Why is My Dog Sneezing?

Admit it: if you’re a dog parent, you have to have at least one video of your furry friend sneezing. And every time the little tykes let out a sneeze, you can’t help but imitate them playfully.

But at what point does your dog’s sneezing stops being a fount of amusement and instead become a cause for concern? 

Just like humans, an occasional sneeze or two is actually healthy for dogs. It’s their body’s natural reaction to irritants trapped in their nasal passage. 

But if your dog suddenly gets a sneeze attack, you would probably think: “why is my dog sneezing so much?”

Should you be concerned? Does it need any intervention? Should you whip out your phone and capture the moment for your dog sneezing gallery? 

Let’s find out. 

Why is my Dog Sneezing so Much All of a Sudden? 

A dog with a straight face.

If your dog starts sneezing, it’s usually nothing to worry about. However, excessive sneezing is uncomfortable for your dog and stressful for its lungs. 

An interesting point to note here is, sneezing can also be part of your dog’s expressiveness. 

So, as a responsible dog owner, you need to be vigilant to identify when your dog is in distress

Foreign Body 

Dogs have extra-sensitive noses; that’s what makes them such great sniffers. But even their superhuman nose isn’t immune to the occasional snuffles from foreign bodies tickling their snouts.  

Thanks to their overly active snoot, our canine friends can end up inhaling all kinds of things. If you notice that your dog suddenly starts sneezing, rubbing its nose against the ground, or pawing at its muzzle, there might be something stuck in its nose. 

Don’t worry, though. Usually, the culprit may just be a small grass blade, hair, dust, food particles, or small twigs. 

Besides, your dog is doing a swell job trying to expel whatever it is out of their nose— that’s exactly why it’s sneezing!

The only time when you should be seriously concerned is when the sneezing attacks don’t stop. Even the most vigilant dog parents can’t avoid the menacing foxtails. These blade-like plants can get stuck in your dog’s nose very easily. 

And once they get stuck, it’s very difficult to get them out. 

If your dog is unable to sneeze the foxtail out, it will inevitably travel to its lungs. Worse still, it can travel to their brains. As you can imagine, these barbed leaves can wreak havoc inside your dog’s organs. 

Play Sneezing

This might be a strange gesture for you, but your canine buddy loves to show how friendly and playful she is by sneezing. You might hear “achoo,” but what your dog really means is, “I’m happy to see you.”

This whimsical behavior is called “play sneezing.”

Dogs can play-sneeze around other dogs, humans, and even other animals. Other dogs can quickly recognize this as a playful behavior and may even respond. While you don’t have to do the same, you can reciprocate their glee by giving them a good pat and ruffling their ears. 

Reverse Sneezing

It can be pretty terrifying to see your dog huffing, wheezing, and choking out of the blue. But don’t worry, it’s just a reverse sneeze!

You might have seen this phenomenon but probably never knew what it’s called. As the name suggests, reverse sneezing is when your dog suddenly inhales a lot of air (as opposed to regular sneezing when they expel the air out). 

It can often seem like your dog is choking, but the whole thing usually subsides in a few seconds— just like a normal sneeze. 

Several things can trigger your dog to start reverse sneezing. In severe cases, reverse sneezing can be a sign of kennel cough or nasal mites. 

But usually, minute things like excess nasal discharge, post-nasal drip, or an itch in the throat are the culprits. 

Nasal Mites

Dogs can be host to countless different parasites. One of these parasites is the nasal mites

These tiny mites live inside your pup’s snout. While you may not be able to see them, you can tell they’re there through your dog’s behavior. 

Excessive sneezing, reverse sneezing, and bleeding from the nose are telltale signs that your dog is housing mites inside its nose. Other signs include labored breathing, facial itching, and nasal discharge. 

These mites usually hitch a ride on your dog’s muzzle as your dog digs in the sand. Sometimes, other dogs can transfer their nasal mites to your dog as well. 

In case you were wondering: yes, your dog can also transfer the mites to you. However, there is no evidence that nasal mites are harmful to humans. 

Do Dogs Have Allergies? 

If you’re wondering, “why is my dog sneezing,” you might want to check your calendar. 

A dog raising one of her paws in the air.

Just like humans, your canine companion can suffer from seasonal allergies (among other types of dog allergies as well). The presence of airborne irritants or other allergens can trigger a sudden sneezing attack. 

Apart from sneezing, watery eyes labored breathing, skin irritation should also tip you off that your dog has an allergic reaction. 

If you notice that your dog is sensitive to seasonal changes, try limiting his rolling-around-in-the-grass time during the day. You can also keep track of daily pollen count to determine if it’s safe for you to take your dog out. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Keeps Sneezing?

If your dog has an occasional sneeze or two, a simple “gesundheit” will suffice. 

But if the sneezing doesn’t subside, this is the time to spring into action. You should take your dog to the vet if: 

  • There is something stuck inside your dog’s nose. 
  • There are signs of thick, bloody nasal discharge. 
  • If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of allergy such as watery eyes and clear nasal discharge. 
  • If you suspect your dog has nasal mites. 

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“Why is my dog sneezing so much?” Whether you’re an experienced dog parent or you just got a puppy, you’ve probably asked this question. 

Luckily, sneezing is usually not a cause for concern. 

But if you’re worried that something else may be triggering your dog’s sneeze attacks, the best course of action is taking your dog to the vet.

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