Everything You Need To Know About Boston Terrier Sneezing

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If you’re raising a Boston Terrier, you may have noticed a weird sound coming from the dog. This incident is called reverse sneezing and it often happens in smaller dogs with flat faces like Boston Terriers.

If you’re looking for more information about this condition, here’s everything you need to know about Boston Terrier sneezing.

Everything You Need To Know About Boston Terrier Sneezing

Although dog sneezing is a common occurrence, sometimes your dog may sneeze more than usual. In this post, I will tell you the causes of reverse sneezing, how to handle your Boston Terrier while it is sneezing, and more.

Graphic image of a black and white Boston Terrier that describes what causes Boston Terrier to sneeze

What Is Boston Terrier Reverse Sneezing?

Reverse sneezing is also known as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration or backward/inverted sneezing. It’s more common in dogs with elongated soft palates and short muzzles like Boston Terriers. 

It happens when your dog’s soft palate is irritated causing a throat spasm, which can be prolonged or rapid snorts. During the inverted sneezing episode, your dog breathes heavily, tenses up, and looks like it is short of breath. 

Do not panic when this happens. Reverse sneezing spasms do not leave lasting effects and are usually over quickly. Plus, it’s like a regular sneeze where you only need to clean the nasal cavity. However, if sneezing is caused by nasal mites, speak to your vet as these can impact your dog’s health

What Causes Boston Terrier Sneezing?

When Boston Terriers sneeze, it doesn’t mean they have a  cold like with human beings. These dogs sneeze because of different reasons. First off, their anatomy results in smaller nasal airways and passages that make them susceptible to inverted sneezing. Below are other reasons:

Boston Terrier squinting
  • Irritations to the throat caused by pulling a leash
  • Play sneeze (more on this shortly)
  • A sudden change in temperature
  • Drinking or eating too quickly
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Pollen or grass
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Infected tooth
  • Excitement
  • Allergies 
  • Perfume 
  • Smoke
  • Tumors 

Sneezing usually happens when your dog is asleep or after waking up. During the attack, the dog extends its neck and makes a loud, snorting sound. The dog can also have a backward head motion with forced inhalation, which can be distressing to the dog and you.

Why Do Boston Terriers Sneeze While Playing?

Most Boston Terrier dog handlers notice that dogs usually sneeze when they’re excited by something or when they’re playing with their toy. This is called “play sneezing”. It means your dog is having a lot of fun and it is harmless and normal. 

Boston Terriers sneeze while playing to signal they’re enjoying themselves and their behavior is only play. While many dogs sneeze play, it’s common in small breeds like Boston Terriers. So the next time you see your dog sneezing when playing, do not worry.

Boston Terrier

Can Boston Terriers Get Nasal Infections?

In most cases, your dog sneezes due to play sneezing or something in the air. However, it can be a nasal infection if your dog is sneezing regularly. Note that dogs with upper respiratory tract infections tend to cough more than sneeze. So if symptoms persist, consult your vet. 

That being said, nasal infection symptoms include visible swelling, sneezing, discharge, and nose pain. Persistent sneezing can also be caused by mites, which are usually picked up with your dog’s nose from digging in the dust.

Nasal mites are very irritating and can cause excess discharge from your Boston Terrier’s nose and even nosebleeds. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, take it to the veterinarian for a checkup. 

What is the Treatment for Reverse Sneezing?

Unfortunately, there’s no treatment for this condition. While it can be scary to watch your dog gasp for air, reverse sneezing is harmless. Also, note that these attacks usually last about 20-30 seconds. However, they can last more than one minute in some dogs. 

Boston Terrier after sneezing

If your dog seems distressed, do the following things to stop sneezing:

  1. Hold one of your dog’s nostrils and close it with one finger. Also, close your dog’s mouth to allow your dog to calm down. 
  2. Stroke your dog’s throat gently in a downward motion to help it swallow.
  3. Rub your dog’s sides and back or blow in its face lightly to calm it down.
  4. Move your dog to a place with fresh air.  

Taking your Boston Terrier dog to the vet isn’t necessary unless the attacks are allergy-related. 

When is Sneezing a Cause for Concern?

It’s crucial to differentiate between reverse sneezing and choking. Symptoms of choking include difficulty breathing or drooling. Sometimes your Boston Terrier may also snort due to being obese as the extra weight can make breathing difficult. 

Snorting can also be due to upper airway obstruction (blockage of the upper airway). If you notice any of these signs, call your vet to examine the dog. 



Sneezing helps your Boston Terrier expel an object or irritants stuck in their nose such as pollen. However, if your dog keeps pawing its nose or the nose is bleeding, consult your veterinarian to remove the object. 

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