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Reverse sneezing in dogs

Reverse sneezing in dogs: is your dog reverse sneezing?

If you’re unsure what a reverse sneeze is, it can be quite scary when it happens to your dog. More often than not, reverse sneezing in dogs is not a cause for concern but a trip to the vets might be in order if your dog is reverse sneezing regularly.

Let’s take a closer look at reverse sneezing in dogs, the causes of it and how it can be treated.

Reverse sneezing in dogs: what is it?

Put simply, a reverse sneeze is the opposite of a normal sneeze. Instead of blowing out air through their nose, the dog will inhale through it; they normally do this quite forcefully, which makes a loud noise, often referred to as ‘snorking’. A usual episode of reverse sneezing will last just 10-15 seconds.

Reverse sneezing is more common in dogs than you might think. Have you noticed your pug reverse sneezing? That’ll be because it’s more common in flat-faced breeds than those with longer snouts.

What causes it?

Just like normal sneezes are caused by trapped dust, particles in the air or other irritants, this is the case for reverse sneezes.

A dog will sneeze normally if they’re getting rid of dust from their nasal passage, or if the nasal passage is irritated. When a dog reverse sneezes, the same reflex is at work except it’s getting rid of dust from their nasopharynx – which is right at the back of the nose, just above their voicebox.

Is your dog reverse sneezing a lot?

There are many causes of excessive reverse sneezing, or reverse sneezing getting worse. These include:

  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Foreign bodies (dust, grass etc.)
  • Health problems relating to the respiratory system
  • Nasal mites

If your dog is reverse sneezing a lot or if it appears to be getting worse, have a chat with your local vet.


Sadly, there’s no one go-to reverse sneeze treatment. If your dog is reverse sneezing excessively, your vet will assess their general condition and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of reverse sneezing (or excessive normal sneezing for that matter).

If reverse sneezing is caused by allergies, for example, treatment will likely take the form of anti-inflammatory medication. If it’s caused by innate health problems or an issue with the respiratory system, your dog may need surgery.

The trick is to get your pet checked if you’re concerned – reverse sneezing is often more of a symptom than a condition.

Need more info?

If you’re concerned your dog may have allergies, further health problems or if you’d like to find out more about reverse/normal sneezing in dogs, have a chat with your vet.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.


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