That Weird Honking Sneeze

American Bully and Carolina Dog

How often has this been my topic for this blog? Hard to say since I’ve repurposed or deleted so many over the years since this blog began in 2004. That said, this topic is even more relevant today since the toxin load for us, our animals, the entire planet has only grown. I’m not talking about the green thing lol. I am talking about things that we often use on a daily basis and then when our dogs for example start reverse sneezing for no apparent reason, we rush them to the vet to find out what is going on. Then we are prescribed pharmaceuticals to supposedly remedy that situation. All that does is mask the symptom but does nothing to get to the root cause and remove it. What that reverse sneezing is, is an alarm sounding which if turned off – as in masked – doesn’t remove the intruder. Before we get to removing the intruder though, let’s first look at what reverse sneezing is, and then what can be the cause. Lastly we’ll discuss solutions which will include removing these toxins that can and often do kill.

Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker has focused on this topic lately on her own blog. However, we differ in that she often suggests going to the vet for a majority of things because after all she is a veterinarian. Many people prefer depending on someone else like their vet to tell them what to do so they don’t have to learn or think about it, just receive the label we call diagnosis, then apply what the vet tells them to do. That’s their choice.

My focus here is for those who want to learn, apply what they learn, and then make their own decisions for their animals. So, first I’ll explain this and then link to her articles as well. Dogs sneeze mostly to clear their noses of foreign material or bugs or dirt or whatever they had their noses planted in that caused them to need to do this. They explore the world via their noses as the following video shows – please be cognizant of this with the things I am sharing here because SCENTS matter to dogs:

Sometimes they sneeze when excited. They also sneeze because of toxins in the home or yard or both. The scariest sneeze for dog owners though is what is called…

The Reverse Sneeze

This sounds terrible and it definitely can be scary if you’ve never heard it before. Normally what I do when this has happened to one of my dogs is to simply start stroking the throat while speaking calmly to my dog, telling them they’re okay so they calm down. As Dr. Becker states in one of her articles, “When an irritant triggers your dog’s soft palate to spasm, it can cause the trachea to narrow. As your dog attempts to fully inhale, a reverse sneeze can occur.” (See article below). I always have a variety of supportive essential oils on hand and for this particular issue I will typically grab our “Breathe Again” blend (you can find it in my Respiratory Support WishList) which is specifically for respiratory support and rub a drop up and down their throat as well. Everything subsides rather quickly as a result. We live in a very dry, high desert area that can contribute to this. Our American Bully King has had a variety of issues common to the breed along these lines (they are more and more brachycephalic as the breeding is more and more extreme in shortening the nose and also the legs as well). It can also be caused by collars from leash pulling, and other things as Dr. Becker mentions. I’d venture to say that most dogs will have had at least one incidence of this in their lifetime. Since I have a dog now that has this issue, we stay prepared.

  1. When Your Pet Makes This Alarming Sound
  2. The Weird Sneeze That Can Terrify Pet Parents
  3. 13 Chemical Threats to Remove from Your Home


My dogs are raw fed – my Carolina Dog Ezra has been his whole life but he is also only first generation naturally reared. King wasn’t naturally reared until he was 6 months of age and came from a line of conventionally reared dogs in a breed that already has a lot of health issues due to both breeding and conventional rearing. This first line of defense really isn’t optional. I was shocked to learn today that some local veterinarians are stating that dogs NEED grains which is absolutely NOT true! Dogs are CARNIVORES. Taking advice from someone who only learns nutrition from the pet food industry that stand to gain pushing this agenda, as well as the veterinarian who will be treating your dog for a variety of illnesses as a result, is a big mistake. My dogs are fed, as the foundation of good health, a raw meat, bone and organ diet for their carnivore needs. That is the primary and foundational solution.

If you take a look at the articles listed above, you’ll see that often what is a contributor to this issue are things in the home: air fresheners, household cleaners, personal care products (hair sprays, etc.) new paint, furniture off-gassing, on and on. We have made the switch in our home in as many ways as possible including keeping our OLD furniture lol. No pesticides in the home or on our dogs. Natural cleaners, etc. We have ionizing air purifiers and we diffuse the best essential oils. In fact, our dogs are the reason we’re healthier because we began doing all of this because of one very special boy, our Neo Mastiff Shadrach, years ago and have continued to learn AND apply what we learn – and then I teach it to others as well (new school coming SOON!) We don’t use pesticides on our dogs either – flea and tick products are a whole other contributor to these toxins that can and do kill our pets as well as the pests. I’ve discussed that here on this blog a lot, but I’ll be sure to bring it to the light again soon.

I’m coming to the conclusion that doing the above things I just mentioned aren’t optional any longer, but rather they are necessary simply to help our dogs have better quality of life and we benefit right alongside them. While it seems that it doesn’t always seem to stop the issues in all dogs, it can and does lessen them. I know of a few natural rearing breeders (one in particular who has been naturally rearing her dogs since 1986) who have VERY healthy, long-lived dogs that need little to no supportive help as a result. It takes a few generations of naturally rearing to get to that point though, BUT we MUST start somewhere. It’s worth it, even if our dogs haven’t come from longtime naturally reared generations, we can help them live better lives. I see the number of supplements, therapies, and every device possible people throw at their dogs and other pets, spending lots of money trying trying to heal them, PLUS high vet bills. YET they still feed kibble, get their dogs regular injections, use pesticides masquerading as flea/tick control on their dogs and still can’t connect the CAUSE dots. It’s imperative that we DO connect those dots for their sake and ours. So I remain steadfast in helping others learn these truths for the sake of their animals, their children, themselves, and the earth.

The truest solution I know and have come to is the Divine Dance. Flowing with God in His harmonious dance the way He made creation. All of our interventions haven’t made things better – just look around you. So start with the diet. Remove as many of the mitigating factors as you can – step-by-step replacing toxin with healthier alternatives as you can. As you do, you enter that Divine Dance. You want to flow in harmony rather than in the chaos that causes all this harm. Focusing on wellness rather than treating dis-ease. Just start. I did, one step at a time so I know you can too and your dog will thank you for it!

Until next time…

Have a PAWSitively, tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!



Kim Bloomer, V.N.D., N.D. is an animal naturopath as well as being certified in small animal nutrition, with years of experience in animal wellness. Dr. Kim is a published author, writer, blogger, host of the DOGgone Truth podcast. Dr. Kim offers Animal Naturopathy Mentoring and Courses. Subscribe to her DOGgone Newsletter for updates or to her blog via email. Copyright ©2005-2024 Aspenbloom Pet Care, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article. The only essential oils referenced on this website are Young Living.

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