It can be alarming when your dog snorts or sneezes, especially multiple times in a row. For a dog, snorting and sneezing is a natural part of life — and some dogs even perform what is called a reverse sneeze.
While dogs sneeze and snort when they have colds, allergies, or other illnesses, doing so or even experiencing a reverse sneeze is not a serious cause for alarm.
Reverse sneezing in dogs
Technically known as paroxysmal respiration, this bodily function called “reverse sneezing” sounds like your dog is choking, snorting, or honking. It can be startling to hear this noise the first time.
Reverse sneezes happen when a dog inhales sharply. The attacks usually last a few seconds, but they can be startling if you’re not expecting them.
When your dog reverse sneezes for the first time, go to the vet to ensure everything is OK. Watch your dog to ensure it resumes breathing properly afterward.
Brachycephalic, or short-snouted breeds, are more prone to reverse sneezing than other breeds, but it can occasionally happen to any dog.
Pugs are notorious for reverse sneezing. As puppies grow, the frequency may increase.
While brachycephalic dogs are prone to respiratory health conditions, reverse sneezing isn’t harmful to them.
Reasons why dogs snort or sneeze
A dog usually snorts because something is bothering its nose. It could be a smell the dog doesn’t like or because something is otherwise irritating its nose.
Just like humans, dogs get allergies and colds, which cause them to snort and sneeze.
If your dog sneezes or snorts more than usual, it could signify a respiratory infection.
Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and a runny nose.
If you’re concerned that your dog may have an infection, visit your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
With proper medication, most dogs recover quickly from respiratory infections.
Environmental irritants can cause your dog to sneeze or snort.
Dogs can experience irritated nasal passages from inhaling smoke, fumes, or other contaminants like humans.
If your dog only does this occasionally, you don’t need to worry. If it happens often or your dog appears in distress or struggles to breathe, go to the vet immediately.
Dogs are expressive creatures known to snort, shake their heads, and nip to get attention.
Snorting is an audible tool to convey frustration or stubbornness, whether because they can’t solve a puzzle or want your immediate attention for a walk or other activity.
Dogs communicate with you and other dogs by snorting and snuffling.
Dogs use their noses to explore their surroundings. The nose is an essential part of a dog’s body, and your dog may sometimes snort to clear their nasal passages to smell things more easily.
Your dog may snort and sneeze at the same time for this reason. If your dog seems to be exploring and snorts as part of its experience, there is usually no reason to worry.
But keep an eye on what your dog is doing so they don’t get into anything dangerous.
If your dog snorts and struggles to breathe, it may have inhaled a foreign object.
When that happens, your dog needs immediate surgical treatment, so go to the emergency vet.
Watch for sneezing or snorting patterns
If your dog snorts, it may be trying to tell you something. It could be asking for attention, expressing frustration, or even asking to play or begging for food. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and see if you can figure out what it’s trying to say!
An important note, pay attention and watch for patterns if your dog sneezes often. Your dog could be allergic to an ingredient in its food or suffer from outdoor allergens.
Sneezes also could be a sign your dog is sick. If you’re concerned or your dog begins behaving unusually, consult your veterinarian immediately.