Sneezing in pets is a pretty normal occurrence just like with humans. When things like dirt, dust, or aerosols get stuck in your dog’s nose, they sneeze. Dogs also sneeze while playing to signal to their playmate that they are having a good time.
What should you do if your dog is sneezing repetitively or frequently? You might be wondering why your dog sneezes so much. Are they unwell and should you be worried?
We have made this guide to tell you why your dog might be sneezing, what to do if your dog won’t stop sneezing, and when to take your dog to a vet.
Common Reasons Why Dogs Sneeze
Allergies (Seasonal and Environmental)
Like humans, allergies are the most common cause of sneezing in dogs. Dogs can experience an allergic response to various types of pollen, fabrics, medications, mold, and dander.
These allergies are mostly accompanied by itching, watery eyes, scratching, or nasal discharge. If you suspect that your dog’s sneezing is due to allergies, schedule an appointment with a vet. A vet will help you with a management plan.
Most dogs sneeze when they are playing, having fun, and enjoying themselves. This is often called ‘Play Sneeze’ and it might sound silly to humans but it is a real thing for dogs.
According to behavioral experts, along with wagging their tails or licking their ears, a sneeze is a unique form of communication that dogs use to tell their playmates that they are having fun.
Whether your dog is sneezing at you or other animals while playing, there’s nothing to worry about. This should be regarded as a happy dog.
Inhalation of Foreign Object
If your dog sneezes frequently then the chances are they have something stuck up there. Dogs usually use their nose to explore the world and it’s easier for them to get microscopic particles and other foreign bodies like bugs, toy parts, debris, etc lodged up their nostrils.
Sneezing is a great way to expel foreign objects but if your dog is continuously sneezing the chances are that the foreign object is still irritating them.
Check if your dog has something stuck in their nostril and carefully use tweezers to take it out. Though you cannot stop your dog from sniffing around, you can always check your dog’s nose after walks in the countryside.
If your dog is sneezing frequently it could be a nasal infection. Although dogs don’t catch the same virus as humans, upper respiratory infection can happen.
The infection can be bacterial, fungal, or viral and they are extremely contagious. If you see symptoms such as sneezing, nose pin, nosebleeds, discharge, or swelling, take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.
On some occasions sneezing in dogs can be caused by nasal mites. These microscopic mites live inside your dog’s nose and are commonly picked from digging in the dirt. They can also be transferred from one dog to another.
Nasal mites can cause nose itching, discharge, head shaking, sneezing, and nose bleeds. Take your dog to a vet, if you suspect nasal mites in their nose.
Occasionally, the dog’s sneezing is because of something serious like a tumor. Sneezing worsens with time and eventually, it will be accompanied by bloody discharge. The bigger the tumor gets, the more it will cause sneezing.
The nasal tumor is most common in dogs that are above 8 years. Exposure to cigarette smoke is the main cause of tumors in dogs. Work with your vet to come out with the best course of action to treat your dog’s nasal tumor.
Dental problems could also lead to continuous sneezing in dogs. Rotten or damaged teeth, tumors of the mouth, infection in the roots of the teeth, and other dental problems could lead to sneezing or runny nose in dogs.
What is Reverse Sneezing?
When a dog pulls air into its nose instead of pushing it out, it causes reverse sneezing. This results in a snorting sound and it can go on for a few seconds. The condition is painless and is no cause for concern. Reverse sneezing is most common in dogs that are overweight, smaller or are from the brachycephalic breed. If your dog has multiple episodes of reverse sneezing, you should consult a vet.
Can I Give Any Medication to My Dog to Stop Their Sneezing?
It’s always better to consult your vet before giving any medication to your dog. Some medications and home remedies recommended on the internet are highly toxic to dogs. A vet will advise you on the best possible treatment plan for your dog so get in touch with them as soon as you notice some serious symptoms with your dog.
How Can I Prevent My Dog Sneezing?
You cannot prevent your dog from sneezing, just like you cannot prevent your sneezing. But regular vacuuming and avoiding spraying deodorants or hairspray near your dogs can reduce the chances of irritation. Also, if your dog is sneezing continuously inside take them outside to an open environment. It’s also a great idea to take your dog to their vet for regular checkups as it will help pick up problems before they become serious.
What Are The Signs That I Should Take My Sneezing Dog to the Vet?
Just like humans, occasional sneezing in dogs isn’t much of a concern. However, there are some sneezing instances that might need you to take your dog to a vet. If your dog is showing any of the following signs, you immediately need to speak to your vet:
- Excessive, frequent, or uncontrollable sneezing
- Nose bleeds or sneezing blood
- A thick discharge from their nose
- Breathing problems
- Signs of pain or irritation
- A persistent cough
- High temperature
- Nasal swelling
- Reduced appetite
Knowing the causes, symptoms, and treatment for your dog sneezing will help you more in understanding when to take them to the vet and ultimately become a better pet parent.