Backward Sneeze: Dog Sneezes Backwards

Sneezing backward gives most dog owners a great fright the first time. You can observe this phenomenon in your four-legged friend from time to time. The terms backward coughing and reverse sneezing are also popular.

If you notice such an attack on your four-legged friend, owners quickly fear the worst. You panic. However, staying calm will help your dog during a seizure. Don’t make him even more nervous with your concern.

Most dogs have these bouts of backward sneezing only temporarily.

Reverse sneezing in dogs

When your dog sneezes normally, it will blow a puff of air out of its nose in one go. We, humans, know that from ourselves. Sneezing is the most normal thing in the world.

When you sneeze backward, it’s the other way around. The dog breathes in a lot of air at once through its nose. This creates loud noises that are reminiscent of heavy snoring and rattling.

It’s not a sneeze at all.

Is reverse sneezing dangerous?

A bout of backward sneezing looks very tiring and uncomfortable for your loved one. Most of the time, your dog will make his body very rigid. He has a long neck and tilts his head slightly down towards the ground.

Some dogs slouch and arch their backs. They probably do this to get better air. A seizure like this will probably sound like your dog is choking or choking.

If you then look into the wide-open eyes of your four-legged friend, it is understandable that you get quite a shock. However, such a seizure sounds worse than it is. And it usually only lasts a few seconds.

However, seizures of this type can occur more frequently throughout the day.

What does sneezing sound like backward?

Back sneezing is pretty loud. It seems very dramatic to us because it sounds like a loud rattle. Or it reminds us of an asthma attack. However, the cause of the noise is almost always harmless.

The region around the soft palate, the nasopharynx, is responsible for this. This area is called the rhino pharynx. If there is irritation in the nasopharynx, reflexes trigger the so-called backward sneezing.

During a seizure, your dog sucks in a lot of air in a short amount of time through the narrow passages in the nose and throat. The noises that sound threatening to us are created.

Reasons: Where does reverse sneezing in dogs come from?

The reasons for reverse sneezing are usually harmless. Even a strong perfume can be enough for an attack. Or other strong scents that your dog has inhaled.

Possible causes and triggers

  • Perfume
  • fragrances
  • excitement
  • too tight collar
  • spray
  • cleaning supplies
  • inflammation in the throat
  • eating or drinking
  • allergens

Other triggers are excitement, romping around, or eating too quickly. Pressure on the larynx can also trigger a seizure. For example, if the collar is too tight around the neck. Or when your dog pulls on the leash.

Another cause can be intolerance. It is therefore quite possible that backward sneezing indicates an illness, an allergy, or an infection.

Allergens can cause swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat. This can cause your dog’s palate to cramp. To remedy the situation, he triggers backward sneezing.

Which dog breeds are affected?

In very short-headed breeds, such as the Pug, the backward sneezing phenomenon is more common on average than in other breeds. Due to the shortened airways and the atrophied pharynx caused by breeding, they are particularly susceptible to reverse sneezing.

It is believed that short-headed breeds such as Pugs or Bulldogs try to counteract the narrowing of the throat and take in more air by sneezing backward.

Other possible causes are inflammation, foreign bodies in the throat area, or an infestation with mites.

Backward sneezing when infested with mites

The so-called nose mites infest the paranasal sinuses of your fur nose and cause severe itching, among other things. If your pet is infested with these parasites, they will often scratch, shake and have a nasal discharge.

Sneezing backward is often added to provide relief. Fortunately, this type of mite is very rare in Germany. They are particularly widespread in Scandinavia.

So if you are planning to travel to Scandinavia with your four-legged friend, keep your eyes open and be careful. There, nose mites are a common problem among dogs.

Backward sneezing as an indication of illness

Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that reverse sneezing is not just a harmless sneezing fit.

In a few cases, it is an indication of serious diseases. These include, for example, inflammation and swelling of the nasopharynx or tonsils.

Signs of tracheal collapse

In particularly severe cases, reverse sneezing can even indicate a tracheal collapse. This is the collapse of the trachea. This leads to severe shortness of breath or even complete blockage of the trachea.

In the case of a tracheal collapse, symptoms usually appear in addition to backward sneezing. These include wheezing and persistent coughing, as well as increased mucus production.

You can observe the symptoms most frequently and most severely after stressful situations, at higher temperatures, or after going for a walk. Your dog will then pant heavily.

Allergies as a trigger

When your dog is allergic to something in their environment, it often shows in the form of reverse sneezing. Especially if the seizures happen exclusively or only outside while walking. An allergy test is worthwhile here.

Sneezing backward can also be a symptom of a cold.

Brachycephaly in short-headed dog breeds

Some dog breeds suffer from brachycephaly. This includes all the health consequences that the breeding of short-headedness causes in dog breeds. These include, above all, well-known breathing problems. These are caused by the cultivated narrowing and shortening of the nasopharynx.

Due to the reduction of the pharynx, the soft palate is too long. As a result, the soft palate gets caught on the epiglottis and triggers snoring and rattling noises. It makes affected dogs more prone to reverse sneezing.

Reverse sneezing can happen to any dog

In principle, reverse sneezing can occur in any breed and at any age. It can become dangerous if there are symptoms such as nosebleeds or general malaise, restlessness, or discharge from the nose.

If the seizures don’t stop on their own after several days, you should visit your veterinarian. She can give your dog a thorough check-up.

Treatment: what to do against reverse sneezing?

The seizures usually go away as quickly as they appear. Normally reverse sneezing lasts only a few seconds. It rarely goes up to a minute. As a dog owner, you can also take action yourself and free your dog from seizures at an early stage.

There are several ways to stop a seizure. By triggering the swallowing reflex, you stop your dog from sneezing backward. You can either slip your four-legged friend a treat. If he takes it and swallows it, the seizure is over.

Alternatively, you can pinch your dog’s nostrils briefly with two fingers. If you do this and your dog can’t suck in air, he will automatically swallow. This will end the seizure or at least greatly shorten it.

It probably won’t please your dog, or at least irritate you, if you do that. But that way, at least you’ll put him out of the fit quickly. Don’t be afraid, your four-legged friend will not feel any pain when using this trick.

It can be helpful to massage your dog’s neck. To do this, gently stroke the larynx with two fingers. This will relax your throat muscles and the spasm will go away. A gentle tap on your dog’s chest may also help.

Treatment at the vet?

So you can see that in most cases you don’t have to worry about a bout of reverse sneezing.

However, if the individual seizures drag on for a very long time or over several days, you should go to your vet to be on the safe side. Especially if there are other symptoms. In this way, the veterinarian can determine at an early stage whether an allergy or a serious illness is present.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is reverse sneezing?

With reverse sneezing, the dog makes rapid snoring, rattling sounds over a 1 to 2-minute period. The neck is stretched and the elbows slightly outwards. He may appear to be gagging and breathing badly.

What does backward cough mean in dogs?

Back sneezing is triggered in dogs when their throat or palate cramps. This happens when the dog’s throat, pharynx, or larynx becomes irritated. The spasm in the throat manifests itself as a rapid, jerky intake of air through the nose – backward sneezing.

What to do if my dog sneezes backward?

Help gently massage the dog’s larynx or pat it on the front of the chest. Giving a treat or holding your nose briefly can also stop a reverse sneeze. Most importantly, keep calm! As already mentioned, reverse sneezing is far from a cause for concern.

Why is my dog sneezing backward?

Back sneezing is triggered in dogs when their throat or palate cramps. This happens when the dog’s throat, pharynx, or larynx becomes irritated. The spasm in the throat manifests itself as a rapid, jerky intake of air through the nose – backward sneezing.

Is reverse sneezing dangerous for dogs?

In most cases, a dog’s backward sneezing is completely harmless and a visit to the vet is not necessary. Especially if the dog then behaves normally and seems fit, dog owners should not worry.

Where does reverse sneezing come from?

Backward sneezing is caused by any irritation in the rhino pharynx Allergic as well as viral diseases, nose mites, foreign bodies or cancer can be the cause. In most cases, however, no cause can be found.

Why is my dog wheezing so funny?

When dogs pant quickly, this can indicate cardiac insufficiency, anemia, or heat stroke. The symptoms may also be due to fear, stress, hypocalcemia, age, or even the size of the dog.

How do I know if my dog has heart disease?

A dog with heart disease is often less willing to perform, has a cough, or breathes faster even with a small effort. In more serious cases, you may experience unexpected fainting or shortness of breath. Blue undershot mucous membranes or a fluid-filled abdomen can also indicate heart failure.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *