If you see your small dog suddenly stop, stretch their neck out, and make a loud snorting sound, don't be alarmed! This is most likely a reverse sneeze, which is a common occurrence in small dogs. Our Stockton vets explain this type of breathing, also known as paroxysmal respiration.
What is a reverse sneeze in dogs?
Reverse sneezing, or paroxysmal respiration, is a condition where dogs make a loud snorting sound while rapidly inhaling air through their nose. During an episode, dogs usually extend their necks and lift their heads.
These episodes usually last for less than a minute but can be scary for both dogs and their owners. It sounds like your dog is trying to breathe in deeply while sneezing.
Causes of reverse sneezing in dogs
It is thought that reverse sneezing in dogs is thought to occur due to inflammation or irritation of their nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus passages.
This reflex could be the dog's way of trying to get rid of the irritant that's causing the problem. Some of the irritants that are believed to trigger reverse sneezing in dogs include dust, pollen, grass, smoke, seeds, and nasal mites.
Additionally, dogs may also start to reverse sneezing when they're overly excited. Certain conditions such as masses or an elongated soft palate may also lead to this type of sneezing in dogs.
Is reverse sneezing harmful for dogs?
Most dogs experience reverse sneezing which is not a big concern as it usually lasts for less than a minute and they resume their normal activities afterward. It won't affect your dog and will continue as if nothing happened.
However, if your dog suddenly starts to reverse sneezing, it may indicate an underlying health issue like asthma, heart disease, or tracheal collapse. Look out for other symptoms such as:
- Labored breathing
- Ongoing, consistent cough
- Frequent wheezing
- Panting without exercise
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Lack of interest in exercise
- Pale or blue gums
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, contact your local vet Stockton immediately to schedule an examination.
How Can I Help My Dog During A Reverse Sneezing Episode?
After your vet says your dog is okay, there are some things you can do to help them during their scary moments.
- 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.
Don't worry too much, though, since for most healthy dogs, this condition looks and sounds scarier than it really 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.