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How to Stop Reverse Sneezing in Beagles & Why They Do It

When I first got my Beagle, it didn’t take long for him to have his first reverse sneezing episode. I have to be honest. It freaked me out at first. We were walking on a trail, and he suddenly started snorting like a pig and seemed like he couldn’t breathe.

I didn’t know what to do when it happened, but thankfully it stopped after 30 seconds. This is what caused me to look into reverse sneezing.

I figured out how to stop my beagle’s reverse sneezing episodes. This post will share what I’ve learned over the years.

How To Stop Reverse Sneezing in Beagles

Place your fingers over your Beagle’s nostrils and force him to breathe through his mouth. He should swallow, which should stop the reverse sneezing episode. If this doesn’t work, massage his throat. Try to get him to breathe from his mouth and to swallow.

This method worked for my Beagle and is recommended by many veterinarians, including Dr. Leigh, from Your Vet Online.

  • Step one: Cover both of your Beagle’s nostrils with your fingers.
  • Step two: Open his mouth and try to get him to breathe through his mouth
  • Step three: If this doesn’t work, try massaging his throat
  • Step four: Comfort him while it’s happening. Episodes usually last 30 seconds.

The idea here is to get him to breathe through his mouth and swallow.

It’s normal for a Beagle to reverse sneeze and is usually not a sign of a health condition.

Do not panic when it happens, even though I know it can be alarming. Stay calm and learn how to help your dog when he is having an attack.

The only reason to be concerned is if it’s happening every day or multiple times per day. Once you understand what causes reverse sneezing in Beagles, you can take some steps to help prevent reverse sneezing attacks. 

Comfort Your Beagle

Your Beagle may panic during an attack. Don’t panic with him, or he will sense this. Be calm, and understand that it will soon pass.

The most important thing you can provide to him is comfort. Even if you can’t stop it, which I’m not always able to do.

When my Beagle has reverse sneezing attacks, he runs to me because he knows that I will be there to help him through it.

He used to panic and pace around the house until it stopped, but now he looks at me and lets me know he wants me to comfort him. He probably knows I can stop it sometimes too, he’s pretty smart.

Why do beagles reverse sneeze?

Ultimate Guide to the Great Dane Beagle Mix (BeDane's)

Beagles reverse sneeze when there is an irritant in the soft palate in their throat. This causes the soft palate to spasm and makes it difficult to inhale. It’s an involuntary respiratory reflex. The Beagles, natural response, is to rapidly inhale through his nose repeatedly to get the irritant out so he can breathe normally.

The technical name for reverse sneezing is “inspiratory paroxysmal respiration.”

It’s common in Beagles, Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus. It’s not a cause for concern unless it happens frequently. With that said, it can be a symptom of something more serious, but there should be no cause for alarm as it’s a very normal thing for a Beagle to do.

Think of the way we, humans, sneeze. It’s often caused by germs, dust, pollen, or other allergens in the environment. Our brain signals our body to exhale and remove whatever irritants we are inhaling.

Well, a reverse sneeze in Beagles is similar, only they sneeze backward. 

When the dog’s soft palate (located in the back of their throat) becomes irritated the brain sends a message to the Beagles body to inhale to remove the irritant. It’s usually caused by something in their environment.

Although, Dr. Addie Reinhard, says that they are not 100% certain of the exact cause for it.

The vital thing to know is that it’s not usually something to worry about. Once you learn how to stop it in your Beagle, you can help him.

Even if you can’t stop it, comforting him through it will help out a lot. Episodes don’t usually last for more than 30 seconds. Still, my Beagle, Chad, did have a few bad episodes that lasted over a minute.

Thankfully, I realized that he was allergic to something in the air at the trail I used to walk him on. It would only be a problem for him during allergy season, but he had them occasionally during the winter indoors.

I vacuumed regularly, which seemed to help with the indoor episodes, but not completely.

What causes reverse sneezing?

Anything that might cause a person with allergies to sneeze can also cause a dog who has reverse sneezing episodes to experience one. The exact cause is not 100% unknown but is believed by vetinarians to be caused by irritants that bother the soft palate, in the back of the throat, and cause it to spasm.

List of Irritants

Allergens

  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Dust Mites
  • Excessive dander
  • Saw Dust

Cleaning Irritants

  • Fabreeze and household sprays
  • Glass cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Disinfectants

Indoor Irritants

  • Perfumes
  • Colognes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Vape from a vape pen
  • Aromatherapy vaporizers
  • Incense
  • Any Arisol spray, including deodorant

How To Prevent Reverse Sneezing in Beagles

Ultimate Guide to the Great Dane Beagle Mix (BeDane's)
  • Keep an eye on the air quality and pollen count for your area and limit his time outside if you notice a correlation. You can use Google to get the air quality.
  • If your Beagle is having reverse episodes outside then that’s a sign of it being an outdoor allergen.
  • If your Beagle is having episodes indoors, you should ask yourself if it could be from any of the indoor irritants listed above.
  • Change the air filter inside your home regularly. Many people forget to do this and it can make allergies worse.
  • Vacuum and sweep regularly, especially in areas of the house your Beagle likes to spend time in.

When to see a veterinarian

Ultimate Guide to the Great Dane Beagle Mix (BeDane's)
  • Reverse sneezing is common in Beagles and certain other breeds. 
  • In most cases a trip vist to the vet isn’t needed. Reverse sneezing is not a big deal, and it’s not life-threatening on its own.
  • If you want to be sure that your Beagle is reverse sneezing and does not have a separate health issue, then a trip to the vet for a checkup would be a good idea.
  • Record a video of your Beagle during one of his reverse sneezing episodes. The vet will be able to confirm that it’s reverse sneezing and not a separate respiratory problem.
  • Suppose your Beagle can’t breathe, and the episode lasts a long time without him being able to get oxygen. In that case, a trip to the vet or emergency clinic is in order.

I’m not a vet, so I can’t tell you how long the attacks should last before you consult a vet, but I can tell you that my Beagle has had episodes that have lasted a couple of minutes. I was there to comfort and help him through it, and he’s always okay.

  • You should go to a vet immediately if your Beagle passes out, can’t breathe, or starts to turn blue. 

It’s rare for this to happen from reverse sneezing alone and is a sign of something more serious.

  • You’ll want to see a vet if your Beagle’s reverse sneezing is happening frequently. If it becomes a daily thing, or multiple times per day, and persists, you should bring him in for a checkup.

The veterinarian will examine his throat and may want to put him under anesthesia to make sure there is nothing near his soft palate blocking his throat (like a blade of grass or something similar).

What does reverse sneezing look like?

When a Beagle is having a reverse sneezing attack he will rapidly try to inhale through his nose. 

This produces a snorting sound and can sound similar to a pig, or someone who snorts when they laugh. It can also sound like a honk or a choking sound.

The Beagle having the episode may look like he is panicking. 

Beagles will typically stand up when an attack begins and walk around the house with their noses down, pacing. In some Beagles, and other breeds, they might standstill with their front legs and necks stretched out.

I know my Beagle does this, but he also looks to me to help him.

Is reverse sneezing normal in beagles?

Yes, reverse sneezing is normal in Beagles. A reverse sneezing attack usually lasts up to 30 seconds. It can be alarming but is not be a cause for concern unless it’s happening daily or multiple times per day. The best thing to do would be to call your vet in this instance. Also, check for irritants in your home or outdoors that can be causing reverse sneezing episodes.

Why does my Beagle snort?

Most likely, the snorting is from a reverse sneezing episode. When beagles reverse sneeze they snort like a pig. When this happens, the best thing to do is to follow the steps I listed above. It’s usually nothing to worry about, as previously mentioned.

Why do beagles reverse sneeze? I hope, by now, I’ve given you a good overview of what causes reverse sneezing in Beagles.

Do you have experience with this happening to your Beagle? If so, what helped?

Let me know in the comments section below!

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