How To Stop Reverse Sneezing
Reverse sneezing is a semi-voluntary behaviour, so anything that distracts or disrupts your dog will often stop it. This might include picking a dog up, rubbing the throat, pinching the nostrils or even a tasty treat. However, just like any other itch, you arent fixing the underlying irritation, just suppressing the symptoms.
To stop reverse sneezing properly, you need to recognise and treat the cause.
Managing Your Dogs Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be a scary diagnosis to receive from your veterinarian. Sadly, many small breeds as well as some large breeds, are prone to developing this condition later in life. The good news is that with proper treatment and lifestyle management this diagnosis is containable. However, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of congestive heart failure in dogs so that you can begin treatment promptly, giving your beloved pup the best chance of a longer life.
What Does Reverse Dog Sneezing Sound Like
Reverse sneezing sounds like the dog is actually inhaling their sneezes, hence how the name reverse sneezing came about. Its a loud snorting sound that can sometimes sound like a goose honking.
The first few episodes of reverse sneezing that a dog has can be scary if you have never heard it before. Thats why its best to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian to determine if its simply a reverse sneeze or something more concerning such as coughing or choking.
If possible, take a video of the episode to show your veterinarian, and if you have any concern that your dog may be choking, call your vet immediately.
Read Also: Heart Rate Trackers
Are There Any Reasons To Worry About Reverse Sneezing In Dogs
Not really. Dogs do not usually realize anything worse than a normal sneeze is going on when they experience these episodes. However, in some rare cases, dogs may become anxious or fearful from the experience of reverse sneezing.
However, if your pet experiences anxiety and fear, those are the only causes for concern in a dog who reverse sneezes. These episodes look and sound a lot worse than they are, and your dog is not actually at risk of any harm during a reverse sneeze. It may take them a few minutes to start breathing normally again, but they will be fine when the episode has passed.
How To Recognize Reverse Sneezing In Dogs
Reverse sneezing in dogs is exactly what it sounds like: Your dog is sneezing in reverse. In a regular sneeze, your dog rapidly expels air through their nasal passages. But in a reverse sneeze, your dog rapidly inhales air.
Despite these mechanical differences, both regular sneezing and reverse sneezing are about as dangerous for your dog as your last sneeze was for you. A reverse sneezing episode will typically pass on its own in less than a minute.
But even though reverse sneezes aren’t dangerous, there’s a risk that pet parents will mistake a more serious breathing issue for a reverse sneeze. So, the first time you see your dog reverse sneeze, visit your DVM to have them officially diagnosed.
Similarly, if your dog’s reverse sneezing episodes last for more than a minute or happen frequently , talk to your vet.
Learn more about reverse sneezes below, including how to identify reverse sneezing in dogs, what causes this phenomenon, and what to bring to your vet appointment.
What Does A Reverse Sneeze Look Like
During a reverse sneeze, your dog will make rapid inspirations, standing still with their elbows spread apart, head extended, and eyes bulging. Theyll make a loud snorting sound, which might make you think they have something caught in their throat. The episode may also end with a noise that sounds like a snort or gag, followed by a swallow. These events can be described as paroxysmal, which means a sudden and recurrent attack or spasm. It is very common for some dogs to have repeated episodes throughout their lives.
All About The Reverse Sneeze In Dogs
So, you are sitting down to eat your dinner when all of a sudden your dog starts to go into this bizarre snorting fit. This out-of-the-blue phenomenon is referred to as a reverse sneeze. It can seem like your dog is having an asthma attack or is choking, but the quaintisenstial goose honk noises are indicative of a reverse sneeze.
You may wonder if there is any harm in these episodes and what you can do to help curb these spells. The team at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital is here to explain more about this scary, yet generally normal condition.
What Clinical Signs Should I Expect
The most common clinical sign of congestive heart failure is persistent coughing accompanied by difficulty breathing. This is due mainly to pulmonary edema or the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The enlarged heart will also push against the trachea, causing irritation that can induce a cough.
“The most common clinical sign of congestive heart failure is persistent coughing accompanied by difficulty breathing.”
Many dogs with CHF will tire out more easily, have reduced stamina, and do not engage in playing or walking as they once did. Coughing when at rest or sleeping, excessive panting, persistent loss of appetite, a swollen belly, and pale or bluish gums are also signs associated with heart failure. The dog will develop generalized weight loss and muscle wasting due to the effects of CHF on other body systems. If any of these signs develop in a pet with a heart murmur, notify your veterinarian immediately.
Signs Your Pet May Have Heart Disease
When it comes to life-threatening illnesses, few are as dangerous to humans as heart disease.What many people dont realize, however, is that pets can also be susceptible to a variety of illnesses relating to the cardiovascular system.Here are the early symptoms that your pet may have heart disease:
Things You Should Do To Manage Chf Symptoms
There are many dogs that live long lives with CHF and another congenital heart disease.
Successful living with heart disease is much like it is with humans, it takes care, medications, quality nutrition, and exercise.
Below is a list of 10 things you should do to manage symptoms of congestive heart failure in dogs to ensure your pet lives a quality life.
If coughing becomes severe, contact your veterinarian. If already diagnosed with CHF and on furosemide, your vet may recommend an additional dose to alleviate any extra accumulation of fluids.
Watch your dog carefully, time coughing, and take notes for the next visit.
2. Difficulty Breathing
With CHF, difficulty breathing indicates fluid build-up in the lungs. Your vet may prescribe additional diuretics like furosemide.
If the difficulty breathing worsens call your veterinarian immediately.
3. Difficulty Sleeping
Dogs may try to sleep on their chest instead of their sides. You may observe your dog trying to sleep quietly sitting up.
This is due to the fluid build-up in the lungs when your dog lies on its side making it uncomfortable. Its a sign to get a check-up.
Dogs with CHF should be allowed the amount of exercise they want to enjoy life. If they become tired or weak, it’s best to take a break.
Pushing your dog beyond its limits can cause irregular heartbeats .
5. Expensive Medications
There may also be a less expensive alternative treatment that your vet may be aware of. Call your vet first.
Progression To Congestive Heart Failure
As heart function deteriorates, fluid volume within the heart and vasculature increases as a consequence of activation and upregulation of neurohormonal systems, such as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. This complex pathophysiology leads to increased:
- Hydrostatic pressure in vessels that supply the left and right atria.
The result is either:
- Congestion and pulmonary edema
- Ascites with or without pleural effusion .
Read Also: Signs Of Silent Heart Attack
Be A Detective: Ask Detailed Questions
Take time to gather information from the patients history and physical examination, including details that may help determine whether the dog has heart failure and why it may have occurred.
Does the history support heart disease and heart failure?
- Is there a history of heart disease in a relative or littermate?
- Is congenital or acquired heart disease more likely? For instance, in a middle-aged to older dog, is the murmur a relatively new finding, suggesting an acquired disease, or has it been present since the dog was a puppy, suggesting undiagnosed congenital heart disease? See Consider These Cases .
- Does the history of clinical sign progression support heart failure? Findings from the history that support heart failure are listed in Table 1. These findings, while not specific for heart failure, suggest that pulmonary edema may be present, especially when combined with signalment and abnormal findings on physical examination.
Does the physical examination support heart disease and heart failure?
- A left apical systolic murmur is a characteristic finding in dogs with mitral regurgitation from DMVD, and a loud murmur is more likely with advanced disease. See Consider These Cases .
FIGURE 2. Lead II electrocardiogram demonstrating sinus tachycardia with a regular rhythm and heart rate of 175 beats/min in a dog with CHF .
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Reverse Sneezing
You can try the following:
- Donât panic, as reverse sneezing can be normal and is not life-threatening
- Be patient and give your dog a little time to get over the spasm
- Gently hold your dogâs nostrils closed and rub their throat
- Blow softly in your dogâs face
- Offer a treat or small snack
- Offer fresh water or a frozen ice cube
- Stay calm, pet your dog, speak softly, and reassure them that things are okay
- If the reverse sneezing is occurring indoors, take your dog outside into the fresh air and away from any fragrances
- If the reverse sneezing is occurring outdoors, take your dog indoors and away from outdoor fires and smoke
- Offer a distraction, such as favorite toy
- Take note of anything that may have led to the event, such as smoke, a burning candle, or aerosol products
Recommended Reading: Which Arm Goes Numb During A Heart Attack
What Else Causes Dogs To Cough
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didnt warn you of more serious diseases that can be confused with reverse sneezing.
- Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome is the correct term for all the effects on the airways caused by short facial shape in dogs. Too often I see dog owners not taking this seriously enough. If your dog breathes noisily even at rest, its not cute, its a cry for help.
- Collapsing Trachea is a common cause of a goose-honk or hoarse cough of older small breeds. Again, without specific treatment it is very serious.
- Left-sided Cardiac Disease causes fluid accumulation in the lungs that can result in shortness of breath or coughing.
- Infection is rare these days other than, of course, kennel cough. When I was a young vet, heartworm disease was the leading cause of coughing in dogs.
Want to know more? Read here about the heartworm epidemic in Adelaide in the 1990s.
Have something to add? Comments will appear within 24 hours. By Andrew Spanner BVSc MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here. The information provided here is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet. If your pet is unwell, please seek veterinary attention.
Note: comments are now closed, but you should be able to find the answers to most common questions in previous replies
How To Tell Reverse Sneezing From Choking
- Reverse sneezing causes minimal distress and gums remain pink
- It can usually be stopped if you call or distract a dog
- The dog is 100% fine immediately before and afterwards
If in doubt, see a vet immediately. True choking is often fatal. No vet will criticise you for being careful, even if there is nothing wrong.
Now dive deeper
Reverse sneezing is dramatic and scary. Many times a dog in the middle of a bout has been rushed to me for choking. Thats not an unreasonable thought when you see what it looks like.
However, while certainly unpleasant to the dog, reverse sneezing is virtually harmless. Since most dogs will do it at some time, its important for dog owners to understand.
Also Check: Is Congestive Heart Failure Reversible
Cough: Caused By Heart Failure Or Respiratory Disease
Cough is a common complaint that does not necessarily indicate heart failure. Instead, it may be related to an enlarged heart compressing the airway or primary airway/lung disease.
In a dog with a good appetite and normal activity level, a chronic, harsh cough that ends with a gag is less likely to be associated with heart failure. Cough from mainstem bronchial compression can occur before onset of congestive heart failure and often persists after active pulmonary edema has been resolved with diuretic therapy .
It is useful to ask the following questions about a cough:
- How long has the cough or respiratory signs been present?
- Is the cough harsh ?
- How are the dogs appetite and activity level?
Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Reverse Sneezing In Dogs
There is no cure or treatment for reverse sneezing, but if your dogs reverse sneezing is not caused by any other underlying health problems, there isnt any need to worry about curing it. With that said, however, you may want to look for ways to help your dog stay calm during these attacks.
If your dog is in the middle of a reverse sneezing episode, gently stroke the back of their neck until they calm down. They should be able to breathe normally again in a few minutes. You may be able to cut down on the number of reverse sneezing episodes your dog deals with by using a humidifier near the place where they sleep, too.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure
The most common cause of congestive heart failure in dogs is congenital heart defects, meaning that it’s a genetic condition that can’t be prevented. Many small breeds have a genetic propensity toward CHF, says Love to Know, including toy poodles, Pomeranians, dachshunds, and cavalier King Charles spaniels. Small dogs in general tend to be more prone to developing CHF because the heart valves tend to degenerate more than in larger breeds. However, some large breeds, particularly giant breeds such as St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, and Great Danes are prone to developing CHF due to dilated heart muscles. It’s important to understand that congenital CHF typically manifests late in a dog’s life and that these dogs can live many years seemingly healthy and happy before symptoms begin to appear.
CHF can also develop in a heart that’s been weakened by other heart conditions, so it’s important to do what you can to prevent heart disease from occurring in your pet, including preventing obesity and providing heartworm prevention.
Causes Of Wheezing In Dogs
A dog will wheeze when they breathe because something in their trachea or further down their airway is blocking the flow of air. If your dog wheezes for a few seconds and then recovers, it is usually a non-emergency situation, although you should still schedule an appointment with your vet to have the wheezing checked out. If, however, your dog doesn’t stop, starts to panic, starts to have trouble breathing, and/or starts to turn blue, this is an emergency and you should seek veterinary medical attention immediately.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Fast Heart Rate
Dont Give Benadryl For Reverse Sneezing
Conventional vets often view reverse sneezing as an allergic reaction. They may suggest some of the options mentioned above to stop a reverse sneezing attack. But they also will often suggest giving Benadryl.
Benadryl will usually stop a reverse sneezing attack. But it just suppresses the symptom. It doesnt cure the underlying cause of your dogs reverse sneezing. Benadryl is easy to overdose and can cause serious side effects in your dog. So its best to avoid it.
11 Natural Ways To Reduce Reverse Sneezing
Which Dogs Are Susceptible To Reverse Sneezing
Reverse sneezing happens to many dogs but its more common in small dogs and flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs and Boxers. Its thought that the smaller throat and windpipe of smaller breeds might be one reason. And flat-faced breeds have a longer soft palate. They can suck the palate back into the throat. If youve heard them breathe, theres a guttural, raspy sound they make when air passes through the palate.
Also Check: Classes Of Heart Failure
Reverse Sneezing And Other Questionable Sounds
Some respiratory sounds in pets are more worrisome than others.
A common noise we hear about is the reverse sneeze. Reverse sneezing can look pretty scary. The pet usually extends their neck and pulls it back to inhale, repeatedly making a gagging noise. It can be quite dramatic and last several seconds.
A reverse sneeze, though, is usually nothing scary. It is simply a reflex like a regular sneeze in which the back of the throat is irritated, often by an allergen or mucous.
Other common respiratory sounds in pets might include:
Cough A pet cough, similar to a human cough, involves abdominal effort and may be productive, bringing up some type of material. Pets can develop a cough due to things like respiratory infections, irritation, collapsing trachea, asthma, heart disease, or even parasites.
Goose honking A characteristic loud goose-honking cough often occurs with infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough.
Sneezes Irritation of the nasal passages causes sneezing, just like in people. Frequent sneezing, especially when accompanied by drainage, can indicate a problem.
Stridor and stertor Stridor, a high-pitched wheeze, and stertor, a snoring sound, happen when normal breathing is obstructed. Smushy-faced brachycephalic breeds may experience this normally, but it should be checked out when its a new or worsening problem.
Wheezes Wheezing while breathing is not normal and may be indicative of serious conditions such as asthma.