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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19703
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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I have a 2 1/2 year old silky terrier/cockapoo dog and in the

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I have a 2 1/2 year old silky terrier/cockapoo dog and in the past 2 months hes had these breathing episodes that has scared me so bad I almost took him to an emergency vet. Both occurrences happened around 4am (while he was sleeping) it sounds like he cannot breath at all from his nose or mouth and he makes very loud snorting type noises. Today it happened on and off for about 5 minutes and his whole body was shaking. I read that if you rub their neck or close their nostrils it stops it but it did not when I did that. Its very scary. after it was over I smelled a weird smell from his nose or mouth (not sure which but it was bad) Someone said this is a reverse sneeze but this doesn't seem normal or harmless. it seems to get longer and worse each time he does it. and he looks really scared when its happening..Should I take him to the vet today? could this be something worse?
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

It does sound like you were hearing reverse sneezes. These can be quite loud and it sounds like they can't get air as they go through an episode of them. When you haven't heard it before, it can be quite scary.

Reverse sneezes can be thought of as a normal response to an irritation in the back of the throat. This is similar to how an irritation in the nose causes sneezing and an irritation in the airway causes coughing. In the back of the throat, the response in dogs is a reverse sneeze.

Most of the time we don't do anything about it. When the signs are going on daily and constantly, we may work up the dogs for allergies or give Benadryl at home periodically. The dose of Benadryl is 1-2 mg per lb body weight every 6-8 hours as needed.

Personally, I don't think you need to run to a vet. They're unlikely to do much other than educate you more on reverse sneezing in dogs.

Just for clarification, here is a good video of a dog doing reverse sneezing. I assume this is what you were hearing:
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Hi Tracie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Bentley. How is everything going?

Dr. Gary