Did your dog snort or gasp? Reverse sneezing is the most likely reason. So what causes dogs to reverse sneeze?

Your dog suddenly starts producing an odd gasping or wheezing noise while you’re out for a walk and seems to be in trouble. When a bystander reassures you that your pet is simply having a spell of reverse sneezing, you decide against calling your veterinarian. 

You are informed that even if it appears horrible, there is nothing to be concerned about. So what is reverse sneezing exactly?


What is reverse sneezing in dogs?

A sneeze is a forceful expulsion of air from the nose or mouth by an animal. A dog suffering from reverse sneezing, often referred to as paroxysmal respiration, rapidly inhales air rather than exhales it. 

The dog may appear to be having trouble breathing during the bout of reverse sneezing and make a noise that some people characterize as honking or snorting. With its head and neck extended, the dog may also seem stiff.

Fortunately, this illness nearly always clears itself quickly and without any serious side effects.


What is the cause of reverse sneezing in dogs?

A dog’s soft palate muscle starts to spasm after a backward sneeze, which narrows the trachea. The dog will start to forcibly breathe through its nostrils at the same time.

What specifically causes backward sneezing is unknown. However, many of the same factors that produce frequent sneezing, such as allergies, can also cause episodes. Other causes of a dog having a reverse sneezing episode include the following:

  • Overexcitement
  • An item has entered the canine’s upper airway.
  • Sinus mites
  • Pulling the leash

In addition, some breeds, particularly those with flat faces like Shih Tzus and Bulldogs, are more prone to reverse sneezing.



Things to do:

Normally, the reverse sneezing will cease on its own, but if your dog is experiencing an episode, you can help it by doing the following:

  • Rubbing the dog’s throat or neck
  • Pinching the dog’s nostrils slightly shut or briefly covering the nose
  • Gently blowing into the dog’s nostrils



In most instances, reverse sneezing doesn’t require medical attention. However, if your dog is reverse sneezing frequently, you might want to take them to the doctor. If allergies are the cause of your dog’s bouts, your veterinarian may advise antihistamines.

It’s also a good idea to have your veterinarian rule out any other conditions, like a tracheal collapse. Two crucial steps to ensuring that your dog can have a long, healthy, and happy life are being proactive with your pet’s health needs and getting pet insurance to cover any unforeseen medical costs.