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A close-up photo of a golden retriever with its mouth open and tongue hanging out. The dog has a friendly expression and appears to be looking upwards. The background is dimly lit with a hint of a red object behind the dog.
Pet Blog

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs: What Is It & Is It Normal?

This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT

Reverse sneezing can be very alarming. Most dogs make loud noises as they breathe in and extend their necks when they reverse sneeze. It can almost look like your dog is choking. Fortunately, these episodes don’t last very long and are normal ways of clearing the back of their throat.

This is a reflex (like sneezing) when your pup has something in the back of their throat. They inhale forcefully against a closed glottis (a fancy word for the flap in the back of the throat). Usually, the irritant in the back of the throat is mucus from post nasal drip. Sometimes nasal mites or a blade of grass can cause reverse sneezing too.

This normal reflex is not dangerous for your pet. They are perfectly safe and are getting plenty of oxygen. If you haven’t witnessed reverse sneezing or you are unsure that your pup is reverse sneezing, take a quick video and send it to your veterinarian.

Reverse Sneezing: When to Be Concerned

Here are a few red flags to watch for:

  1. Blue tongue and gums. If the pink part of your pup’s tongue or gums turn a bluish or purplish color, it’s time to take them straight to the veterinarian. This means their body is not getting enough oxygen and this is not reverse sneezing.
  2. Passing out or falling over. If your dog loses consciousness or suddenly falls on their side, this is not reverse sneezing. It’s time to see your veterinarian immediately.
  3. Multiple dogs in the house are reverse sneezing. If you have several dogs in your house that don’t normally have episodes of reverse sneezing that suddenly start, they may have nasal mites. This is not an emergency but should be seen by a veterinarian.

Dogs with flat faces like Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs may regularly have episodes of reverse sneezing.

I would love to hear from you! If you have any questions about reverse sneezing, leave a comment below!

Sending you and your pup all my love,

Dr. Angie