Dog Reverse Sneezing Getting Worse

Photo by Jessica Knowlden on Unsplash

Have you noticed that your dog’s reverse sneezing at night is getting worse, and it is really starting to bother you? Or maybe this time, you are thinking about getting him checked once and for all.

While occasional backwards sneezing is something that should not worry you, the constant occurrence of such an episode could be a completely different story that really needs more attention. The same is true when your dog starts to experience it all of a sudden.

What Causes Dog Reverse Sneezing to Get Worse?

Increase of Allergens

There are numerous things that could cause your puppy to reverse sneeze more frequently. It is possible that there is an increase of allergens in the air, and if so, then it only makes sense that he would reverse sneeze more often than he normally does.

If you suspect that your pooch has allergies, then it is highly recommended that you have him checked by a vet. This way, he will be given the right medication.

To control the symptoms of dog allergies, which MAY include reverse sneezing at night, the doctor may prescribe antihistamine or perhaps nasal corticosteroids. This would depend though on the diagnosis.

Too Much Humidity

As the weather gets hotter, especially during the summertime, it could also trigger pharyngeal gag reflex in canines. And besides, if there is too much humidity, it is usually coupled with the increase of allergens in the atmosphere.

For this one, there is really not much that you can do as there is no way you can control the outside temperature. But you can certainly regulate the quality of air inside your house. You can make it comfortable if you have a cooling system. With this, it would then be better if you limit your dog’s outdoor activities and keep him indoors as much as possible.

If this, however, does not alleviate his reverse sneezing, then a visit to the vet would be the next step.

Weight Gain

You might not be fully aware, but a significant increase in your puppy’s weight, particularly if he weighs way above the normal range, could also be another factor that may cause his backwards sneezing to get worse. That’s simply because overweight dogs overheat a lot faster.

To determine whether or not this factor is what is really causing your pup to reverse sneeze frequently, limit his food intake and increase his physical activities. Once he has achieved a healthier weight, and those episodes still occur often, then it is time for the doctor to intervene.

Are There More Serious Conditions Behind Reverse Sneezing?

If this particular phenomenon takes place like more than three times a day, and pinching your dog’s nose while rubbing his throat seems to be not working, then it is possible that there is a more serious health problem that is causing it.

Nasal Mites

Aside from reverse sneezing, you can suspect that mites have infested your puppy’s nasal cavities if he has nasal discharge, his face is itching, or his nose is bleeding. Unless those nasal mites are eliminated, your pet will continue to suffer, and the symptoms may get worse too. If you have other dogs in your home, they can get the mites as well since they are highly contagious. They can be transmitted by nose-to-nose between dogs.

When it comes to treating nasal mites, antiparasitic medications are usually prescribed. According to veterinarians, 85% of dogs affected by this type of parasites have positively responded to the treatment.

Heart Disease

Having a heart disease can cause a significant buildup of fluid in a dog’s lungs. This would then result in excessive coughing, gasping as well as gagging, which is another manifestation of reverse sneezing.

As the disease progresses, its signs and symptoms get worse too. This is another possible reason why your dog is frequently sneezing backwards.

This health condition is life-threatening. That is why if the episodes do not stop and they start to occur more frequently, medical intervention is definitely the best solution.

Tracheal Collapse

Reverse sneeze and tracheal collapse are two different conditions, but they have a lot of similarities, particularly in terms of the sound produced when an episode takes place. So if it seems like your pet’s condition is getting worse, what you thought to be backwards sneeze could actually be a sign that he has tracheal collapse, which is more dangerous. If it is left untreated, your dog will suffer even worse.

The trachea, also known as windpipe, is a firm tube where air flows through from the nasal cavity or the mouth, and goes to the lungs. If the rings in it start to weaken, then that causes for it to collapse. This is the reason why dogs with damaged trachea create a weird, honking sound.

Canines that do not respond to natural treatments or even medications are required to undergo surgery so the cartilage rings will be replaced using prosthetics.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Simply put, this type of pathological condition affects certain breeds of dogs, such as pugs, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, shih tzus, Persians, and French Bulldogs just to mention a few, that come with short noses. Over time, this characteristic may cause mild to severe respiratory distress.

The most common symptoms of Brachycephalic syndrome include gagging or vomiting, coughing, exercise intolerance, and reverse sneezing. So this condition is another possibility if your canine continues to exhibit pharyngeal gag reflex.

Furthermore, it is important for you to know that Brachycephalic syndrome has no cure, but the symptoms can be managed. For this reason, you really have to observe your dog even at a very young age, especially if it belongs to the breeds that are small-nosed. The earlier you detect the problem, the higher are the chances of it getting treated. Worst case scenario is for your dog to undergo surgery.

Why Is Medical Intervention Necessary if Reverse Sneezing Gets Worse?

Obviously, you would want to know what the real condition of your pet is if it does not stop reverse sneezing in a certain period of time. More so if it is getting serious. With this in mind, medical intervention is crucial.

First, the vet will do some tests like x-ray, blood examination, and allergy tests, while reviewing clinical signs as well as the medical history of your dog. Based on the results, he should be able to rule out those conditions that do not really have anything to do with the abnormal breathing as well as snorting of your pet. This then helps in narrowing down the possible causes. The doctor may also perform further examinations if needed.

Once your vet finds out what is causing the reverse sneeze in your dog, then he can come up with the appropriate treatment plan. If it’s just a simple problem, then it might be treated naturally or may even go away on its own.

However, if the episodes are actually a sign of a serious health condition, then some steps should be taken. Medications will be given, but if they are not effective, surgery would be the last option. This all depends on what the condition of your dog really is.

Sudden Onset of Reverse Sneezing

For any dog owner, a sudden onset of reverse sneezing is as alarming as that of an occasional backwards sneezing but eventually became more frequent. Just like the latter, further investigation is needed to find out why a dog suddenly started experiencing those weird episodes. It could also be a symptom of the possible underlying causes that we have mentioned above.

You can try closing your pet’s nasal cavities by pinching his nose and rubbing his throat. But if this technique is not effective at all, then you better make a trip to the vet’s clinic.

To come up with proper diagnosis, tests such as radiographs, posterior rhinoscopy, and oropharyngeal examination will be done.

Other Things to Watch Out For

Aside from backwards sneezing, there are other things that you should watch out for, and these could indicate that there is definitely something serious going on with your dog. These signs include bloody nose, unusual nasal discharge, any deformity in the nose region, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, and reduced energy. Your canine may exhibit signs of pain and weakness as well.

Observe your pet very carefully, and take note if there are any changes in his behavior. If so, you must tell your vet too. All of these pieces of information will help determine what his health condition is.

Final Thoughts

A reverse sneezing that is getting worse or a sudden onset of a pharyngeal gag reflex is something that you, as a dog owner, should take seriously. While this condition could just be a result of simple issues like allergens, warm weather, or weight gain, there is also a possibility that it is a symptom of a more serious health condition. For this reason, it would be best to consult a veterinarian. The earlier you do this, the better, so you will also have peace of mind.