Dogs sneeze, just like us. And, just like us, this is usually a harmless and inconsequential thing that just happens due to minor irritations. In fact, dogs often sneeze on purpose, as a sign of playful happiness and joy.
However, as is the case with people, excessive and continuous sneezing in dogs can sometimes be a symptom of a health issue. It’s rare and most issues are easy to treat but some can be problematic so it’s good to know when and how you should act.
So, if you’re wondering “Why does my dog keep sneezing?” here are the 10 main reasons:
What causes dogs to sneeze?
- A communication quirk. A puppy sneezing, while it plays with you or with other dogs, is usually a signal to the playmate that any roughhousing is done playfully. Essentially, dogs use sneezes to diffuse situations.
- Mild irritants. Dogs can sneeze incidentally out of some minor irritations just like us. In fact, their sense of smell is much stronger than ours so they can get irritated by things we can’t even notice. It may be as simple as someone’s perfume.
- Something stuck in their nose. If your dog is not only sneezing but also pawing its nose, rubbing it on the ground, or if there’s a bit of blood involved, chances are that the dog has something stuck in its nose. It could be anything from a blade of grass to a piece of glass but it’s best to inspect it as soon as possible and get to a vet if needed.
- Dog allergies. Dogs can be allergic to some stuff too and that can cause a lot of sneezing. It could be pollen in the spring, dust, fleas, mold, food, or anything else. Other allergic reactions can often follow a sneeze – these can include fluid discharges from the nose and eyes, as well as coughing and wheezing.
- Tracheal collapse. One of the worse answers to “Why is my dog sneezing so much?” is a tracheal collapse. This is usually accompanied by a honking sound, an unwillingness to run and play, and a bluish coloring of the gums. A trip to the vet should be made immediately.
- If your dog is sneezing a lot lately and it’s been exposed to cold temperatures, it’s likely that your pouch has a cold. You should treat this with warm food and a warm blanket but pay attention to your dog’s condition in case the problem progresses.
- The flu. A dog sneezing uncontrollably, together with a cough, lethargy, fever, a loss of appetite, and others, can be symptoms of the canine influenza virus. This can progress to pneumonia or even worse problems so you should call your vet.
- A nasal infection. Dogs can get those just like us. Even though nasal infections are usually characterized with coughing, sneezing can be a symptom of that too. This is worth consulting with a vet for either way. Aspergillus fungus is one common culprit here.
- Nasal mites. These are rare and easy to treat but they do need treatment. And they cause excessive sneezing too so you should talk to your vet about it.
- Tumors. Likely the scariest – and thankfully rare – option is a tumor. A common cause of nasal tumors in dogs is second-hand smoke. This is more often seen in long-nosed breeds. Either way, the sooner you get your dog to the vet, the better.
Are brachycephalic dog breeds more susceptible to sneezing and nasal issues?
Short-nosed breeds such as the Bulldog, the Pitbull, the Boston Terrier, and others, are known as brachycephalic breeds. And, yes, they do have quite a lot of common respiratory issues they often have to deal with.
Due to their unique nasal structure, they are much more prone to incidental sneezing, snoring, coughing, and wheezing. This isn’t much of an issue but they are unfortunately prone to a lot of other airway problems too, including hypoplastic trachea, laryngeal collapse, overheating, hyperventilating, and lots of lung issues as well.
All in all, if you have a brachycephalic or short-nosed breed, you’d do well to research as much as possible about them as well as consult with a vet personally.