Dog Reverse Cough – How To Recognize The Symptoms On Time


A devoted pet parent, pet store manager and animal shelter volunteer. Read more about me here.

Doesn't it scare you when you think you heard your dog cough or sneeze a couple of times in row?

Every dog owner knows that this can mean nothing, but it can also turn out to be a huge health hazard. The problem is knowing the difference.

If your dog has been coughing a lot lately, and you're feeling concerned, you probably have a good reason for that. Constant coughing can be a sign of something much more serious than just respiratory distress.

You shouldn't ignore any symptoms that your pet is displaying, and I believe that's a good enough reason for you to stick with me cause I'll be talking about reverse coughing in dogs, and how to deal with this problem efficiently.

There is no doubt in my mind that you'll find the following information helpful, so scroll down!

What Is Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?

A small corgi laying in bed

First thing's first. You should learn the difference between a reverse sneeze and a cough.

Many dog owners still struggle to make a difference, and lack of knowledge can affect your dog’s health. That's why I'm going to focus on episodes of reverse sneezing first.

Commonly called backward sneezing, this is a phenomenon that occurs when your dog's soft palate becomes irritated. Reverse sneezing is realized through rapid inhalations while its standing still and extending its necks. Reverse sneeze sounds are extremely loud, and they can scare you.

A reverse sneezing episode lasts for about 30 minutes.

If this is not something your dog has encountered before, you should pay a visit to your veterinarian, as this may turn into extreme coughing episodes.

Nasal Mites - A Foreign Body In Your Dog's Nose

Nasal mites are parasites that inhabit your pup's nasal passages. Your dog can get them by being in contact with another pet that already has this problem.

There is no precise information about what breed is most commonly affected, but several studies indicate that small dogs have an advantage over big dogs.

Possible Red Flags

If you have noticed that your dog reverse sneezes a lot daily, you should be on the lookout for symptoms indicating that there is much more at stake than just an irritated soft palate.

Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • A bloody nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Facial deformity

Here's a quick hint:

Brachycephalic breeds are more prone to suffer from reverse sneezing. Some example breeds include Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, and Shih Tzu.

Does My Dog Have Allergies?

It is very possible that your pup has developed an allergy to something, and that’s why it’s been sneezing so often. Determining what it is allergic to may be more difficult than you thought. Dog allergies can be of different nature, and they can depend on the breed.

For all you know, your dog can be allergic to its own dog food. To determine the exact cause, you'll need to do some testing.

Kennel Cough - How Serious Can It Get?

a pug laying on the floor

If you happen to hear your dog coughing, and a lot, this is definitely a cause for concern. Kennel coughing usually indicates that your dog is dealing with upper respiratory infections.

If you have more than one dog in your household, you should know that this is highly contagious. The most common places where dogs can spread this are your local dog park, dog shows, or even pet training groups.

It is especially dangerous if your six-month-old puppy catches it.

Checking Your Dog's Throat For Possible Signs

A dry cough is definitely a sign that you need to pay a little more attention to your pet. Here are some telltale signs you should look out for:

  • A strong cough (loud snorting sound)
  • Runny nose
  • Clogged nose (dog's nostrils closed)
  • Sneezing (reverse breathing dogs)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever

Asthma Attack - Caused By Reverse Coughing?

A dog in the grass scratching its nose

Just like you, your dog can suffer from an asthma attack. This is a matter that shouldn't be taken lightly because these sudden and rapid attacks vary from mild to life-threatening.

Here are the most common symptoms:

  • Sudden change in breathing patterns
  • Wheezing
  • Constant coughing
  • Loss of energy and appetite
  • Heavy panting

The best solution would be to go straight to the vet. Once you're there after the vet examines your dog and concludes that it has been battling asthma attacks for a long time, he can continue with the examination, but this time focusing on other signs, such as:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Heart disease

Collapsed Trachea - Is It Fatal?

Trachea is a tube in a c-shaped ring that lets air come and exit the lungs of your pup. This is the tube that connects your dog's entire respiratory system, and without it, it wouldn't be able to breathe.

Tracheal collapse occurs when the tracheal rings are disrupted. This can leave your dog having serious coughing and breathing problems.

You should know that this is not a fairly common disease, however, there are some dogs that are born with this problem. In most cases, it's unknown until you get your dog checked.

How To Recognize Collapsing Trachea In Dogs?

The most common sign that indicates that your dog is suffering from a collapsing trachea is a honking cough. However, this is just one in a long list of symptoms. Let's take this opportunity to mention the most common ones:

  • Vomiting (occurring because of extreme coughing)
  • Throat irritation
  • Your dog's face, neck and mouth turning blue (from pressure of not being able to breathe properly)
  • Fainting
  • Low energy

Other Risk Factors

A collapsed trachea can be an underlying cause for more serious health conditions such as:

  • Chronic (respiratory) diseases
  • Nasal tumors
  • Bacterial infection
  • Obesity
  • Heart diseases
  • Cushing's disease

It's important that you're 100% familiar with your dog's medical history so that something like this doesn't come as unexpected it your dog or its mother has a history of health conditions.

Appropriate Treatment For Your Pet

Of course, the most reliable option for you would be to go straight to your veterinarian. Seeking professional help is always the best solution. Your vet will probably examine your pup, and prescribe the needed medication. Know that you should never buy any meds on your own!

If your vet's out of town, there are a few methods you can try on your dog in the comfort of your home.

The first one would be to lightly massage your dog's throat. Start from the top and move towards its shoulders. This can help relieve the irritation that's been causing your dog to sneeze and/or cough. Also, make sure that you speak to your dog in a loving way, so that it knows you're not trying to hurt it.

The second one involves slightly pinching your dog's nose. You're going to pinch your dog's nose for not more than a few seconds. This will make it swallow the foreign material that's been causing irritation. Be careful, because with aggressive dog breeds, you're at a greater risk of getting bitten.

The third, and last one would be to blow on your dog's face. Gently blowing towards your dogs face can disrupt repeated inhalations. Make sure that you're at a distance of minimum 15 cm, so that you don't create panic.

Summing Up

Well, pet owners, seems like we've covered everything. It's time to wrap up the information mentioned, and learn something from it.

It turns out that reverse sneezing and reverse coughing is common for a vast majority of dog breeds. However, flat faced dogs are more prone to this paroxysmal respiratory disease.

The list of possible causes is pretty long, but the most common ones include nasal mites, allergies, and collapsed trachea. Whatever the cause, you shouldn't ignore the symptoms you're dog is displaying. As soon as you notice a runny or bloody nose and some other signs that we've mentioned, don't hesitate to call your veterinarian.

There's a high probability that your dog is going to need some kind of medical treatment.

That's it from me. Take care of your pets!

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About the Author

A devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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