Reverse sneezing in dogs: is this normal?
Welcome, pet parents of Auburndale, Florida, and beyond. We have a pressing and fascinating topic to discuss today—reverse sneezing in dogs. You’ve likely experienced the surprise and concern that come from hearing your beloved pet make a strange snorting or gasping sound. This behavior, known as reverse sneezing, can certainly be a little startling. But is it normal? Let’s find out.
What is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
Reverse sneezing, medically known as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration or pharyngeal gag reflex, is a phenomenon many dog owners have encountered. It’s a series of convulsive inhalations that sound like snorts, gasps, or honks and can last for a few seconds to a minute. This is unlike a regular sneeze, where air is rapidly pushed out through the nose.
The Science Behind Reverse Sneezing
The spasmodic sound of reverse sneezing is actually caused by a spasm of your dog’s soft palate and throat. This spasm can lead to rapid and extended inhalations, making it difficult for the dog to smoothly move air through the nasal passages. The resultant sound is often described as a snorting, wheezing, or gagging noise.
Common Triggers for Reverse Sneezing
Triggers for reverse sneezing can range from the mundane to the more serious. Things like excitement, sudden movement, exercise, a tight leash, or even a change in temperature can bring about an episode. Irritants like dust, perfumes, cleaning products, pollen, or even a particularly vigorous game of tug-of-war could also be responsible. More severe triggers could include foreign bodies in the airway, nasal mites, or respiratory infections.
Is Reverse Sneezing Normal for Dogs?
In most cases, reverse sneezing is a completely normal and harmless event. It’s particularly common in certain breeds, notably small dogs and brachycephalic breeds (those with “smushed” faces and short noses), such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus.
Breeds Susceptible to Reverse Sneezing
The unique structure of these breeds’ upper respiratory systems makes them more likely to experience reverse sneezing. This doesn’t mean larger breeds are immune; they can also experience these episodes, albeit less frequently.
When to Worry About Reverse Sneezing
While usually benign, prolonged or frequent episodes of reverse sneezing could indicate a more serious condition like a respiratory infection, nasal mites, or allergies. Signs of distress, such as difficulty breathing outside of episodes, loss of appetite, abnormal discharge, or changes in behavior, warrant immediate veterinary attention.
How to Manage and Prevent Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
The good news is that most episodes of reverse sneezing don’t require any treatment and resolve on their own. During an episode, you can help your dog by gently massaging their throat, which may help stop the spasm. Briefly covering their nostrils can also encourage them to swallow, which can interrupt the reverse sneezing episode.
DIY Steps to Soothe Reverse Sneezing
You can also help your pet by reducing potential irritants in their environment. This might mean dusting more frequently, avoiding strong-smelling cleaners or air fresheners, and not smoking around your pet. Regular, mild exercise can also help keep your dog’s respiratory system in good shape.
Long-Term Prevention Strategies
If your dog has frequent episodes or has an underlying condition causing reverse sneezing, your vet may recommend medication or other treatments. In some cases, treating the underlying condition can help to reduce or eliminate the episodes of reverse sneezing.
How Auburndale Veterinary Clinic Can Help
If you’re concerned about your dog’s reverse sneezing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Auburndale Veterinary Clinic.
We offer diagnostic services to identify any potential underlying causes of your dog’s reverse sneezing. We can perform a thorough physical examination and additional tests if needed, such as blood tests or X-rays.
Treatment and Care Services
Depending on the diagnosis, we can provide various treatments, from medication to manage allergies or respiratory infections, to more specialized care for complex conditions. Our dedicated team of veterinary professionals is committed to providing high-quality care and ensuring your pet’s health and comfort.
So, if you’re in Auburndale, Florida, or the surrounding area, and have noticed your furry friend reverse sneezing, book an appointment with us today. We’re here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide the best possible care for your pet.
We hope you found this information helpful. Share this blog post with other pet owners to spread awareness about reverse sneezing in dogs. Remember, at Auburndale Veterinary Clinic, we are always ready to assist you and your furry family members. Book your appointment today!
Even long after they’re gone, we never forget our beloved pets. They make our families whole and bring so much joy to our lives. Our veterinarians and staff in Auburndale, FL know that the human-animal bond is sacred. To protect that bond, we aim to provide the highest level of medicine and the kindest, most compassionate care we can. Our goal is to help you help your pet stay healthy and happy for as long as possible. With wellness and preventative care, medical care for illnesses and injuries, routine surgery, dentistry and more, you can rest assured that all your pet’s needs are being met.