Reverse sneezes are also known as a pharyngeal gag reflex, or paroxysmal respiration. This happens to be a relatively common condition among dogs that gets triggered by a spasm in your furkid’s soft palate and laryngeal area.

Although it is a mild — almost harmless — condition, reverse sneezing can be alarming for paw-rents to see. Despite this condition being common among all dog breeds, it is more prevalent in short-faced dogs like Boxers, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Pugs and Shih Tzus.

What's A Reverse Sneeze?

Dogs usually extend their necks as they gasp with a loud and strong grunt, turning their elbows out as they sneeze. Since the trachea narrows itself in this occurrence, it will be harder for your pooch to get sufficient air into his lungs — this causes his chest to expand in the attempt to inhale.

Reverse sneezing only lasts for about a couple of minutes or less, so if Fido experiences episodes that are frequent or severe, it could be indicative of a more serious issue.*

Common Causes  

Reverse sneezing is usually set off by a gamut of irritants or allergens, such as pollen, dust, mites, viruses, post-nasal drip, nasal inflammation, perfumes and household cleaners. Other known possible causes could also include exercise intolerance, rapid drinking and eating, tugging or pulling on leashes, and even excitement.

Sinusitis and other kinds of respiratory problems can lead to reverse sneezing as well.

Possible Treatments

• Antihistamines
If your furkid has allergies that seem to be the main cause of the problem, antihistamine medications can be administered. Your vet may prescribe drugs for Fido if mites have been found in his laryngeal area.

• Massages
To treat reverse sneezing, massages are also recommended. During an episode, help to stop the spasms by rubbing Fido’s throat gently.

• Other treatments
You could also try and cover your furkid’s nostrils to help him swallow and clear out whatever trigger set off the episode. If Fido doesn’t stop sneezing after this, you could try depressing his tongue to open his mouth and help air move through his nasal passages.

* Where possible, do try to record a video of your pooch sneezing to show your vet — this will help him/her determine if it truly is a reverse sneeze or something that requires immediate attention.

* The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified pet health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always make a pet health care decision in partnership with a qualified veterinary or pet health care professional.

*This article was updated on 25 Jul 2020. It first appeared in on 13 Dec 2016.