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Published: Dec 02, 2011

Most pet owners have seen their dogs sneeze at least once and many may find the act quite amusing. There is another type of sneeze—called a reverse sneeze—that is also fairly common in dogs but looks and sounds very different than a regular sneeze.

According to, this condition occurs when a dog pulls air in rapidly through the nose, causing a noisy, repetitive snorting—almost choking—sort of sound as a result. This is opposed to a normal sneeze which occurs when a dog pushes air out through its nose and the basic “achoo” sort of sound is made. Reverse sneezing episodes may last less than a minute and usually no longer than two minutes.

The news outlet reports that the exact reason for reverse sneezes is unknown, though many veterinarians believe it may be related to allergies, nasal irritation or nasal inflammation. In most cases, the condition is not harmful, however, if the problem occurs frequently - either multiple times a day or several times a week – or a dog has other clinical signs such as nasal discharge, a bloody nose or abnormal facial deformity, an owner should bring their dog to the veterinarian health clinic immediately.

VCA Animal Hospitals reports that once at the animal care facility, a veterinarian will usually perform tests to rule out more serious conditions like an upper respiratory infection, nasal polyps or tumors or even a collapsing trachea.