How Do I Stop My Chihuahua from Reverse Sneezing?

chihuahua reverse sneezing

If you’re a Chihuahua owner you’ve probably experienced the odd phenomenon of reverse sneezing. This can be super scary if you don’t know what’s going on. But don’t worry! We’re here to help you understand what reverse sneezing is, why it happens and most importantly how to stop it when it does. So let’s get started and keep your little furball happy and healthy.

What is Reverse Sneezing?

First things first, let’s understand what reverse sneezing is. Unlike regular sneezing where air is expelled through the nose, reverse sneezing is a rapid and forceful inhalation of air. It sounds a bit like a honking or snorting noise and can be super scary if you’re not used to it. The technical term for this is “paroxysmal respiration” but we’ll just call it reverse sneezing for simplicity.

chihuahua reverse sneezing

Why Do Chihuahuas Reverse Sneeze?

Chihuahua reverse sneezing can be caused by several factors, each of which can trigger this unusual and scary behavior. Understanding these causes can help you manage and prevent episodes of reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas.

  1. Irritants: One of the most common causes of Chihuahua reverse sneezing is irritants in the environment. Dust, pollen and strong odors can easily irritate your Chihuahua’s sensitive nasal passages and cause reverse sneezing. Keeping your home clean and avoiding strong-smelling cleaning products or perfumes can reduce these irritants.
  2. Excitement: High levels of excitement or stress can also trigger reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas. Whether it’s greeting you at the door after a long day or playing energetically with their favorite toy, the high state of excitement can cause your Chihuahua to reverse sneeze. Managing their excitement levels and creating a calm environment can minimize these episodes.
  3. Allergies: Just like humans, Chihuahuas can have allergies. Allergic reactions to certain substances like pollen, mold or specific foods can cause reverse sneezing. If your Chihuahua reverse sneezes more frequently during certain times of the year or after exposure to specific environments, it’s worth discussing potential allergies with your vet.
  4. Nasal Mites: Tiny parasites called nasal mites can live in your Chihuahua’s nasal passages and cause irritation and inflammation. These mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye but their presence can be detected through symptoms like reverse sneezing. A vet can diagnose and treat nasal mites to relieve your Chihuahua’s discomfort.
  5. Post-nasal Drip: Excess mucus dripping down the throat, also known as post-nasal drip, can also cause reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas. This can be due to allergies, infections or other respiratory issues. Get your Chihuahua treated for underlying conditions and it will help reduce reverse sneezing episodes.
  6. Anatomical Features: Chihuahuas are a brachycephalic breed which means they have shorter nasal passages and a compact skull. These anatomical features make them more prone to reverse sneezing. You can’t change their anatomy but knowing this can help you be more proactive in managing their environment and reducing triggers.

Now that we know what causes reverse sneezing, let’s look at how you can help your Chihuahua during an episode.

chihuahua reverse sneezing

Immediate Steps to Stop Chihuahua Reverse Sneezing

When your Chihuahua starts reverse sneezing, it can be a bit scary. But there are several things you can do to help stop it and ease their discomfort. Here are some tips:

  1. Stay Calm: Your Chihuahua can sense your anxiety and it can make their stress worse and the reverse sneezing episode longer. Stay calm and composed and speak to them in a soothing voice and offer gentle reassurance.
  2. Massage Their Throat: Lightly massaging your Chihuahua’s throat can help soothe the spasms causing the reverse sneezing. Use gentle circular motions with your fingers along their throat to comfort and potentially stop the episode.
  3. Cover Their Nostrils: Gently cover your Chihuahua’s nostrils for a second to make them swallow, which might stop the reverse sneezing. This helps them clear any irritants from their nasal passages and go back to normal breathing.
  4. Blow in Their Face: A gentle puff of air blown into your Chihuahua’s face can sometimes interrupt the reverse sneezing. This sudden sensation can distract them and help reset their breathing.
  5. Offer Water: Drinking water can help clear irritants from the throat and nasal passages. Encourage your Chihuahua to take a few sips of water to soothe their throat and stop the reverse sneezing.

Now that we know what causes reverse sneezing, you can help your Chihuahua through episodes with confidence.

Long-term Solutions and Prevention of Chihuahua Reverse Sneezing

While immediate solutions are helpful, prevention is even better. Here are some ways to keep your Chihuahua from reverse sneezing:

  1. Cleanliness: Keep your home clean to reduce dust and other irritants. Vacuum and clean from dust regularly because these things can really induce Chihuahua reverse sneezing.
  2. Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid triggers like strong perfumes, smoke, or pollen. These elements represent heavy environments for your Chihuahua.
  3. Humidity: Dry air can irritate your Chihuahua’s nasal passages. Use a humidifier.
  4. Healthy Diet: Make sure your Chihuahua is on a healthy diet that supports their immune system and overall health.
  5. Regular Vet Visits: Regular vet visits can help catch and treat any underlying issues like allergies or nasal mites.

Chihuahua Reverse Sneezing vs Other Health Issues

It’s important to distinguish Chihuahua reverse sneezing from other health problems. Here are some that might seem similar but are different:

  1. Kennel Cough: A persistent cough that sounds like a honk. Often accompanied by a runny nose or lethargy.
  2. Tracheal Collapse: Common in small dogs. A honking cough especially during excitement or exercise. Needs vet attention.
  3. Heart Issues: Heart disease can cause coughing and difficulty breathing. If your Chihuahua shows signs of fatigue, coughing or difficulty breathing, see your vet ASAP.

READ ALSO: Why Is My Chihuahua Coughing?

When to See the Vet

While Chihuahua reverse sneezing is usually harmless, there are times when you should:

  1. Frequent Episodes: If your Chihuahua is reverse sneezing more often than usual, it might be an underlying issue.
  2. Other Symptoms: If you see other symptoms like coughing, lethargy or nasal discharge, get a professional opinion.
  3. Long Episodes: If the reverse sneezing episodes last more than a few minutes, check with your vet.

Your vet can do a full examination and may prescribe antihistamines for allergies or medication for nasal mites if needed.

chihuahua reverse sneezing

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments

If you prefer a more natural approach, there are several home remedies and treatments you can try:

  1. Honey: A small amount of honey can help soothe your Chihuahua’s throat and reduce irritation.
  2. Coconut Oil: Adding a bit of coconut oil to your Chihuahua’s diet can help boost their immune system and reduce inflammation.
  3. Herbal Remedies: Some herbs, like chamomile and licorice root, can help with respiratory issues. Always consult your vet before trying herbal remedies.

Building a Healthy Environment for Your Chihuahua

Creating a healthy environment for your Chihuahua can go a long way in preventing reverse sneezing and other health issues:

  1. Clean Living Space: Regularly clean your Chihuahua’s bedding, toys, and living area.
  2. Air Purifiers: Consider using air purifiers to remove allergens and irritants from the air.
  3. Proper Ventilation: Ensure your home is well-ventilated to avoid the buildup of dust and other particles.

Training and Behavior Modification

Sometimes, reverse sneezing in Chihuahuas can be linked to your dog’s behavior. Here are some tips to help manage their behavior:

  1. Training for Calmness: Teach your Chihuahua to stay calm in exciting situations. This can help reduce the frequency of Chihuahua reverse sneezing triggered by excitement.
  2. Desensitization: Gradually expose your Chihuahua to triggers in a controlled manner to help them become less sensitive over time.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to reward calm behavior and reduce stress.
chihuahua coughing

Dealing With Chihuahua Reverse Sneezing: Conclusion

Chihuahua reverse sneezing is a bit of an enigma but with the right knowledge and tools you can manage and even prevent it. Stay calm during an episode, use immediate techniques to stop the sneezing, and long term strategies to create a healthy environment for your fur baby. Regular vet checks are a must to rule out any underlying issues. By doing this you’ll keep your Chihuahua happy, healthy and reverse sneezing-free.

Now you know what to do when your Chihuahua does that funny thing. With a little patience and TLC, you’ll have fewer reverse sneezing episodes and more sneeze-free days with your fur baby.

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