Why is My Dog Sneezing So Much?

Our dogs are our best friends, and our most loyal companions. We grow so attached to them, and love having them around. This is why it can be so concerning if your dog suddenly starts acting strangely, or you think that there may be something wrong with them. 

For instance, you may have noticed that your dog is sneezing a lot lately, and that it seems to be happening more than normal. Most sneezes are not a cause for concern, so should you be worried about your furry friend? Don’t panic, we have got you covered with this guide! 

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Why is my dog sneezing so much?

Most of the time, your dog sneezing a lot is not a problem, and can be caused by a range of factors. The most common reasons why your dog may be sneezing excessively is usually because they are allergic to something, they are excited, or they may be unwell.

Cause of sneezing: excitement

For example, many dogs will start to sneeze repeatedly when they are playing and having fun. You may have even noticed that your dog sneezes when it is playing with other dogs, or that it sneezes frequently whilst wagging its tail and playing with you. 

According to dog behavioral studies, this kind of sneezing is a form of communication, and is used to say to the playmate that the rough playtime is only a bit of fun, and not aggressive. This is why dogs will use their bodies to communicate to other animals that they mean no harm. 

For instance, soft, curled ears, wagging tails and wiggling butts are also a way of saying that they want to play and will not hurt you. So, if you notice that your dog is sneezing a lot only when they are playing, then it is no cause for concern!

Cause of sneezing: allergies

Another reason for the sneezing could be that your dog is suffering from allergies. It can be rather surprising how common it is for dogs to be allergic to certain things, just like humans.

Some dogs can be allergic to dust, mold, pollen, or foods and other irritants. They may be sniffing allergens in the air, which is what is causing the sneezing. 

In these cases, your dog may show itichiness around the nose, ears, eyes or on its fur, and can even cough and wheeze too.

You may also notice a runny discharge from the eyes, which can signify that your dog is allergic to something. If this seems to be the case, then consult a veterinarian. A vet can provide treatment as well as a plan to manage allergies for your canine companion. 

Cause of sneezing: other health issues

One of the more common reasons your dog is sneezing is if there is something lodged in their nose. Excessively sneezing can therefore be a means of trying to get it out.

You may also notice that your dog is pawing at its nose, or trying to rub it on the ground to get something out of it. It could be a hair, a piece of food, fur or even just a blade of grass, but it is irritating the nostrils so much that your dog cannot stop sneezing! 

Most irritants will come out naturally. But if you notice that your dog is sneezing blood, or won’t stop sneezing excessively, then it could be time to take them to the veterinarian for help. 

Finally, dogs can also do something called reverse sneezing. This is where they make gasping and choking sounds in a series of spasms that sound like they are gagging whilst they inhale through the nose. Dogs often do this to try to get rid of allergens, irritants and foreign objects.

Generally speaking, reverse sneezing is nothing to be worried about. But if your dog cannot stop, and seems to be doing this a lot, then you may want to try massaging the throat to trigger their swallowing reflexes, which should stop the spasms.

If it becomes more serious, then seek medical attention and take your dog to the veterinarian. 

What should I do if my dog keeps sneezing?

If you notice your dog sneezing excessively, then try to keep an eye on it for a little while. This way, you can see what could be causing the sneezing.

For instance, if it only happens during playtime, then it is just a type of body language to communicate how much fun your dog is having. 

In other cases, the sneezing could be a result of an allergen. You will need to monitor your dog to try and work out what is irritating and causing the allergic reaction, so that you can find the best course of action. Again, a vet can help with this.

If it seems like your dog is in any pain, discomfort, or if they are suffering from discharge from the eyes, or bleeding from the nose, then you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. 

Should I take my dog to the vet for sneezing?

For casual sneezing, you do not need to take your dog to the veterinarian. Even if your dog seems to be sneezing a lot, it can pass within a few days, especially if it is due to dirt, dust and debris lodged in the nose.

However, if your dog seems to be unwell, lethargic, or in any pain and discomfort, it could be something more serious. You will want them to be checked over by a medical professional or a veterinarian as soon as possible.

In addition, if your dog seems to be making a loud honking sound, or is struggling to breathe properly, then you need to rush them for treatment straight away as this could be a sign of tracheal collapse, which will need to be treated as fast as possible. 

Conclusion

To conclude, dogs can be funny, playful creatures. They can use their whole bodies to communicate with other animals and with us humans. They can even sneeze to show that they are being playful and respectful.

However, if your dog seems to be sneezing due to other reasons or serious medical conditions, then it may be best to take them to a vet! 

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.