Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Sneezing, Reverse Sneezing (gasping in for air), and Gagging in Dogs

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Sneezing refers to the normal behavior of expelling air to remove matter through the nasal cavity. Reverse sneezing, on the other hand, refers to the reflex of bringing air into the body to remove irritants in the upper area that lies behind the nose. Dogs may gag to remove irritants from the larynx; this is commonly misinterpreted as vomiting.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Sneezing is often accompanied by a sudden movement of the head downwards, with a closed mouth, and may cause the dog's nose to hit the ground. Reverse sneezing is often characterized by a backwards head motion, a closed mouth and lips sucking in. Gagging usually causes the dog to swallow after extending its neck and opening its mouth.

 

Causes

 

Any breed of dog can be affected by these medical behaviors. The most common causes for younger dogs include infections, the existence of a cleft palate, or bronchial infections. Another primary cause is the involuntary movement of the hairlike cilia that line the respiratory tract and act to remove foreign matter from the air before it reaches the lungs. This involuntary movement of the hair is medically termed ciliary dyskinesis. The most common causes for older dogs include nasal tumors and dental diseases. Other causes can be mucus irritation, inflammation, excess nasal dripping or secretion, pneumonia, chronic vomiting, and gastrointestinal disease. Under vaccinated or unvaccinated dogs are at a higher risk of developing infections, which may lead to consistent sneezing. Chronic dental disease can lead to both chronic sneezing and reverse sneezing. Mites found in the nasal cavities can also be a cause for any of these physical reflexes.

 

Diagnosis

 

The first method of diagnosis is to distinguish between sneezing and reverse sneezing in the dog. Next, if the condition is serious, more in depth testing may be performed to see if there is a more serious underlying medical condition.

 

 

Related Articles

Hole in the Trachea in Dogs
Tracheal perforation is a loss of the integrity of the tracheal wall, in the form...
READ MORE
Poisoning by Petroleum Products in Dogs
Petroleum hydrocarbon toxicosis is a severe and disease-like reaction that occurs...
READ MORE
Nose Bleed in Dogs
A bleeding nose can come from several sources. It may be the result of a condition...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»

Latest In Dog Nutrition

How Obesity May Shorten Your Pet's Lifespan
Obesity is a nationwide epidemic for our pets. Unfortunately, being obese can shorten...
READ MORE
5 Tips to Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy
Senior dogs have different health requirements than younger dogs. Here are some tips...
READ MORE
Does My Senior Dog Need Special Dog Food?
Whether or not your senior dog needs special dog food depends, to a large extent,...
READ MORE
Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM