What is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?

March 25, 2024

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Yellow labradoodle sitting in snow. Read on to learn how using functional mushrooms for dogs stops reverse sneezing.

Pet parents often find themselves perplexed by reverse sneezing in dogs, a widespread yet not well-known respiratory occurrence. Characterized by quick, intense breaths of air taken in through the nose, reverse sneezing in dogs creates a loud snorting sound that can sometimes resemble a gag.

Despite how alarming these moments can be, for most dogs a reverse sneeze usually only lasts for a few seconds and ends on its own, with the dog remaining unfazed and the owner left wondering what happened.

Triggers of Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Once you hear that loud snorting sound, you may be on the hunt for why this sound is appearing. Unlike a regular sneeze, air is sucked in rather than being pushed out. There are a number of potential triggers when it comes to reverse sneezing in dogs, including:

White mixed breed dog walking through a weedy grass field with its owner. Read on to learn how to stop reverse sneezing.

The Dog’s Anatomy is a Contributing Factor in Why a Dog Reverse Sneezes

Certain dogs, due to their unique anatomical features like elongated soft palates or narrower sinus passages, are more susceptible to sucking up air, leading to episodes of reverse sneezing. Brachycephalic, AKA short-snouted dog breeds, are the main ones we’re talking about here. Their unique anatomical structure, like an elongated soft palate, can cause irritation in the throat and nasal passages, triggering an episode.

Even sitting next to them, you can hear abnormal breathing. Listening to them breathe is much different than sitting next to other dogs that have long noses. Brachycephalic dog breeds (short nose pups)  include Pugs, English Bulldogs, Boxers, French Bulldogs, Brussels Griffon, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese, just to name a few.

Excitement and Brachycephalic Breeds 

When a brachycephalic dog breed gets excited, their breathing rate may increase, resulting in spasms of the throat and soft palate, which then cause reverse sneezing, scientifically known as paroxysmal respiration. This plays a large part in why veterinarians, dog breeders, and other canine professionals don’t recommend these breeds for those who are searching for a dog to go hiking or walking long distances.

The Environment May Affect Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Whether to environmental factors or specific foods, certain environmental factors, like pollen, can also play a significant role, depending on how the body’s immune system responds. Rapid ingestion of food or water can also momentarily cause irritation in the pharynx, leading to a reverse sneezing episode.

Functional Mushrooms for Dogs

Black & tan border collie taking an Earth Buddy functional mushroom capsule from owner to help seasonal dog allergies.

Functional mushrooms for dogs have emerged as a tool to support respiratory health, including the perplexing phenomenon of reverse sneezing. Among these, Reishi and Turkey Tail mushrooms stand out due to their rich content of bioactive compounds, including beta-glucans.

These compounds play a crucial role in supporting the immune system and promoting healthy inflammatory pathways, which are key factors for dogs who exhibit reverse sneezing.

Functional Mushrooms for Dogs to Promote Normal Inflammatory Pathways

By helping maintain normal histamine levels, medicinal mushrooms may support normal respiratory function and health. The ability to promote and support normal inflammatory pathways can also aid with occasional discomfort.

Dog Mushrooms For Immune System Support

Medicinal mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, compounds known for their ability to support a healthy immune response, which may help keep dogs in peak condition. For example, since Shiitake mushrooms promote normal inflammatory pathways, they may support a healthy inflammatory response in the respiratory tract. This could help support breeds with reverse sneezing episodes.

Specific Mushrooms and Their Advantages

Among the plethora of medicinal mushrooms, certain varieties stand out for their health benefits. Maitake mushrooms are celebrated for their polysaccharides, Cordyceps mushrooms are known to help support energy production at the cellular level, and Reishi are known for providing antioxidants. We’ll go through each of these individually so you can see just how each mushroom type can help maintain the general health of all ages and breeds.

Reishi for Dog’s Reverse Sneezes

Dark orange deer-antler reishi mushroom for dog allergies. Mushrooms like reishi can help your irritated dog’s face.

The Reishi mushroom is well known for its ability to support the immune system. For dogs experiencing reverse sneezing due to pollen, dust, or other irritants in the environment, Reishi can be a significant ally. Reishi may help with occasional or seasonal allergies.

Since Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) also supports normal inflammatory pathways, this mushroom type may also help with occasional discomfort by supporting immune system function.

Shiitake Mushrooms For Your Pet

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) contain vitamins, minerals, and a handful of bioactive compounds that are responsible for it being known to support physical and mental well-being. They also offer immune support for dogs by promoting the body’s innate resistance to pathogens.

Cordyceps to Support Pets’ Respiratory Health

Blue jar of Earth Buddy mushroom powder for dogs contains beta-glucans to support seasonal allergies in dogs & sneezing.

Cordyceps mushrooms (Cordyceps sinensis) have been traditionally valued for supporting respiratory health, including enhancing oxygen utilization and supporting lung function. This makes them an option for dogs with reverse sneezing, especially for brachycephalic dogs who are known to reverse sneeze the most.

By helping support normal respiratory function and health, Cordyceps may help with some of the occasional discomfort associated with reverse sneezing. Plus, the immune-enhancing effects of Cordyceps support and promote long term health. Supporting energy production is also helpful in maintaining the health of all breeds.

Other Medicinal Mushrooms to Help With Reverse Sneezes

Medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) and Maitake (Grifola frondosa) are both known to have immune enhancing effects, too. These mushrooms work by supporting the immune system, promoting normal detoxification processes and supporting dogs experiencing reverse sneezing.

Functional Mushroom Capsules for Dogs

Yellow labrador retriever paws with a jar of Earth Buddy mushroom capsules for dogs to help dog’s itchy skin allergies.

When you step into the world of medicinal mushrooms (if you haven’t already), you’ll find what appears to be hundreds of products claiming to support respiratory health and function. It’s important for all dog owners to keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal. As we emphasize in other content, it’s critical to look for products with a good reputation that offer full transparency and don’t mind providing you with a lab report from a third party testing facility.

At Earth Buddy, lab reports for every product are available to view at all times. As far as functional mushroom capsules, Earth Buddy offers Focus & Immune Mushroom Capsules for breeds of all sizes. This product combines full spectrum hemp extract with full spectrum mushrooms sourced from a USDA Organic facility in the United States.

The active ingredients in Earth Buddy’s mushroom capsules include Agarikon, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Turkey Tail for dogs, in addition to whole plant hemp extract containing CBD, cannabinoids, and terpenes.

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