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Why Does My Dog Sneeze When He Lays On His Back? 7 Reasons

Why Does My Dog Sneeze When He Lays On His Back? 7 Reasons

Every dog comes with its own quirks and behaviors that owners become accustomed to as the years pass. We love them for how silly they are, and how their little nuances bring joy and laughter to our lives.

There are so many unanswered questions regarding canine behavior, and while some of them can be explained, others are just typical for that dog in particular.

If you’re wondering why your dog sneezes when he lays on his back, you’re not alone. Most dogs tend to sneeze when they flip on their backs, whether they’re trying to scratch an itch or playing.

It’s actually really cute behavior, but is there a reason for it?


Why Does My Dog Sneeze When He Lays on His Back?

When dogs are flipped on their back, irritating particles can enter the nasal passage more easily, or they could be experiencing extra mucus from their mouths and nose. Photic reflex is another reason that your pup could be sneezing uncontrollably after it looks at the light.


The Causes Behind Dog Sneezes

The causes behind dogs sneezing are often similar to the reasons that people sneeze.

Unwanted particles in the nasal passage are the most common reason, but there are other forces that could be at play!



Your pup might be snorting instead of sneezing when he rolls over on his back to play or scratch an itch. Simple snorts are often confused with sneezing, as is the process of reverse sneezing.

If you’re wondering what reverse sneezing is, you’re probably familiar with it if you’ve owned a dog for a while.

Due to some obstruction, including swallowing water incorrectly, dogs might reverse sneeze, which is similar to a snort.


Showing Trust

When your dog flips over, they’re often showing you trust, or that they trust in you to play without harming them. It’s also a way of dogs showing humans that they won’t bite us and we can trust them as well.

The sneezing and snorting that comes with showing trust is nothing but affection, and also a few misplaced dust particles here and there!

Speaking of dust…



Dogs that live in a dusty environment, whether it be outside or in, will naturally sneeze more than normal, whether they’re lying on their backs or not.

Indoor products like perfumes, powders, fragrance spray, and candles may cause a dog to sneeze quite a bit.



If there’s one thing that dogs are good at, it’s catching the attention of humans. They’ve been doing it successfully for centuries.

When looking cute isn’t enough to distract us from our work and get us to play, they resort to all types of sounds, including barking, whining, and you guessed it, sneezing.

If you hear your dog start to huff and sneeze, and glance up to see it standing across the room staring at you, your pup definitely wants some attention!


Dental Problems

Tooth and gum issues may cause a dog to sneeze when it flips over and lays on its back.

When your dog stretches out his neck and lets his head fall back, there is an instance of more oral drainage into the nasal cavity.

If there is some infection within the teeth and gums, which is a common problem for many dogs, that infection could drain into nasal passages and cause plenty of sneezing.



Many flat-faced breeds, also known as Brachycephalic breeds, have trouble breathing as it is, and may sneeze more when they’re on their backs.

If you own a bulldog or a pug, you’ll likely notice that your dog sneezes (and even snores) more than other dogs do, no matter how it’s positioned.

Flat-faced dogs have naturally narrow nasal passages. This fact combined with flipping over onto their backs, causing mucus drainage and nasal irritation, is a recipe for sneezing.


The Photic Reflex

When you go outside or look directly at a light, chances are, you sneeze! This happens to dogs as well.

When they turn over onto their backs with their eyes facing the sky or bright lights in your home, they’re bound to sneeze a few times.


Frequently Asked Questions about Why My Dog Sneezes When He Lays On His Back


Should I be worried that my dog sneezes while on his back?

Don’t worry too much if your canine pal sneezes a lot while on his back. For the most part, it’s a natural reflex to the world around him. If tooth and gum issues are the cause, you will find that out at his regular checkup!


Why does my dog sneeze so much?

Many things cause a dog to sneeze often, but if your dog is sneezing constantly, it might be time to evaluate the environment. Dust, perfume, and strong candles can cause a dog to sneeze. If you live in a very dusty location, purchasing an air purifier is a great idea.


Does my dog have allergies?

He might, though your dog would be sneezing all the time, not only when he’s on his back. If you suspect allergies, check for watery eyes, a runny nose, and itchy paws. Your vet can do allergy tests to check if allergies indeed are what’s causing the sneezing.


Dogs and Sneezing

Dogs sneeze just as much, and for all the same reasons, as humans do. Remember, most dogs sneeze when they’re on their backs.

There is rarely a sinister cause to your dogs’ sneezing, but if it’s concerning you, check in with your vet for peace of mind.