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Why is My Dog Sneezing So Much? Causes and When to See the Vet (2024)

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dog sneezing a lotHave you noticed Fido sneezing more than usual lately?

Occasional sneezes aren’t too concerning, but excessive sneezing in dogs can point to several issues.

Like humans, dogs may sneeze from allergies or illness.

But for dogs, playful sneezes are also normal communication.

Distinguish innocent sneezes from troubling ones by watching for other symptoms.

If Fido exhibits breathing issues, bloody discharge, or behavioral changes along with frequent sneezing, it’s time to see the vet.

With care and treatment, your pup’s sneezing fit should pass.

Table Of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Frequent sneezing in dogs is not always a sign of illness, but incessant sneezing may indicate an underlying health issue.
  • Common causes of dog sneezing include seasonal allergies, food allergies, inhalation of foreign objects, and nasal tumors.
  • Other potential triggers of sneezing in dogs include irritants, nasal infections, nasal mites, tooth root abscesses, and reverse sneezing.
  • Treatment options for dog sneezing depend on the underlying cause and may involve removing foreign material, antibiotics, surgery, managing irritants, or wiping the dog’s nose.

Understanding Dog Sneezing

Understanding Dog Sneezing
You may notice your dog sneezing quite often.

This could simply be normal communication expressing excitement, playfulness, or a bid for your attention.

Frequent sneezing doesn’t always indicate illness in otherwise healthy dogs.

Normal Dog Communication

Your dog’s sneezing during play or when excited is normal dog communication.

This fake sneeze signifies playfulness, intimacy, and belonging with a play bow or nose nudge.

Sneezing also conveys excitement when seeing you or meeting other dogs.

These social cues like tail wags convey your dog’s emotions.

Understanding dog body language helps strengthen your bond.

Playfulness and Excitement

Noticing your dog sneezing during play or when excited? It’s their way of saying, I’m happy!

This fake sneeze is a conscious huff or sigh that signals excitement, playfulness, or a just-kidding gesture.

Often seen during playtime, walks, or meeting other dogs, this behavior is accompanied by lip curling, nose wrinkling, and a wagging tail.

It’s a cute way for your furry friend to express their joy and connect with you.

Desire for Attention

In addition to excitement, dogs may sneeze to get your attention, especially if they’ve learned that this behavior elicits a response from you.

This attention-seeking behavior can become an attention-grabbing tactic, with your dog sneezing to get you to play, feed them, or simply acknowledge their presence.

While occasional attention-motivated sneezing is normal, excessive sneezing could indicate an underlying health issue, so it’s crucial to understand your dog’s behavior and seek veterinary advice if necessary.

Common Causes of Dog Sneezing

Common Causes of Dog Sneezing
You can’t ignore your dog’s constant sneezing. It’s worth looking into, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, or labored breathing.

Allergies, tumors, and dental problems are some of the common culprits behind all that sneezing.

Seasonal Allergies

  1. Seasonal allergies often cause dogs to sneeze a lot.

Itchy eyes, runny nose, and skin irritation tag along.

High pollen counts make your pup’s life miserable.

Allergy meds or steroids may ease their discomfort.

Consult your vet for the best treatment plan.

Food Allergies

You’ll likely notice your dog frequently sneezing within a few hours after eating if they have food allergies.

Food Trial

Monitor reactions

Homemade food

Try food trials or allergy testing to pinpoint the culprit.

Switch to a hypoallergenic diet or prepare homemade food to manage allergies long-term.

Inhalation of Foreign Objects

Your dog’s inhalation of foreign objects like grass seeds or small toys can lead to persistent sneezing.

If objects get lodged, seek immediate veterinary attention to prevent infection or further complications.

Nasal Tumors

A nasal tumor, while rare, can cause frequent, ongoing sneezing in your dog.

Watch for worsening sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and a runny nose.

Early detection and treatment are key to managing this serious condition.

Dental Problems

Dental problems might be the culprit if your dog’s sneezing comes with:

  • Bad breath
  • Visible dental issues
  • Difficulty eating

Dental X-rays may reveal:

  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Hidden issues

Other Potential Triggers of Sneezing

Other Potential Triggers of Sneezing
You may also want to consider irritants like pollen, other allergens, and nasal infections.

These factors can cause a dog’s immune system to work overtime, resulting in sneezing.

Even nasal mites or a tooth root abscess can cause sneezing.

Irritants and Allergens

Perfumes, dirt, pollen, and mold can irritate your dog’s sensitive nose, causing them to sneeze.

Pollen allergies can make your dog’s eyes water and nose run.

Dust allergies can make your dog cough and wheeze.

Smoke allergies can make your dog’s throat sore and irritated.

Pet allergies can make your dog’s skin itchy and red.

Nasal Infections

In addition to irritants, nasal infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi can also trigger intense sneezing in your dog.

Watch out for reverse sneezing, a forceful inward breath through the nose, as it can be a sign of sinus inflammation.

Nasal mites, tiny parasites, can also cause irritation and sneezing.

Infection Type Cause Symptoms
Bacterial Bacteria Thick, colored nasal discharge, fever, lethargy
Fungal Fungi Painful, swollen nasal passages, head sensitivity
Nasal Mites Tiny parasites Itching, sneezing, nasal discharge

Nasal Mites

Apart from infections, nasal mites, minuscule insects, can also cause irritation and sneezing in your dog’s nose.

Unwanted Guests:

These tiny pests can live in your dog’s nasal passages, feeding on mucus and causing intense irritation.

Itchy Nose:

Sneezing is your dog’s way of trying to expel the mites and relieve the itching.

Nasal Discharge:

You may notice a thick, yellow discharge coming from your dog’s nose.

Consulting the Vet:

If you suspect nasal mites, take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Tooth Root Abscess

You may not guess it, but a tooth root abscess can spread to the nose, causing sneezing.

Watch for signs like:

  • Loose teeth
  • Mouth odor
  • Swollen gums
  • Swollen face

If you notice these, take your dog to the vet for dog teeth brushing and an abscess treatment plan.

Recognizing Symptoms of Serious Conditions

Recognizing Symptoms of Serious Conditions
If your dog’s sneezing produces blood, is accompanied by coughing, or changes the shape of its nose or face, these could be signs of a serious underlying condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.

If your dog’s sneezing:

  • Produces blood
  • Is accompanied by coughing
  • Changes the shape of its nose or face

These could be signs of a serious underlying condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Sneezing Blood

When your dog’s sneezes produce blood, you should take them to the vet right away.

Bloody discharge, nasal congestion, and sinus infection are serious signs of an underlying issue.

Allergies can also cause blood in the nasal discharge, as can sneezing after eating.

Don’t wait—take your furry friend to the vet immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Sneezing and Coughing

  1. Also, if your dog is sneezing and coughing, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

Kennel cough, respiratory infections, or even the dog flu can cause these symptoms.

Reverse sneezing, a common issue in some breeds, can also mimic coughing.

If you notice nasal discharge, especially if it’s thick or discolored, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly.

Changes in Nose or Face Shape

Moreover, you should be concerned if you notice any changes in your dog’s nose or face shape.

These changes may indicate a serious underlying condition.

Nasal passage obstruction can lead to facial deformity.

Nasal discharge may be a sign of infection or nasal tumors.

A nasal cavity examination may be necessary to determine the cause of the problem.

Reverse sneezing is a common symptom of nasal passage irritation.

Diagnostic Process for Dog Sneezing

Diagnostic Process for Dog Sneezing
Your vet will check your dog’s nose, eyes, throat, and lungs.

They may recommend X-rays, scoping, swabs, blood tests, or a biopsy to find the cause of the sneezing.

Treatment depends on the cause, but may include antibiotics, anti-fungals, or surgery.

Veterinary Examination

Your veterinarian will meticulously examine your dog’s nose, eyes, throat, and lungs to uncover the root of the sneezing.

If necessary, they may administer anesthesia or sedation to conduct a thorough diagnostic imaging procedure.

This helps visualize the nasal passages and sinuses, revealing any foreign objects, growths, or abnormalities.

If the issue lies beyond their expertise, they’ll refer you to a specialist for advanced treatment options.

Diagnostic Tests

Depending on your vet’s physical examination findings, they’ll recommend diagnostic tests to identify the cause of your dog’s sneezing.

  • Blood tests can reveal infection or allergies.
  • Nasal discharge analysis checks for bacteria, fungi, or foreign objects.
  • Diagnostic imaging, like X-rays or CT scans, visualizes the nasal passages and sinuses.

In some cases, anesthesia may be necessary for a thorough examination or biopsy.

Your vet will discuss the results and recommend the best treatment plan for your furry friend.

Treatment Options for Dog Sneezing

Treatment Options for Dog Sneezing
When your dog’s sneezing is more than occasional, treatment depends on the cause.

If a foreign object is lodged in its nose, your vet will remove it.

If a bacterial or fungal infection is the culprit, your vet will prescribe antibiotics or antifungal treatments.

If growths or tumors are causing the sneezing, your vet might remove them or refer you to a specialist for treatments like radiotherapy.

Removal of Foreign Material

Removal of foreign material requires a veterinarian’s expertise.

They’ll extract the object from the nasal passages, alleviating discomfort.

If a growth or sinus infection is the culprit, surgery or antibiotics may be necessary.

Trust your vet to resolve your dog’s sneezing woes.

Treating Bacterial/Fungal Infections

If a bacterial or fungal infection is the culprit, your dog’s sneezing will bow to antibiotics or antifungal treatments.

Medication can tame inflammation.

Surgery and radiotherapy tame growths and tumors.

Addressing Growths/Tumors

By removing growths or tumors in your dog’s nasal passages or sinuses, you’re clearing the path for proper breathing and reducing sneezing.

Treatment Options:

  1. Surgery:

    • Location of the growth determines the risk of surgery.
  2. Radiation Therapy:

    • For hard-to-reach tumors, radiation therapy may be an option.
  3. Chemotherapy:

    • Sometimes used alongside surgery or radiation.
  4. Prognosis Discussion:

Managing Irritants

Managing irritants causing your dog’s sneezing involves identifying and eliminating them from your dog’s environment.


  • Keep windows closed during pollen season.
  • Use air purifiers.


  • Vacuum and damp-mop regularly.
  • Use a humidifier.


  • Avoid smoking indoors.
  • Keep your dog away from secondhand smoke.


  • Use unscented cleaning products.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals around your dog.

Home Care for a Sneezing Dog

Home Care for a Sneezing Dog
To care for a sneezing dog at home:

  • Wipe its nose with a soft cloth to remove any irritants.
  • Regularly clean its bedding to eliminate allergens.
  • Use humidifiers to keep the air moist and comfortable for its sensitive nose.

Wiping the Nose

When your dog’s nose is congested or runny, gently wipe away any discharge with a soft, damp cloth.

  • Use a soft, damp cloth.
  • Avoid using rough materials that can irritate your dog’s nose.
  • Wipe away discharge gently.
  • Don’t rub or scrub the nose, as this can cause pain and inflammation.
  • Clean the nose regularly.
  • Wipe your dog’s nose several times a day, especially after they’ve been outside or playing in dusty areas.

Regular Bedding Cleaning

To help reduce the presence of allergens and irritants:

  • Regularly wash your dog’s bedding in hot water and detergent.
  • This will remove dust, dander, and other allergens that can trigger sneezing.

If your dog has a dust allergy:

  • Consider using a hypoallergenic bedding material.
  • Additionally, place a humidifier in your dog’s room to help soothe irritated nasal passages and reduce sneezing.

Use of Humidifiers

Try using a humidifier to ease dryness and soothe your dog’s irritated nasal passages.

This can help reduce sneezing attacks and nasal congestion, especially during dry seasons or in homes with dry air.

Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can help alleviate nasal irritation and make breathing more comfortable for your furry friend.

Prevention Strategies for Dog Sneezing

Prevention Strategies for Dog Sneezing
You can help prevent your dog from sneezing by:

  • Vaccinating them regularly.
  • Giving them deworming medication.
  • Avoiding known allergens like pollen, dust, and smoke.

Regular Vaccination

Vaccinating your dog regularly can help prevent respiratory infections that may cause sneezing.

Protect your furry friend with timely vaccinations at the vet’s office or at vaccination clinics.

Stay up-to-date with the vaccination schedule to ensure complete protection.

Vaccinations are crucial for your dog’s health, reducing the risk of contagious diseases and keeping them happy and healthy.

Deworming Medication

Just like regular vaccination, consistently giving your dog deworming medication helps prevent nasal mites and other parasites that can cause sneezing.

Ask your vet about the appropriate deworming schedule and frequency for your dog, considering its age, lifestyle, and risk factors.

Deworming puppies and kittens is particularly important, as they’re more susceptible to parasite infections.

Deworming tablets are commonly used, but your vet may recommend other methods based on your dog’s individual needs.

Avoidance of Known Allergens

By avoiding known allergens, you can also help prevent sneezing in your dog.

Start by identifying common allergens like pollen, dust mites, or certain foods.

Keep your dog away from these triggers whenever possible.

Use an air purifier at home to reduce airborne allergens.

Regular vet checkups can help detect and manage allergies early on.

If necessary, your vet may recommend diet modifications to address food allergies.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

When to Seek Veterinary Attention
When your dog’s sneezing is sudden, severe, or frequent, watch for signs of illness or distress.

Loss of appetite, bloody or foul-smelling nasal discharge, noisy breathing, and changes in the nose or face shape are all reasons to see the vet right away.

Sudden, Severe, or Frequent Sneezing

If your dog’s sneezing becomes sudden, severe, or more frequent than usual, it’s time to take them to the vet right away.

These symptoms could indicate an underlying health issue that requires prompt attention.

Recurrent sneezing, reverse sneezing, sneezing fits, sneezing after exercise, or sneezing while sleeping are all signs that something’s amiss.

Trust your instincts and seek professional help to ensure your furry friend’s well-being.

Signs of Illness or Distress

Seek veterinary attention if your dog’s sneezing is accompanied by other signs of illness or distress.

Watch for:

  • A runny nose
  • Bloody discharge
  • Noisy breathing
  • Nasal discharge with a foul smell

Lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior can also indicate an underlying health issue.

If your dog’s nose or face shape changes, it could be a sign of a tumor or other serious condition.

Long-Term Management of Dog Sneezing

Long-Term Management of Dog Sneezing
To manage your dog’s sneezing long-term:

  • Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian.
  • Adjust their diet as needed, eliminating any potential allergens or irritants.
  • Make modifications to their environment to reduce exposure to potential irritants, such as dust, pollen, and smoke.

Regular Check-ups

For long-term management of your dog’s sneezing:

  • Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their health and promptly address any underlying issues.
  • These check-ups allow your veterinarian to detect early signs of respiratory problems, allergies, or other conditions that may be causing the sneezing.
  • By catching and treating these issues early, you can help ensure your dog’s overall well-being and quality of life.

Dietary Adjustments

You may need to make some changes to your dog’s diet to manage their allergies long-term, especially if they have food allergies.

Try cooking homemade dog food with grain-free, limited ingredient recipes or opt for hypoallergenic dog food.

These dietary changes can help reduce the frequency and severity of sneezing caused by food intolerances.

Consult your vet about the best dietary approach for your dog’s unique needs.

Environmental Modifications

Creating a hypoallergenic haven for your dog can work wonders.

Vacuum regularly.

Switch to allergen-resistant bedding.

Eliminate dust-collecting items.

Air purifiers and humidifiers can be game-changers.

For severe cases, consider nasal irrigation or antihistamines prescribed by your vet.

Make these changes, and watch your dog breathe easier.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What potential health issues can arise from a dog sneezing excessively?

Excessive sneezing in dogs may signal underlying health issues:

  • Infections
  • Allergies
  • Foreign objects lodged in the nasal passages
  • Tumors
  • Dental problems

Prompt veterinary care is crucial to diagnose and treat the root cause, ensuring your dog’s well-being.

How can I differentiate between normal and abnormal sneezing in my dog?

Notice your dog’s sneezing patterns.

Occasional, light sneezes are normal.

Excessive, forceful, or frequent sneezing warrants attention.

Trust your instincts and seek veterinary advice if you sense something’s amiss.

Are there specific breeds or ages of dogs that are more prone to frequent sneezing?

No specific breed or age group has a monopoly on sneezes.

From frisky puppies to dignified elders, all dogs share the occasional need to expel an irritant with an explosive achoo!

Can a dog’s diet contribute to excessive sneezing, and if so, what dietary changes can be made to alleviate the issue?

Yes, your dog’s diet can influence excessive sneezing.

Try switching to a limited-ingredient food.

Gradually introduce new proteins.

Avoid common allergens like wheat, corn, and soy.

Consult your vet for personalized dietary guidance.

Are there any natural remedies or home treatments that can help reduce my dog’s sneezing without resorting to medication?

If your dog’s sneezing is mild, try natural remedies:

  • Nasal saline irrigation
  • Humidifier

These methods can provide relief without medication.


Your dog’s incessant sneezing might be a symphony of distress, a plea for your attention.

Unravel the mystery behind their incessant sneezes.

Delve into the potential causes, from allergies to infections, and learn when it’s time to seek veterinary guidance.

With care and understanding, you can help your furry friend find relief from their sneezing woes, restoring harmony to your canine companion’s life.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.