Reverse sneezing in dogs can cause concern, but this condition is usually harmless. These partial air stoppages usually resolve on their own. For those requiring intervention, a brief massage or gentle tug on the tongue are sufficient to help most dogs breathe easy again. Many blunt-nosed dogs are prone to episodes. Some cases of reverse sneezing are caused by mites or allergies, which can be treated by prescription medications. Nasal tumours and severe skeletal abnormalities may require surgical solutions.
If your dog begins reverse sneezing with no apparent cause, you may want to try one of several methods to help shorten the episode. First, try encouraging it to swallow by massaging its throat. Alternatively, you may briefly plug your dog’s nose, which also forces it to swallow. For a quick, effective cure, pull gently on the tongue until normal breathing is restored.
Distraction is a useful tool to soothe the anxiety that often accompanies a reverse sneezing episode. Soothe your dog by playing with it, offering it food or water, or taking it outside. Some dogs may force themselves to reverse sneeze as a way of getting an owner’s attention. If your dog is reverse sneezing without apparent cause and you've already had it checked by a veterinarian, you may just have to show it some more TLC.
Reverse sneezing seems to appear more often in dogs with allergies. If your dog has continued bouts of reverse sneezing accompanied by other allergy symptoms, take it to the vet. Your dog’s veterinarian will likely prescribe an allergy medication for these symptoms. Left untreated, your dog’s allergies may cause congestion and sinus problems, so medication is usually recommended.
Mites inside your dog’s nose may also produce reverse sneezing. These mites live inside the dog’s nasal passages and tickle its nose as they move around. While this condition is not serious, it is likely to be very irritating to your dog. Fortunately, parasite medications are very useful for eliminating these mites.
If you have ongoing concerns about your dog’s reverse sneezing, you may wish to ask your veterinarian to use an endoscope to examine your dog’s nasal passages. In rare cases, reverse sneezing can indicate a serious condition, such as a nasal tumour. In dogs with short, blunt noses, excessive reverse sneezing may be a sign of respiratory problems. These conditions can only be cured through veterinary treatment.
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