird noises from chihuahuas is a skill you’ll learn through experience. Fortunately, in most cases, these strange sounds are entirely harmless. And there’s no need for an investigation or changes to make.

Still, getting used to your chi’s everyday noises is the best way to detect concerns that need medical intervention. Either way, I recommend going to the vet once you hear a strange noise accompanied by other signs of disease.

So, whether that’s vomiting or fatigue, contact your vet immediately! Doing so helps you resolve the weird noise or confirm that there’s no cause for concern.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is my chihuahua making weird moaning noises?

A: A familiar noise that chihuahuas make when they’re happy is moans or signs. And low-pitched moans are prominent in puppies, showing signs of contentment. When close to their humans, moms, or littermates, you’ll often hear chihuahuas moan. 

Q: Why do my chihuahuas make a strange noise when they yawn?

A: Chihuahuas often yawn to stretch their vocals. And the ensuing sounds from this warm up their vocal cords, providing a welcoming release. You’ll usually hear these yawns after a night of sleep when your pup has been in hibernation mode for a few hours.

Q: Why is my chihuahua making strange breathing noises?

A: Weird loud breathing in chihuahuas root from the air passing through their narrowed passageways. And thanks to these abnormally tight passageways, resistance to airflow is inevitable. Hence, you’ll notice these small dogs making strange sounds when breathing. These noises might come from the nasopharynx, pharynx, larynx, or trachea.

Q: Why is my chihuahua snorting?

A: When chihuahuas honk or reverse sneeze, they’ll often breathe in faster while standing still. And this awkward position stretches their heads and legs apart. As a result, smaller dogs like a chihuahua make a loud snorting noise that may sound like they’re choking on something.

Q: Why does my chihuahua keep whining?

A: There are many reasons why a chihuahua whines, but they usually do this when under stress. After all, vocalization is a usual way for dogs to express themselves. And when chis are tensed, it’s normal for them to whine to get their owner’s attention or soothe themselves. 


Final Words

Why does my chihuahua make weird noises? From expressing pain to having fun, chis make strange sounds due to many reasons. Knowing the reason behind each one lets you understand more about your chi. And this guide will help you find the best remedy for each strange noise in no time!