Why Does My Dog Grunt And Groan?

Grunts and groans can be heard in many situations, such as when someone is injured, or even if the dog is just happy to see you.

But there are also other reasons why your dog might grunt or groan.

Here we’ll look at some of these reasons so you know what to do if your dog is making these sounds.

Reasons Why Your Dog Might Grunt

If you notice that your dog is making a lot of grunts and groans, then they may have hurt themselves, or been hurt by another animal.

The following list includes common injuries that cause dogs to grunt and groan.

Barking fits

These fits are caused by an injury that causes intense pain.

Common causes include broken bones, torn muscles, and punctured organs.

Sudden collapse

This happens when the dog suddenly collapses from severe pain, and cannot move their limbs.

Dog bites

Dogs will often bite each other if they feel threatened.

This is normal behavior for them, but if they get too aggressive, this can lead to bites.

Seizures

Dogs who suffer from seizures will sometimes grunt or groan during the seizure.

This occurs because the brain is not receiving enough oxygen, which causes the body to tense up.

Fractures

When a bone breaks, the body reacts to the break by producing a chemical called ‘Protein C’.

This stops blood flow to the affected area, causing swelling and bruising.

Broken ribs

A broken rib is painful, and can make breathing difficult.

They can also occur after being hit by a car, or falling down stairs.

Cuts and lacerations

Any wound that bleeds heavily will cause discomfort to the dog, including cuts and lacerations.

Infections

There are several types of infections that can cause dogs to grunt or groan.

Most of these are bacterial infections, although fungal infections can also cause pain.

Tumors

Tumors can grow on the spine, causing pressure on nerves, and resulting in pain.

Loss of bladder control

Loss of bladder control can result from kidney disease, cancer, spinal cord damage, or nerve damage.

This can cause a dog to urinate excessively, and they may also need to go to the bathroom more frequently.

Vomiting

Vomiting can happen due to a number of different things, including poisoning, or food allergies.

Some dogs vomit repeatedly, while others only do it once or twice.

Paralysis

Paralysis can affect the nervous system, causing muscle weakness and lack of coordination.

This can prevent movement of limbs, and cause pain.

Degenerative diseases

These diseases usually cause progressive deterioration of the body, and can result in painful joints, stiffening of joints, or loss of mobility.

Spinal cord compression

This occurs when the spinal cord gets compressed, and prevents the nerves from transmitting signals to the brain.

This can cause paralysis, and cause pain.

Neurological disorders

Neurological disorders can affect the nervous system, which controls everything in the body.

This can cause problems with movement, and even pain.

Reasons Why Your Dog Might Groan

There are several different reasons why your dog might grunt and groan, but here are some common ones:

Pain

Your dog might be making a noise because of an injury, for example if he has a broken leg.

Discomfort

Perhaps your dog is uncomfortable or feeling stressed, perhaps due to being left alone too long.

Hunger

If you have a large dog who is constantly hungry, this could be one reason why he might grunt or groan.

Tiredness

A tired dog will probably make noises, since he won’t want to move around much.

Exercise

Dogs like to exercise and need to get their energy levels up.

That means they’ll grunt and groan during exercise sessions.

Play

Dogs love playing and often grunt and groan while playing with each other.

Relaxation

Dogs like to relax and grunt and groan after a stressful day.

Sickness

Sick dogs are likely to grunt and groan, and will try to hide their symptoms from you.

Other reasons

Some dogs grunt and groan for no apparent reason.

For example, a dog who is nervous and anxious might make a noise that appears to be a groan or whine.

What You Can Do If Your Dog Is Grunting

If your dog is grunting when they are feeling uncomfortable, that’s a good thing!

A grunt means that your pet is unhappy about something.

So, if your dog is grunting and groaning frequently, it’s time to take them to the vet to check their health.

This is especially true if you notice that the dog has been doing this for more than a week, or if they have stopped eating.

If you think that your dog is simply grumbling because they want attention, then you should probably ignore it.

However, if you notice that your dog is grunting and groaning without reason, it’s best to bring them into the vet’s office so they can be checked over by a specialist.

Common Reasons Why Dogs Grunt Or Groan

It’s possible that your dog is grunting or groaning because they feel discomfort due to physical damage.

They could be experiencing pain in an area, but not know how to signal it to you.

Maybe they were bitten by another animal, or perhaps they got into trouble while playing outside.

Another common reason for dogs to grunt or groan is if they’re feeling excited.

They might be happy to see you, or maybe they’ve found a new toy they like to play with.

However, don’t assume that they’re grunting because they’re happy to see you – it could be anything from excitement to fear.

What You Can Do If Your Dog Is Groaning

If your dog suddenly starts grunting or groaning, then this could mean that he has an injury that needs immediate attention.

The first thing you should do is assess whether or not your dog has any broken bones.

This involves checking his gait and posture.

He should be able to move around freely without limping.

But if he seems stiff, or is unable to move, then this could indicate that he has a broken bone.

If you think your dog has a broken bone, then he will need to be taken to the vets immediately.

They will have x-rays done so that they can confirm the diagnosis, and then they will be able to tell you how long it will take for him to heal.

Depending on how serious the break is, he may need surgery to repair it.

Another possibility is that your dog is experiencing severe pain.

If your dog is grunting and groaning continuously while moving around normally, then he most likely has a severe muscle spasm.

A muscle spasm is usually caused by inflammation.

So the first thing you should do is give him some anti-inflammatory medication.

Your vet will be able to prescribe one for you, but if you don’t have access to a vet right away, then you can treat it yourself using over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin (Excedrin).

When To See A Vet About Your Dog’s Grunting

Your first port of call should always be a veterinarian if you notice your dog making unusual sounds.

But sometimes it’s not possible to get an appointment with a vet right away, so here are some signs that your dog needs to go for a check-up.

  • If your dog seems lethargic, has trouble moving around, or is having frequent accidents.

This could be a sign of illness, but more likely it means your dog has been overexerting themselves too much.

  • If your dog is panting a lot, and their breathing seems labored.

Again, this could be a sign of illness, but it could also mean they’re suffering from heat exhaustion.

  • If your dog has diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive salivation.

These are all symptoms of serious illnesses, which is why it’s important to take your dog to a vet immediately.

  • If your dog is coughing up blood, or has bloody mucous coming from their nose.

Again, these are both signs of serious disease, so it’s best to seek medical help quickly.

  • If your dog is losing weight, especially if they’re eating less than usual.

This could be due to illness, but could also indicate they’re suffering from starvation.

  • If your dog is showing signs of discomfort or pain.

This includes whining, squirming, or licking their paws excessively.

  • If your dog is suddenly acting aggressive towards other dogs or people.

Again, this could be a sign of illness, but it could also simply be because they feel threatened.

In most cases, your dog will only need to visit a vet once every six months to have their teeth cleaned, or occasionally for routine vaccinations, but if you notice any of the above signs, then it’s best to get them checked by a vet as soon as possible.

When To See A Vet About Your Dog’s Groaning

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear your dog grunt or groan is that he must be hurt.

However, not all grunts and groans are caused by pain.

There are several different reasons why dogs grunt and groan, including:

It’s their way of saying “hi!” 

They’re showing excitement, joy, or happiness.

They’re asking for food or water.

They’re communicating with other dogs.

They’re letting you know that they need attention.

So while it’s important to make sure your dog isn’t hurting themselves, it’s also important to
consider whether your dog’s grunting is actually related to them needing attention or comfort.

The key here is to observe your dog’s behavior closely.

If you notice that your dog is grunting and groaning often, especially when he’s alone, then it’s likely
that he needs more interaction from you than usual.

If this happens, it’s time to take your dog to the vet.

Megan Turner
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