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Reverse sneezing in dogs is not as common as a regular sneeze but can be very distressing for a dog and its owner. A dog will exhibit signs such as head shaking, increased salivation, gasping, and sometimes pawing at the air or trying to “sneeze” out the obstruction. You see their eyes bug and their tongue come out as they try to cough or sneeze.
What you’re seeing is called a reverse sneeze in dogs. Contrary to what some people think, it’s not a medical issue at all. These symptoms are pretty similar to asthma or other respiratory issues that can occur in canines. One of the reasons some pet owners mistake a reverse sneeze for something serious is due to the fact that it does sound much like a dog having an asthma attack. The good news is that reverse sneezing in dogs is usually not severe at all.
What Is a Reverse Sneeze?
It’s really nothing more than an involuntary reaction to a tickle in your dog’s throat that causes his trachea to close up suddenly, resulting in the loud noise that we call a reverse sneeze.
Reverse sneezing in dogs: What does it sound like
While a little unusual, reverse sneezing sounds like the dog is actually inhaling their sneezes, hence how the name “reverse sneezing” came about.
Reverse sneezing is usually a harmless condition that can occur in dogs. However, it can seem scary if the sneezes are loud or the dog appears to be choking.
Your relationship with your dog is something to cherish and nurture, so when your pooch suddenly begins to reverse sneeze, it’s time to get help from the experts.
Causes of Reverse Sneeze
It’s not clear exactly what causes reverse sneezing in dogs. But the most likely suspect is an upper-respiratory condition called tracheobronchitis. This disease can also cause a range of other respiratory symptoms, including:
2. Difficulty breathing
3. Excessive mucous production (including foamy saliva)
Chronic bronchitis is long-term inflammation of the lungs and airways that are caused by repeated episodes of tracheobronchitis. The symptoms are milder than those present with an acute bout of tracheobronchitis. This form is also known as “kennel cough.
Tracheobronchitis doesn’t necessarily cause reverse sneezing in dogs. But it is the main cause of reverse sneezing in certain breeds, including Scottish Terriers, English Cocker Spaniels, and Boston Terriers.
Although tracheobronchitis is extremely common in dogs, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. The primary treatment for this condition is with an anti-inflammatory medicine called meloxicam or prilocaine spray. Meloxicam is an oral medicine that’s available as a generic medication or in an injectable formulation
Diagnosis of Reverse sneezing in dogs
Generally, Reverse sneezing is diagnosed by-
1. Your Dog’s medical history and clinical signs.
2. Veterinarians will try to rule out other conditions that cause abnormal breathing and snorting such as upper respiratory tract infections, nasal tumors or polyps, and more.
3. Your veterinarian also may recommend x-rays or allergy tests.
What Should I Do When My Dog Reverse Sneezes?
While reverse sneezing is normal behavior for dogs, it can be startling to hear. Reverse sneezing rarely leads to serious complications, though can occasionally happen more than once in a row.
Most causes of frequent reverse sneezing are minor and typically resolve themselves with no intervention.
Many dogs suffer from reverse sneezing and it can be a scary moment for those who do not know what is happening. The first thing to do when your dog is suffering from this condition is to examine its ears, eyes, mouth, and nose for any obvious problems. If you notice that your dog has cat flu, his problems may continue for more than 24 hours and you should visit your vet for advice.
If your dog is experiencing a reverse sneeze, your first priority should be to get it calmed down. You can try to distract your pet using toys, treats, or even calling their name in a calm voice. If your pet is not experiencing any distress, do not force them to stop the behavior, as this may cause them stress and panic. However, if the reverse sneezing does persist once the initial episode has passed, you should take your pet for a check-up with your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian may try to help your dog relax by using sedatives, antihistamines, and even anti-inflammatories. If the reverse sneezing does not subside within a few days, your vet may recommend trying a home remedy such as placing an upside-down bowl over your pet’s head to prevent them from being able to open their mouth or fully extend their neck muscles. However, if this does not work after several weeks, you should contact your veterinarian again for further investigation.
Prevention of Reverse sneezing in dogs
If your pet is diagnosed with a reverse sneeze, you should try to make sure that you do not let it happen again. There are a few common triggers for reverse sneezing in dogs, so you may want to speak with your veterinarian about how to prevent them from occurring. These triggers include:
Eating Rapidly or Exercising After Eating
Longer-haired canines who get hair stuck in their throat while barking or playing around the face and neck area.
During times of high stress or excitement, try to keep your dog calm and indoors. If you know your pet has more chances of experiencing an attack, you may want to keep them away from people and other animals until they have fully recovered.
Providing your pet with plenty of exercises will also help to avoid reverse sneezing as well. If your dog is a long-haired canine and wears its coat to provide warmth, you may want to consider trimming the coat back to a more appropriate length.
Another tip is if you know your pet has asthma, you can try using an inhaler around 6 – 8 hours before they expect an attack in order to prevent an attack from occurring altogether.
How Can You Tell If a Dog Has a Reverse Sneeze?
The first time you see a reverse sneeze in your beloved companion, you’ll be frightened. But as you watch more often, it won’t be that big of a deal. Your dog is just feeling mildly uncomfortable. As soon as he’s adjusted to his new situation and relaxes, the reverse sneeze should stop.
Top Tricks to Stop Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
There are different tricks to try to get the episode of reverse sneezing in dogs to stop.
Some veterinarians suggest briefly covering the nostrils of your dog with one or two fingers to cause him to swallow and in this way help get rid of the mucus or irritant that caused the episode.
You should begin by massaging the dog’s throat. This will either dislodge the obstruction or soothe the irritation in the esophagus.
The cause of chronic sneezing can be difficult to diagnose, although allergies and nasal mites are common contributing factors. Antihistamines and antiparasitics may provide temporary relief, but in cases involving physical matter, surgical removal is often the only solution.
Currently, the most common treatment for reverse sneezing is to prevent the episode from happening at all. Dogs may require medical intervention if frequent episodes cause them distress or anxiety.
FAQs About Reverse Sneeze?
Q1. Can reverse sneezing kill a dog?
Reverse sneezing is not usually fatal.
Q2. When should you worry about reverse sneezing in dogs?
Reverse sneezing can be a sign of pneumonia or other medical problems in dogs. If your dog has reverse sneezing several times a week or experiences other symptoms, call your veterinarian to see whether medical attention is needed.
Q3. How should I explain reverse sneezing in dogs to your vet?
If your dog has the symptoms of a reverse sneeze or another condition, consult with your veterinarian. If the sneezes persist, record them and have the video reviewed by your veterinarian.
Q4. Why is my dog sneezing and reverse sneezing a lot?
Your dog may reverse sneeze for a variety of reasons, such as allergies, irritants in his environment, or elongated soft palate. If your dog continues to have issues with reverse sneezing, contact your veterinarian.
Q5. Why do they call it a reverse sneeze?
Reverse sneezing can be a normal reaction for dogs and is more common in small breeds.
Q6. Is my dog suffering during a reverse sneeze?
Many small dogs reverse sneeze, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your pup. Reverse sneezing is common in small dogs and usually isn’t something to worry about.
Q7. I have small dogs and all of the reverse sneeze. Is that normal?
Q8. Is My Dog at Risk if This Happens?
Reverse sneezing in dogs can be worrisome, even though there are no ill effects. Well after the incident, the dog is normal. Throughout a reverse sneeze, the dog stands still and extends his head and neck. The dog snorts loudly as if something is stuck in his nose or throat. Reverse sneezing could last a minute or more.
Q9. How Is Dog Reverse Sneezing Treated?
Reverse sneezing seldom requires medical treatment. If your dog reverse-sneezes, massage his neck to soothe him. The assault normally ends when the dog exhales via the nose.
Q10. What Induces is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
Any inflammation of the nose, nostrils, or back of the esophagus might induce a bout of reverse sneezing. Annoyances can include secretions, nasal mites, foreign materials such as seeds, pollen grains, or grasses, allergies, smoking, smells, masses, or an extended soft palate.
q11. How Long Would a Reverse Sneeze Last?
Reverse sneezing episodes in dogs often last 30 seconds or less, but it may seem like it lasts much longer.
Q12. Is There a Way To Determine the Distinction Between a Collapsed Trachea and a Reverse Sneeze?
The dog will abruptly stay motionless, stretch its head and neck, and make a huffing sound during an episode of a reverse sneeze. This issue should be distinguished from tracheal collapse (frequently observed in toy breeds), which is marked by a loud “honking” sound.
q13. Can Stress Trigger Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
The specific reason that dogs reverse sneeze is unclear, but it’s possible that your dog is undergoing an allergic response to something. Sometimes tension and excitement might lead to an episode as well.
Owners of dogs with reverse sneezing should watch closely for other symptoms to make sure their dog does not have an illness. Symptoms of canine sinusitis include: breathing trouble, nasal discharge, nasal swelling, eyes closed or partially closed, drooling or gagging, and facial swelling near the eyes.
To check if your dog has a reverse sneeze, stand behind your dog with his nose pointed downward at an angle between the floor and chin. Gently press your finger against the bridge of his nose. If he sneezes, he has a reverse sneeze. If he is exhibiting other symptoms besides this, you should take him to a vet for a more thorough examination.