Why Does My Dog Keep Sneezing

Just like us, our furry friends sneeze from time to time. While an occasional sneeze is normal in dogs, constant sneezing may leave you scratching your head. So what could cause your dog to sneeze a lot?

In this article we will discuss the details of sneezing in dogs, and help you better understand your sniffling canine friend.

Why Do Dogs Sneeze?

There are many potential causes of sneezing in our canine companions. Ranging from seasonal allergies to irritants in your home, many things can make your pup sneeze. To help you get to the bottom of your dog’s sniffling, let’s list the most common causes of sneezing in dogs below.

My Dog Is Sneezing A Lot

Canine Allergies

Dogs can fall victim to different forms of allergies just as we can. Many of us have experienced itchy eyes and a runny nose from some type of allergen in our environment, and our pups can have these sensitivities as well. Dogs can have allergies to different types of plant material, dust, fleas, insects, and virtually anything in the world around them.

Particles of these allergens can find their way into your dog’s nose, causing a sudden sneezing fit in some cases. Allergies in our furry friends can also cause itching, nasal discharge, coughing, hives, facial swelling, itchy ears, and more. If you think your dog’s sneezing is due to allergies, it’s best to speak with your vet about proper treatment going forward.

Environmental Irritants

A dog does not have to be allergic to something in order for it to cause them to sneeze. For example, some dogs are very sensitive to strong fragrances, and burst into sneezing fits every time they are sprayed in the house.

Environmental irritants can include perfume, candles, essential oils, incense, cleaning supplies, and more. If your pup is always sneezing when a certain item is present, it may be irritating their nose.

Nasal Foreign Bodies

If your pup is sneezing without end, they may have a nasal foreign body. Our dogs spend the majority of their time sniffing the world around them, meaning their nose comes in contact with all kinds of objects and material. Due to this, foreign material and small particles can easily become lodged in their nose as they sniff. Grass and other plant material is a common foreign body in our canine friends, all of which can lead to constant sneezing.

While nasal foreign bodies can cause a dog to experience sneezing fits, there are other symptoms to be aware of as well. A dog with foreign material in their nasal cavity may paw at their face, lick their lips, and even appear frantic in some cases.

Not only is the material in their nose irritating enough, but the symptoms that come along with it can cause further trauma to the area. Constant sneezing and pawing at the area can lead to inflammation, causing a vicious cycle of endless sneezing. If you think your dog has something stuck in their nose, you should visit your vet’s office for appropriate care.

Respiratory Illness

Respiratory illness is another possible cause of sneezing in dogs. This is most likely in dogs that frequent public settings, or those that spend time with other canine friends. Most respiratory illnesses are extremely contagious, making it easy to transfer from dog to dog. No matter the type of respiratory bug your pup catches, most can lead to sneezing.

Dogs with a respiratory illness may experience sneezing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, coughing, changes in breathing, and lack of appetite. If you think your dog may have an upper respiratory illness of any kind, it’s best to contact your vet for further guidance. Respiratory illness should always be treated immediately, as they can quickly progress to a serious medical complication. 

Tooth Abscesses

Though it may seem odd, severe dental disease can lead to sneezing in our beloved pups. A dog’s nasal cavity is in close proximity to the mouth, meaning any serious oral infections can infiltrate the nose. When a dog has a tooth abscess as a result of dental disease, this can then lead to inflammation within their nasal cavity.

Once a tooth abscess makes its way into the nose, a dog may experience sneezing fits. You may also notice swelling of the face, foul breath, blood in their water bowl, blood on their toys, and sensitivity when their face is touched. If you think your dog is sneezing due to a dental abscess, it’s best to contact your vet immediately for further care.

Nasal Tumors

As we mentioned above, foreign material in your dog’s nasal cavity can cause them to sneeze. While a nasal tumor may not fall under the foreign body category, it is still an object in the nose that should not be there. Because of this, nasal tumors can cause sneezing fits in dogs. Not only are nasal tumors irritating for a dog to endure, but they can also be extremely painful.

Nasal tumors in our canine friends can cause sneezing, facial swelling, nasal discharge, face sensitivity, difficulty eating, noisy breathing, and pawing at the face. If your pup is displaying any of these behaviors, it’s best to contact your vet for further advice.

My Dog Sneezes When They Play

Does your dog sneeze each time they play? Whether they sneeze when playing with you or with their best doggy friends, this is a normal canine behavior. ‘Play sneezing’ is a way for a dog to express that they mean no harm when engaging with others. Sneezing sends a calming signal that says they are not a threat, almost acting as a sign of peace for other canine friends. A sneeze during playtime is a dog’s way of saying they are having fun.

When Should You Worry About Your Sneezing Dog?

A sneeze here and there is nothing to worry about, but constant sneezing should always catch your attention. An occasional sneezing fit that resolves within minutes may not be a reason to rush your dog to the vet, but anything longer should certainly warrant a call. If your dog is sneezing constantly without relief, or has been sneezing on and off for more than 24 hours, it’s time to contact your vet for further advice.

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