Although this can look and sound very scary it really isn’t! Reverse sneezing is a common cause for concern in many older, small-breed dogs. It is not life-threatening, and while its causes vary, the signs and treatment are the same.



  • Reverse sneezing, also called paroxysmal respiration, commonly afflicts older dogs. It is not a serious problem and usually does not require treatment.


  • Allergies, dust, mites, inflammation and post-nasal drip can cause reverse sneezing, as can rapid eating or drinking, being pulled by the leash and excitement.

Affected Breeds

  • Any breed can experience reverse sneezing, but it is most common in small dogs and short-faced dogs. Breeds such as bulldogs, boxers, Boston terriers, pugs, Shih Tzus and mixes of any of these breeds are prone to reverse sneezing.


  • Reverse sneezing will appear as a spasm with your dog’s neck extended while he issues a loud, snorting sound, like a gasp. He also will turn out his elbows his eyes may bulge.


  • Your dog may have the appearance of choking, suffocating or having a seizure. Dogs do not lose consciousness or collapse after a bout of reverse sneezing.


  • Reverse sneezing can be stopped by massaging the throat or quickly pinching the nasal openings. Frequent bouts of reverse sneezing may need medication to reduce the frequency.