If you’ve ever encountered the snorting, snuffling, gagging sound that is reverse sneezing in dogs, it probably scared you. Understandably so. However, don’t panic! Reverse sneezing, or Paroxysmal Respiration, is a normal part of doggy life and causes no harm to your pup. Like a lot of things in life, it helps to know the causes of reverse sneezing in dogs, and how you can help your canine companion if they suffer a bout.
When anyone sneezes - dog or human - an irritant causes the body to expel it with air forced through the nose and the mouth. As you may have guessed from the name, reverse sneezing is the opposite of this. Rather than forcing air out of the nose, it is the dog’s attempt to draw air into the nose to get rid of whatever is causing irritation.
You may have experienced a tickle in the back of your throat that you can’t quite reach, and that hasn’t triggered a sneeze. You might try to scratch it with your tongue in order to ease it. The way that a dog’s head is constructed doesn’t allow them to do this. Their only option is a reverse sneeze.
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