Sneezing is a normal activity for dogs, just like it is for humans. A dog sneeze usually looks and sounds funny, making the action great entertainment for families. But not all sneezes are created equal! There are multiple different reasons that a dog may sneeze. Some reasons are harmless and others may require medical attention.
The only way to make sure that your dog’s sneezing isn’t harmful to their health is to understand the reasons that they might sneeze and to know when and how to react. So, we’ve put together a guide about the top reasons that your dog might be sneezing and how to react. If you are wondering why your dog seems to sneeze frequently or you’re worried about the reason for their sneezing, read on.
Reason #1: It’s Playtime
Dogs sometimes sneeze when they are in play mode, especially when they don’t want their good time to end. They’ll use sneezing to release pent-up energy as they play and to let other dogs that they are playing with know that their games aren’t serious. Sneezing is sometimes used to diffuse a play situation that starts to get too intense for their liking.
Sneezing during playtime is no reason for concern unless the sneezing seems to be accompanied by labored breathing or a general sense of discomfort. Keep an eye on your dog after a session of play to make sure they don’t continue sneezing afterward. If you suspect that the sneezing is due to a reason beyond your dog’s play communication, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for guidance.
Reason #2: There’s an Obstruction
Dogs are quite curious, and they tend to smell everything that they come into contact with. While this helps them make sense of the world around them, sniffing can result in something getting stuck in your dog’s nose. That obstruction, even if it’s so small that you can’t see it, could cause your dog to sneeze in an attempt to get rid of it. Something as small as a blade of grass or even a strand of hair could cause enough of an obstruction that it makes your dog sneeze.
If it seems that your dog’s nose is obstructed, wipe the nostrils clean with a damp cloth and use a magnifying glass to inspect the nostrils to see if you can spot the obstruction. A pair of tweezers can be used to remove any surface obstructions, like hair, so your dog is more comfortable and stops sneezing. If an obstruction is obvious but you can’t find it or if you notice a bloody discharge coming from the nose, you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Reason #3: It’s an Allergic Reaction
Allergies are a common problem for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. Allergens from food, the air, and the environment in general can affect your dog in a variety of ways. Dry and itchy skin is a common sign of dog allergies, as is eye and nose discharge. Sneezing alone may not mean that allergies are at play. But sneezing along with nose and eye discharge or dry and itchy skin means you are more than likely dealing with an allergy issue.
The only real way to know if your dog’s sneezing is due to allergies is to consult your veterinarian. They can complete testing to determine whether your dog has allergies and if so, what’s causing the allergies. After it is determined what the cause is, you can work with your vet to treat the allergies, and you can work to keep your dog away from the allergen sources when possible.
- Does your dog have itchy skin? Check out our 10 favorite oils for your dog’s dry skin here.
Reason #4: An Infection Is Brewing
A respiratory infection can also cause your dog to sneeze, similar to the way that colds make humans sneeze. If the infection is mild, your dog might not display any other symptoms of illness other than sneezing. But couching and labored breathing could also be present. Luckily, respiratory infections tend to go away on their own after a few days. When the infection starts subsiding, your dog’s sneezing should start subsiding too.
If you suspect that your dog is dealing with an infection, give them a few days to recover on their own. If things don’t improve after a week or so, it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup for them to ensure that something more serious isn’t developing. Your dog may end up having to take antibiotics to get rid of the infection and their sneezing problem. If your dog’s symptoms seem to get worse at any time, even after just a day of showing signs of illness, take them to the closest emergency clinic.
Reason #5: They’re a Brachycephalic Breed
Brachycephalic breeds are known for having cute, flat faces and short snouts. But all the cuteness comes at a cost! These dogs suffer from a condition that partially obstructs their airways. This problem can cause issues such as snorting, snoring, and heavy breathing on a hot day. French Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, and Pugs are all examples of brachycephalic breeds.
If your dog is a brachycephalic breed, you should expect them to sneeze more often and consistently than other breeds typically would. If you aren’t sure whether your dog is considered a brachycephalic breed, your veterinarian can tell you. There isn’t much you can do to stop the sneezing of a brachycephalic dog, but you can make them more comfortable by keeping them cool and their nose free of obstructions.
Dog sneezes can be cute and funny, but they could also be a sign of a health problem that needs attention. The sneezing can get annoying if it’s a consistent reoccurrence too. Hopefully, we have provided you with the insight that you need to understand the reasoning for your dog’s sneezing and to take action where possible. How does your dog’s sneezing affect your family and household? Have you tried any techniques to stop the sneezing that have or haven’t worked in the past? We would love to hear your thoughts! Just shoot us a message in the comments section below.
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