Why Does My Dog Keep Sneezing?

Is your dog sneezing a lot? Are you worried about what could be causing this symptom for your pet? Is sneezing ever a serious problem or a sign of a major underlying health issue?

If you have a dog who has been sneezing frequently and you’re concerned about what this could mean, you’re not alone. Many pet owners find themselves faced with sneezing and other respiratory symptoms without a good idea of what could be causing them. In the article below, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of sneezing in dogs so you can narrow down the possibilities for your pet.

dog sneezing

Allergies and Contaminants

Allergies and contaminants are the most common causes of sneezing behavior in dogs. Dogs who are allergic to pollen, for example, may develop a sneeze during the high pollen times of the year. On the other hand, contaminants like smoke or essential oils may irritate a dog’s nose and lead to sneezing instead.

Allergies can be left alone if they are mild or treated with allergy medication if they are moderate to severe. Contaminants should be removed from the dog’s environment whenever possible to encourage better respiratory health and overall wellness.

Inhaled Foreign Object

Sometimes, it is possible for dogs to inhale foreign objects into the nasal passages. This may occur when dogs are playing with toys or sniffing items around the home. Foreign objects can include pieces of broken toys, household objects, or even pieces of food, depending on the situation.

If your dog inhales a foreign object, see if you can see it in their nose. If it is very close to the front of the nose and you can reach it with tweezers, you may be able to safely remove it. Otherwise, however, you should take your dog to an emergency veterinarian to have it removed.

Respiratory Infection

Respiratory infections are some of the most common causes of sneezing in dogs. Bacterial and viral infections of the respiratory system can both potentially lead to sneezing as well as other related symptoms such as runny nose, redness of the eyes, watery eyes, and more.

If you know or suspect your dog has a respiratory infection, take them to the vet as soon as possible. You will need to put your dog on antibiotics in most instances, and they may also need a round of steroids, depending on the type and severity of the infection.

Dental Issues

Dental issues may cause sneezing and other respiratory symptoms as well. If your dog has rotting teeth, gum disease, abscesses of the mouth or any other problems with dental health and hygiene, they may experience frequent bouts of sneezing. They may also have a runny nose, watery eyes, and pain.

Dental issues need to be seen and treated by your vet. Your dog may need a thorough teeth cleaning or could require surgery to correct a larger problem. If your pet has health problems such as heart disease that make them ineligible for dental surgery, your vet can help you choose another method of managing the problem.

Nasal Tumor

Although much less likely than the other items on this list, nasal tumor may sometimes contribute to sneezing in dogs. Dogs who have nasal tumors typically have other symptoms too, including pus or blood that runs from the nose often and signs of pain.

You may be able to visibly see a tumor in your dog’s nose, depending on the size and location of the tumor. If this is the case, take your pet to the vet to have the tumor examined and potentially removed.

Normal Dog Behavior

Although it may seem confusing to first-time dog owners, sneezing is also a perfectly normal part of everyday canine behavior! Dogs sneeze to communicate with each other, and they also sneeze when they try to communicate with their human family members. Sneezing is an indicator that a dog is content, happy, and not a threat.

If your dog’s sneezing tends to happen most often when they are excited about something, or if it happens frequently when around other dogs, then this is probably just part of the normal communication method. There is no cause for concern if your dog is sneezing to communicate.

Most of the Time Dog Sneezing is Not Something to Worry About

As you can see, sneezing is not typically very concerning in dogs. However, if your dog is sneezing and shows other symptoms of a respiratory infection, or if your dog is sneezing along with dental issues, then these may be situations in which they need to see a vet.

Take your dog to a Heart + Paw vet to have their sneezing examined if the problem doesn’t clear up in a few days. Otherwise, it is usually okay to wait and see how things go with sneezing, and the underlying cause often resolves itself shortly. Use the online form to book an appointment at any of our locations to talk with a vet about your dog’s sneezing!

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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