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Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Vet Talks 3 min read
Terrier dog coughing while laying down outside on the grass. Reverse sneezing in dogs.

Have you seen your dog make a noise like they are choking? It may be reverse sneezing, which can happen to any dog, of any age or breed. However, it is more frequent in small breed dogs, including most brachycephalic breeds (dogs with flat noses).

What Is Reverse Sneezing?

Reverse sneezing does not cause any risk to your little one.

In a normal sneeze, the air is pushed out through the nose. In the reverse sneeze, this air is pushed inward, generating a noise that resembles a dog snoring or coughing. During an episode of reverse sneezes, dogs make several inspirations, which can last up to two minutes. So, it is common for the pet owner to think that their furbaby is choking.

What Causes It?

Reverse sneezing in dogs is caused by a spasm in the throat and in the soft palate. This spasm can occur for different reasons, such as irritation/inflammation of the throat, excitement, allergies, infections, and, in rare cases, changes in temperature.

Fawn pug panting while standing outside on an autumn day. Reverse sneezing in dogs

Is It Uncomfortable Or Dangerous?

Should You Visit The Vet Because Of It?

Reverse sneezing is not something that should worry you too much, as it is not a disease and does not cause any risk to your little one. However, no one likes to watch their best friend go for two minutes without being able to breathe properly. If the episodes of reverse sneezes are very frequent or take more than a few minutes to finish, it is important to talk to your veterinarian to rule out the possibility of other diseases such as nasal cancer, polyps or tumors, tracheal collapse, kennel cough, respiratory infections, or foreign bodies in the respiratory tract.

Symptoms Of Reverse Sneezing

  • They may become static
  • Stretch the neck upward
  • Eyes can be wide
  • Breathing movements will be faster than usual and can emit nasal sounds
Frenchie or French bulldog puppy panting while laying down on grass outside.

What Can You Do To Help Stop Or Prevent Reverse Sneezing?

First, you need to keep calm to not stress your little one more. Therefore, you can gently massage your pet’s throat to help stop the spasm or you can cover your furry friend’s nostrils with your hands. It will make your dog swallow the saliva and helping stop the reverse sneezing. You can also open your little one’s mouth and press their tongue with your finger, which may help to move the air through the nose.

Supplements That May Be Helpful For Reverse Sneezing

Turmeric and Petomega 3 are supplements that help decrease inflammation and may help to decrease spasms. Therefore, they are general supplements that may be helpful for pets that are prone to reverse sneezing.


If you have any other questions about reverse sneezes or respiratory issues in pets, we are happy to help! Feel free to start chatting with one of the NHV Pet Experts whenever you need to by clicking the chat button below.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Published: May 26, 2021

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