Why does my dog hyperventilate is a valid question for a dog mom to ask herself. It sounds scary! When my chiweenie first started hyperventilating at night, I freaked out. Turns out, her condition sounds way worse than it is and is more common than I thought. Even if you think this may be why your dog has this hyperventilating reaction, always let you vet know because they will know best. There are also conditions this could be mistaken for such as allergies, heat exhaustion, anxiety, and respiratory diseases.
What Is Reverse Sneezing?
Reverse sneezing happens when your dog takes rapid inhales and appear to be fighting for their breath. Reverse sneezing can also be referred to as an inner sneeze, paroxysmal respiration, or an inverted cough. Canine reverse sneezing tends to happen a lot to dogs who have brachycephalic skulls. Dogs with brachycephalic skulls typically are a short-muzzled dog with a flattened face. Think Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Chihuahuas. The condition is especially seen is small dogs and certain breeds. This helps to explain why my mixed chihuahua hyperventilating happens so frequently.
What Causes Reverse Sneezing?
Despite the different names this hyperventilating effect has, this condition has nothing to do with sneezing. It is a spasm caused when your dog’s soft palate and laryngeal area is irritated. The muscles of the pharynx will spasm, and this causes dogs to hack and gasp inwards. The dog’s neck will extend during this spasm, and their chest will expand as they try to inhale and breathe.
Because reverse sneezing narrows the trachea, it can be difficult to get the required amount of air into the dog’s lungs. Dogs typically appear normal both before and after reverse sneezing. These attacks typically last a 15-30 seconds, but can definitely go longer.
When Do Dogs Typically Reverse Sneeze?
Reverse sneezing can occur when your dog is excited, after drinking, running, and during sleep. Basically, it can get triggered by a variety of factors. My dog sleeps under the covers at night and I think the lack of air circulation causes her to reverse sneeze sometimes.
How Can I Help My Dog From This Type Of Hyperventilating?
Here’s a few ideas to help your dog when they have an episode of reverse sneezing.
- Get your pup to a cooler and airy location.
- Some suggest briefly covering the nostrils to cause your dog to swallow, which then helps get rid of the irritant that caused the episode.
- Remove any obvious stressors in the way.
- Talk calmly to your dog to get them as relaxed as possible.
- You can also try massaging your pup’s throat, which could help with the irritation in that area.
If this is a chronic issue, your veterinarian needs to diagnose the underlying cause. They can then provide appropriate treatment and/or medications to help alleviate your dog’s reverse sneezing episodes.
And since you will clearly be giving your dog lots of kisses to get through these episodes, check out this post to make their gnarly little breath smell better.