Reverse sneezing is a phenomenon that occurs in all types of dogs, but usually ‘affects’ smaller dogs, including terriers and brachiocephalic dogs.

What is reverse sneezing?

Reverse sneezing is a fairly common respiratory condition in dogs and is completely harmless to their health.

Reverse sneezing is the name for a phenomenon in which at the same time narrowing of the trachea and accelerated inhalation of air, with the appearance of a characteristic sound resembling snoring or choking. The causes of this form of breathing are unknown, although they are thought to occur more frequently in stressful situations, as a result of irritation with inhaled allergens, or as a concomitant occurrence in situations where the dog is highly excited. The occurrence itself can take a few seconds and then spontaneously goes away.

Reverse sneezing also commonly occurs while the dog is asleep or immediately following a long nap. Other dogs may experience it following play, exercise, or meals. It can also happen by breathing in dust, although episodes are typically random.

During a reverse sneeze, the dog will flex slightly, stretch its head and neck and produce a loud snoring sound.

This condition should be distinguished from tracheal collapse (often in small breeds). Tracheal collapse is a respiratory disease that occurs when the tracheal cavity is flattened.

Do you need to worry if a reverse sneeze occurs?

You might be concerned if the episodes of reverse sneezing do not stop or are becoming more frequent and severe. This phenomenon usually ceases after a few seconds (0-60) when the irritant has been expelled from the nose.

If the onset of reverse sneezing worsens, be sure to visit your veterinarian for further findings and controls.

How to help a dog with a reverse sneeze?

When an attack occurs, it is best to keep the dog’s nostrils closed for a moment and gently massage his throat to calm him down. A gentle blow to the face can also help him. This should encourage the dog to swallow several times, which will usually stop the spasm. Going out into the fresh air or a cooler room can also benefit him.

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