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Sneezing – Dogs

Symptoms Care

Sneezing – Dogs


Why is My Dog Sneezing a Lot?

Dog Sneezing a Lot WisconsinMost of the time a sneeze is nothing to worry about. Just like humans, dogs sneeze if they have a cold or a tickle in their nose. Hilariously, some dogs sneeze when they’re just excited! However, if your dog won’t stop sneezing or shows other symptoms, it may be time to come to Animal Wellness Center for a puppy checkup.

When Sneezing is a Sign of Trouble for Dogs

Excessive sneezing or sneezing combined with other symptoms could be a sign of something more serious. Other symptoms to watch for:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Snorting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Changes in behavior
  • Nasal discharge (blood, mucus, etc.)

You know your pup best, so keep an eye out for changes in their behavior and health.

Causes of Abnormal Sneezing in Dogs


A variety of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections can make a dog sneeze, including:

  • Sinus infection
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Infected tooth or tooth root
  • Bronchial infection
  • Kennel cough
  • Distemper virus

Respiratory infections are more likely to make your dog cough than sneeze. Aspergillus fungus from hay, grass, or dust can lead to a fungal infection causing sneezing as well as pain, bleeding or discharge, and visible swelling.

As for dental infections, your dog’s third upper premolars’ roots are near the nasal passages. If these roots become infected, it can easily lead to nasal drainage and sneezing.

Allergens and Foreign Bodies

Dog Can’t Stop SneezingDogs usually get itchy skin, paws, or ears when they have allergies rather than sneezing like humans do. However, some dogs do sneeze a lot due to allergies from air pollutants. With all the sniffing dogs do, it’s no wonder they sometimes get things stuck in their noses or breathe in something unpleasant. Inhaled irritants can include:

  • Dust
  • Dirt
  • Grass
  • Bugs/mites
  • Pollen
  • Carpet powders
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaners
  • Fiberglass
  • Pesticides
  • Aerosol deodorants

Foreign bodies in your dog’s nose may also cause nose bleeds, loud breathing, or a visible bulge, and the dog may paw at their nose in a desperate attempt to clear their sinuses.

Nasal Tumors

Nasal tumors (more common in older dogs and canines with longer noses) can make dogs sneeze a lot and have chronic nasal discharge. The tumors can be caused by second- or third-hand smoke and are difficult to treat.

Brachycephalic Breeds

Dogs with short noses and compressed nasal passages (such as Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pekingese, Pug, etc.) are more likely to have sneezing fits due to upper respiratory infection or exposure to irritants.

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is when air is pulled in through the nose rather than pushed out, resulting in a loud snorting or honking sound. This is fairly harmless and common in small or short-nosed breeds. Reverse sneezing may be caused by inhaling dust, pollen, or dirt, irritating the back of the throat and the soft palate.

During a reverse sneeze, the dog will stand with elbows spread, head pushed forward or pulled back, and have bulging eyes. The reverse sneezing fit may last from a few seconds up to two minutes.

Reverse sneezing tends to alarm dog owners more than the dogs since it sounds like the dog is choking or having an asthma attack. Remain calm to keep your dog calm.

You can try gently massaging your dog’s throat to stop the reverse sneezing, or briefly cover the dog’s nostrils to make them swallow. Otherwise the fit should stop on its own shortly. Reverse sneezing on occasion is generally harmless as long as the dog is not upset by it. However, if it happens repeatedly or is accompanied by anxiety, nasal discharge, nose bleeds, or difficulty breathing, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Concerned? Talk to a Veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center

If you think your dog’s sneezing is a sign of something more serious, schedule an appointment at Animal Wellness Center. Our vets will diagnose the cause of the excessive sneezing and help your dog return to normal.

Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule an appointment to assess your dog’s sneezing.