Reverse Sneezing in Dogs: How To Stop It, Causes, Symptoms.

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Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Reverse sneezing in dogs is a relatively normal phenomenon. It can be extremely frightening to see, particularly if it’s first encountered. Various pet owners have got on the line with the vet clinic upon observing their pup reverse sneezing, thinking their dog is breathing heavily or coughing, or even suffocating. 

This page will tell you everything you have to know when it comes to reverse sneezing in dogs.

What is Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?

Paroxysmal respiration, or reverse sneeze, is a breathing problem that manifests in several canines. The majority of dogs suffering from brachycephalic syndrome will have this problem due to their body structure.

Brachycephalic means short-head or dogs with a shortened nose, such as Pekingese, Lhasa apsos, Shih Tzus, Pugs, Boxers, and Boston Terriers. These dogs are more prone to suffer from other respiratory problems due to narrow nostrils, elongated soft palate, and hypoplastic trachea. 

When this complication arises, the air is pulled in through the snout. In comparison, the air is swiftly pushed out within the snout in a normal sneeze.

Your dog will often stand straight, with his legs and elbows tensed, the neck and head are extended forward, and produce honking or snorting sounds. Along with bulging eyes, this particular posture may be visually distressing. 

The noise they make is caused by a muscle contraction of the throat and soft palate. To compensate, the dog needs to strive harder to breathe (taking a huge vigorous inhale). 

This phenomenon usually persists for a couple of seconds, though it can last for minutes in some cases. Once the dog starts breathing through the nose, the episode stops.

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs


On the surface, reverse sneezing can look like your dog is choking. These symptoms will help you determine whether your dog is reverse sneezing or not.

  • He will standstill
  • Head extended
  • Wide or somewhat bulging eyes
  • Heavy, repeated breath in through the nose
  • A snorting, barfing, or rasping sound
  • Persist for about a couple of minutes, with no harmful effects
  • Acts utterly normal before and after the fit

However, some symptoms may lead to an underlying medical condition. Any of the following must be prompted to contact your vet:

  • Discharge from the snout or bloody nose
  • Inflammation
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale or blue gums 

Suppose your dog has a sudden episode of reverse sneezing; it’s best to have them checked by your veterinarian just to get the correct diagnosis.

What Causes Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

There are plenty of possible reasons for reverse sneezing in dogs, like:

  • Allergies
  • Drainage of secretions
  • Elongated soft palate
  • Eating or drinking quickly
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Getting excited (and wheezing)
  • Nasal parasites
  • Nasal irritants
  • Rhinitis
  • Tugging on the leash
  • Upper and lower airway infection

Diagnosis of Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

The diagnosis will depend on the dog’s clinical symptoms and health history. Your vet will exclude other triggers of irregular breathing, which include: foreign bodies in the nasal cavity, polyps or nasal tumors, tracheal collapse, upper respiratory tract infection, and others. 

Your doctor should require knowledge of the following:

  • where and when you happen to see these attacks.
  • How frequent the reverse sneezing happens.
  • symptoms
  • any routine changes (like walking track, engagement with some dogs)
  • any differences in your dog’s habitat (such as cleaning products and nutrition intake) 

Your vet might likewise suggest x-rays or allergy tests. 

Suppose reverse sneezing becomes a recurring condition instead of a rare phenomenon. In that case, your vet may have to conduct rhinoscopy and may even have to consider a biopsy to find out the cause of the condition.

Diagnosis of Reverse Sneezing in Dogs


For typical incidents of reverse sneezing, no treatment is required. As mentioned earlier, your vet may conduct diagnostic examinations to find the root cause.

If parasites or allergens caused the condition, it should be dealt with to lessen the reverse sneeze’s recurrence and severity. Allergies may be relieved by taking antihistamines

Dog owners must never give their pups medicine without consulting the vet to guarantee a specific medication and proper dosage. Some common medications are cough suppressants, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antihistamine. 

If you own a brachycephalic dog who reverse sneezes frequently, surgery is needed to fix its soft, elongated palate. The vet will also take the opportunity to look for other anatomic irregularities that may need to be dealt with in the context of their brachycephalic airway syndrome. 

Any lumps or cysts must be removed to provide more comfortable breathing. A specialist should perform this surgery and is particularly effective in the earliest stages with puppies. There is no generally recognized treatment for tracheal collapse.

Helping your dog during a reverse sneezing episode

  • Block the nostrils. You can attempt to block its nose to encourage the dog to swallow. For 5 – 10 seconds, place your finger on both nostrils simultaneously. This helps clear the upper respiratory tract and stop its muscle contraction.
  • Massaging. You can also try massaging your dog’s throat or slowly move its head up and down to trigger them to swallow and help ease their neck.
  • Blowing into the nozzle and giving water. This method likewise makes your dog swallow and needs prudence as most pups hate it when humans blow air toward their face. At times, opening their mouth and slowly tugging the tongue or offering something to drink can stop the fit.
  • Let the dog be. Generally, it’s best to leave the dog alone. But, always ask a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s signs before “neglecting” a breathing episode.

Quick warning!! Do NOT let yourself be hurt. The event will stop on its accord. Not all pups will react positively to being touched- they can get frightened or startled.

How to Prevent The Episode From Occurring?

Considering the cause of reverse sneezing is typically unknown, it can be challenging to prevent. But, if you recognize a distinct environmental, nutritional, or behavioral pattern that always triggers reverse sneezing, work to reduce its presence.


Use a harness rather than a collar.

If reverse sneezing happens during walks, switch to a front and back attachment harness. It will provide excellent care, stable distribution, and safety, particularly for energetic canines who love to pull on the leash.

For pups that are not fond of pulling, utilizing just the front clip is a great alternative.

Reduce exposure to allergens and air irritants

  • Habitually bathing your dog and wash their feet, especially on allergy season.
  • Washing and cleaning your dog’s linens regularly
  • Vacuuming and sweeping the floor daily
  • Replacing your furnace filters periodically and try HEPA filters
  • Using entirely dog-friendly, natural cleaning products
  • Keeping the dog out of the room when using cleaning products
  • Minimizing contact from fireplaces, and vape and tobacco smoke
  • Reducing your dog’s exposure outside during allergy season

Checking his eating speeds

If eating excessively fast causes an episode of reverse sneezing, use a specific dish to help hold him back. Additionally, place a soup can in the bowl to slow the feeding process.

Talk with your vet

Suppose your dog’s reverse sneezing is caused by excitement; speak with your vet or a behaviorist regarding approaches. They’ll help positively communicate with your dog without winding them up.

As often as not, staying calm and talking with a low, comforting tone (refraining from using your loud, energy-filled voice) will also help. 

FAQs About Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Does reverse sneeze harm dogs?

Reverse sneezing is entirely normal, and it won’t harm your family companion. But, some pups get uneasy during an event, and a long attack of the condition may be discomforting.

Are reverse sneezes dangerous?

Reverse sneezing occurs as a reaction to something that aggravates the pharynx. It typically does not trigger any severe concerns; however, it can be bothersome.

FAQs About Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

When should I be anxious about reverse sneezing in my dog?

Extreme, constant reverse sneezing must be checked, particularly if it’s manifesting some symptoms like changes in your dog’s behaviors, lack of appetite, and a discharge from the nose or mouth. A likely interpretation for undetermined reverse sneezing can include nasal mites, allergic reactions, lumps, and infections.

How should I describe the episode to the vet?

Whether you are worried that your pet is having a fit or something different, record an episode to show your vet and contact the clinic to schedule a visit. It is natural for a canine not to present the indication while he’s in the clinic, so the video can assist them in checking your pet’s behavior.

Keeping all these things in mind, in most circumstances, a reverse sneeze in a dog can be natural, isn’t dangerous to your pet, and is not a reason to be anxious. If you’re worried that your dog may have allergies, suffering from any health conditions, or if you notice symptoms of reverse sneezing in your dog, call and consult your veterinarian.

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