Reverse Sneeze in Dogs
My dog has been diagnosed with reverse sneezing. What is reverse sneezing?
What is a reverse sneeze in dogs?
Paroxysmal breathing, or reverse sneezing as it is more commonly called, is a condition that causes the dog to rapidly inhale air through the nose producing a loud snort. In fact, it feels a bit like your dog is trying to take a deep breath while sneezing at the same time.
When a dog reverse sneezes, he typically lifts his head, extends his neck, and begins to let out a loud snort. Most reverse sneezing episodes last less than a minute, but they can be scary for pet parents and alarming for the animal.
Some dogs have a condition known as paroxysmal respiration or, as it is more commonly called, reverse sneezing.
“With this condition, the dog rapidly draws air into the nose, whereas in a regular sneeze, the air is rapidly expelled through the nose.”
With this condition, the dog rapidly draws air into the nose, whereas in a regular sneeze, the air is rapidly expelled through the nose. The dog makes a snorting sound and looks like he is trying to inhale as he sneezes.
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Is my dog in danger when this happens?
While it can be alarming to witness a dog reverse sneezing, it is not a harmful condition and there are no ill effects. The dog is completely normal before and after the episode. During a reverse sneeze, the dog will take long, quick inhalations, stand still, and extend his head and neck. A loud snort is produced, which may sound like the dog has something stuck in its nose or throat. A reverse sneezing episode can last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute.
What causes the reverse sneeze?
The exact cause of a reverse sneeze is unknown. Any irritation to the nose, sinuses, or back of the throat can trigger a reverse sneezing episode. Irritants may include nasal mites, discharge, foreign bodies such as seeds, pollen, or grasses, allergies, smoke, odors, masses, or an elongated soft palate. Dogs with narrow nasal passages (long noses) appear to be more commonly affected.
How is reverse sneeze diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based on the history and clinical signs. Your vet will rule out other causes of abnormal breathing and snorting, such as an upper respiratory tract infection, collapsing trachea, nasal tumors or polyps, foreign bodies in the nasal passages or mouth, and so on. Occasionally your vet will do blood tests, allergy tests, or radiographs (X-rays) to rule out other conditions that may be causing similar symptoms.
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How is reverse sneeze treated?
Most cases of reverse sneezing don’t require medical attention. If your dog experiences a reverse sneezing episode, you can gently pat him on the neck and try to calm him down. Once the dog exhales through the nose, the seizure is usually over. It is very rare for dogs to develop complications or suffer risks during these attacks. Most reverse sneezing episodes last less than a minute, although longer durations have been reported.
“If your dog experiences a reverse sneezing episode, you can gently pat him on the neck and try to calm him down.”
In some cases, your vet may choose to prescribe anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, or decongestant medications to help with your dog’s condition.
Is reverse sneezing badly for dogs?
For most dogs, the reverse sneeze is nothing to be overly concerned about. The sneeze usually only occurs for less than a minute, and dogs go about their business afterward. There are no health repercussions and your dog will likely shrug it off as if nothing happened.
There are some signs, however, that may indicate an underlying health issue. If your dog has suddenly developed reverse sneezing, it’s always a good idea to have them examined by your vet, just to determine the correct diagnosis.
Some symptoms that may indicate other conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and tracheal collapse include:
- Shortness of breath
- Continuous and constant cough
- Frequent wheezing
- Panting without exercise
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Lack of interest in exercising
- Pale or blue gums
All of the above symptoms warrant further investigation, if your dog is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms contact your vet right away to schedule an exam for your dog.
How can I help my dog get over a reverse sneezing episode?
Once your dog has been examined and received a clean bill of health from your vet, there are a few things you can do to help your pet get through these scary episodes.
- Stay calm and optimistic, to help your dog’s anxiety and stress.
- Address any anxiety or fears your pet may be facing and keep them focused on enrichment toys and activities as a way to avoid anxiety or overexcitement.
- Massage your pet’s throat to make them swallow. This can sometimes help stop the episode.
- Gently lift your head up and then down.
- Distract your pet with a toy, treat, or dinner.
- We know this condition may seem out of the ordinary, but for most otherwise healthy dogs it looks and sounds more frightening than it actually is.
Sadly, there is no one that can reverse the sneeze treatment. If your dog is sneezing excessively, your vet will evaluate his overall condition and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the reverse sneeze (or normal excessive sneezing for that matter).
If your reverse sneezing is caused by allergies, for example, treatment will likely take the form of anti-inflammatory medications. If it’s caused by inborn health issues or a problem with the respiratory system, your dog may need surgery.
The trick is to get your pet checked out if you’re concerned: Reverse sneezing is often more of a symptom than a condition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute pet-related medical advice. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.
What triggers reverse sneezing in dogs?
Reverse sneezing in dogs occurs when there is a muscle spasm in the back of the throat. The spasm can be caused by many things, such as pollen, allergies, or nasal mites. Dogs are not in danger when they experience reverse sneezes. They are also not choking.
When should I worry about reverse sneezing?
When to enter. While the occasional reverse sneeze is usually nothing to worry about, if it increases in frequency or gets worse, it’s best to get your pet seen by your vet. If not addressed properly, some respiratory illnesses can be contagious to other pets, become chronic, or even be life-threatening.
How long do dogs reverse sneeze?
A reverse sneezing episode can last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, although longer durations have been reported. It’s not uncommon for a dog to have two episodes in a 24-hour period. Reverse sneezing episodes more frequently than twice a day are rare and may warrant a visit to the vet.
How do you treat reverse sneezing in dogs?
How is reverse sneezing treated? Most cases of reverse sneezing don’t require medical attention. If your dog experiences a reverse sneezing episode, you can gently pat him on the neck and try to calm him down. Once the dog exhales through the nose, the seizure is usually over.
is the reverse sneeze a cough?
Signs of kennel cough include a dry cough or a “reverse sneeze.” A reverse sneeze sounds like a wheezing cough through the nose and indicates a post-nasal drip or a tickle in the throat. Your dog may seem lethargic and low on energy or may otherwise appear normal.
Does reverse sneezing sound like choking?
If your dog sneezes backward, it may appear that he is choking, especially if you’ve never heard a backward sneeze.
Why is my dog sneezing and reverse sneezing a lot?
Some irritants that are thought to trigger the reverse sneeze reflex in dogs include dust, nasal mites, seeds, grass, pollen, and smoke, or conditions such as masses or an elongated soft palate. In some cases, dogs may even start to reverse sneeze when overexcited.
Can cold air cause reverse sneezing in dogs?
If the dog is really reverse sneezing (rather than suffering from a more serious medical problem), an episode can be triggered by anything that causes irritation in the back of the throat. Some common offenders are pollen or dust. Secretions or mucous membranes secondary to allergies, colds, infections, etc.