Why Do Dogs Sneeze When They’re Upside Down?

dog upside down on grass

Although researchers aren’t certain why dogs sneeze when they’re upside down, one of the leading theories is that nasal fluids drip down and cause irritation. In response to the irritation, the dog sneezes. It could also be due to playfulness (sneezing is a sign of a playful dog) or sensitivity to sunlight. 

One moment your dog is happy as a clam, the next moment, they’re upside down and sneezing their snouts off. Why does this only seem to happen when they’re upside down? Is it normal for them to sneeze like this? Should you be worried about your dog? These are a few of the questions we’re going to dive into today.

Why Does Your Dog Sneeze When Upside Down?

Dogs sneeze the same reasons humans do! The cause of a sneeze can vary from outdoor allergies to sunlight in your pup’s eyes. 

However, there is one cause of sneezing that doesn’t happen to humans – as far as we know. This phenomenon is sneezing when lying upside down. 

When your dog suddenly starts to sneeze while upside down, it may leave you with a lot of questions, and sometimes, a bit of concern. 

It may lead you to wonder if your dog has a new onset of allergies or if something is physically irritating their nose. 

There is very little research on this topic, but there are a few hypotheses based on what we know about dogs. 

Could The Wet Nose Cause Sneezing?

As all dog owners know, healthy dogs have wet noses they love to rub us with! Their noses can sometimes be extra wet because of the nasal fluids they produce. 

When upside down, the fluid may drip back down inside their noses, causing a reaction in the form of a sneeze! 

This reaction is normal and expected. Your dog’s body is simply trying to prevent what could be a foreign substance from getting in their nose. 

What About Dog Allergies?

Dogs, like humans, get allergies. Many of these allergens go unnoticed, which is why it is always important to consult your vet and have your pup tested if they show any symptoms. 

However, If your dog is suffering from allergies, their symptoms are likely to be more extensive than sneezing when upside down. Symptoms of allergies in dogs include sneezing, red bumps, irritation, itchiness, and watery eyes. 

Even though it’s unlikely that sneezing while upside down is because of allergies, no possibility should be ignored.

Monitor what your dog is eating/drinking around the time of their sneezing. This will help you determine if they are exposed to allergens at the same time.

What Are Some Dogs Allergic to?

There are countless potential allergies dogs may develop throughout their lives. Dog allergies vary from the food they eat (grains, meats, dairy) to the plants and pollen they come into contact with when outside. A dog can even have allergic reactions to the grass they step on! 

Allergies can be harmful to your dog, so take note of any symptoms that arise and any items your dog may have come into contact with at the time of the allergic reaction. It’s also important to keep in mind that allergies can develop over time, and your dog may have new allergies that arise with age or lifestyle changes. 

Getting your dog an allergy test is a good option if you’re unsure about your dog’s potential reactions. Discuss the details with your vet at your next visit.

If you suspect your dog may have an allergy to a particular type of food and want to investigate this at home, you can begin by eliminating that food for a few weeks and seeing if their symptoms improve. This process can be repeated until you can identify the allergen that’s bothering your dog.

Dust Particles Get In Their Nose

This is another theory that has not been proven – but makes sense based on our interactions with air and allergens. 

Since a dog’s nasal cavity typically points straight ahead, when it begins to point upward toward the sky, it’s easier for dust particles to fall into their nose and cause them to sneeze. 

This is something even humans can experience! Sneezing is a natural response when particles enter through the nose. When your dog is upside down, they are more likely to be exposed to air particles. 

Another potential cause of sneezing is getting direct sunlight in your eyes. This is a strange occurrence in both humans and dogs and is more likely to happen when your pup is upside down. 

Should You Be Concerned If Your Dog Sneezes When Upside Down?

We will always worry about our dogs like they are our flesh and blood, but in this scenario, there’s no need to worry.

Sneezing is a natural and essential respiratory response for both humans and dogs. It keeps unwanted particles from entering your body.

If your dog were getting stuff in his nose and not sneezing — that would be a reason to worry. As long as your dog’s sneezing bouts come and go and are not associated with other symptoms, there’s nothing to worry about. 

If they are sneezing for longer than you believe is healthy or the sneezing is paired with other unsettling symptoms, call your local vet to discuss what may be causing these bouts of sneezing!

How Many Sneezes is Considered “Normal”?

Dogs typically sneeze from 1 to 5 times in a row. If your dog sneezes six times and stops, this is still perfectly normal. 

What is abnormal is if your dog sneezes numerous times, stops, and sneezes multiple times again. If this continues, try to get your dog to roll out of the upside-down position and keep a close eye on them next time they are upside down. 

Since sneezing comes and goes so quickly, it’s nearly impossible for you to bring them to a vet and have them identify what caused that particular bout of sneezing. 

Sneezing When Upside Down is Completely Normal

There’s no need to be concerned about this odd quirk. Just because something is odd doesn’t mean it is not right or natural. 

It is reassuring to know that if vets or scientists were worried about this phenomenon – there would be much more research behind what causes it. 

If it does bother or worry you that your dog sneezes when upside down, you can entice him to flip over and stay on his stomach through commands and positive reinforcement. Like many other behaviors, your dog can be trained to no longer rollover. Remember, if it is bothering your dog, he will soon learn to not roll over!

As with any concerns you may have with your furry friend, it’s best to seek professional medical advice from your vet. 

The next time your dog rolls himself upside down and into a sneeze – you should feel confident that your dog doesn’t have a bigger issue going on. Sometimes, dogs just have to be dogs, and this includes sneezing while upside down for many of them. 

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