You’re giving your dog a full-body scratch down, because you know he loves the attention, and you notice a grunt and then another. Many dogs grunt as a sign of pleasure and contentment; however, grunting can also indicate discomfort or pain.
Changes in Vocalization
You know your buddy’s behavior better than anyone; remain cognizant of any changes in vocalization such as groaning, grunting, howling, whining or yelping. Brachycephalic dogs, the ones with adorable squished faces like bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers, may grunt more due to their elongated soft palates and narrow nasal and tracheal passages. However, if a Lab who nary makes a grunt or snore starts noticeably grunting, it’s time to consult your veterinarian. Grunting and groaning after eating can indicate gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis or deadly stomach bloat, also known as gastric dilation. Excessive grunting and wheezing could indicate respiratory problems, while grunting and groaning during rising could be an indicator of bone or muscle pain. Your veterinarian will assess your dog and provide an accurate diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.