We have 2 small breed dogs and every once in a while they will do this hacking cough that sounds like they can't catch their breath. It scares me to death when it happens, but now I may have found out what it is.

Apparently dogs occasionally will do what is called a "reverse sneeze." According to the American Kennel Club it is characterized by rapid and repeated inhalations followed by a snorting or gagging sound. This may happen to a dog due to allergens or dust particles and sometimes can happen if they become over excited.

A common remedy is to hold the dogs nostrils shut for a few seconds and lightly massage the throat area to help them calm down. Also getting your dog outside or in a cool place may help as well. If this is a chronic problem you may want to consult your veterinarian to see if they need some type of allergy medication. If it sounds like more of a honking sound which is more common in toy breeds it may be a more serious issue known as tracheal collapse.

I am glad to hear that this is what is going on with our dogs who are easily excited, and now that I know they are not in pain I can try to calm them down so they can breath easy. Check out the video below to see what a reverse sneeze looks and sounds like.