A brown dog sneezing.

The longer you have your dog, the more you learn what they want by their sounds and postures. Not all sounds they make are requests for treats, walks, or alerts announcing stranger danger (could be another dog, cat, or the postal carrier). Some noises are just odd and might leave you scratching your head. Many of these sounds, precisely a honking sound, are caused by physical changes in your pet’s mouth or windpipe. Your veterinarians at Brodie Animal Hospital can diagnose any issues associated with these sounds and help you make sense of them.

Is My Dog Choking?

Generally, your dog likes its nose up in the air or close to the ground to take in the luscious smells of its world. Sometimes when your dog sniffs the earth, it will whiff up a little something straight up its nose. The next thing you know, your dog is making a scary sound, like a honking goose!

In extreme cases, this sound could indicate windpipe collapse, which is restricting airflow into the lungs. If it looks like your dog is struggling to breathe, please contact us immediately.

What is a Reverse Sneeze?

A reverse sneeze is exactly as it sounds. Instead of sneezing out, your dog is sneezing in. Why? The soft palate at the back of your dog’s throat is irritated and spasms, limiting airflow. As with a collapsed trachea, your dog tries to get more oxygen by breathing through its nose. You will hear your furry friend make a honking sound.

Is a Reverse Sneeze Dangerous?

No. Your dog is doing, by instinct, what it needs to do to open its airway. Your dog will stop whatever it’s doing, extend its neck, and breathe rapidly for a few seconds until its breathing is normal. The honking noise may be strange, but there’s nothing to worry about. If reverse sneezing happens frequently, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns. You may want to schedule a wellness exam to ensure there is no underlying condition causing your dog to reverse sneeze.

Is My Pet at Risk From Tracheal Collapse?

Smaller dog breeds may have a genetic predisposition to tracheal collapse. You can help your pet avoid some episodes using a body harness rather than a collar when out for walks. Keep your pet’s environment free from smoke and other airborne irritants, too. Obesity in dogs can also bring on episodes, so it’s essential to control your small dog’s weight.

Your veterinarian may prescribe medications that can help reduce the severity of or prevent episodes. A surgical procedure to place a stent(s) to help keep the trachea from collapse may be recommended. We will perform a thorough diagnostic examination before prescribing medications or recommending surgery for your beloved pet.

At Brodie Animal Hospital, we’re eager to answer questions about your pet’s health and nutritional needs. Our staff is here to help ensure your pet has a long, healthy, and happy life with you and your family!