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Reverse sneezing in dogs, what is it?


I’m sure you already knew that dogs sneeze on a regular basis, but have you ever heard what reverse sneezing in dogs looks like? You may have never heard of it, which is what happens to most dog owners. That’s why, when reverse sneezing in dogs occurs, it usually causes some alarm and concern.

To explain what is reverse sneezing in dogs and why you should not worry, we have prepared this article from Las Almenas.


What is reverse sneezing in dogs?

Reverse sneezing is a muscle spasm that, due to palatal or tracheal irritation, causes violent aspiration of air. It is possible that, when a reverse sneeze occurs in dogs, the animal snores or snorts loudly due to these rapid breaths. It is precisely these loud noises that most worry the owners, as they give the impression that the dog is choking.

This type of reverse sneezing in dogs is also known as paroxysmal inspiratory breathing. This spasm lasts approximately 30 seconds and can be produced by several factors, mainly by an irritation or inflammation of the nasal cavities generated by particles that induce sneezing. This causes a temporary narrowing of the trachea, which causes this striking noise due to the difficulty of inhalation of the animal.

A reverse sneeze in dogs is a sudden and involuntary inspiratory reflex, which instead of forcefully expelling air, as happens during a normal sneeze, the air is sucked in through the nose with a series of rapid and forceful inhalations.

Fortunately, reverse sneezing in dogs is nothing serious or worrisome. It only lasts a few seconds, up to a minute at most, and when it disappears the dog is as if nothing had happened.

What is true is that when the dog is having these episodes, it may stay very still with its front legs and neck extended. You may notice how the chest and abdomen come in and out quickly. This, along with the sound it makes, is what worries owners the most, but, as we say, these episodes are not painful or harmful to pets. So you’re probably having a worse time than your furry friend.



What you should not confuse

What you should be aware of is that reverse sneezing in dogs is not accompanied by coughing or vomiting, nor does it create nausea or an upset stomach. What can happen is that the dog expels saliva if there is a foreign body, but it is neither bile nor vomit, only saliva.

Reverse sneezing in dogs should not be confused with tracheal collapse, which usually causes coughing, in addition to other worrisome symptoms, such as difficulty breathing. Tracheal collapse is a partial or total obstruction of the trachea and therefore requires a visit to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Causes of reverse sneezing in dogs

You may think that, like people, reverse sneezing in dogs may be due to an allergy. But in reality, if the dog has allergies, he will have other symptoms, such as rashes or itchy skin.

So what causes reverse sneezing in dogs? There are several, although it usually appears in breeds prone to respiratory disorders, such as brachycephalic dogs, that is, those with flat or short snouts. But these respiratory spasms can also appear for the following reasons:

  • When the dog breathes strong odors, such as some household cleaner, a chemical product, air freshener or perfume.
  • If there is a lot of dust in the environment or perhaps also pollen, although less frequently.
  • Drinking or eating quickly.
  • Temperature changes.
  • If you are overexcited, nervous or have had a fright.
  • When the collar is tightened or we have given a strong tug on the dog’s leash.
  • Less frequently, it can also be due to a virus or other infections. In these cases, reverse sneezing in dogs occurs more frequently. In addition, in a short time, the dog’s health will worsen.


Breeds that present reverse sneezing

As we have mentioned, there are certain breeds that are more prone to experience episodes of reverse sneezing in dogs. This is the case of miniature and brachycephalic breeds, since they are characterized by having a short and flattened muzzle.

However, reverse sneezing is not exclusive to these breeds. Regardless of the dog’s anatomy, there are external situations that can provoke an episode of reverse sneezing, as we have already mentioned. It is therefore also possible that other types of breeds with much longer muzzles may also present these spasms.


What should we do when faced with a reverse sneeze in dogs?

If you have detected a reverse sneeze in dogs, the first thing you should understand is that, although it is something very striking, it is not a disease or anything worrying. So don’t be overwhelmed and don’t think that your furry friend is having a bad time. You will see how, in an instant, the situation will be resolved.

In short, don’t get upset or worry when your pet sneezes. The calmer you are, the better, as stress will only make the situation worse. In fact, if you want to alleviate this type of episode, you can give your dog a gentle throat massage. It is also advisable to try to talk to the dog in a soft voice while giving him that gentle throat massage.

Some people advise to hold the dog’s nose for a moment so that he swallows saliva, which is very useful to relieve the irritation of the trachea, but be careful! because this may only make him more nervous and worsen the situation. It’s almost better to try gently blowing on the dog’s face to make him swallow or gently open the dog’s mouth and press the tongue to relieve the spasm, but very carefully and as long as you are confident to put your hand in your furry friend’s mouth.


It is not dangerous, but do I have to go to the vet?

Whenever something new happens to our pet that we do not know what it is or we are not sure, it is best to discuss it with the veterinarian. It can indeed be something unimportant, such as reverse sneezing in dogs, but it can also be the first sign of a serious illness.

Therefore, if you see that your dog sneezes very frequently or if it is accompanied by coughing or a bloody or yellowish discharge from the nose, it is advisable to visit the veterinarian. It is necessary to rule out another more serious health problem that you may be confusing with reverse sneezing in dogs.


Can reverse sneezing be prevented?

Although there is no solution for these episodes, you can try to avoid them, thus avoiding unnecessary scares and improving your dog’s quality of life. If you observe at what time or what stimuli cause these sneezes to awaken, you will only have to try to avoid them.

For example, you should avoid using products with very strong odors at home. At the same time, you should keep your home free of dust and other particles that can cause sneezing or other respiratory discomfort.

When you take your pet for a walk, try to use comfortable collars that avoid putting undue pressure on the neck, since that choking sensation can also trigger an episode of reverse sneezing in dogs.


What did you think of our article? Did you know what reverse sneezing in dogs consists of? Have you had to deal with this type of spasms so striking? You know that in Las Almenas we are looking forward to hearing about your experiences and your tricks to improve the health and quality of life of our pets. So you can already leave us your comments right at the end of this article or on our profiles on FacebookInstagram and the Las Almenas YouTube channel.

However, remember that reverse sneezing in dogs is not a problem to worry about, but if you have any doubts about these episodes in toy or mini breed dogs, do not hesitate to write us. In Las Almenas we are experts in responsible breeding of seven toy dog breeds, and we can help you solve your doubts without obligation.

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