My dog is reverse sneezing at night

Photo by Timothy Swinson on Flickr

In the video below, you will see “Mr. Puggle” making weird, funny noises that sound like he is snoring, but with eyes wide open. Such an episode is called reverse sneezing. The owner pinched the dog’s nose for a few seconds, and the backwards sneezing stopped.

In some cases, the inward “achoo!” of canines may sound hilarious. But there are also instances when it looks like the dogs are having difficulties breathing, the same thing that happens when one is having an asthma attack, and this could be really scary.

Some dogs Reverse sneeze where they keep their eyes
and make a sound much like snoring…

If you too are experiencing this with your pup, you probably are curious to know what causes it and if it is something serious. For sure, it is bothering you big time, and you are wondering how to stop it. But what about those dogs reverse sneezing at night, in their sleep? Is there a need to worry? Or does it go away on its own?

Why Do Dogs Reverse Sneeze at Night?

Having a dog in bed with you may cause reverse sneezing ¹

Medically known as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration, mechanosensitive aspiration reflex or pharyngeal gag reflex, this episode is often characterized by repeated inhalation through the nose, and is usually followed by snorting sounds and even gagging sometimes.

Since it is a reflex, just like the regular sneeze or hiccup, it is something that can’t be controlled.

Now, can you imagine yourself falling asleep and you hear your puppy make those unusual sounds as he reverse sneeze at night? It could be annoying, but it could also cause alarm, especially if it is his first time doing it and you really don’t know what it is.

There are many things that can cause canines to reverse sneeze. It is possible that he is getting too hot, particularly at night time. More so if you sleep with your pet, and you try to make him as comfortable as possible by covering him up with your comforter or maybe even snuggling him. Little did you know that this actually contributes to reverse sneezing.

Another possible reason why your pooch is sneezing backwards during bedtime is because something is irritating him. It could be that there are remnants of detergent in his bedding or even in yours if you let him sleep at night next to you, and those allergens are making him reverse sneeze.

Another possibility is the presence of an indoor plant or a piece of furniture that is giving him allergies too.

What Can You Do if Your Dog Is Reverse Sneezing at Night?

Washing your dog’s bedding thoroughly might help ²

Reverse sneezing in dogs may happen anytime of the day, but do not be alarmed if it occurs at night while your puppy is sleeping or when he is getting ready to go to bed.

Although the things that you can do to help your pup when he is doing the backwards “achoo” depend on what is actually causing it, here are some suggestions:

·         If you think that your canine is just feeling too warm because of the extra pillows, cushions, or blanket, then you can try to eliminate some of them. Maybe he does not really want to be covered up.

·         Wash your puppy’s bedding as it could be dirty already. And when you do so, make sure that it is rinsed properly to get rid of detergent residues that may also irritate your pet.

·         You can move your pup’s sleeping location too.

·         Pinch his nose and rub his throat. This should help him stop reverse sneezing and swallow instead.

How Long Does Reverse Sneezing Last at Night?

Gently massaging your dogs throat might help stop reverse sneezing ³

 An episode may last for a few seconds up to a few minutes. In fact, reverse sneezing does not only happen at night. It may also occur anytime during the day. But the bottom line is, you can actually shorten the episode.

Once you notice that your dog is doing it, try to close his nasal openings for a few seconds while gently massaging his throat. This should help clear the palate and stop the reverse sneeze.

Once your puppy has stopped backwards sneezing, he should be able to go back to his normal behavior. Simply put, this is not something that you should worry about as it is generally not dangerous, although it is important that you help your dog out once it occurs.

How Do You Recognize When a Dog Is Reverse Sneezing?

Dogs that are about to reverse sneeze stand still and stretch their throat ⁴

For dog owners who are not familiar with reverse sneezing, they may either find it funny or scary when their see their pets do so. If you are still unsure of how this episode really occurs, it is important that you do your homework. You can also watch videos.

In general, you would know that your puppy is sneezing backwards if he starts to make a loud, startling, weird noise that sounds like he is choking or trying to swallow something and he can’t.

As the term suggests, reverse sneezing is the opposite of the regular “achoo”. Instead of the air being pushed out of the nose, it is pulled in or forced through the nasal cavity. Your dog may also extend his head and neck as he tries to take in long aspirations.

The best way to describe the sound produced when reverse sneezing is like that of snorting or clearing the throat. Your puppy would also stand still and act like he is going to vomit. In other cases,  a dog’s eyes may bulge as well.

9 Other Possible Causes of Backwards Sneezing?

Up to these days, the exact cause of reverse sneezing has not been established yet. But it is thought that anything that can irritate the nasal cavities may lead to this phenomenon.

Aside from the things that we have mentioned earlier, the following may also trigger your dog to reverse sneeze:

A tight collar and lead might cause your dog to reverse sneeze ⁵

·         Allergies

·         Nasal infection

·         Nasal irritants, such as pollen and dust

·         Pulling on the leash

·         Tight Collar

·         Excitement

·         Change in temperature

·         Exercise intolerance

·         Elongated soft palates

When a dog gets excited, he tends to breathe faster and harder, and this could cause irritants and other foreign particles to get lodged to his nose, which, in turn, lead to reverse sneezing.

We also have listed pulling on the leash and a tight collar in the list as these things can irritate a puppy’s throat as well.

Furthermore, there are some types of dogs, like pugs and bulldogs that come with elongated soft palates. With this, there are instances when they suck the palate into their throat, which triggers pharyngeal gag reflex too.

As for the change in temperature, particularly when it gets too warm, dogs tend to catch their breath, and this is another factor that could trigger spasm of the throat and soft palate. The same is true when a puppy is too active or when he is exercising.

Six ways to naturally stop reverse sneezing in dogs

Since the exact cause of inspiratory paroxysmal respiration is still unknown, we can’t really say that there is a cure for it. On the other hand, there are numerous things that you can do to possibly stop it naturally. Take a look at the following:

[1] Use natural products

When it comes to the products that you use for your pet, it is highly recommended that you go for those that are natural, whether it be flea treatments or shampoo and conditioner. With natural products, you will be able to reduce your dog’s exposure to allergens.

[2] Give purified water

Instead of giving your canine tap water to drink, it would be best if you serve purified water. Take note that hard water may also contain bacteria and chemicals that could irritate your dog.

[3] Give supplements

To boost your dog’s immune system, it is advisable that you also give some supplements. This should increase his resistance against infections, irritations, or allergies.

[4] Use a harness

Instead of using a tight collar and putting your dog on a leash, it would be better if you let him use a harness instead. This will avoid putting more pressure on his throat, which could lead to reverse sneezing.

Avoid chemicals and use only natural products ⁶

[5] Avoid chemicals altogether

As much as possible, you should go for eco-friendly products when shopping for house cleaning materials. You also need to avoid utilizing air freshener as all of these could irritate your canine’s nasal cavities.

[6] Clean regularly

To eliminate dust and other irritants in your home, you should make it a habit to clean. If you sleep with your dog, make sure that your mattress and linens are clean. If your pet has his own bedding, then ensure that they are allergen-free as well.

Final Thoughts

Reverse sneezing may sound scary, but you should know that it is not dangerous. It may occur both during the day and night, and so, you need to help your puppy out once it does. Simply close his nasal openings for a few seconds and rub his throat.

While there is no specific cure for it, there are things that you can do to ultimately lessen its occurrence.

Photo Credits

¹ Photo by Andrés Gómez on Unsplash

² Photo by Sana Saidi on Unsplash

³ Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash

⁴ Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

⁵ Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

⁶ Photo by Crema Joe on Unsplash