Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > French Bulldog Is Reverse Sneezing, What to Do? Vet Approved Advice

French Bulldog Is Reverse Sneezing, What to Do? Vet Approved Advice

black french bulldog in a basket

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If your Frenchie is snorting unusually loudly and it sounds like they’re inhaling a sneeze rather than pushing it out, you may fear that they’re in the midst of a full-on French Bulldog breathing attack or that they’re in danger. This is what’s known as “reverse sneezing”, and—as long as it’s not happening constantly—it’s not dangerous, so take a deep breath yourself and relax!

In this post, we’ll share how to identify a reverse sneeze, what to expect when your French Bulldog is reverse sneezing, and what you can do to calm them down if they’re stressing out.


What Is Reverse Sneezing?

Reverse sneezing in technical terms is called paroxysmal respiration. In short, dogs that are reverse sneezing forcefully suck air into their noses rather than out. This makes it appear as if your Frenchie is sneezing inwards rather than outwards, which results in loud snorting noises and the head and neck extending.

Reverse sneezing can affect any type of dog, but especially brachycephalic breeds like French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers due to their short snouts and elongated palates.

french bulldog lying down on the floor
Image Credit By: Mylene2401, Pixabay

What Causes Reverse Sneezing?

Indoor and outdoor allergens and irritants such as pollen, dust, mites, and smoke are common causes of reverse sneezing in dogs. Other possible causes include:

  • Temperature changes
  • Overexcitement which causes rapid breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Pulling too hard on the leash

What Can I Do if My French Bulldog is Reverse Sneezing?

The best thing you can do for a reverse sneezing Frenchie is to calm them down. You can try taking them outside, talking to them in a soothing voice, and gently stroking them, which may help to ease their stress. Apart from that, all you can really do is wait it out—an episode usually only lasts up to a minute, sometimes longer.

Try not to panic—reverse sneezing is rarely dangerous. That said, if your French Bulldog is consistently reverse sneezing, you might want to consider if there are potential allergens or irritants in your home that may be causing it, or if your Frenchie has an issue like separation anxiety or behavioral issues causing them to get overexcited a lot. It would also be a good idea to consult your vet just to rule out any other health conditions.

man and woman holding a black french bulldog
Image Credit: Jonathan Borba, Unsplash

What’s the Difference Between Reverse Sneezing and Other Breathing Issues?

While reverse sneezing can be frightening when it happens, especially for new dog parents not familiar with it, it’s unlikely to develop into something serious. Episodes are also short-lived and can affect any breed.

On the other hand, brachycephalic (short-nosed) dog breeds, like French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, are prone to more serious and chronic breathing issues caused by their head shape and elongated soft palates.

One condition that commonly affects Frenchies is brachycephalic airway syndrome, which is caused by an obstructed upper airway. Symptoms include coughing, gagging, panting, noisy breathing, rapid breathing, struggling to eat, drink, or exercise, and, in severe cases, a dog may collapse or overheat. They may even require surgery or breathing support.

Understandably, respiratory issues cause a great deal of discomfort for brachycephalic breeds, and, as a result, the ethics of continuing to breed these dogs has been called into question on many occasions.

divider-paw Final Thoughts

To sum up, if your French Bulldog sometimes makes loud, snorty noises that sound like they’re inhaling a sneeze, they’re more than likely reverse sneezing and there’s nothing to worry about as long as it doesn’t become a consistent issue. If you’re worried that your Frenchie may be suffering from another condition, though, clear it with your vet for peace of mind.

Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Arellanos, Unsplash

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets