Why Do Dogs Sneeze When Upside Down

Healthy dogs have wet noses, which they love to rub on humans, as all dog owners are aware. They occasionally produce additional nasal fluid, which can make their noses extra wet.

Sneezing may result from the fluid dripping back down into their noses while they are upside down.

This response is typical and anticipated. Simply put, your dog’s body is attempting to keep a potential foreign object out of their nose.

When it’s turned upside down, why does my dog sneeze?

Paroxysmal respiration, or reverse sneezing as it is more generally known, affects some dogs.

In contrast to a typical sneeze, which quickly pushes air out of the nose, a dog with this ailment quickly draws air into the nose.

When the dog has this ailment, air is swiftly drawn into the nose as opposed to being swiftly ejected out of the nose during a typical sneeze. The dog snorts and appears to be straining to breathe in while sneezing.

Is my dog in danger when this occurs?

Although seeing a dog experience a reverse sneezing episode can be unsettling, there are no negative consequences. Both before and after the occurrence, the dog is entirely normal. The dog will stand still, exhale quickly and deeply, and extend his head and neck during a reverse sneeze. It may sound like the dog has something stuck in his nose or throat because of the loud snorting noise that is made. An episode of reverse sneezing might last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute.

What causes the reverse sneeze?

A reverse sneeze’s precise cause is uncertain. An episode of backward sneezing can be brought on by any discomfort to the nose, sinuses, or back of the throat. Nasal mites, secretions, foreign objects like seeds, pollen, or grass, allergies, smoking, odors, masses, or an extended soft palate can all be triggers. Long nosed dogs with limited nasal passageways appear to be more susceptible.

How is a reverse sneeze diagnosed?

Clinical symptoms and medical history are used to make the diagnosis. Your veterinarian will rule out additional conditions that could be causing your pet’s aberrant breathing and snoring, such as an upper respiratory tract infection, collapsing trachea, nasal polyps or tumors, foreign objects in the mouth or nasal passages, etc. When necessary, your veterinarian will run blood tests, allergy testing, or radiographs (X-rays) to rule out any other conditions that might be causing your pet’s symptoms.

How is reverse sneeze treated?

Most reverse sneeze cases don’t need any kind of medical attention. You can try to soothe your dog down if he has a round of reverse sneezing by giving him a gentle neck stroke. The attack normally ends when the dog exhales through its nose. It is extremely uncommon for dogs to experience any risks or consequences during these episodes. Longer durations have been documented, but shorter episodes of reverse sneeze are more common.

If your dog has an incident of reverse sneezing, you should try to soothe him down by giving him a gentle neck stroking.

Your dog’s condition may occasionally be treated by your veterinarian prescribing anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, or decongestant drugs.

When I stroke my dog’s belly, why does he sneeze?

Dog sneezes are not all that dissimilar from human sneezes. Dogs (and people) typically sneeze when something irritates the nose’s interior, such as pollen from seasonal pet allergies. In an effort to get rid of the irritation as quickly as possible, the body causes a sneeze. Even the brain’s sneeze center, which controls all the muscles and organs required for the sneeze, exists. Although it may seem simple, sneezing is actually rather intricate. In fact, the unpleasant particles can be sneezed out of the nose up to 100 miles per hour. Canines’ eyelid muscles always close when they sneeze, just like people do, to prevent dogs from noticing how silly they appear while sneezing. Fortunately, we get to watch our dog’s confused expression following a particularly strong sneeze.

Why does my dog prefer to be inverted?


the position in which larger dogs most frequently snooze. Dogs often lie on their sides with their legs spread wide. Because the tummy is somewhat exposed, your pet’s position suggests that it is at ease and relaxed. Usually, affectionate, laid-back dogs will select this position. In senior dogs, the positioning reduces joint pain. In a strange location, a dog usually won’t prefer to lie on its side. A dog must develop a foundational level of loyalty and trust over time. With plenty of room for the legs to move around, this position works nicely for a dog who is dozing off.


among all the stances, the most natural. They are curled into a ball with their nose near the tail. This posture suggests a dog might be chilled. Conserving body heat by curling up into a ball. a habit with significant evolutionary roots. Since most nights in the wild are chilly, a nest would have been constructed. In order to protect important organs from the cold, the dog would curl up. This conveniently enables a dog to keep watch and be aware of all adjacent traffic. A dog can swiftly leap up and leave this posture in response to a prospective threat or the occasional table crumb that escapes.


the position that dogs prefer to sleep in. Their back legs are straight behind them as they lay flat on their stomachs. They can do this without getting out of their sleep position and maintain a continual awareness of their surroundings. Your dog may be experiencing the heat outside if it is in this position. On a steamy summer day, belly contact on a cool floor might be soothing. Additionally, splooting or stretching out the back legs allows muscles to unwind and feels wonderful on the hips. Dogs who are easygoing and active like to sleep this manner.


The most basic position for sleeping. A dog is lying on its back with its legs extended. A dog who is really at ease and trusting will assume this role. Don’t assume your dog no longer feels safe because this will not be the most comfortable as your dog aged. Dogs in this position are able to sweat profusely thanks to sweat glands on their paws. The paws can breathe completely as a result. Dogs who sprawl out experience intense affection and care.


one of the safest sleeping positions. a canine that looks for anything to sleep beneath. Under pillows, garments, or blankets, it seeks safety and comfort. These dogs are experiencing their ancestors’ pack-sleeping tendencies. a time when canines shared dens and cuddled up to one another. A warm and secure resting environment is provided by sleeping underneath objects. It’s possible that dogs who choose this resting position are hoping for more attention when they’re awake.

When I pet my dog, why does he sneeze?

Many dog owners have observed that when dogs play or become excited about something, they have a propensity to sneeze. When you pet him, this can be the case. The dog may sneeze or snort innocuously because he is delighted about the attention he is receiving.

Sneezing is a method of communication among dogs, according to dog experts, and while it may sound unusual, it can be used to convey a variety of things, including cooperation, an invitation to play, or even a warning. In this case, it’s possible that everytime you pet your dog, he sneezes as a request to play.

How can a reverse sneeze be stopped?

One traditional method to relax a dog is to gently massage his throat while holding his nostrils closed for a little period of time. It might be beneficial to lightly blow on his face. The dog should swallow many times as a result, which will typically halt the spasm of the reverse sneeze. Putting the dog somewhere cool or outside in the open while attempting to vocally pacify him can also be beneficial.

Most dogs may not need medicine, but if the condition is severe, persistent, and allergy-related, some vets may advise antihistamines. Determining potential causes of these events might benefit from an assessment of the environment. The histories of these canines frequently make reference to perfumes, carpet cleaners, etc.

Kennel Cough

A canine cough that is deep, dry, and honking may be a sign of tracheobronchitis or kennel cough (upper airway, meaning not the lungs). The highly contagious sickness known as “kennel cough” can be brought on by a bacterium OR many viruses. It typically only results in minor illness and pain, but if it gets into the lungs, it can lead to life-threatening conditions like pneumonia or chronic bronchitis.

In boarding and doggy daycare facilities, as well as any other location where dogs congregate, dogs can contract kennel cough. Although it usually doesn’t cause any significant complications, your vet may prescribe some medicine to aid with the cough and may advise you to keep your dog away from other dogs until the infectious stage has passed.

Sore Throat

A high-pitched, gagging cough may be an indication of illness, inflammation of the upper airways, or even a partial obstruction. Your dog either has a painful throat, which may be secondary to tonsillitis (quite uncommon in dogs), secondary to mouth or sinus infections, or it may be caused by a foreign object or anything caught in his throat. Foreign items in the throat can be harmful and impair breathing and swallowing. The presence of a foreign object in your dog’s esophagus can be potentially fatal and necessitate prompt veterinarian care.

Lung Problems

A lower airway or lung (pulmonary) condition may be indicated by a wet, phlegmy “moist cough.” The moist, gargling noises suggest that your dog’s lungs might be filled with fluid. Contrary to other coughs, this one causes difficult breathing even when the dog is not coughing. This requires immediate veterinary care, therefore you should call your vet right away to schedule an appointment for your dog.

Canines with immature or weaker immune systems, such as young puppies and senior dogs, are more susceptible to pneumonia. Pneumonia in dogs can be brought on by a variety of things, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus, or aspiration secondary to inhaling foreign material after vomiting or after being exposed to toxins like gasoline or petroleum distillates, etc.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is more likely to occur in toy breeds. A cough that sounds like a goose honking is one of the signs of tracheal collapse. When your dog pulls on his collar, this sound could become more noticeable, and obese dogs are more likely to experience tracheal collapse. It may also manifest themselves while exercising in hot, muggy conditions.

Heart Disease

Dogs can have a variety of heart conditions. Fluid may begin to build up in the lungs if the heart is not working as a pump adequately. Congestive heart failure is the term for this.

Heart disease-prone dog breeds, like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, may begin coughing as the condition worsens. This form of coughing, which typically occurs when your dog is sleeping or lying down, indicates that fluid is accumulating around the lungs of your dog. This is a severe symptom, so be careful to discuss congestive heart failure therapy options with your veterinarian.

Less Common Causes of Dog Cough

Although the aforementioned causes of coughing in dogs are all significant, your veterinarian may wish to rule out some more, less typical causes as well.

When do I need to be concerned about reverse sneezing?

An irritation in the nasal passages causes air to be driven out of the nose during a typical sneeze. A reverse sneezing episode involves a sudden intake of air through the nose. Typically, the animal will remain still while extending its head and neck and making snorting or honking noises. This can linger for a few seconds or longer—up to about a minute—but it’s not dangerous. Sneezing typically stops when a pet exhales through the nose.

Although its exact cause is unknown, backward sneezing can be caused by anything that irritates the back of the throat, including dust, pollen, smoke, odor, or other discomfort. Other issues that can cause more reverse sneezing include allergies, nasal mites, tumors, lumps, or an object lodged in the airway like a foxtail.

What You Can Do

Most backward sneezes don’t need to be treated by a doctor. Pets can be calmed by being stroked on the neck or being given water. Your pet should return to normal after the sneeze episode is done.

When To Come In

Even though the occasional reverse sneeze is typically nothing to worry about, it’s best to have your pet checked out by your veterinarian if it happens more frequently or gets worse. Some respiratory conditions have the potential to spread to other dogs, develop into chronic conditions, or even become life-threatening if left untreated.

Keep in mind that any changes to a pet’s general respiratory sounds should be checked as they may indicate a problem. We frequently examine animals for the following breathing-related issues:

upper respiratory illnesses

Sneezing, watery eyes, and a honking cough are common symptoms of an upper respiratory infection brought on by a virus or bacteria in both dogs and cats.


Chronic lung and airway inflammation can result in wheezing, coughing, and difficult breathing.

trachea collapsing

A pet’s windpipe can start to collapse on itself under specific conditions (trauma, breed, age, and weight), leading to coughing and other respiratory issues.

Bronchial syndrome

Due to their restricted airways, short-nosed dogs and cats (such as pugs, bulldogs, Persians, etc.) may have problems breathing or breathe loudly.

Heart condition

Coughing, gasping, and retching are symptoms of a fluid accumulation in the lungs that can be brought on by heart disease.

Is a dog’s reverse sneeze painful?

Pet dogs create a range of sounds, such as snorts, yips, growls, and groans, which, depending on the situation, can either amuse or alarm their owner.

Dr. Lori Teller, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), offers her opinion on one of the many peculiar noises a pet dog can make: reverse sneezing. However, owners who have concerns about the health of their pet should always consult a veterinarian.

Reverse sneezing, also referred to as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration, is brought on by a muscular spasm at the junction of the dog’s mouth and throat. This 30-second-long spasm temporarily narrows the trachea’s aperture, making it challenging for the dog to breathe in.

“A reverse sneeze is a sudden, involuntary respiratory reaction, but unlike a typical sneeze, it involves a series of rapid, powerful inhalations of air into the nose, according to Teller.

Any type of dog can experience episodes of reverse sneezing, but according to Teller, these episodes appear to be more frequent among brachycephalic, or “smushy-faced,” dog breeds including pugs, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs.

According to Teller, a reserve sneeze resembles a loud honk, snort, and choking sound.

The dog might maintain a very still position while extending its neck and front legs. The pet’s chest and abdomen will move in and out quickly, and the owner will notice this.

Teller wants pet owners to know that while a reverse sneezing episode may raise concerns for some pet owners, it is not painful or hazardous for your pet.

People are worried that their dogs are choking or dying to death because they are unable to breathe, according to Teller. “However, the owner is considerably more terrified than the dog,

Teller claims there are a number of methods pet owners may employ to calm their dog and put an end to the incident if they discover their canines are engaging in reverse sneezes.

“An owner can try speaking in a soothing manner while lightly rubbing the dog’s throat during an incident,” Teller said.

Additionally, the owner can gently open the dog’s mouth and press down on the tongue to relax the spasm or gently blow in the dog’s face to encourage swallowing.

The health of the dog is unaffected by occasional episodes of reverse sneezing, but you should always visit a vet if your pet exhibits persistent reverse sneezing or respiratory symptoms that affect their capacity to breathe.

“It’s crucial to seek veterinarian care to find out if there are other issues going on if your dog has persistent bouts or other respiratory problems, such as coughing, nasal discharge, or difficulty breathing, or just doesn’t seem to feel well,” Teller advised.