Why Does My Dog Hyperventilate!?!?! Help Please!

14 Answers

Luke Wilcox Profile
Luke Wilcox answered
The most common reason for your dog hyperventilating is a condition known as reverse sneezing. It is so called because it sounds like the dog is inhaling sneezes. Alternative names are inspiratory paroxysmal respiration and pharyngeal gag reflex. Reverse sneezing makes your dog appear to fight for breath and may be accompanied by snorting, gasping and gagging noises.

Despite its name, the condition has nothing to do with sneezing and is a spasm caused by an irritation of the soft palate: The fleshy, soft tissue extension off the roof of the mouth. It may be due to sinus, nasal or pharyngeal irritation. The condition is especially seen is small dogs and certain breeds, including Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers, are more predisposed to it than others.

During a spasm, the dog’s neck will extend and the chest will expand as the dog tries to inhale. However, the trachea has narrowed and it is difficult to get the required amount of air into the lungs. Affected dogs appear to be completely normal both before and after the attack.

An episode can be shortened by gently massaging the throat area and pinching the dog’s nostrils shut so that he has to breath through his mouth. Taking him outside in the fresh air can also sometimes stop the spasm. The condition may start as the dog ages, or it may be present for its entire life.

The spasm can be caused by a number of irritants, including pollen, dust and household chemicals. It can also come on after excitement, pulling on the lead, running around, eating or drinking, or following a sudden change in temperature. It also commonly occurs when the dog is asleep or following a long nap. Reverse sneezing generally carries no health threats but can be distressing for the owner.

If your dog hyperventilates frequently, take him to the vets to make sure that there is no other cause. Antihistamines and/or steroids can be prescribed if the condition is serious, chronic or allergy-related. Other possible causes of your dog hyperventilating include polyps, viral infections, nasal mites and excessive soft palate tissue.
A Patt Profile
A Patt answered
I have had 2 dogs, part chihuahua mix, who did the same and the Vet said it often happens to small dogs. No damage done, but sure scary to both dog and loving owner. So sorry.
Phoebe MadHat Profile
Phoebe MadHat answered
Possible overheating...yes, dogs can overheat or overexert even in the cold. The cold air may be having a harsh effect on his lungs.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have a toy poodle 4years old about 8lbs., and everytime my husband goes away for a full day, the dog gets so excited to see him that she hyperventilates. Usually a cuddle with settle her down, and I noticed she always takes a drink afterwards. It's reassuring to me that she is not the only dog with this condition.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have a yorkshire terrier poodle mix and he hyperventilates if he gets overexcited about something, usually food or if he hasn't seen me in a few days. It doesn't happen often but it is very scary. I just pick him up and hold him close, pet him and talk to him and soon he's fine.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Yeah my dog is nearly 1 year old and she is a maltese shi-tzu and she hyperventilates. She gets over excited when we go away and come back. Even if I just got to school, which doesnt go for long, I get back and she hyperventilates. I just pat her and try to settle her down. It seems to work.
Bart Germain Jr Profile
Bart Germain Jr answered
The explanation from best4writing is similar to what my poodles do. This is completely harmless and when you rub them it calms the dog, however, if it happens every time you take the dog out or you are still very concerned I recommend a quick trip to the vet to settle you and solve your dilemma. Good luck!
kjsna asf Profile
kjsna asf answered
Thank you so much everyone! Now I am not as worried. It doesn't happen every time I take him out.. It just happened when I took him outside for a run about a week ago, and again a couple days after. I probably thought he was overheated because he does have a pretty thick coat of hair on him, which I'm going to get him shaved tomorrow. Thank you a lot again!!!!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have a 4 month old Shih Tzu that started to Hyperventilate when he wakes up.  This happened a few times in the last week.   By reading others comments, it's not similar things.  Mine is not excited by waking up or overheated so should I be worried.    He does have an appointment at the vet this week for his last needle so I will be asking to see what it could be...
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have a little puppy that is basically a mutt (black lab, retriever, and palmera nian) ever since we got her she is always breathing heavily, its almost life she is hyperventilating. She can just be sleeping and she is breathing faster than I am.. I don't have the money to take her to the vet so can somebody please help me???!!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I read that a vet says you can cover the dog's nose (being careful not to cover the mouth), which will then force the dog to breathe through the mouth, stopping the hyperventilating.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
My 11 year old toy poodle hyperventilates sometimes, it happen after he gets excited to see me some times and if he eats fast ,
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have a 2 year old shih tzu who hyperventilates whenever  come home. I usually just pet or hold him till he comes down. But I freak whens hes doing it. I hate it. I FEEL HELPLESS!!!

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