|Posted by shelahudson on May 5, 2016 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Nothing seems to throw new dog parents into a state of panic quite like their dog’s first episode of reverse sneezing. This common respiratory event sounds so dramatic and alarming while it’s happening that many people believe their dog to be choking, suffocating, even having a seizure.
The truth is, reverse sneezing (also known as “pharyngeal gag reflex” is usually completely harmless. Unlike regular sneezing, where air is pushed out forcefully through the nose, reverse sneezing causes air to be sucked very rapidly into the dog’s nose, causing a loud honking noise that sounds something like a deranged, gagging sea lion.
These episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. However, once it’s over, the dog breathes completely normally again and generally acts as if nothing ever happened.
What Causes Reverse Sneezing?
What Causes Reverse Sneezing?
Boston Terriers with play toy
Brachycephalic breeds like Boston Terriers are more likely to experience reverse sneezing.
Reverse sneezing is caused by a spasm of the soft palate, the fleshy area at the back of the throat that’s responsible for closing off the airway and nasal passages so that food doesn’t make its way into the nasal cavity while the dog is eating. When this spasm happens, it temporarily narrows the airway, making it more difficult for the dog to take in air through his nose.
Reverse sneezing can be triggered by anything that irritates the throat, such as:
1.Pollen or dust
3.Perfumes or environmental irritants like household chemicals or cleaning supplies
4.Air fresheners or scented candles
6.A collar that’s too tight
7.Very dry air
9.Pulling on a leash
10.Eating or drinking too quickly
11.A sudden change in temperature (such as going outside in very cold weather)
12.Anything the dog swallows that becomes stuck in the throat
Certain dogs are more prone to episodes of reverse sneezing than others. Toy and small breeds seem to be the most affected, perhaps due to their smaller windpipes. Brachycephalic breeds with flat faces such as Pugs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs are also more susceptible due to the fact that their longer soft palates have a tendency to periodically get sucked into their throats. However, any dog can experience an episode of reverse sneezing.
A dog who is reverse sneezing will usually stand very still with his elbows spread wide apart and his head extended out in front of him. As he tries to take in air, his eyes will bulge slightly, his sides will heave, his lips may suck in, and he’ll begin making a loud snorting, honking sound. It’s this sound that often causes dog parents to panic and rush to the emergency room, only to have the dog completely back to normal by the time they arrive.
How Do You Treat Reverse Sneezing?
The simple answer is, you don’t. Although reverse sneezing can look scary and uncomfortable, in most cases it’s not harmful, doesn’t cause any ill effects, and stops on its own once the dog is able to exhale through his nose.
If your dog experiences an attack of reverse sneezing, there are some things you can try to help shorten the episode. Some of these tricks may work for some dogs but not for others, so you can experiment with what works best for your dog:
Gently massage your dog’s throat.
Place your hand over your dog’s nostrils for 2-3 seconds, then remove your hand. This usually causes dogs to swallow, which can help stop the spasm.
Gently blow into your dog’s nostrils.
If the episode doesn’t stop quickly, and you trust that you won’t lose a finger, you can try putting your hand in your dog’s mouth and pressing gently on the tongue to help open the mouth wider.
If your dog is prone to reverse sneezing, you may want to consider using a harness instead of a traditional neck collar, which places more pressure on the throat.
You can also add moisture to the air in your home by using a vaporizer.
If your dog’s reverse sneezing becomes more frequent, or episodes become longer, talk with your veterinarian to rule out other more serious issues such as a collapsing trachea, an object stuck in the throat or windpipe, polyps in the nasal cavity, kennel cough, nasal mites, or a respiratory infection. And if your dog has any type of nasal discharge or wheezing, don’t wait – call your veterinarian.
A Liveable Condition
Most dogs will have at least one episode of reverse sneezing during their lifetime, and for many dogs, intermittent reverse sneezing attacks (just like regular sneezes) are simply part of life. If your dog reverse sneezes, it’s important to remain calm during these events so that your dog doesn’t get anxious, and remember that the occasional episode is relatively harmless and will eventually stop on its own.
If you suspect that your dog is reverse sneezing, but aren’t sure, try to catch the episode on video and play it for your vet so that he or she can figure out what’s happening – whether it’s truly reverse sneezing, or whether it could be something else.
|Posted by shelahudson on March 15, 2015 at 10:00 PM||comments (0)|
Spring is a time for new growth -- and that includes your dog’s coat. Out with the old, fuzzy undercoats and in with the new, sleek fur. Although most dogs shed all year, shedding tends to be heaviest in spring. To avoid drifts of feathery fur piling up in the corners of your home, it’s best to take a proactive approach and stay on top of it with a few basic dog-grooming tips.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to grooming. The types of dogs that come to me as a groomer are mostly small companion dogs -- known more as lap dogs -- that have coats that continually grow and need constant trimming. I also see dogs with double undercoats (e.g., Spitzes or Huskies), which often shed just too much hair for the average owner to deal with. Many owners shave these dog breeds at the start of spring. But the larger, active breeds with short coats need much less care and can be done by you at home.
Dog Grooming Tips: Start With Cleanliness
It’s best to start your dog off with a good shampoo at the start of shedding season to help eliminate debris and flaked skin that built up over the winter. Use shampoos that are meant for dogs only; human shampoos are overly perfumed and can cause dryness. As you shampoo, examine your dog for any problems. Here are a few things to look for:
If the coat looks dry, a gentle dog conditioner is appropriate.
Use oatmeal shampoo for dry skin.
Check paws for cracks and use paw ointment if necessary.
Check ears for cleanliness and signs of mites.
And two important general dog cleanliness measures:
Launder dog beds and blankets.
Soak leashes and harnesses in gentle soap and hot water.
Dog Grooming Tips: Follow up With a Good Brush
The next step is brushing your dog’s coat, which you should aim to do once a week during peak shedding season. Different brushes work best on different types of fur:
Boar bristle brush: Good for all fur types; helps circulate the oil in the coat.
Shedding blade: Excellent for pulling out the feathery undercoat.
Slicker brush: Best for mats and tangles in long-haired breeds.
Rubber curry brush: Made for short-haired breeds and is good for undercoats; stimulates circulation in dog’s skin.
Wire pin brush: Used for dogs with longer coats (e.g., Golden Retrievers) or dogs with thick, several-layer coats (e.g., Sheepdogs and Collies).
When brushing, take your time and be gentle, especially when removing mats or tangles. Brush against the grain of the coat to pull out the undercoat, and with the grain to smooth out the overcoat.
Also remember that your dog’s nutrition plays an important role in maintaining your dog’s healthy coat. Talk to your vet to ensure your dog is getting a well-balanced diet with enough fur-fortifying omega-3 fatty acids.
While some of these dog-grooming tips might seem like a chore, your dog will love all of the one-on-one attention, making it a wonderful bonding experience for both of you.