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Dog sneezing with a bubble near its face

Health & Wellness

Reverse sneezing in dogs

It’s not a normal “achoo”

Have you ever heard your dog inhaling rapidly, repeatedly and without warning? If so, they’re probably reverse sneezing. Veterinarian Dr. Aliya McCullough shares all we need to know about this type of sneeze. 

What is reverse sneezing in dogs? 

A reverse sneeze is when a pet forcefully sucks air in rather than blowing it out (like a normal sneeze) because something’s irritating the back of their nasal cavity. Dog breeds, like pugs or French Bulldogs, tend to suffer more because of the way their faces and throats are shaped. 

Reverse sneezes are also way more common in dogs, rather than cats. 

Why do dogs reverse sneeze?


  • Excitement
  • Excessive leash pulling
  • Quickly eating or drinking
  • Foreign material


  • Nasal mites (parasites in their nose)
  • Cancer
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome

What does a reverse sneeze look and sound like? 

When dogs reverse sneeze, it sounds like rapid and repeated snorting. Their neck may be outstretched, head tilted backwards, nostrils flared, lips drawn back and they may make exaggerated chest movements. While it can look and sound alarming, reverse sneezing episodes usually last under 30 seconds and aren’t typically harmful. 

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How to treat reverse sneezing in dogs? 

Reverse sneezing isn’t usually anything to worry about. Be sure to check with your vet if the sneezing becomes excessive. They can run tests to determine what the underlying cause is and what treatments will help them. 

How to stop reverse sneezing in dogs? 

If you’re at home and want to soothe them, rub their throat to clear out mucus or the irritant. 

Even though reverse sneezing may sound scary, unless it’s persistent, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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