Holly Frisby, DVM, MS
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Q. Is reverse sneezing the cause of my dog's funny wheezing?
Dog SneezingDogs have a condition we call a 'reverse sneeze.' It gets its name because the dog rapidly pulls air into his nose, whereas in a 'regular' sneeze, the air is rapidly pushed out through the nose.
If you witness a dog having a reverse sneeze it may seem alarming, but it is not a harmful condition, and there are no ill effects. The dog is completely normal before and after the episode. During a reverse sneeze, the dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still, and extend his head. A loud snorting sound is produced, which may make you think the dog has something caught in his nose.
A reverse sneezing episode can last for several seconds to a minute.
The cause of a reverse sneeze is unknown.
This is a misnomer, for it has nothing to do with actual sneezing. However, it is a popular term for something that appears to be worse than it actually is. When this occurs, your dog will appear to be snorting or choking. The posture will be one of the neck extended with the chest expanded, as the dog struggles to take in air. The actual physiology is that the trachea has narrowed and the normal amount of air is not able to enter the lungs. The triggering mechanisms are usually excitement or stress. If this is happening to your dog, do not panic. You can help your dog by soothingly stroking the upper throat area to encourage relaxation and dilation of the trachea. If things do not resolve soon, and the dog is really having a continued hard time, you can try depressing the tongue to open up the oral cavity for the passage of much needed air into the lungs. The predisposition to this is thought to be hereditary, particularly in smaller breeds because of the decreased diameter of their tracheas. If your dog occasionally has this, do not worry that you need to be there to help each time it happens. A dog is able to come out of an attack of reverse sneezing without help and will not suffer permanent damage. Contributed by Barbara Moore's Veterinarian
I think your dog has a drug habit.