Or is he more along the lines of gasping and coughing
A short, sharp snorting sound is called a reverse sneeze. It's not
, however, related to sneezing, it just sounds like a sneeze that's going inward instead of outward, that's why it's called that. Reverse sneezing is caused by a spasm of the soft palate. You can usually get them to stop it by massaging their throat and getting them to swallow. It happens in cats as well as in dogs.