You may have heard your dog let out a cute, occasional sneeze. But you may be wondering, what if my dog keeps sneezing? Is this normal and should I be worried?
In this article, we share some of the common reasons why your dog may be sneezing, additional symptoms to look out for and what to do if your dog won’t stop sneezing. We also discuss reverse sneezing and provide answers to your frequently asked questions below!
*Disclaimer: The content in this article provides general information that should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from a vet. For an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s health condition, please consult a vet.
Reasons for a Dog Sneezing
Dogs may sneeze due to a variety of reasons including colds, allergies and the presence of foreign objects. Here are some of the common reasons:
Inhalation of a foreign body
Foreign bodies and objects like small broken toy parts, grass or hair may get trapped in your dog’s nasal passage and cause irritation or discomfort. This may, in turn, cause your dog to sneeze.
Like us pawrents, our canine friends can catch colds too! Aside from sneezing, he may have other symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, body pains, coughing or nasal congestion if he has caught a cold. He may also be less active than usual.
Although food allergies are more likely to affect your dog’s skin, hair and digestive system, these allergies can also target his respiratory system, resulting in sneezing episodes.
If you notice that your dog tends to sneeze a few hours after his meal, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction to a food he ate.
If your furiend has the tendency to sneeze when the window is left open or when he’s outside, he could be suffering from seasonal allergies. This may occur more commonly in spring and summer due to pollen in the air, or in the fall due to dust mites.
Dental issues, especially those that are left untreated, can cause your furry companion to sneeze. In fact, sneezing is one of the symptoms of dental conditions such as decayed or damaged teeth, gum abscesses and tumours in the mouth and gums.
As a nasal tumour grows in size, one of the common telltale signs that may surface is sneezing. This may occur alongside other symptoms such as a runny nose, wheezing and coughing.
Form of expression
Did you know that sneezing can be a way for your furiend to express his emotions? He may sneeze when he’s happy, excited or even frightened of other dogs. This is normal and generally not a cause for concern.
Dog Breeds that are Prone to Sneezing
Flat-faced dogs, otherwise known as brachycephalic breeds, tend to sneeze more due to their constricted nasal passages. Pugs, Boston terriers and English bulldogs are the most common brachycephalic breeds with breathing issues or sneezing episodes.
Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
Reverse or backward sneezing typically occurs when your canine friend’s soft palate and upper airways experience irritation due to foreign objects. This can cause him to make loud snorting or even gagging noises.
Unlike a regular sneeze where air is expelled out of the nostrils, you may notice your dog inhaling air rapidly through his nose while standing still and extending his head and neck when reverse sneezing. This is followed by the snorting or gagging sound.
This reaction typically isn’t harmful to your furiend and can last anywhere between a few seconds to a minute.
How to stop reverse sneezing
Here are 3 methods that you can try to stop reverse sneezing in your dog:
Cover the nostrils
Gently use 1 hand to cover your dog’s mouth. Next, use your index finger to lightly cover one of his nostrils for a few seconds to allow air to flow through only one passageway. This may help to calm your dog and stop the reverse sneeze.
Massage the throat
Your dog’s soft palate may be in an uncomfortable position, causing him to reverse sneeze. As such, if he’s gentle and unlikely to bite, you can try helping him reposition it by massaging his throat.
Firstly, place a finger into the side of your dog’s mouth to encourage him to swallow. Next, use your other hand to gently massage his throat.
Seek help from a vet
If the condition persists or if you’re uncomfortable using the above home remedies, you’re recommended to seek professional help from a vet. Depending on their diagnosis, they may prescribe medication for your dog.
When Should I Be Worried About My Dog Sneezing?
Your dog’s sneezing may be accompanied by other symptoms such as blood, coughing or wheezing. In such cases, you’re advised to visit your vet immediately for advice.
Dog sneezing with blood
Sneezing blood may indicate the presence of foreign objects in your dog’s nasal passages. It could also be a sign of more serious conditions such as infections or even nasal tumours.
Dog sneezing and wheezing
If your dog is wheezing on top of sneezing, it might be a sign of pulmonary disease, asthma or other respiratory problems.
Dog sneezing and coughing
Sneezing and coughing at the same time may be a sign of other medical conditions such as:
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Kennel cough
- Canine influenza (dog flu)
- Respiratory parasites
What Should I Do If My Dog Keeps Sneezing?
If your dog is constantly sneezing, here are some things that you can do as a pawrent:
Take your dog to the vet
The best way is to take your dog to the vet regardless of the suspected cause, where he’ll be diagnosed and treated appropriately. This is especially so if he has additional symptoms like coughing, fever, lack of appetite, trouble breathing, or discharge in addition to sneezing.
The vet will carry out blood tests, scans and other procedures such as a radiography or rhinoscopy where necessary to determine if your canine friend is suffering from any major respiratory issues.
Change your dog’s diet
If your dog is suffering from a food allergy, you might want to try changing his diet to avoid the potential allergen. You can start by introducing other protein sources or changing the brand of ingredients used. Meatless dog food can be a good hypoallergenic option to feed to your dog.
Do ensure to start slowly so that your dog’s digestive system can better adjust to the change in diet!
Your vet may prescribe some allergy medication to help with your dog’s sneezing episode, especially for seasonal allergies. Steroids may also be prescribed for more severe allergic reactions.
Before administering any of these medications, do make sure to consult your vet first!
Ensure that your dog has sufficient rest
If your dog is down with a cold, simply making sure that he has enough rest can help alleviate his symptoms.
Leave him to rest until he’s well enough to join you on your regular strolls or runs and ensure that he stays hydrated!
How To Prevent Sneezing In Dogs
Sneezing occasionally or as a form of expression is typically harmless. However, if you’re concerned, here are some things you can do to prevent your dog from sneezing:
- Keep the environment as clean as possible by vacuuming regularly
- Reduce the use of aerosols such as room sprays and diffusers
- Ensure that his teeth are cleaned regularly to prevent dental issues
- Keep tiny objects away from your furiend so he doesn’t accidentally inhale them
Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs Sneezing
How do I tell if my dog has a cold?
Some common symptoms of a cold include:
- Discharge from the nose
- Watery eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulties
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from a cold, take him to the vet immediately.
Will I get sick if my dog sneezes on me?
No, you won’t! Common infections such as colds and dog flu don’t affect people in the same way that they affect dogs so you don’t have to worry about catching a cold or flu from your furry companion.
However, these infections can spread easily among dogs so you might want to be careful about infecting other furiends!
What can I give my dog if he is sneezing?
It’s a good idea to consult a vet before giving your dog any medication as they’ll be able to advise on the best treatment for your dog’s sneezing episode.