Seriously, the dog is incapable of rolling on his back without sneezing. He's typically laying on his back to try and get his tummy rubbed, at which point he will usually sneeze in the face of the innocent person who tried to help him out. Even if no one is around he'll sneeze though. Doesn't matter if he's been playing/breathing hard, or is completely relaxed. He sneezes and then won't stop until he turns his head the right-side up. He doesn't appear to enjoy the sneezing, but he'll still lay there on his back for four or five sneezes, typically until he sneezes so hard he falls over and stands up on his own. He hasn't put together the back=sneezing connection yet.

Anyone know what causes this?

  • 1
    What kind of dog is it?
    – jeremy
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 4:50
  • He's half German Shepherd, half Border Collie. Weighs about 55 lbs.
    – Mordred
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 16:45
  • My Puggle does it too! Only on his back.
    – user4024
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 21:16

2 Answers 2


Dogs can sneeze for a number of reasons, most commonly for:

  1. Infections in the nasal passages. Seems unlikely for your pooch given that head position seems to be a factor.

  2. Allergies, again seems unlikely, except that the nose up may be allowing for dust or other allergens to more readily enter. Far fetched in this respect.

  3. Gum and tooth issues. This may be possible, there could draining that triggers the sneezing and sitting upright stops that.

  4. Nasal blockage, some foreign object. Also a bit possible, head tilt could cause that to move back and irritate.

At any rate, I think it would be a good idea to get a vet to have a look-see. It may all just be a harmless oddity, but it doesn't hurt to get it checked just in case it's an early sign.

  • +1 for #4, which I'm sure it is (although a vet visit doesn't harm anyone). Should be harmless.
    – jeremy
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 16:37
  • Yeah, I'll ask the vet next time I take him in. He's been doing it since he was 6 months old so I assume it's probably just normal drainage that moves a different way in his nasal passages. Thanks for the info.
    – Mordred
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 17:25
  • My chihuahua does this too and the vet doesn't seem to be concerned with anything.
    – Can Celik
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 4:36

When he's on his back, is he looking up into a light, the bright sky, or the sun? If so, it might be a harmless photic reflex. This happens to other animals besides humans. I don't know how common it is in dogs.

  • Interesting idea, but he's typically not looking at any lights.
    – Mordred
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 17:22

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