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Reversed Sneezing in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Reversed Sneezing, though funny sounding, is a real medical condition and one that’s not all that uncommon.

That said however…

It’s a “bit” of a stretch to call reverse sneezing a disease, because in truth, it’s more of an episodic condition that results in your dog making some pretty hilarious noises. Considered a benign condition that’s not really treated often; this condition can cause panic and alarm for some owner’s and probably some mild discomfort for the dog during these occasional episodes.

The good news is…

That for the most part, reverse sneezing is thought to be harmless and painless for the dog, so though owners frequently attend the vets with this condition there is often not very much they can do about it.

Which is why…

Usually once the “harmlessness” of this condition is explained the urgency and panic is soothed, and with some conditions that is all a worried owner needs.

In fact…

Most of the time, this particular condition is worse for the owners than it is for the dog itself, but there is the odd occurrence where dogs can develop more serious problems because of Reverse Sneezing, so you should always get it checked by a vet, just in case.

This is why…

We wanted to take a closer look at the process of ‘backwards sneezing’ and see what it is, how it happens and what, if anything, we can actually do about it.

What is reverse sneezing and why does it happen?

Reverse Sneezing has a number of technical terms including Pharyngeal Gag Reflex and Inspiratory Paroxysmal Respiration, but most people refer to it as a backwards sneeze.

It takes place…

In short episodes, and the only real danger is too small or toy breed dogs, who can suffer from tracheal collapse if it goes on for too long.

What most experts believe is…

That it occurs due to some sort of irritant is lodged in the nose or throat, usually pressing against the soft palate and causing an itch. The dog sneezes but rather than sneezing outward the dog sneezes inwards, and it sounds terrible, like a snort or honk.

The sneezing typically occurs…

In episodes that are accompanied by spasm and is most common in Brachycephalic dog breeds – that’s those breeds that have shorter snouts than others.

Irritation of the nostrils…

Can also cause this distinct snorting sound, and the first time you hear it, it is understandable if your panic. Dog owners often think that their dog is choking. But the truth is, tracheal collapse is the only real danger here, and will only happen if your dog’s nasal passages rupture or your dog’s respiratory tract has become hurt.

A respiratory infection…

Is the second most common danger next to a collapsing trachea. Clinical signs of this condition include:

  • Coughing,
  • Snorting,
  • Sneezing

And, in more extreme cases, wheezing and breathlessness.

This is why…

This condition may be mistaken for an asthma attack and can trigger one if your dog is a sufferer. It may also be a symptom of asthma, which is why it is always best to get your veterinary surgeon to have a look. The dog may also have a very sensitive gag reflex and choke on food.

Common causes of this condition are…

  • Inheritance of DNA that carries it,
  • Foreign bodes,
  • Dust mites and allergies can cause it,

As can common irritants found around the home. Nasal mites and post-nasal drip are also associated with this condition. It can develop after your dog has had any lung or nasal passage conditions, too.

Affected Breeds

As mentioned above, Brachycephalic breeds are most at risk. Pugs are also considered the most likely breed to suffer. That being said, the known affected breeds from Reverse Sneezing are as follows:

  • The Boston Terrier
  • The Boxer
  • The Bulldog
  • The Bull Mastiff
  • The Chihuahua
  • The Cocker Spaniel
  • The King Charles Spaniel
  • The Lhasa Apso
  • The Shih Tzu
  • The Pekingese
  • The Poodle
  • The Pug
  • The Rottweiler
  • The Yorkshire Terrier

Please also remember that we cannot guess the likelihood of a mixed breed dog getting Reverse Sneezing. It is common among smaller animals, so if you have a small, mixed breed or toy dog then there is a higher chance of contraction.

Treatment Options

Rather unlike most of the conditions that we describe in this guide there is literally nothing your vet can do if Reverse Sneezing is the only problem your dog has. If they are suffering from a collapsing trachea the vet will want to perform surgery, if they have asthma the vet will want to prescribe medications – but once these two possibilities have been ruled out there is very little left to do.

Many owners…

Do find that holding their pet tightly while they are mid-episode will help them to recover faster. Likewise, pinching your dog’s nose and forcing them to swallow can help to stop a particularly harsh episode by clearing the passages out forcibly. Otherwise fell free to laugh, it is a pretty funny sound once you know they are only sneezing!

It’s important to remember…

That we here at IndulgeYourPets are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who really care about animals.  So, if you think your pet is suffering from Reverse Sneezing, take him or her to a vet ASAP!

And Finally…

Reverse Sneezing, although harmless, still needs to be checked out by a vet to make sure it isn’t anything abnormal. Vet trips and examinations cost money, money which you might not have at the time. This is why you need pet insurance – that and the fact that it will help you need medical costs should there be anything seriously wrong with your pooch.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have reverse sneezing (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

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