Is your dog sneezing all the time? Sneezing is normal behavior for both humans and canine companions. While the occasional dog sneeze is both cute and expected, excessive sneezing may cause some concern. It’s important to identify the reasons behind a sneeze if it’s become more frequent.
So, why do dogs sneeze anyway? There are actually several reasons this happens, and while most of them aren’t a cause for concern, there are a couple that are. The occasional sneeze is no big deal, but if it’s accompanied by pawing, whining, or other behaviors, it may be time to visit your veterinarian.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most common reasons behind your pup’s sneezing. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of this behavior in our furry friends.
Why Is My Dog Always Sneezing?
Just like you and I, our beloved pups will sneeze from time to time. Irritants in their environment can easily tickle their nose, leading to sniffles and sneezes.
Though sneezing in dogs is normal behavior, a dog that is always sneezing may warrant some concern. To help you better help your furry friend, let’s discuss the eight most common reasons why dogs sneeze.
Do you find yourself with watery eyes and a runny nose when pollen levels are high? Our dogs can experience these sensitivities as well. Our furry friends can fall victim to seasonal allergies just like us, as well as chronic allergies to irritants in the world around them.
Allergies in dogs can manifest in many ways based on the type of allergy, with sneezing, nasal discharge, and red itchy skin being on the list of potential symptoms.
Dogs can have allergies to plant material, dander, food, fleas, and more. Aerosolized particles may find their way into your dog’s nasal cavity, causing them to experience sneezing fits due to the irritation. If your dog is always sneezing, it may be time to discuss the possibility of allergies with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can devise a plan of action to offer relief and fight against any seasonal allergies to come.
2. Play Sneezing
Sometimes our canine friends participate in a behavior called ‘play sneezing.’ This unique behavior has nothing to do with your dog’s health but rather their emotional well-being when playing with others. A dog will often sneeze when playing with other dogs to send a calming signal that proves they are not a threat.
Play sneezing is their way of saying they are having fun, and this play fight shouldn’t be a cause for concern. While this behavior is more common in small dogs, you may see it in other canine friends as well.
Irritants in the environment can easily send a dog into a sneezing fit. Some scents or particles in the air can cause sensitivities in our furry friends, leading to an itch in their nose they can only resolve by sneezing. Sneezing in dogs can be caused by environmental irritants such as dust, fragrances, cleaning chemicals, scented candles, essential oils, smoke, and more.
It’s also possible that your dog ate something they shouldn’t have that may contain irritants. Common household irritants that have particles that may infiltrate their nose during consumption include drywall, coffee grounds, and some types of paper products.
If you think your pup is sneezing due to an irritant in your home, then eliminate that source when possible. You can also be sure to keep your pup away from the trigger when in use. If you have a pup that is particularly sensitive to dust when cleaning, it may be best to dust more often for your dog’s comfort.
4. Nasal Foreign Bodies
Nasal foreign bodies are a common cause of excessive sneezing in our canine friends. Our dogs explore the world around them with their nose, meaning small particles and foreign material can become trapped in their nasal cavity. Blades of grass are notorious for getting trapped in a dog’s nose, leading to sneezing fits and severe irritation.
If your dog does indeed have a nasal foreign body, there are generally other symptoms aside from sneezing. Dogs with a nasal foreign body will typically experience excessive sneezing, pawing at their face, and appearing frantic in some cases. They may also pace, or walk around as if something’s wrong. A nasal foreign body can be extremely uncomfortable for a dog, meaning they will have a hard time leaving their nose alone.
If you think your pup has a nasal foreign body, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Constant sneezing can lead to severe irritation, as well as potential eye injuries if they are pawing at their face. Your vet will be able to examine their nasal activity for any foreign material and discuss the best plan of action.
5. Upper Respiratory Infection
Upper respiratory infections are another possible cause behind sneezing in our beloved companions. Respiratory diseases are highly contagious in the canine population and can spread quickly from dog to dog.
These infections are particularly prevalent in dog shelters or even in dogs that spend a lot of time at the dog park. While these conditions can range from mild to severe, many can lead to excessive sneezing.
Respiratory infections in dogs can cause sneezing, coughing, nasal and eye discharge, changes in breathing, anorexia, and more. These infections can quickly worsen without medical intervention, so it is always best to get a professional opinion. If your dog has come in contact with other dogs and is suddenly sneezing, we suggest contacting your veterinarian for further care.
6. Tooth Abscess
Dental issues in our beloved pups can lead to sneezing in severe cases. Because the nasal cavity is so close to the mouth, dental infections can creep into the nasal passages and cause other complications.
Dental abscesses can create an infection in the nasal cavity, leading to a runny nose and even sneezing. These symptoms typically only occur in dogs with severe dental disease and require immediate veterinary care.
If your dog is sneezing due to a tooth abscess, you will likely notice other symptoms as well. Dogs with severe dental disease may experience bad breath, facial swelling, blood in their water bowl, difficulty eating, face sensitivity, and more. If your pup is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your vet for further care.
7. Nasal Tumor
Nasal tumors are another possible cause of sneezing in dogs. While this is rare compared to other possibilities on the list, it should always be kept in mind. Nasal tumors are cancerous tumors that grow within the nasal cavity, requiring immediate medical intervention to stop its progress. These tumors can be extremely painful for a dog, leading to several concerning symptoms.
Nasal tumors in dogs can cause sneezing, nasal discharge, facial swelling, difficulty eating, face sensitivities, coughing, noisy breathing, pawing at the face, neurological symptoms, and more. If you think your pup may be experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian for further care.
8. Nasal Mites
Did you know that there are tiny mites that can make a home in your dog’s nasal passages? Nasal mites are microscopic critters that hide in the dirt, waiting for an unsuspecting pup to come along.
Not only can dogs catch these mites when digging in the ground, but they can also catch them from other infected canine friends. As you can imagine, the presence of nasal mites can cause serious discomfort.
Nasal mites in dogs can cause sneezing, nasal discharge, head shaking, pawing at the face, labored breathing, restlessness, and more. The only way to accurately diagnose these critters is through a thorough nasal exam from a veterinarian, followed by a microscopic check for these crawling critters.
Should You Be Concerned?
The occasional sneeze from your pup is usually nothing to be concerned about. Our dogs may come in contact with respiratory irritants from time to time and may let out the occasional sneeze. If your dog’s sneezing can easily be explained by some of the above non-medical causes, then you can be at peace knowing your pup is just fine.
However, if your dog is experiencing excessive sneezing that will not resolve, we suggest contacting your veterinarian for further advice. Canine sneezing can point to medical concerns that require veterinary intervention, making it important to always seek professional care in these cases. While it may just be seasonal allergies, it’s always best to be safe.
If your pup is sneezing more than normal, most likely, it’s nothing to worry about. If it’s become more persistent, then it may be time to call the vet. As you can see, there are several potential causes behind your dog’s sneezing fits. Now that you’ve reviewed the most common reasons, you can better help your sniffling friend going forward.