Reverse sneezing is a common phenomenon in dogs. In a regular sneeze, your dog pushes air out through the nose; however, in a reverse sneeze, air is pulled rapidly into the nose. During a reverse sneeze, your dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still with his elbows spread apart, extend his head, and his eyes may bulge. Each reverse sneezing episode generally lasts for one to two minutes.

The exact reasons for these episodes are unknown but may be related to allergies, nasal irritants or nasal inflammation. Reverse sneezing attacks are generally quite brief and not life threatening.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Reverse sneezing is generally diagnosed by a description of the event by the owner or by the veterinarian observing the abnormal breathing pattern. Physical examination and a thorough oral exam is important to make sure there isn’t a physical reason for the reverse sneezing.  Your veterinarian may suggest various tests such as chest x-rays or bloodwork to rule out other disorders.
  • Reverse sneezing is non-life threatening and usually doesn’t require treatment. To stop an episode, stimulate your dog to swallow either massaging the throat or briefly pinching off the nasal openings. For some dogs, treatment is necessary and may include antihistamines if allergies are suspected. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Frequent and rapid snorting
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficult breathing


*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!