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Why Is My Dog Sneezing?

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by Andrew Garcia
May 26, 2022
3 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • Why Is My Dog Sneezing?
  • What Should I Do if My Dog Is Sneezing?
  • What Can I Give My Dog to Help His Sneezing?
  • What Is Kennel Cough and How to Treat it?
  • Conclusion
Pretty much all dogs sneeze at one point or another. However, if your dog is suffering from frequent sneezing attacks or seems to be in pain or distress, you might want to call a vet.
While typically harmless, frequent, uncontrollable sneezing could be a sign that something is wrong. In this article, we’ll take a closer at the topic to see if we can determine a doggy diagnosis.
You can also check here to learn more about Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

Why Is My Dog Sneezing?

Below, you’ll find a list of the most common reasons dogs suffer sneezing fits.

They Could Be Cleaning Their Nose

One of the big reasons people (and other animals) sneeze is to clear their nostrils of gunk, dust, and debris. Now think of how much dogs sniff compared to us! At any given point, dogs might be smelling dirt, smelling grass, or even sticking their nose in a big pile of dirty leaves. It should come as no surprise that any one of these could lead to a sneeze or two.

They Might Be Reacting to Airborne Irritants

We just mentioned dust, debris, and dirt. All of these are different, yes, but they all fall into the category of airborne irritants. That means they can inflame the nasal passageways and cause your dog to sneeze in an effort to get them out. Other common (and more dangerous) examples of airborne irritants include mold spores and bacteria. These are also linked to sneezing, but can also cause serious health conditions.

Your Dog Might Have Seasonal Allergies

Beleive it or not, dogs can get seasonal allergies just like us. This means that pollen, ragweed, and other plant matter can affect them just as much as they affect us. If your pup is suffering from allergies and not just regular old sneezes, look for red eyes, a runny nose, or scratching. If you see this behavior, take your dog to the vet and have them tested for allergies. If the results are positive, they may need to go on medication at certain times of the year.

Your Dog Might Have Food Allergies

Pollen isn’t the only type of allergies dogs can have in common with humans. Food allergies are more common than many pet owners think. To make matters worse, these types of reactions can be hard to pinpoint (and hard to deal with). And while food allergies usually affect the dog's skin, coat, and digestive system, sneezing can be one of the signs as well. So if you start to notice the sneezing attacks tend to happen a few hours after mealtime, consult with your vet immediately.
a sneezing dog

Your Dog Might Just Be Expressing Feelings

This one might surprise you a bit. You see, dogs will sometimes use sneezes and snorts to communicate with you, potential threats, or other dogs. Experts aren't 100% sure why they do this (or what exactly they're trying to say), but it is a well-documented behavior typically associated with nervousness and excitement. So if your dog sneezes while playing or fighting, they might just be expressing their feelings.

They Might Have Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is considered the most common of all diseases affecting canines. It's quite similar to the common cold we humans get now and then, and it's just as contagious. The primary symptoms? You guessed it: coughing and sneezing. You might also notice they have a runny nose and watery or darkened eyes. As the name might imply, kennel cough is mostly associated with dogs that have been boarded or spent time in a shelter. And while it isn't typically dangerous, it can stick around for a while without medical intervention.
a sick dog

They Could Have Some Other Disease

There are more serious respiratory diseases that can cause sneezing in dogs. Distemper is a good example, and it is often fatal. However, it's important to remember that many of these conditions come with other symptoms, including loss of appetite, dull eyes and coats, and a cough. If you eliminate some of the more innocuous items on this list and your dog is still sneezing, it could be time to go to the vet.

What Should I Do if My Dog Is Sneezing?

Again, the occasional sneeze or even sneezing fit is perfectly normal (and typically adorable). However, if you notice any mucus discharge, nose scratching or rubbing, or bleeding from the nostril, you need to call your vet. There could be something in the nasal passage, or your dog might be ill. In general, it's a good idea to keep your vet informed of any and all changes in your pet and let them decide what is worth worrying about.

What Can I Give My Dog to Help His Sneezing?

As noted above, some examples of sneezing in dogs will require a lot more attention than others. And while you might consider using human products like Benadryl for allergies, you should check with your vet first. If allergies happen not to be the culprit in your dog’s sneezing fits, you might end up causing them significant discomfort.

What Is Kennel Cough and How to Treat it?

Kennel cough is a canine respiratory illness. Like bronchitis, it causes the branches in the lungs to become swollen. This causes a lingering, dry cough that takes a long time to abate. Kennel cough itself can be caused by all sorts of microorganisms, including canine adenovirus, mycoplasma, and Bordetella. Fortunately, there is a vaccination for kennel cough, which is worth considering if you're planning on putting your dog into a daycare or boarding facility.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it's up to us dog moms and dads to take care of our four-legged little ones. Our pets can't tell us what hurts, so we need to be vigilant when it comes to their health. If you notice sneezing that isn't going away or any other health concerns, make a vet appointment immediately. Your decision to act fast could make all the difference in the world.
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