Reverse Sneezing in Dogs , Causes, Treatment and Care

The reverse sneezing in dogs is a disorder that can occur in our dogs, being very striking and disturbing because it seems that the dog is about to drown. There are many doubts among the tutors who observe it, mainly about how to act.

Precisely for this reason, in this Scoobydog article we will explain what a reverse sneeze is in dogs, what are the causes that cause it, the treatment that the veterinarian can prescribe, or how to care for a dog that suffers from it. Read on to find out everything:

Dog sneeze

When our dog sneezes, surely, he is not sneezing for the reasons that we normally attribute, since it is not usually the same causes that cause human sneezes that cause canines.

The most common reasons we sneeze include allergies, sinusitis, or colds. On the contrary, sneezing in dogs is usually caused by the presence of foreign bodies in their noses, mites, and dust. If we go to more worrying causes, there may be a tumor in the area and there may even be episodes of sneezing due to overexcitement and nervousness.

In this way, except in certain cases, sneezing should not be worrisome, unless its frequency and intensity is disproportionate. On the contrary, coughing should make us more alert, since it usually accompanies infections of the respiratory system, something that does not happen with sneezing. They are also not often sneezing due to allergies, although this does not mean that it is not possible. Well, they usually have other symptoms, such as rashes or skin itching.

What is sneezing in pets?

Sure you already knew that dogs sneeze, but do you know the reverse sneeze? Most dog owners have not even been able to talk about it, which is why when it occurs, doubts and concerns arise about its causes and implications.

Reverse or inverted sneezing is a muscle spasm caused by palatal or tracheal irritation that causes violent breaths of air. This phenomenon worries many owners as it may appear that their canine friend is drowning. But, in general, it is not something so worrying or serious.

Reverse sneezing usually appears in breeds prone to respiratory diseases such as pugs or bulldogs, with a higher incidence in brachycephalic or snub-nosed dog breeds.

Difference between a sneeze and tracheal collapse

As we have mentioned, the reverse sneeze is not something that should cause us fear. Since it is not serious unless there are complications, something very rare. However, there is another phenomenon that should make us very alert, it is tracheal collapse. Some differences are the duration since the reverse sneeze lasts less and when the animal disappears it is as if nothing had happened. Or that while the reverse sneeze is characterized by being an aspiration in collapse, coughing usually occurs.

A tracheal collapse is a partial or total obstruction of the trachea, the result of the weakening of the muscular rings that form it. When this happens. The animal begins to present easily perceptible symptoms, among which a sound that looks like a hiss, difficulty breathing, coughing, and lethargy stand out.

Tracheal collapse can occur in different degrees, some of them will only require taking steroids or other outpatient treatments, while the most serious ones may even require surgical intervention. For this reason, it is best to go to the vet as soon as any worrisome symptoms are noticed because the sooner it is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

What causes reverse sneezing in dogs

Reverse sneezing is more frequent in dogs with a flat or short nose, this is explained by the consequent respiratory difficulties of this particular anatomy. Why does it occur in these and not in other races? What exactly causes it?

Something remarkable is that it not only occurs in brachycephalic breeds, in which its appearance is explained because these breeds have an elongated palate but also in those breeds whose nasal passage is longer. In them, there is more the reverse sneeze that is caused by a pharyngeal reflex or gag reflex.

These spasms tend to occur especially in a number of conditions, such as the presence of strong and penetrating odors , dust in the environment, overexcitation or a tug on the collar or leash. It can also be due to an infection or virus, although it is not usually the most frequent, in addition in these cases they will be continuous and will get worse very quickly.

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

What to do if my dog ​​has a reverse sneeze and When should I be concerned about my dogs reverse sneezing?

If we notice that our dog suffers from reverse sneezing regularly. It will be advisable to go to the vet to confirm the diagnosis and rule out a more serious health problem that we may be mistaking for reverse sneezing in dogs. It will also be useful to know if it is a symptom derived from an infection or another health problem. The professional will solve all our doubts, will prescribe treatment if he considers it appropriate, and will advise us how to act and intervene.

Treatment for reverse sneezing in dogs

How to stop reverse sneezing in dogs and how do you treat reverse sneezing in dogs?If we have detected reverse sneezing in our pet. Surely we want to know if it has a solution and what to do about them. The first thing to keep in mind is that, although it is a very striking phenomenon. It is not considered a disease as such, so it could not exactly speak of a cure.

There are only treatments if the cause is the presence of tumors or infections. In the case of tumors, the veterinarian will be the one who determines what treatment is viable and how to carry it out. If it is an infection, it can usually be solved with a treatment based on antibiotics.

Reverse sneezing and vomiting in dogs

Sometimes, when a reverse sneeze occurs, the animal adopts a posture and makes sounds that make us think that it is suffering from the typical retching that precedes vomiting. This is the reason why it is called the gag reflex, however, the reverse sneeze is not accompanied by vomiting. Not really being nausea or an upset stomach, as it is something that only affects the trachea and the palate.

What can happen is that, if there is a foreign body that is causing the sneeze, it is expelled to the outside accompanied by a little saliva. Which should not be confused with bile or vomit.

Remedies for reverse sneezing in dogs

We have already said that reverse sneezing, with few exceptions, is harmless and does not affect the health of our pet. But, it is normal that if we witness it, we become overwhelmed and believe that our friend is having a bad time. In this situation we can take some measures that can alleviate them, such as:

  • Massaging your throat during the reverse sneezing in dogs episode.
  • Cover your nose, carefully and for a very short time, as this will make you swallow saliva, which helps to relieve irritation of your windpipe.

Even so, the most important thing is that once we know that nothing happens because our pet sneezes. We stay calm and normalize the situation, because stress will only make the episode worse.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Reverse sneezing in dogs – Causes, treatment and care. We recommend that you enter our section on Respiratory diseases.

Is reverse sneezing in dogs dangerous

Reverse sneezes can have many causes such as dust, mites, or even dogs waking up suddenly.

Also another possible reason is a very tight collar or excessive physical exercise.

Some of the possible causes of this reverse sneeze are: 

  • There.
  • Strong and penetrating odors (as well as perfumes).
  • Dust.
  • Foreign body in his nose.
  • Nervousness.
  • overexcitement
  • Strong pull on the collar.
  • Its anatomy because many breeds have breathing difficulties. 
  • Dogs with an elongated palate.
  • Dogs with nasal passage longer than others.
  • infections or viruses.

Note : It is important that adopters do not attempt to self-medicate their dogs in the event of reverse sneezing.

Only a proper diagnosis by the veterinarian will help to know the real reason.

Although when the sneeze occurs it is usually impressive for the adopters, there is no need to worry, this sneeze is not dangerous, unless the dog has something that is causing it. 


  • Doust, R. (2004). Nasal Discharge, Sneezing, and Reverse Sneezing. Textbook of Respiratory Disease in Dogs and Cats, 17–29.
  • Jennifer Coates. Reverse Sneezing in Dogs: Is It Normal ?. 2019, from Pet MD Website:
  • Dr. Jerry Klein, CVO. (19.05.2016). What Happens When A Dog Reverse Sneezes ?. 08.21.2019, from American Kennel Club Website: