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What is reverse sneezing in dogs, why they do it and how to stop it

How to stop reverse sneezing in dogs
How to stop reverse sneezing in dogs 04:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's a sound dogs make that may be alarming. Similar to loud snorting, dogs can rapidly suck in air pulled in through the snout, instead of being pushed out. It's called reverse sneezing, and can be pretty scary for owners and their pet.

PSPCA animal advocate Carol Erickson explains reverse sneeze and why the distressed look on your pet's face could be deceiving.

Why is my dog reverse sneezing and what causes it

Reverse sneezing is thought to be an irritating thing, like a piece of dust, smells from air fresheners, perfume, smoke or even pollen allergies. It can also be triggered when dogs get overly excited.

Dogs can have reverse sneezing episodes for 30 seconds to a minute, Erickson said, adding that veterinarians say that -- for most dogs -- this reverse sneezing is nothing to worry about and you can just let it run its course.

However, Erikson noted that the snorting and snuffling sound is not the same as a "honking" sound from kennel cough or a tracheal collapse.

How to stop reverse sneezing in dogs

If your dog is experiencing a reverse sneezing fit, you can help them by stroking their throat, which will help start some natural swallowing that they would do, Erickson advised.

She said you can also lightly blow in their face, which should also start the swallowing as well.

Another thing you can do is hold your dog's muzzle and close one nostril for about five seconds, Erickson said, which will supposedly help stop it.

What to do if your dog keeps reverse sneezing

The reverse sneeze should just stop on its own, however, if you're seeing this multiple times in a day or other dogs in your house also start to do it, Erickson said that's a time when you should probably call a vet to find out what is going on.

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