Reverse sneezing, also known as Pharyngeal Gag Reflex or Paroxysmal Respiration, is a relatively widespread respiratory condition in dogs that is normally triggered by a spasm in the pooch’s soft palate as well as laryngeal area.
- It is often referred to as “reverse sneeze” because during the event, the dog is gasping air heavily inward, instead of simply expelling it, like in a typical sneeze.
- A loud snorting sound is produced, which may make you think the dog is suffocating, choking, or even suffering from a seizure.
- Each occurrence only lasts for a couple of minutes or less, and normally ends on its own without posing any threat to your dog’s health.
While reverse sneezing is harmless in and of itself, it can be rather alarming for dog owners and a bit scary for your dog. Comfort and soothe him during the event and remain calm, knowing that it will soon be over.
Reverse sneezing can be set off by a wide variety of irritants and some forms of dog allergies. Pollen, dust, mites, viruses, post-nasal drip, nasal inflammation, perfumes and household cleaners or chemicals are some of the known triggering factors.
Other causes include:
- exercise intolerance
- rapid drinking or eating
- pulling on leashes, and even excitement
It’s also possible that sinusitis and other kinds of respiratory problems can lead to episodes of reverse sneezing.
Although any dog breed can experience this fairly common respiratory condition, it is more widespread in smaller pooches. Short-faced dogs like Boxers, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus are found to be more at risk of reverse sneezing.
Antihistamines: If allergies have been discovered to be the main cause of the problem, antihistamine medications can be administered.
Massage: Another way to help stop the spasms; try rubbing Fido’s throat gently.
IF EPISODES OF REVERSE SNEEZING BECOME MORE FREQUENT OR SEVERE, OR ARE ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER SYMPTOMS, IT MAY BE A SIGN OF A RESPIRATORY PROBLEM. IN THIS CASE, HAVE YOUR DOG EXAMINED BY A VETERINARIAN.