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  1. dogs health and wellness

Everything to Know About Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Posted by Dr. Abi Maynard on August 29, 2022

What to do if?
Lifestyle
dog reverse sneezing featured image

Spring and summer bring seasonal blooms. While beautiful to see and a respite from the monotony of winter, bring with them pollen and other allergy-inducing factors.

Just like humans, pets can suffer cases of sniffles, runny eyes, itching, and other similar clinical signs. One common concern among dog parents, particularly for those prone to allergies, breathing issues, or with shorter snouts, is “reverse sneezing”.

What is a reverse sneeze?

It sounds strange, but is much more common than new pet parents may think! A dog's reverse sneeze is often mistaken for choking. Instead of forcefully pushing air out when they sneeze (the classic A-Choo), dogs may also forcefully pull air in. This can look like a dog is snorting while trying to sneeze at the same time. Typically, the dog will be completely normal and the reverse sneeze episode comes on suddenly, just as a regular sneeze would. The dog will start to gasp suddenly, breathe rapidly, and make deep guttural noises. Their eyes may also bulge, which is often what causes unnecessary concern for pet parents that may believe a medical emergency is occurring.

A reverse sneeze episode is usually quite brief and may last for a few seconds, after which your dog will return to normal. There are usually no long-lasting side effects of a reverse sneeze. As quickly as it comes on is as quickly as it goes!

The true cause of reverse sneezing is unknown, but they seem to occur when there is an irritant (pollen, dust, smoke, odors, seeds, grasses, etc.) to a dog’s airways. It also seems to happen more frequently in brachycephalic breeds (short-snouted breeds) which might indicate a correlation to the airway changes that can be present in those breeds and an increased probability of having reverse sneeze episodes.

The characteristic sound of a reverse sneeze makes it easy to diagnose if you can mimic the sound or happen to get a video recording of it to share with an online vet.

What do I do about reverse sneezing in dogs?

Usually, there is no treatment required as the episodes are benign, but if a pet parent feels that they are occurring more frequently within a short period, antihistamines or decongestants can be prescribed or recommended to help.

For more information about reverse sneezing or how to help dogs with breathing issues or environmental allergies, pet parents can reach out to Fuzzy vets, day or night. Chat live or video consult with qualified veterinary professionals about any aspect of a pet’s health. The Fuzzy team is available for all membership plans 24/7/365 (seriously).

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