Monday, August 6, 2007

The Reverse Sneeze

Dogs have a behavior that people refer to as the "reverse sneeze". What in the world is a reverse sneeze? Apparently it is when the dog has a brief period of going into spasms. The dog makes a snorting or hacking noise that makes it sounds like there is something in their throat. That sounds pretty serious, but from what I've read, it's no big deal. There's nothing in the dog's throat, they're just sucking in too much air through their nose. The dog will either recover from it in a couple of minutes, or you can help him/her to stop sooner by covering his/her nose with your hand to block to air from entering it.

One of the causes is when a dog pulls hard on his/her collar. This can irritate their throat and bring on the reverse sneezing. When I read this I realized that I've actually seen this before! A few months ago my friend and I took his three dogs to the dog park near his house. One of his dogs, wearing a regular around-the-neck collar, was so excited to get there that he kept pulling on the leash in an effort to get me to walk faster. We had to stop every 2 minutes or so because his dog would start doing something that sounded like wheezing. It would take a few minutes of my friend calming him down before we could get moving again. It was really annoying. It completely freaked me out and I thought the dog was collapsing his own windpipe or something! It's good to know that it's a completely normal thing, though I think it would be better if my friend just trained his dogs to walk without pulling the leash!

Reverse sneezing can also be caused by everyday activities like eating, drinking, and running. It sounds like getting overly excited in general can provoke this behavior. Don't panic, your dog isn't having a seizure. Try doing the hand over nose technique and speak calmly to your dog, and it should go away.

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