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Reverse Sneeze in Dogs: All You Need To Know

Dogs are prone to more conditions and health problems than humans due to their small and sensitive bodies.

It is impossible to know each health problem that dogs can suffer from. For that reason, it is important to take these canines to the vet, as these professionals know all about these animals and will be able to help you with any condition your pet may have.

Reverse Sneeze in Dogs

Many dog ​​owners do not take their dogs to the vet when they are sick or have an ailment. Is that a mistake? We cannot give a clear answer to this as it all depends on the severity of the problem.

If your dog has diarrhea for a day or has lost its appetite, it may not be necessary to take it to the vet, but if you notice strange symptoms or behavior, you should not hesitate to leave your pet in the hands of a professional.

One of the situations that often worries dog owners is reverse sneezing. In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about this condition so that you can be prepared in case your pet suffers from it.

What Is the Reverse Sneeze?

This condition is also known as paroxysmal breathing and consists of a reverse sneezing attack that dogs can experience. Both dogs and cats can suffer from reverse sneezing, but it is usually more common in dogs.

Reverse sneezing in dogs occurs when the soft palate of these animals is irritated. Keep in mind that this palate is the muscular part of the roof of the mouth and is responsible for helping with:

  • Breathing
  • Vocalization
  • Swallowing

Keep in mind that this irritation causes the canine to spasm, narrowing its trachea. When the dog tries to breathe, its trachea will not allow it to inhale the air fully. 

This will cause your pet to try to breathe harder, causing backward sneezing.

Should We Worry About Reverse Sneezes?

Reverse sneezes are not a cause for concern. Obviously, dog owners can get scared when they see this kind of situation in their pets since it is not normal to see them sneezing while trying to inhale air, and anyone would worry seeing that.

However, it is vital to keep in mind that reverse sneezes do not represent any danger to the lungs or the heart as many people think. During a reverse sneezing attack, the canine extends its neck and head while taking long breaths. This may seem worrying at first glance, but it is not.

Generally, these reverse sneezes last approximately 30 seconds, although this situation can extend to 1-2 minutes in some canines.

Why Does a Dog Suffer from Reverse Sneezing?

There are several reasons why some dogs may have this condition. The leading cause is inflammation/irritation of these animals’ pharyngeal fossa or sinus.

When a dog feels irritated in these areas, it will try to sneeze to remove irritants below the trachea. Some of them are:

  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Dust

Therefore, a dog will unconsciously reverse sneeze as that is its body’s way of eliminating the irritants mentioned above. On some occasions, overexcitement can be one of the causes of reverse sneezes.

The main reasons why dogs sneeze this way are:


As we have already mentioned, dogs’ nasal cavity is where environmental irritants, such as dust, pollen, etc., reside. These irritants usually cause allergies to these animals, leading to inflammation in the nasal passage, and causing a series of reverse sneezes.


This is not common in all breeds of dogs, but it is something you should know since it can still occur in your pet. Remember that these animals are almost always happy and show that emotion through movements and actions like running, jumping, barking, etc.

All these excessive movements due to overexcitement could lead the canine to have a sudden attack of reverse sneezing.

Elongated Soft Palate

An elongated soft palate is more common in brachycephalic dogs with a flat face and short muzzle. This congenital anomaly can cause these animals’ brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS).

Aside from reverse sneezing, this problem can also lead to snoring, gagging, or snorting in dogs.

Perfumes and Other Chemicals

Chemicals are widespread in most homes.

Cleaning products or perfumes can cause allergies that, as we have said above, are one of the main causes of reverse sneezing in dogs. That is why avoiding spraying any of these near these animals is important.

Nasal Mites

Finding these mites in the nasal passage of dogs is not uncommon. By staying there, they will cause these animals symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bleeding from the nose, noisy breathing, and of course, reverse sneezing.

How to Help My Dog ​​with Its Reverse Sneezes?

Seeing our dogs having a reverse sneezing fit can be difficult for us. We do not like our pets to suffer because we love them very much, and that is why we must be prepared to help them with any problem they have.

As we said at the beginning of this article, reverse sneezes are not dangerous, so if they do not occur frequently, it will not be necessary to treat or take our pets to the veterinarian.

However, if they become constant and are accompanied by other symptoms, then you should not ignore the problem.

There are several things you can do to help your dog if its reverse sneezing is excessive:

Take It to the Vet

If you notice that your dog’s reverse sneezing is getting out of control, it’s best to take it to the vet as soon as possible. He will prescribe the best medications and treatments to help alleviate this condition in your pet.

Calm Your Dog

A bout of reverse sneezing could startle your dog. It is important that after your pet suffers an episode of reverse sneezing, you calm it down by stroking its head, and this will help reduce stress and anxiety in your canine.

You can stop your dog’s reverse sneezing by gently stroking your dog’s throat. That will make it easier for it to swallow during the sneezing attack.

You should be aware that your dog could see you as a threat when you try to approach it to calm it down. That’s why it’s important to give it space and try again after a few minutes if it walks away from you.

Create a Calm and Clean Environment

A dog should always be in a stress-free environment. Any situation that makes your dog anxious will only make its reverse sneezing attack worse.

Also, remember that a dog is prone to storing irritants such as dust, smoke, or pollen in its nasal cavity. That is why keeping the environment around it clean is essential to prevent it from suffering from allergies due to these irritants. It is advisable to add air filters as well as sweep or vacuum the floor.

In the same way, you should absolutely avoid smoking inside the house since cigarette smoke harms these animals.

You should avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning the house, especially if your dog is there. Try to buy cleaning products with fresh and natural scents suitable for helping dogs with their reverse sneezing problem.