What is chihuahua reverse sneezing?

Chihuahua reverse sneezing (paroxysmal respiration) is when the dog rapidly pulls air into the nose, whereas in a regular sneeze, the air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. Sneezing can be cause by irritants from seasonal allergies to household products or bursts of excitement or stress.

The result can look very alarming, your chihuahua will stand still, legs braced looking like they are heaving and can’t breathe. But, while it looks alarming, it’s harmless and causes no long-term damage.

People have various remedies to stop reverse sneezing, from gently rubbing the throat or tipping the head down to stretch out the back of the throat.

Minnie does a lot of reverse sneezing, and we began to worry it could be something more serious. After having lunch with a holistic vet colleague, I decided to look in aromatherapy, to see if it would help.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts, known as essential oils, to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The essential oils can be inhaled or applied to the skin. Different essential oils have different therapeutic properties, including relaxation, stress relief, improving mood, and alleviation of certain physical symptoms. It must be noted these oils can be potent and it’s important that they are diluted correctly before they are applied to your chihuahua’s fur.

There have been various studies on the benefits of aromatherapy one of the most famous studies was on the use of lavender on shelter dogs. It was noted that the dogs exposed to lavender scent where less vocal and prone to pacing.

We started with a mix of lavender and sandalwood to help with breathing. Diluted in a carrier oil applied to the chest and back. We used a fractionated coconut as our carrier oil.

Get the good stuff

It’s important that you use real, pure essential oils from a brand you trust, these can tend to be expensive. The cheap oils you see are not pure oils and fragranced with a cheap scent.

After a couple of applications on her fur, I decided it would be better to use a diffuser. One of the little ultrasonic ones not a burner. My experiment is only anecdotal, but I’m going to say I feel there has been a big drop off in reverse sneezing from all the dogs. I also think it is having a beneficial effect on calmness.

There are lots of mixes and recipes to create different outcomes. We are enjoying lavender and sandalwood to help with the sneezing and lavender and bergamot for calm. The downside is the cost of some of the oils, sandalwood is very expensive (anything cheap is not pure) but there are some websites that will create mixes for you rather than having to buy all the source oils. There is also a good little course on Udemy on aromatherapy for dogs which was very informative.

When you first set up your diffuser, make sure the dogs can leave the area if they wish. Also don’t have it too strong. One drop of lavender and two drops of sandalwood into the water tank on the diffuser was plenty.

Please make sure you read the product instructions and never put undiluted oils on your dog’s fur.

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