Reverse Sneezing in Chihuahuas: What To Do and How To Stop It?

Sneezing is a normal occurrence in almost all beings. However, when it seems a bit weird and doesn’t seem normal, it’s called reverse sneezing. Believe it or not, dogs can reversely sneeze and for some of them, it can be quite problematic. So, what do you need to know about reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas? What you should do in such situation? Read on and discover our pro tips.

reverse sneezing in chihuahuas

Why do dogs sneeze?

Dogs can sneeze due to many reasons. Besides they can sneeze due to an allergy, dogs can start sneezing if they sniffed something with a strong scent.

While normal sneezing is a kind of reflex behavior that expels air, reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas is the opposite. Instead of expelling air, the air is inhaled and the dog doesn’t get rid of the irritant in that case. 

What are the causes of reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas?

Allergies are a common trigger for reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas and many other dog breeds. When allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, or even strong scents from perfumes and household cleaners are inhaled, they can irritate the sensitive lining of a dog’s nasal passages.

This irritation can cause the soft palate and throat to spasm, leading to the characteristic sounds of reverse sneezing. As the body tries to push these irritants out, the dog inhales air rapidly and forcefully, which is accompanied by a loud snorting or gagging – sound. Reducing the frequency of allergic episodes is achievable by managing your Chihuahua’s exposure to known allergens, maintaining a clean living environment, and consulting with a veterinarian for allergy management.

Excitement or Overexertion

Chihuahuas may be small but their nature is lively and full of spirit. Sometimes, episodes of reverse sneezing are triggered by periods of vigorous play, excitement or overexertion. In these cases of high energy moments, the dog’s respiratory rate rises, and this may cause air movement to be very rapid through the nasal passages and throat, causing a spasm. To avoid reverse sneezing due to excitement or overexertion, guardians must keep an eye on playtime and ensure that their Chihuahua has a breather, especially after vigorous activity.

Pulling on the Leash

Also, leash pulling is among the reasons why Chihuahuas may develop the reverse sneezing problem. The collar of your Chihuahua or even the leash, especially when it is pulling strong, can irritate the trachea. This inflammation results in the spasmodic breathing that defines reverse sneezing. To prevent this, you can opt for a well-fitted harness rather than a collar when taking your dog for a walk. Harnesses spread the pressure more evenly across the dog’s body which relieves stress on the neck and throat and subsequently lowers the chances of triggering an episode of reverse sneezing.

Foreign Bodies

In addition, a Chihuahua can have reverse sneezing due to aspiration of small particles or foreign bodies like seeds, small toys, or food fragments. Foreign objects can be trapped in the nasal cavities, or throat, or at the oropharynx region, where they irritate the dog and trigger the normal body response of reverse sneezing, to expel the objects. To help avoid such occurrences, ensure that your home and the area where your dog plays are free of small debris. When a case of reverse sneezing is perseveres after the suspicion of a foreign body as the cause of the problem, it is important to have veterinary attention to remove the object safely and prevent any further complications.

Knowing these triggers and taking prevention measures, you can reduce the frequency of episodes of reverse sneezing in your Chihuahua and provide it with comfort and well-being.

chihuahua harnesses

How to Stop Reverse Sneezing in Your Chihuahua: Useful Tips for Dog Owners

It can be a very shocking experience for a Chihuahua to reverse sneeze and for the owner as well. While this is usually not a matter of alarm, understanding how to handle such episodes can relieve any anxiety that they may lead to. Here are some practical tips for dog owners on how to handle reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas:

1. Stay Calm

Chihuahua can sense your emotions and therefore you should remain calm and collected during an episode. However, panicking can only stress your dog more, which may end up extending the reverse sneezing.

2. Gentle Massage

Rubbing the throat of your Chihuahua gently can be soothing and may reduce the length of the episode of reverse sneezing. With a gentle hand, lightly massage the throat.

3. Cover the Nostrils

Sometimes, partially covering your dog’s nostrils will help stop the reverse sneezing. This prompts your Chihuahua to swallow, thereby resetting the breathing rhythm and terminating the episode. Use this method carefully, gently, and withdraw your hand at once if there is any indication of discomfort.

4. Offer a Drink of Water

Interrupting the reverse sneezing can be achieved by encouraging your Chihuahua to drink some amount of water. Drinking process can normalize the breathing rhythm and cleanse any of the irritants found in the throat or nasal pathway.

5. Check the Collar

Always make the collar of your Chihuahua not to be too tight. Reverse episodes can be caused by a tight collar which puts unnecessary pressure on the throat. Use a harness, especially while walking, as a substitute to relieve neck stress.

harness for a chihuahua

6. Create a Calm Environment

If excitement or overactivity causes reverse sneezing, make sure to give your Chihuahua a peaceful surrounding. In the wake of play or agitation, provide an optimum condition of repose and stillness to minimize the risk of an attack.

7. Keep the Air Clean

Limit your Chihuahua’s exposure to allergens like pollen, dust, and perfumes. Cleaning and air filtration can be effective in reducing allergens and other forms of irritants that float in the air in your home.

8. Avoid Small Objects

Make sure you remove off the floor and out of reach small objects and particles that your Chihuahua can inhale. This ranges from small toys, food particles and other small items.

9. Consult Your Veterinarian

If reverse sneezing in your Chihuahua becomes more frequent or is followed by other symptoms (like nasal discharge, constant coughing or changes in appetite), get your dog to a veterinarian. 

reverse sneezing in chihuahuas

10. Familiarize Yourself with the Signs

Familiarizing yourself with the signs and sounds associated with reverse sneezing is important. That’s how you will be able to quickly identify it once it occurs to handle it the right way and avoid unnecessary panic.

These tips will go a long way to help you manage episodes of reverse sneezing in your Chihuahua. This will, in turn, make them less distressing for both of you. Monitor the number of episodes along with their intensity, and contact a vet if you are worried about your dog’s health.

Reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas: Wrapping up

Even though reverse sneezing is a normal occurrence in all dog breeds, knowing what to expect and what to do is important. So, when you see your Chihuahua reversely sneeze, stay calm and wait to stop.

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