Why Does My Dog Keep Sneezing?
August 20, 2022 | 3 min read
Updated August 20, 2022
By Becca Trigg
Published: August 20, 2022
Updated: May 12, 2023
Summary: In this blog, you'll discover what causes dogs to sneeze! We’ll learn why your dog sneezes a lot, why they sneeze when playing and when sneezing could be a sign of a serious health concern. Read on to find out more about dog sneezes…
The warmer months can bring us all so much joy, laughter, and fun with vacations, sunshine, days at the beach, longer evenings, BBQs… the list goes on and on, but for some of us, summer (and spring) can be a very sneezy period of time - and not just for us humans, but also our four-legged friends, too…
But, in most cases, dog sneezes don’t just happen in the warmer months - they happen all year round. Is a sneeze just a sneeze or is there something else going on?
Why Is Your Dog Sneezing So Much?
So, what causes dogs to sneeze? Well, there are many reasons your dog is sneezing. Take a look at 6 potential reasons your dog keeps sneezing…
Just like us, our four-legged friends can also experience occasional allergies; caused by dietary or environmental irritants - which may result in sneezing here or there.
When your pup has an allergy to pollen, dust, certain foods, or insects (bites and stings) their body can react by sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or scratching.
Excitement Or Play
It’s odd, but did you know dogs sneeze when they play?! You may have noticed it yourself before…
But, why do dogs sneeze when playing or excited? Is it a conscious behavior? A display of dominance? Just a simple sneeze?
Well, experts believe that a ‘play sneeze’ could actually be a way of communicating with other dogs - telling their playmate that they’re just playing, rather than a ‘real fight’.
Laying On Their Back
When you give your pup those much-needed belly rubs, you may often find they sneeze when they’re laying on their back. But why does this happen and is it something to worry about?
If your dog is rolling around, sleeping, or relaxing on their back, the fluid that sits in their nose can slide down the back of their throat, causing them to sneeze.
It could also be because airborne particles and other irritants can easily enter their nasal passage, so your pup will sneeze to try and expel the dust, pollen, or foreign object.
Irritation Or Foreign Object
As mentioned above, your dog might suddenly start to sneeze violently because an irritant or a foreign object has got trapped in their nose.
Grass, seeds, or fur are common culprits when it comes to things getting stuck up your dog’s nose. Nasal mites, strong perfume, or even pollen in the air can irritate your dog’s nose, causing them to sneeze more often.
If you do suspect something is trapped inside your dog’s nose, contact your vet immediately. They will be able to assess your pup and take the necessary action.
Reverse sneezing in dogs or ‘backward sneezing’ may sound quite alarming, but normally isn’t something to be overly concerned about.
A dog’s soft palate is the muscular structure at the back of their mouth that helps them to swallow, make noises and breathe. If their soft palate becomes irritated, it can go into spasm which narrows the size of their airway and makes it harder for them to breathe air into their lungs. Your pup might suddenly stand still and stretch their neck forwards to try and draw more air into their lungs and then attempt a rapid, forceful inhale through their nostrils which results in a reverse sneeze: a sound that can sometimes sound like a honk or snort.
Sometimes, a reverse sneeze can look like your pup is choking but these sneezing attacks are usually short-lived and rarely last longer than half a minute or so. Pups who are prone to reverse sneezes often experience these episodes periodically throughout their life. After the episode is over, they completely return to normal as if nothing happened!
Although extremely rare, in some cases, the cause of your dog’s sneezing could be due to a nasal tumor, normally occurring in older, geriatric dogs. If your pup starts to sneeze more with discharge or blood expelling from their nose, take your pup to the vet for an expert to check them over.
When To Worry About Dog Sneezing
For us humans, sneezing is a very normal thing. Whether it’s something that’s irritated our noses, allergies, or a cold, we don’t think too much of them - even when they’re annoying!
When it comes to our furry friends, sneezing can generally be approached the same way. Occasional sneezing isn’t something to worry about but consistent and more frequent sneezing could be a sign that something is wrong…
As mentioned above, there are many reasons your dog could be sneezing. However, if you notice discharge, blood, changes in appetite, lethargy, or fever, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Dog sneezes are extremely normal, but it’s always good to make sure that you know what to do or look out for if your pup starts to sneeze more frequently or violently.
Author Sailer, Cecily, “This Is Why Some Dogs Sneeze When They Play”, Rover, https://www.rover.com/blog/dogs-sneeze-play/
An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies