What is Reverse Dog Sneezing?

Reverse Dog Sneezing in Montgomery, AL
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What is Reverse Dog Sneezing?

Most dog owners will have experienced hearing a reverse sneeze from their dog at least once. The good news is that most of the time this reverse sneezing is normal and nothing to worry too much about. But this still begs the question, what is reverse sneezing and why do dogs do it?

Most dogs will reverse sneeze because the roof of their mouth is irritated. This will cause the muscles around the soft palate in a dog’s mouth to spasm, which causes them to breathe in a strange way. This unusual breathing creates the strange noise that is associated with reverse sneezing in dogs.

Here we will be explaining everything that dog owners should know about reverse sneezing in dogs. This includes what it sounds like, if some dogs are more prone to reverse sneezing than others, and whether this is something that dog owners need to worry about. Let’s jump right into it.

What is Reverse Sneezing and What Does it Sound Like?

Reverse sneezing in dogs occurs when the area around a dog’s soft palate becomes irritated. When this happens, the dog instinctively starts trying to breathe in more as the trachea narrows.

Though this sounds frightening, it is not dangerous to dogs. It should also pass after a few seconds. The sound that dogs emit when reverse sneezing is similar to that of a loud snorting cough. This is an involuntary response just like an actual sneeze, and reverse sneezing does not impede a dog’s breathing in any way.

Reverse Dog Sneezing in Montgomery, AL

What Triggers Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

Anything that could irritate the roof of a dog’s mouth can cause reverse sneezing. This could include eating something in a strange way or having a tickle in their mouth.

Conditions like allergies and nasal mites can also cause a dog to reverse sneeze excessively. Having a growth or foreign body in this area can cause reverse sneezing as well. However, this cause is much rarer than the other causes.

Are There Any Dog Breeds that are Prone to Reverse Sneezing?

Any dog can reverse sneeze, but some dogs are a bit more prone to it. As a result, they may reverse sneeze more often than dogs that are not more prone to reverse sneezing. The dog breeds that are most prone to reverse sneezing are brachycephalic breeds.

Brachycephalic breeds include any dog breed that has a shorter snout than normal. Some examples of these breeds include Pugs, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Boxers. However, there are more brachycephalic breeds than these as well.

Brachycephalic breeds are particularly prone to reverse sneezing because they are the most likely to have an elongated soft palate. This elongated soft palate gets irritated more easily, causing reverse sneezing more often.

Is Reverse Sneezing Bad for Dogs?

No, reverse sneezing is not bad for dogs, and there have been no cases of dangerous reverse sneezing episodes in dogs. Even if a dog’s reverse sneezing looks troublesome, the dog is in no danger if they are reverse sneezing.

Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet for Reverse Sneezing?

Most dogs will not need to go to the vet for reverse sneezing. The only time that reverse sneezing could warrant a vet visit if your dog seems to be reverse sneezing constantly. This is because it is possible that a dog doing this could have another issue going on such as a mass or growth.

Of course, it is also a good idea to take your dog to the vet if you are unsure whether they are reverse sneezing or coughing. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and coughing will have different causes than reverse sneezing does.

You should take your dog to the vet immediately if they are struggling to breathe or have a foreign body in their nose or throat. Both scenarios are medical emergencies that require immediate veterinary intervention.

Can You Give Your Dog Any Home Remedies for Reverse Sneezing?

The best thing that you can do to relieve your dog’s reverse sneezing at home is to treat their allergies and remove things that could trigger them to have an allergic response. This includes cleaning up and removing things like:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Scented candles
  • Air fresheners
  • Scented perfumes and sprays
  • Scented laundry detergents
  • Smoke
  • Small grass and seeds

Removing these kinds of things should help reduce the frequency of your dog’s reverse sneezing. This is because this will help remove allergens and things that could irritate a dog’s soft palate.

Can Reverse Sneezing in Dogs be Treated by a Vet?

Reverse sneezing cannot be treated by a vet. This is because reverse sneezing is an involuntary response to irritation of the soft palate.

However, vets can treat medical conditions that cause excessive reverse sneezing in dogs. Some examples of these treatable conditions include allergies and nasal mites.

Are There Any Medical Conditions That Cause Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

Yes, there are some medical conditions that can cause excessive reverse sneezing in dogs. Here are all of these conditions.

  • Allergies
  • Having an elongated soft palate
  • Nasal mites
  • Cancers causing tumors in the nose or throat (urgent)
  • Foreign bodies (emergency)

Though reverse sneezing in dogs can sometimes be caused by a medical condition, this is not extremely common. Most dogs do not reverse sneeze as a result of a medical condition, and this is mostly reserved for dogs that reverse sneeze excessively.

What is the Difference Between Kennel Cough and a Reverse Sneeze?

The main way that dog owners can tell the difference between a reverse sneeze and the coughing caused by kennel cough is the sound. Reverse sneezing sounds more like a loud snorting sound. Meanwhile, the coughing caused by kennel cough usually sounds like a honk. Also, dogs with kennel cough will usually cough much more often than the average dog reverse sneezes.


Most of the time, reverse sneezing in dogs is nothing to worry about and is a natural reaction of the dog’s body to something bothering their mouth or nose. If this is a behavior that is not common in your dog, you can go about your day knowing that your dog is okay! However, if you have noticed your dog reverse sneezing more and more often, then it might be time for a vet visit to be sure there is nothing bothering your dog.

If your dog is reverse sneezing or coughing near Montgomery, AL, contact Montgomery Veterinary Associates. Our vets can find the root cause of this issue and help make sure there is nothing worrisome happening within your pet. Book an appointment with us online today!

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