How to Stop Dog Reverse Sneezing

How to Stop Dog Reverse Sneezing

As devoted pet owners, we cherish the companionship and unconditional love our dogs provide us. However, along with the joys of pet ownership, there often come moments of concern when our furry friends face health issues. One peculiar but relatively common concern is reverse sneezing in dogs. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of reverse sneezing, including its causes, symptoms, and effective strategies for how to stop dog reverse sneezing, managing, and preventing it. By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped with the knowledge and tools to help your dog breathe easy and enjoy a happier, healthier life.

Reverse sneezing, medically known as “pharyngeal gag reflex,” is a phenomenon that might leave pet owners bewildered and worried. However, it’s important to note that reverse sneezing is usually a harmless occurrence in dogs. This reflex manifests when your canine companion inhales rapidly through their nose, but instead of air flowing smoothly, the soft palate and throat tissues flutter, resulting in a series of honking or snorting sounds. While it may appear alarming, reverse sneezing is rarely a cause for immediate concern.

What Is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

To better understand how to stop dog reverse sneezing, it’s crucial to grasp the mechanics behind it. As mentioned, reverse sneezing is essentially a spasmotic reflex involving the soft palate and throat tissues. When triggered, your dog will exhibit a distinctive behavior. Their head will extend forward, neck stretched, and they will make rapid, repeated snorting or honking sounds. This often leaves pet owners wondering if their furry friend is choking or in distress. However, it’s essential to stay calm and reassure your dog during these episodes.

Causes of Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Causes of Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

To effectively manage and prevent reverse sneezing episodes, it’s essential to identify the potential causes. While reverse sneezing is typically harmless, understanding its triggers can help alleviate your dog’s discomfort and put your mind at ease.

1. Allergies

One common trigger for reverse sneezing in dogs is allergies. Much like humans, dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust, or other environmental irritants. When these allergens are inhaled, they can irritate the nasal passages and throat, leading to reverse sneezing.

2. Excitement or Anxiety

Dogs, like people, can experience moments of heightened excitement or anxiety. During playtime or stressful situations, your dog may exhibit reverse sneezing as a result of these emotional triggers.

3. Foreign Objects

Inquisitive dogs may sometimes ingest foreign objects, such as grass or small toys. When these items irritate the throat, reverse sneezing can occur as the body’s natural response to clear the irritant.

4. Respiratory Infections

Infections in the respiratory tract, such as kennel cough, can also lead to episodes of reverse sneezing. These infections can cause irritation and inflammation, prompting the reflex.

Recognizing Reverse Sneezing

Now that we’ve explored the causes of reverse sneezing, let’s focus on recognizing the symptoms. It’s crucial for pet owners to distinguish between reverse sneezing and other, more serious respiratory issues to provide the appropriate care and comfort to their canine companions.


  • Sudden and repetitive snorting or honking sounds
  • Extension of the head with a stretched neck
  • Rapid breathing
  • Absence of nasal discharge

While these symptoms may seem distressing, it’s important to remember that reverse sneezing is generally not harmful to your dog. However, it’s still a good idea to consult your veterinarian if these episodes become frequent or severe.

How to Stop Dog Reverse Sneezing

How to Stop Dog Reverse Sneezing

Now that we have a solid understanding of what reverse sneezing is and what causes it, let’s explore how you can help your dog when they experience these episodes. While reverse sneezing is typically harmless, there are steps you can take to provide comfort to your furry friend and reduce the frequency of these episodes.

1. Remain Calm

During a reverse sneezing episode, it’s essential to stay calm yourself. Dogs are sensitive to their owners’ emotions, and your reassuring presence can help ease their anxiety.

2. Gently Massage the Throat

To soothe the irritation causing the reverse sneezing, gently massage your dog’s throat. This can help relax the muscles involved in the reflex.

4. Remove Potential Irritants

Keep your dog’s environment free from potential irritants, such as strong fragrances, smoke, or airborne allergens. This can help reduce the likelihood of trigger episodes.

5. Consult a Veterinarian

If reverse sneezing becomes chronic or severe, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination to rule out any underlying health issues and provide guidance on managing the condition.

Prevention and Long-Term Management

While reverse sneezing is generally harmless, prevention is always preferable to management. Here are some strategies to reduce the frequency of reverse sneezing episodes in your dog.

1. Minimize Allergens

If your dog is prone to allergies, take steps to minimize their exposure to allergens. Regularly clean your home, use air purifiers, and consider allergen-reducing products to create a healthier environment for your pet.

2. Keep Your Dog Calm

Stress management is crucial, especially for dogs prone to reverse sneezing triggered by excitement or anxiety. Consider using calming supplements or techniques such as gentle massage or soothing music to keep your dog relaxed.

3. Monitor Playtime

During playtime, supervise your dog to prevent the ingestion of foreign objects. This can reduce the risk of throat irritation and reverse sneezing.


In conclusion, reverse sneezing in dogs, while often alarming to pet owners, is typically a harmless reflex. Understanding its causes, recognizing its symptoms, and implementing effective strategies on “How to Stop Dog Reverse Sneezing” can significantly improve your pet’s comfort and quality of life.

Remember, staying calm during episodes, providing gentle throat massage, ensuring proper hydration, and consulting a veterinarian when necessary are essential steps in managing reverse sneezing. Additionally, taking preventative measures, such as minimizing allergens and keeping your dog calm, can reduce the frequency of these episodes.

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Your furry companion relies on your care and support, and by following the guidance in this comprehensive guide, you can help them enjoy a healthier and happier life. For more information about your dog’s health, consider visiting, where you can find valuable resources and guidance.


Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about reverse sneezing in dogs.

Is reverse sneezing dangerous for my dog?

Reverse sneezing is typically not dangerous and does not require immediate medical attention. However, if it becomes chronic or severe, consult a veterinarian.

Can I prevent reverse sneezing in my dog?

You can reduce the frequency of reverse sneezing by minimizing allergens, keeping your dog calm, and monitoring playtime.

How can I distinguish reverse sneezing from other respiratory issues?

Reverse sneezing is characterized by sudden, repetitive snorting sounds with a head-extended posture. It does not involve nasal discharge.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to reverse sneezing?

Brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed) are more susceptible to reverse sneezing due to their unique anatomical features.

When should I seek veterinary advice for reverse sneezing?

If reverse sneezing episodes become frequent, severe, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation.