If you have a dog that seems to be making a choking and wheezing sound, it is likely not choking, but having what is called a reverse sneeze. While this is more common in smaller dogs like Chihuahuas and toy poodles, any type of dog can have a reverse sneeze. It is not typically a serious condition, but as a pet owner, it is good to know what causes it and what you can do about it.
There Are a Wide Range of Causes
The first thing you should know is that there are many causes for reverse sneezing, from medical to non-medical causes. For example, some dogs might have something obstructing their nasal passage, have a lot of nasal discharge, or have mucus irritation, which is leading to the choking sound. Other dogs have dental diseases or infections that increase their risk for this habit. Some dogs simply do it due to over-excitement or anxiety, and tend to have the reaction more often than those experiencing it from medical causes.
Some Dogs Have Other Symptoms
While the main choking and wheezing sound is the most common symptom of reverse sneezing, some dogs exhibit other symptoms as well. You might notice that your dog keeps their mouth tightly closed and their head pointed downward. Other dogs appear as if they are choking, moving their chest in and out in an odd way. This can make it more frightening, but in most cases, the reverse sneezing is harmless, and you simply need to wait a few moments for it to be over. You will soon identify your own dog's signs and symptoms of reverse sneezing. Some dogs put their head back, while others point it forward, so it is important to pay attention to these subtle signs.
You Need to Treat the Cause of the Reverse Sneezing
Some reverse sneezing can be prevented if you are unable to figure out the main cause your dog is doing this and treat that cause. There may be a medical condition associated with the reverse sneezing, such as having allergies or an infection that can be treated. Your dog might have an obstruction in their nasal passages that needs to be removed. Other dogs do this due to anxiety, so simply calming them down will at least help to reduce how long the experience the reverse sneezing. For more information, contact Animal Emergency Clinic or a similar location.