Why Is My Dog Reverse Sneezing So Much?

Reverse sneezing occurs primarily in dogs and much less frequently in cats. Heres what you need to know about reverse dog sneezing and what you can do to help stop the reverse sneezing.

The soft palate of a dog is the muscular area of the back of the roof of the mouth that assists with vocalization, swallowing, and breathing. The irritation causes that soft palate muscle to spasm, which then narrows the trachea.

Thats why its best to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian to determine if its simply a reverse sneeze or something more concerning such as coughing or choking . If possible, take a video of the episode to show your veterinarian, and if you have any concern that your dog may be choking, call your vet immediately. Bouts of reverse sneezing in dogs will usually last only about 30 seconds or less, although it might feel like a lot longer.

A reverse sneeze is the bodys way of expelling an irritant thats slightly further down, at the nasopharynx (area by the soft palate). Some possible causes of irritation of the soft palate that results in reverse sneezing include: Reverse sneezing does not require medication or treatment and is typically a fairly benign process in your dogas long as it is infrequent.

They will likely perform chest x-rays and possibly rhinoscopy (where a camera is inserted in the nasal cavity and throat) to look for any abnormalities.

How do I get my dog to stop reverse sneezing?

What Should I Do If My Dog Reverse Sneezes? A common remedy is to hold the dog’s nostrils closed for a second and lightly massage its throat to calm him. 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.

When should I worry about reverse sneezing?

Excessive, repetitive reverse sneezing should be examined, especially if there is discharge from the mouth or nose, appetite changes, and shifts in behavior patterns. Possible explanation for unresolved reverse sneezing can include infections, masses, anatomy, allergies or nasal mites.

When should I worry about reverse sneezing in dogs?

Occasional episodes of reverse sneezing are normal and are not of concern to the health of the dog, but always consult a veterinarian if your furry friend is experiencing respiratory symptoms that impact their ability to breathe or if reverse sneezing episodes are recurring.

Is it normal for a dog to reverse sneeze every day?

While the occasional reverse sneeze is usually nothing to worry about, if it increases in frequency or becomes worse, it’s best to have your pet seen by your veterinarian. If not properly addressed, some respiratory illnesses can be contagious to other pets, become chronic or even be life-threatening.

This canine phenomenon that sounds much worse than it really is, the reverse sneeze can be startling, to say the least. However, most pet owners dont know that this bizarre phenomenon even exists until theyre woken in the middle of the night by this unique noise.

We have been coming here for over 35 years and our opinion of the practice is that they are the premier veterinary service in the Bowie area. As I carried our dog into the hospital in severe pain, she began wagging her tail, knowing she was in a place where she would be made better.

I have always felt confident that my cats receive the full attention and medical care from a loving, highly trained staff that they deserve. I truly feel very fortunate that we found Highway Vet over twenty years ago. We cannot say enough good things about the professional, loving and supportive care we have received from the wonderful staff over the years.

Many a dog parent has placed an emergency call to the veterinarian upon seeing their dog reverse sneeze for the first time, assuming their dog is choking or gasping for air, or even dying.

The unsettling sound is the result of a muscle spasm of the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth) and throat. This spasm temporarily narrows the opening of the dogs throat and trachea, making it harder for the usual amount of air to reach the lungs.

If the dog does not seem to feel well, does not have a normal appetite, has nasal discharge, or is lethargic, then something more than reverse sneezing is going on, Teller adds. In particular, a collapsed trachea is a serious congenital issue that includes a dry cough, exercise intolerance, and trouble with eating and drinking. During a reverse sneeze, a dog will usually stand up, but sometimes theyll take a classic sit pose with their hindquarters on the ground and front paws on the floor.

Shell stretch out her head and neck and widen her eyes while inhaling repeatedly and forcefully through the nose, creating a snorting or hacking sound. Episodes of reverse sneezing may last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or two, but as soon as it passes, the dogs breathing returns to normal, and she acts as if nothing happened . Strong, repeated inhalations through the nose A snorting, honking, or hacking sound Will usually stand up with legs straight and elbows tensed Extend neck straight out, up or down Wide or slightly bulging eyes Can last for a few seconds to a few minutes Acts perfectly normal before and after the episode

According to Dr. Teller, Anything that can cause irritation of the throat can trigger an episode. It could be a perfume or cleaning product, allergenic particles in the air, or even a sudden change in temperature like going outside on a cold day. Many times, a reverse sneeze is just a dogs way of clearing excess mucus from the nasal passages, says Dr. Suma M. Rao , clinical assistant professor at Purdue University Department of Veterinary Sciences. Dogs with short noses (brachycephalic breeds) such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs are more prone to reverse sneezing due to having a longer soft palate that can become irritated more easily.

Try to take note as to whether there is a particular place, time of day, or activity that seems to be present just before your dog has a reverse sneezing episode. It can also be very helpful to bring a video of your dogs reverse sneezing to the veterinarian, so she can see and hear what is happening. If the physical exam raises any concerns, the veterinarian may order X-rays or rhinoscopy to examine the nasal passages for infections, masses, foreign material, or anatomical abnormalities along the respiratory tract.

Most of the time, no specific cause can be determined, and stopping the reverse sneezing will typically happen on its own without treatment and with no adverse consequences. Offer a treat or lightly blow puffs of air in her face to make her swallow a couple of times, which may help interrupt the spasm of the reverse sneeze . Antihistamine (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin) Antiparasitic (Selamectin, Ivermectin, Milbemycin ) Anti-inflammatory (Carprofen, Prednisone )

Occasionally, chronic or excessive reverse sneezing can be caused by a foreign body in the nose, a nasal polyp, or a collapsing trachea. While rare, a foreign body, polyp, or other masssuch as a nasal tumorwould require a medical procedure to remove or repair the issue. However, if you identify a particular dietary, environmental, or behavioral factor that always causes reverse sneezing, try to minimize its presence.

Reverse sneezing is a condition that affects all types of dogs, but more commonly smaller dogs such as miniatures, Terriers, and brachycephalic breeds. It is a paroxysmal respiratory response, meaning that it comes in spasm-like episodes.

Reverse sneezing is characterized by sudden, rapid and repeated inhalations through the nose, followed by snorting or gagging sounds.

What Is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

Reverse sneezing, or a “backward sneeze,” can occur if a dog’s soft palate becomes irritated. The soft palate of a dog is the muscular area of the back of the roof of the mouth that assists with vocalization, swallowing, and breathing.The irritation causes that soft palate muscle to spasm, which then narrows the trachea. The dog will extend their neck as they try to expand their chest to breath, but the narrowed trachea does not allow them to inhale a full breath of air.The dog will then forcefully attempt to inhale through their nose, which causes the dog to backward sneeze.

What Does Reverse Dog Sneezing Sound Like?

Reverse sneezing sounds like the dog is actually inhaling their sneezes, hence how the name “reverse sneezing” came about. It’s a loud snorting sound that can sometimes sound like a goose honking.The first few episodes of reverse sneezing that a dog has can be scary if you have never heard it before. That’s why it’s best to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian to determine if it’s simply a reverse sneeze or something more concerning such as coughing or choking.If possible, take a video of the episode to show your veterinarian, and if you have any concern that your dog may be choking, call your vet immediately.

How to Stop Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

There are a variety of different tricks to try to get the episode of reverse sneezing to stop.Some suggest briefly covering the nostrils to cause your dog to swallow, which then helps get rid of the irritant that caused the episode.You can also try massaging your dog’s throat, which could then dislodge or soothe the irritation in that area.If the problem is chronic, a veterinarian would have to diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment, such as an antihistamine for allergies, an antiparasitic for nasal mites, or the removal of foreign material.

The Research

A quick YouTube search for a reverse sneeze may be educational for those that have never heard of it before. Owners of dogs with this condition understandably mistake the sound for choking or respiratory distress. Snorting, honking, snuffling, and even gagging noises can be highly distressing. Most of the time, a reverse sneeze is completely normal.

Fine Print

A reverse sneeze, or paroxysmal respiration, is the exact opposite of a regular sneeze. Instead of forcing air out through the nose and mouth, a reverse sneeze brings air in and through the nose to remedy an itch or irritant.

But…Why?

A reverse sneeze can catch both dogs and owners off guard. If the point of a reverse sneeze is to rid the body of something irritating, why don’t they just sneeze normally?A regular sneeze focuses on the nasal passages, but a reverse sneeze affects the nasopharynx. This area lies at the back of the throat, which explains why many dogs sound the way they do when they’re sneezing in reverse. In this case, the irritant is located behind the nasal passages and above the soft palate.

When To Be Concerned

We can all relate to a tickle at the back of the throat that can’t be effectively soothed by a cough or a regular sneeze. It’s maddening! For dogs, this little tickle triggers spasms. They may stretch out their neck, lift the chin, and draw in a deep breath while narrowing the passage for incoming air to travel through.The subsequent snorting sound can sound terribly close to choking and may be caused by:If the reverse sneeze lasts longer than several seconds you can massage the throat to relieve the spasm. To facilitate the removal of the irritant at the back of the throat, your dog needs to swallow.

What Is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

Reverse sneezing is a fairly common respiratory event in dogs, but is rarely seen in cats. It is suspected to be caused by irritation or inflammation of the nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus passages. It may be a way for the dog to attempt to remove foreign particles such as dust, powder or other irritants or allergens from its upper airways. It is also seen after periods of over-excitement.Reverse sneezing is characterized by sudden, rapid and repeated inhalations through the nose, followed by snorting or gagging sounds. It can be alarming to an owner, but is not known to be harmful to dogs without any underlying conditions (such as heart disease), and most dogs are completely normal before and after a reverse sneezing episode. In dogs that exhibit reverse sneezing, it is not uncommon for them to have repeat episodes of reverse sneezing throughout their lives.

What Happens When A Dog Reverse Sneezes?

During a reverse sneeze, the dog will suddenly stand still, extend its head and neck, and produce a loud snorting sound.This condition should be differentiated from a tracheal collapse (often seen in toy breeds), which is characterized by a loud “honking” sound.A tracheal collapse is of a more serious nature than a reverse sneeze.