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Reverse Sneezing In Dogs: What Is It?

Reverse Sneezing In Dogs: What Is It?

Your dog suddenly stops, stretches out their neck, and makes a loud snorting sound. It's likely that you have just witnessed a reverse sneeze, and while it may be somewhat startling to witness, it is common in small dogs. Below, our Rancho Palos Verdes vets explain paroxysmal respiration.

What is a reverse sneeze in dogs?

Paroxysmal respiration, more commonly called 'reverse sneezing', is a condition that causes the dog to rapidly pull air in through the nose producing a loud snorting sound. To many, it sounds a bit like your dog is trying to inhale deeply while simultaneously sneezing.

When a dog reverse sneezes, they typically raise their head, extend their neck, and start making a loud snorting noise. Most reverse sneezing episodes last for under a minute but can be frightening for pet parents and pet alike.

Causes of reverse sneezing in dogs

It is thought that reverse sneezing is caused by inflammation or irritation of the nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus passages. The reverse sneeze could be the dog's attempt at removing the irritant causing the issue. Some irritants believed to trigger the reverse sneezing 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 also begin to reverse sneeze when over-excited.

Is reverse sneezing harmful for dogs?

For most dogs, the reverse sneeze is nothing to be overly concerned about. The sneezing usually only occurs for less than a minute and dogs return to their activities afterward. There are no health repercussions from it and your dog will probably just shake it off like nothing happened.

There are some signs, though, that may point to an underlying health problem. If your dog has suddenly developed reverse sneezing, it’s always a good idea to have them examined by your veterinarian, just to determine the right diagnosis.

Some symptoms that can point to other conditions like asthma, heart disease, and tracheal collapse include:

  • Labored breathing
  • Ongoing, consistent cough
  • Frequent wheezing
  • Panting without exercise
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of interest in exercise
  • Pale or blue gums

If your dog is showing one or more of these symptoms, contact your Rancho Palos Verdes vets right away to book an examination for your dog.

How Can I Help My Dog During A Reverse Sneezing Episode?

Once your dog has been examined and cleared by your vet, there are a few ways you can help ease your pet through these scary episodes.

  • Stay calm and upbeat; dogs are sensitive to moods
  • Help your pet to feel less anxious or fearful by keeping them focused on enrichment toys and activities as a way to avoid anxiety or overexcitement.
  • Massage your pet’s throat to get them to swallow. Sometimes, this helps stop the episode.
  • Gently lift their head up and then down.
  • Distract your pet with a toy, treat, or dinner.

We know that this condition can seem out of the ordinary, but for most otherwise healthy dogs it looks and sounds scarier than it actually is.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have any questions or concerns about reverse sneezing, or to schedule an appointment for your dog contact All Pets Veterinary Hospital. Our vets are experienced in caring for the health of Rancho Palos Verdes pets.

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