Have you ever heard of a reverse sneezing episode in dogs? As curious as reverse sneezing may be, the phenomenon is quite common in dogs and even occurs occasionally in cats. In fact, many dog owners have observed reverse sneezing in their four-legged companions and had no idea what was happening. The scientific name for a reverse sneeze is inspiratory paroxysmal respiration.
For a person who does not know what reverse sneezing is, its manifestation can be quite scary because it sounds as if the dog is choking and can not breathe. Below, we will answer some common questions in regard to reverse sneezing; is reverse sneezing dangerous to dogs? How and why does it manifest itself? How can I help my dog when it is reverse sneezing? Continue reading to learn the answer to these commonly asked questions.
How and why does reverse sneeze manifest Itself?
Although the regular sneeze consists of a strong exhalation of air, as it passes from the inside to the outside of the body through the respiratory tract, the reverse sneeze, as its name suggests, is the opposite process. Instead of going out, the air enters the body through large, forceful inhalations, and in many cases, the sneezing is compulsive.
Reverse sneezing can occur in every breed of dog, but certain breeds are more prone to reverse sneezing, as is the case with the Boxer, Pug, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, and English Bulldog. Among these breeds, the smallest are more affected, as they have a smaller trachea and throat.
When a reverse sneeze occurs, the dog suffers a spasm in the throat and the soft palate and begins to breathe in violently. In addition to noise, the physical posture that dogs take when they reverse sneeze is quite surprising. They tend to stop with their elbows apart, lower their heads, and extend their backs.
Reverse sneezing can be caused by many very different reasons, from allergies and irritants such as pollen, dust or nasal mites, to strong emotion, a sudden awakening, excessive physical exercise, or a collar that is too tight. If your dog suffers many reverse sneezes, it is best to identify what the element is that caused the reverse sneeze in order to avoid it as much as possible.
Is Reverse sneezing dangerous in dogs?
As frightening as it may be, we have to remember that reverse sneezing is not dangerous except for complications. It is natural in dogs, and you have to leave them alone, not become overwhelmed (much less overwhelm them), and stay close in case they need your help. But normally everything should be fine, and your dog will soon recover from the sneezing episode.
How to help A dog that suffers from Reverse sneezing
A common reaction to seeing a dog suffer from a reverse sneeze attack is to think that he is choking, having an asthma attack, or suffering from an issue that is much for serious; this tends to make owners panic and become concerned with their dog’s health. Dogs are sued to reverse sneezing and do not become alarmed when they suffer from this episode. Reverse sneezing is an action that is intrinsic to their species, as is regular sneezing in humans as well as yawning.
Can you imagine if every time you simply sneezed or yawned all the people around you looked at your with a concerned look on their face and ran to you to try and help you recover? Surely it would be even more overwhelming than the sneeze or yawn is itself. So, the best way to help your dog when it is reverse sneezing is to ignore it and give it time to recover. Do not try to pet him or communicate with him; in addition, do not show your dog that you are nervous as it may cause them to become nervous as well. Keep your distance from your four-legged friend and watch to ensure he properly recovers from the reverse sneeze episode.
Understandably, some people cannot resist and feel the need to approach their dog to help him when he is suffering from a sneezing episode. In this case, you can gently massage his throat from the outside to help the dog relax. Another option is to place a hand on the muzzle and gently plug the nose to close the air intake. It will trigger a saliva swallowing reflex in the dog that may stop the spasm and allow your dog to calm down.
In which cases should I consult a veterinarian?
Reverse sneezing in dogs can be scary to owners as it appears as if the dog is choking or suffering from a serious medical condition. Some owners panic and take their dog to the vet immediately, only to find out that their dog was fine the whole time. In reality, a reverse sneezing episode only lasts a short time, typically between a few seconds to a few minutes.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from unusual reverse sneezing episodes, you can take a video of the dog so you can show it to your vet the next time your dog is in for his check-up. This way, your veterinarian can advise you on if the issue is more serious than a simple reverse sneezing episode.
What could become worrisome is if your dog is suffering from frequent reverse sneezing episodes that affect his quality of life. In this case, you can go to the vet so he can help you find the trigger of the reverse sneeze and thus implement a solution to prevent it from happening.
Sometimes, what can seem like a simple reverse sneeze could be caused by the presence of a foreign body in the respiratory tract or nasal passage, an infection, polyps, nasal discharge, or nasal tumors, and it is best to check with your vet to rule out these causes and ensure that your dog is in optimal health.
Does reverse sneeze occur in other species?
Although reverse sneezing is mainly found in dogs, it is sometimes found in various cat breeds. However, reverse sneezing is much less common in felines as well as much less harmless. If the reverse sneezing occurs in infrequent or violent episodes, you may want to take your furry friend to the vet to check for other underlying health issues.