7 Reasons Why Boston Terriers Snort

Why Do Boston Terriers Snort?

Have you noticed that your Boston Terrier has been snorting frequently?

As a veterinarian, pet owners often ask me why their dog snorts. Many Boston Terriers snort, and this can be related to many different conditions ranging from reverse sneezing to allergies.

Boston Terrier Snort

In this article, we will discuss 7 reasons why your Boston Terrier is snorting and what you should do about it.

7 Reasons Why Boston Terriers Snort

In my experience, most Boston Terriers snort because of reverse sneezing or because of the physical properties of their face⁠—for example having that adorable smushed face. 

Boston Terriers may also snort because of nasal congestion, allergies, or other less common causes.

In general, occasional snorting is nothing to worry about, but it is always a good idea to have your Boston Terrier examined by your veterinarian if they are exhibiting any symptoms out of the ordinary.

Read: 10 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues

1. Brachycephalic Syndrome

The most common cause for snorting in Boston Terriers is brachycephalic syndrome. Brachycephalic syndrome refers to the flat face that you see in many Boston Terriers. You can read more about this syndrome here on the Boston Terrier Society website by clicking here, What Is Brachycephalic Syndrome In Boston Terriers.

Boston Terriers were bred to have these features, but it can also result in the snorting that you may hear from your Boston.

If your Boston Terrier’s nostrils and other structures in the face and throat are too small, this can create obstructions to airflow resulting in a snorting sound.

The snorting may become worse when your Boston Terrier exercises or overexerts themselves.

2. Reverse Sneezing

Many Boston Terriers snort because they are reverse sneezing.

Reverse sneezing is characterized by a rapid consecutive inhaling through the nose. This can sound like a repeating snorting.

Reverse sneezing can be caused by a variety of factors including allergies, odors, or excitement.

Here is a video of what a reverse sneeze is in a Boston Terrier…

Boston Terrier Society Reverse Sneeze Video

3. Allergies

Allergies can create nasal congestion which may cause your Boston Terrier to snort.

Boston Terriers can have allergies to dust mites or pollens that may create nasal congestion and snorting. Boston Terriers can also be sensitive to odors or smoke.

Allergies are an extremely common cause of snorting among Boston Terriers.

Read more about allergies in Boston Terriers in this article on the Boston Terrier Society here, Boston Terrier Allergy Guide.

4. Foreign Body

If your Boston Terrier has suddenly started snorting, they could have a foreign body or something stuck in their nose.

Small grass awns can get caught in your Boston Terrier’s nose and cause irritation and inflammation which then can result in snorting.

5. Nasal Mass

Rarely, Boston Terriers can develop masses or tumors within their nasal passages. This can obstruct airflow and cause your Boston Terrier to snort.

If you notice blood or nasal discharge associated with the snorting, this is definitely cause for concern. You may want to ask your vet about nasal masses especially if you have an older Boston Terrier that has suddenly started snorting.

6. Infection

Any type of infection can create nasal congestion which can cause your Boston Terrier to snort. Fungal infections, bacterial infections, viral infections, and parasites such as nasal mites can all cause snorting.

Your veterinarian may wish to take a swab of your Boston Terrier’s nasal passages to determine if your pup is having an infectious process.

Some cases of snorting are caused by kennel cough⁠—a respiratory syndrome that is highly contagious. Kennel cough can cause excessive nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, and snorting.

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7. Obesity

If your Boston Terrier is overweight, this can contribute to snorting. Boston Terriers with flat faces that are also overweight may snort excessively.

It is important to keep your Boston Terrier at an ideal weight range because obesity can create issues with breathing.

If you suspect your Boston Terrier is snorting because of obesity, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian about developing a weight loss plan for your dog. To learn more about the signs of your Boston Terrier being overweight read this article I wrote on the Boston Terrier Society here, Signs Your Boston Is Overweight.

Why is my Boston Terrier snorting?

There are many reasons why your Boston Terrier may be snorting. Some causes of snorting are nothing to worry about; whereas, other causes of snorting are more concerning.

Here is a list of reasons why your Boston Terrier may be snorting:

What are the most common causes of snorting in Boston Terriers?

There are a few causes of snorting that are more common than others. The most common causes of snorting in Boston Terriers include:

What should I do if my Boston Terrier is snorting?

Anytime your dog is experiencing a new symptom, you should take them to a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may be able to determine why your Boston Terrier is snorting and give them appropriate treatments.

There are a few things that would make snorting even more concerning. Snorting is especially concerning if it is associated with any of the following symptoms:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Bleeding
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy

To be safe, it would be a good idea to visit your veterinarian if your Boston Terrier is snorting, especially if it is occuring frequently.

How is snorting in Boston Terriers treated?

The treatment for snorting depends on what is causing your Boston Terrier to snort. Your veterinarian may need to perform a few tests to determine the underlying cause of your Boston Terrier’s snorting.

If your Boston is snorting because of allergies, there may be medications your veterinarian can prescribe your pet to improve the snorting.

In Boston Terriers with severe brachycephalic syndrome, there may be surgical options that your veterinarian can perform to improve symptoms of snorting.

Snorting caused by infections can often be treated with antibiotics or antifungal medications.


Snorting is very common among the Boston Terrier breed. Many times the snorting is due to reverse sneezing or their flat face and brachycephalic anatomy. Sometimes snorting can be caused by something more dangerous like a foreign body or tumor.

Treatment for snorting depends on the cause of the snorting. Some snorting is easily treated, and other causes of snorting may be more difficult to control.

To be safe, it is best to take your pet to a veterinarian to have them examined if your Boston Terrier is experiencing snorting.

Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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