Some dogs have a condition known as paroxysmal respiration, also known as reverse sneezing. With this condition, the dog rapidly pulls air into the nose, whereas in a regular sneeze, the air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. The dog makes a “snorting” sound as they try to inhale while sneezing. Do you know what we are talking about? It is quite common!
It can be very alarming to witness a dog having a reverse sneezing episode. No need to worry though. It is not a harmful condition and there are no ill effects. The dog will be completely normal before and after the occurrence. A dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still and extend their head and neck during a reverse sneezing episode. The alarming part of this is that the dog will produce a very loud snorting sound which may last for several seconds to a minute. A common assumption is that something is stuck in the dog’s throat.
So, what causes the reverse sneeze? The exact cause is unknown. Any irritation to the nose, sinuses, or back of the throat can trigger an episode of reverse sneezing. Much like humans, dogs experience allergies as well. Dogs with narrow nasal passages seem to be more commonly affected. Most cases of reverse sneezing do not require medical treatment. It is rare for a dog to develop any complications after an attack. The best thing that you can do is stroke their neck and calm them until the episode is over.