Every dog owner must have witnessed their pup making strange sneezing sounds without any apparent reason at least once in their life. More often than not, such behavior leaves pet owners puzzled and worried about their dog’s well-being. 

Although scary, reverse sneezing may seem scary; it usually relays nothing more than the name itself implies.

Luckily, even though seeing a dog struggling like this can be quite scary and will definitely leave any pet parent feeling quite concerned, such behavior on its own isn’t always a reason to panic.

This condition refers to a behavior where a dog rapidly inhales through its nose. So unlike regular sneezing where the air is being exhaled, this action happens in reverse. These episodes usually last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, which may make them seem even worse.

But even though they are usually not a cause for major concern, they can still sometimes point to an underlying medical condition. That is why this article will focus on explaining how to recognize if your dog is suffering from this condition, as well as try to explain how to react in case your pooch is experiencing it.

Why do dogs sneeze like this

There are numerous different factors that can contribute to this type of sneezing. In most common cases, the main culprits behind such a reaction are small, usually airborne particles that trigger a reaction when they come into contact with nose or throat mucosa. By irritating the mucosa, these particles are causing your dog to try and expel these irritants from their throats or nasal passages.

Some of the most common triggers include – but are not limited to – dust, pollen, aerosol particles, and other airborne irritants, as well as foreign objects, excessive excitement, and even drinking and eating – especially if the dog does it rather quickly. So if you notice that your dog is having such an episode, and you’re becoming increasingly worried, you can always ask a local veterinarian for help. Contact a Milwaukie Oregon vet near you to ensure your pet receives proper attention immediately.

Aside from these, remember that some dog breeds are naturally more prone to experiencing these issues than others. For instance, brachycephalic species are known to commonly experience such episodes, due to the anatomy of their muzzles.

Associated conditions

As mentioned earlier, this type of behavior in dogs is not always a reason for major concern. However, sometimes it can point to underlying issues you may not even know.

Here are just some of them:

1. Upper Respiratory Infections:

Dogs who experience persistent sneezing episodes may be suffering from upper respiratory infections. These can be triggered by viruses, bacteria, or a simple cold. However, they are usually followed by watery eyes and a “honking” cough, so they are quite easy to spot. Although not life-threatening on their own, upper respiratory infection can easily progress rather quickly which is why any responsible pet owner should contact a vet as soon as possible.

2. Heart Disease:

Heart disease in dogs often causes fluid accumulation in the lungs, making breathing difficult. So any dog owner that notices that their pooch is struggling to catch a breath and/or is having cough or sneezing episodes during even the slightest physical activity should contact a veterinarian immediately. Even though this condition is usually incurable, it can easily be managed with proper medication to help your dog lead a more or less normal life.

3. Asthma:

Dog asthma is another common issue that’s closely related to this type of pooch behavior. Dog asthma is more commonly called “allergic bronchitis,” which can cause chronic lung irritation due to various airborne allergens. Dogs that suffer from this condition often cough, wheeze, and show signs of labored breathing. So if your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, consult a veterinarian who can help you. 

4. Brachycephalic Syndrome:

As mentioned earlier, brachycephalic breeds, such as bulldogs and pugs, are more prone to reverse sneezing due to their anatomical features. Since these breeds have naturally restricted airways, they’re experiencing more challenges when breathing. So keep this in mind if you own a brachycephalic breed and avoid insisting on prolonged or demanding physical activity, to avoid making your dog unnecessarily uncomfortable.

How to deal with reverse sneezing

Since we’ve already established that reversed sneezing can be caused by many things, it’s only natural that treatments will also vary depending on a case-by-case basis.

Generally speaking, pet owners shouldn’t immediately contact a veterinarian as soon as their dog sneezes or does something a bit off. But if you notice that they start experiencing these or similar issues regularly, especially if that’s the case after performing certain activities, consult with your vet to come up with the best solution and potentially even a treatment plan for your pup.

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