Reverse sneezing in dogs can be a terrifying experience for dog owners. It is not actually sneezing, but if you find your dog gasp, snort, or honk for breath, then your dog is undergoing reverse sneezing.
It is a condition that can affects any dog breed. You can say it as a “paroxysmal” respiratory response, meaning that it may come in spasm-like episodes.
Generally, reverse sneezing and “regular” sneezing closely resemble based on their purpose.In both conditions, your dog will expel an irritant from the upper part of the respiratory tract.
But, irritation to the nasal passages causes “regular” sneezing. But, irritation to the nasopharynx (i.e. the area behind the nasal cavities and above the soft palate) causes dogs to “reverse” sneeze.
To identify the reverse sneezing in dogs and its worse conditions, pet parents should know what is a reverse sneeze, its causes them, and how to treat it.
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- What Is Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
- What Causes Reverse Sneezing In Canines?
- Will My Dog Reverse Sneeze At Night?
- Is Reverse Sneezing In Dogs Dangerous?
- Which Breeds Are Prone To Reverse Sneezing?
- How To Identify Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
- Treatment For Reverse Sneezing In Dogs
- How To Prevent Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
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What Is Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
Reverse sneezing in canines is not something a big problem and is the common respiratory condition in them. It is a sudden, repeated, and rapid inhalation, followed by gagging or snorting sounds.
Referred to as paroxysmal respiration or pharyngeal gag reflex, the dog pulls air into the nose in a rapid manner in this condition. But, it could be a sign of other condition such as irritation in the pharyngeal, nasal, or sinus passages.
Reverse sneezing may also be your dog’s attempt to remove foreign particles such as dust or other irritants from its upper airways.
As the dog tries to inhale the air in this condition, a snorting or gagging sound will usually appear. The sound will be like something has caught in its throat or nose.
Your pooch may have repeated episodes of reverse sneezing throughout their lives.
What Causes Reverse Sneezing In Canines?
This condition occurs when there is a spasm in your dog’s throat and soft palate due to irritation in the pharynx, throat, or laryngeal area.
If something obstructs your dog’s throat passage, it leads to irritation and cause damage to the trachea. This makes your pooch feel difficult to get enough air and leads to reverse sneezing.
But, the exact cause of this condition is unknown. Some of the major causes of reverse sneezing in dogs are
- Rapid drinking or eating
- Getting overexcited
- Foreign bodies such as pollens, seeds, or grasses
- Leash pulling
- A tight collar
- Irritants including nasal mites
Performing a high-velocity exercise may also be cause for this condition. Respiratory infection, nasal polyps, chronic post-nasal drip, or foxtails can also cause this condition in rare occasions.
Some dogs will reverse sneeze when there is a sudden change in temperature. So, pay close attention to your dog’s sneezing. If your dog reacts after you clean, then it could be due to residual chemicals. Marijuana and cigarettes are cancer-causing carcinogens and irritants to pets.
Air freshener, perfumes, carpet deodorizers, and cleaning products are potential contributors to this condition and other respiratory problems.
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Will My Dog Reverse Sneeze At Night?
Yes, your pooch will have this condition during night time. It is a particularly common, annoying problem for the dog owners.
So, you can try to prevent it in your dogs in the following ways. But, none of these are foolproof.
- Ensure that your dog isn’t getting too much heat from your bed. So, you can arrange a place for it to sleep.
- Sometimes a particular piece of furniture or few plants can cause reverse sneezing episodes. So, keep them away from your pooch.
- Always keep your pet’s bedding clean to avoid allergies.
Is Reverse Sneezing In Dogs Dangerous?
No, but you should take it as a concern in severe cases. Although reverse sneezing can be alarming to an owner, it isn’t harmful to dogs and your pooch won’t have ill effects because of this condition.
The episode of reverse sneezing can last for several seconds to a minute, but most dogs are normal completely both before and after the episode. The dog will stand still and extend his head and neck during this condition.
But, if the episodes become more frequent or severe and won’t stop, your pooch needs your concern. It is advisable to have your dog an immediate veterinary appointment in such worse conditions.
Signs or symptoms that show reverse sneezing needs speedy vet attention include
- Any breathing problems
- A lack of appetite
- Deformity around the dog’s nose
- Discharge of blood from the dog’s nose
Which Breeds Are Prone To Reverse Sneezing?
This condition can affect any dog breed. But, small dog breeds are more prone to it as they have small throats and wind pipes. Also, the following dog breeds can have more chances to this condition.
- Breeds with flat faces including Shih Tzus, Pugs, and Boxers have soft palates. These dog breeds show signs of reverse sneezing more often because of their ability to suck the palate inwards.
- Dogs with narrow nasal passages (long noses) seem to be more commonly affected. This includes Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.
How To Identify Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
The snorting sound resulting from reverse sneezing in dogs may seem that dogs may have any underlying issues. So, it is essential to identify this condition with a few symptoms.
Your dog may do any of the following while it reverse sneezes.
- Stand typically
- Inhaling repeatedly and forcefully
- Extending its head and neck
- Pulling back their lips
- Bulging in eyes
These symptoms usually last for a minute and clear up easily with no ill effects.
Difference Between Dog Coughing And Reverse Sneezing
Generally, the choking, gasping or the loud, distinctive “snorking” sound occurs during reverse sneezing. The sound may seem to you that your dog is coughing.
But, both the reverse sneezing and coughing sounds are different. A dog coughing sends air out of their mouth producing a sort of hacking noise. So, reverse sneezing consists of rapid inhalations through the nose. They sound more like a pig-like snorting.
Treatment For Reverse Sneezing In Dogs
Most cases of this condition don’t require medical treatment. Once the dog exhales the air through the nose, it is usually over. Your dog may develop complications only in rare cases.
So, you must know the ways to handle this condition when your dog really needs your help. If your dog experiences this condition as a recurring episode, try to calm him by gently stroking its neck.
A few simple tips will also help you to make your dog recover from the situation.
Simple tips to handle Reverse Sneezing
- Covering the dog’s nose to help her swallow
- Massaging the pet’s throat to stop the spasm
- Try offering water and food
- Lightly blowing in his face may also help. This should cause the dog to swallow a couple of times, which will usually stop the spasm of the reverse sneeze.
- Getting the dog in a cool area or outside with fresh air while trying to verbally calm him can also be useful.
If the episode doesn’t end quickly, you can try putting your hand in her mouth and pressing on her tongue. This will cause her to open her mouth wider and helps to move air through the nose in an effective manner.
If the condition continues, consult a vet. Appropriate treatment for excessive condition depends on the underlying cause.
- In certain cases, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, or decongestant medications to help your dog recover from this condition.
- Sometimes, the vet may provide ivermectin, milbemycin, or selamectin several times over a few weeks for dogs with nasal mites.
- The vet may remove any foreign material within the nasal passages or nasopharynx by hand or rhinoscopy.
- Surgery is usually necessary to remove masses and to correct anatomical abnormalities.
How To Prevent Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
Sometimes, any intervention to control reverse sneezing in dogs can be unnecessary and add stress to your dog. So, it is recommended to pay attention to your pooch when the reverse sneezing occurs. That is, keep an eye on what it is doing right before the condition or where it is.
Also, you can
- Put a soup can in your dog’s food bowl to slow down eating
- Buy bowls that are designed to slow down your dog’s eating speeds
- Reduce the levels of dust and dander in the house
- Use a harness on walks instead of a collar
- Reduce the levels of chaos and excitement in your dog’s environment
This way, you can control this condition in canines. But, prevention is always better than cure. So, if you can identify the triggers for reverse sneezing episodes, evaluate the environment to determine the possible causes of this event.
Working towards reducing the triggers is one of the best ways to prevent this condition in canines.
As you can’t keep your pet an allergen-free pooch throughout its life, there will be no 100% certain means of preventing reverse sneezing. So,
- Avoid using aromatic cleaning products around the house. And, use pet-friendly products including pet cleaners always
- Don’t smoke or use air fresheners, candles, or anything that produces particulate matter.
- Keep windows closed in the home and replace air filters as per manufacturer guidelines in air conditioners.
- Try to preventing your pooch from periodontal disease. Discuss with your vet to determine the appropriate dental care plan for your pet.
- Make your dog walk your dog on a flat, short lead to prevent it from putting its nose in locations to avoid inhaling of allergens.
Hopefully, you can reduce the likelihood of frequent episodes of reverse sneezing in your furry friend with some preventative measures.