Understanding reverse sneezing in dogs
23rd May, 2023
Reverse sneezing in dogs is a common but often misunderstood condition. It can be alarming to watch your dog have a sneezing fit and wonder if something is wrong.
But the good news is that reverse sneezing is not usually a cause for concern. In this blog post, we'll discuss what reverse sneezing is, what causes it, how to diagnose and treat it, as well as some home remedies that may help.
What is reverse sneezing in dogs
Reverse sneezing in dogs, also known as pharyngeal gag reflex or paroxysmal respiration, is a condition where the dog makes honking or gasping noises. It is usually caused by something irritating the throat or the back of the mouth, such as dust, smoke, a foreign object, or a strong smell.
It usually resolves on its own after a few minutes, but it can be quite alarming for dog owners.
The act of reverse sneezing is similar to a regular sneeze in that it involves an involuntary inhalation and exhalation of breath.
However, with reverse sneezing, the inhalation is much more prolonged and forceful.
During a reverse sneezing episode, the dog will stand still with their mouth open and make a loud, snorting noise as they draw air in through their nose. They may also gulp and gag.
Causes of reverse sneezing in dogs
There are several possible causes for reverse sneezing in dogs. These include:
- Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a variety of substances, including pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander. These substances can irritate the throat and cause a reverse sneezing episode.
- Foreign objects: If a foreign object, such as a blade of grass or a toy, gets stuck in the throat or back of the mouth, it can cause irritation and trigger reverse sneezing.
- Excitement or exercise: If a dog gets overly excited or exercises too vigorously, it can cause them to take in too much air, which can result in reverse sneezing.
- Brachycephalic breeds: Brachycephalic breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, are more prone to reverse sneezing due to their short snouts and narrow airways.
Symptoms of reverse sneezing in dogs
The most common symptom of reverse sneezing in dogs is the honking sound they make as they take in air. They may also gag or gasp during the episode. Reverse sneezing episodes usually last a few minutes and can occur multiple times in a day or week.
It is important to note that reverse sneezing is not the same as a regular sneeze. A regular sneeze is usually caused by allergies or some kind of irritation and involves a single sneeze.
Reverse sneezing is usually caused by irritation of the throat or back of the mouth and involves multiple, prolonged inhales.
Diagnosing reverse sneezing in dogs
If your dog is exhibiting signs of reverse sneezing, it is important to take them to the vet for a checkup.
Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition and determine the best course of treatment.
During the visit, your vet may perform a physical exam, take x-rays, or perform an endoscopy to look for any foreign objects that may be causing the reverse sneezing.
Treatments for reverse sneezing in dogs
Fortunately, most cases of reverse sneezing in dogs will resolve on their own without any treatment.
However, if the condition is caused by allergies or a foreign object, your vet may prescribe antihistamines or antibiotics to help relieve the symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the foreign object.
Ways to prevent reverse sneezing in dogs
The best way to prevent reverse sneezing in dogs is to limit their exposure to irritants, such as dust, smoke, and strong smells.
It is also important to keep their airways clear by brushing their teeth, cleaning their ears, and trimming their nails regularly. If your dog has allergies, it is important to keep them away from the allergen as much as possible.
When should you see a vet?
Although reverse sneezing is usually not a cause for concern, it is important to take your dog to the vet if the episodes become more frequent or severe.
This could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an infection or respiratory issue. Your vet will be able to diagnose the condition and provide the appropriate treatment.
Easy home remedies to try
There are several home remedies that may help reduce the frequency and severity of reverse sneezing in dogs. These include:
- Massaging the throat: Gently massaging the throat can help soothe the irritated throat and reduce the severity of the sneezing episodes.
- Steam therapy: Sitting in a steam-filled room or using a humidifier can help soothe the throat and reduce the frequency of reverse sneezing episodes.
- Apple cider vinegar: Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl can help reduce inflammation in the throat, which can help reduce the severity of the episodes.
How to help your dog during a reverse sneezing episode
If your dog is experiencing a reverse sneezing episode, there are a few things you can do to help them. First, try to remain calm.
Reverse sneezing episodes usually resolve on their own after a few minutes. You can also try to soothe your dog by speaking to them in a calm, reassuring voice. You can also try massaging their throat or giving them a treat to help distract them.
How do you know if your dog has nasal mites?
Knowing if your dog has nasal mites can be a difficult task, as the symptoms can vary depending on the breed, age, and severity of the condition.
One of the most common signs of nasal mites in a dog is frequent, intense sneezing. If your dog has been sneezing more than normal or with more intensity than usual, it could be a sign that they have nasal mites.
Other symptoms may include a runny nose, difficulty breathing, and thick mucus around the eyes and nose. In some cases, the mucus will be tinted with blood, and your dog may also show signs of discomfort such as rubbing their face on the ground or pawing at their nose. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to take your dog to the vet for an examination.
Your vet may be able to diagnose nasal mites by looking at the mucus or by performing a blood test. If your vet does diagnose your dog with nasal mites, they will likely prescribe a medication to treat the infection.
The medication may come in the form of a nasal spray, drops, or pills. It is important to follow the dosage and instructions provided by your vet, and to make sure your dog is taking the medication as prescribed. If your dog is still sneezing after the medication has been completed, it is important to take them back to the vet for further examination.
This is especially true if your dog is still showing signs of discomfort or if they are sneezing more than usual.
It may be a sign that the nasal mites have not been completely eradicated and that further treatment may be necessary. Why does my dog keep sneezing? If your dog is sneezing more than normal, it could be a sign that they have nasal mites.
To confirm the diagnosis, it is important to take your dog to the vet for an examination and, if necessary, a blood test. Once diagnosed, your vet will likely prescribe medication to treat the infection.
If your dog is still sneezing after the medication has been completed, it is important to take them back to the vet for further examination.
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Reverse sneezing in dogs is a common but often misunderstood condition. While it can be alarming to watch your pup have a sneezing fit, the good news is that it is usually not a cause for concern.
There are several possible causes of reverse sneezing, including allergies, foreign objects, excitement, and exercise.
The best way to prevent reverse sneezing is to limit your dog’s exposure to irritants and keep their airways clear.
If the episodes become more frequent or severe, it is important to take your dog to the vet for a checkup.
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Don’t wait any longer to give your playful pup or golden oldie the protection they deserve. For more information on topics similar to this, take a look at our blog where we cover a range of pet related health issues.
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