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Why is My Dog Sneezing So Much? 10 Common Causes and Treatments (2024)

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dog sneezingImagine you’re enjoying a walk with your dog in the park, and suddenly, they start sneezing uncontrollably.

You wonder, Why is my dog sneezing so much?

Sneezing is a common behavior in dogs, but excessive sneezing can indicate an underlying health issue.

Let’s explore the potential causes and treatments for your dog’s frequent sneezing.

Key Takeaways

  • Sneezing in dogs can be caused by allergies, play behavior, airborne particles, health issues, or objects stuck in the nose.
  • Common allergy symptoms in dogs include watery eyes, nose rubbing, coughing, skin irritation, and licking or chewing paws or fur.
  • Treatment options for excessive sneezing may include medications, dental care, removing objects from the nose, medicated drops or sprays, and surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Home care and prevention involve keeping the environment clean, providing regular dental care, using a humidifier, consulting a veterinarian for allergy medication, and removing allergens or irritants from the home.

Why Dogs Sneeze

Why Dogs Sneeze
Dogs sneeze for several common reasons:

  • Allergies
  • Play behavior
  • Irritation from particles
  • Certain health issues

Let’s explore the main causes for frequent sneezing in dogs and what you can do to treat them:

  • Allergies: If your dog is allergic to something in its environment, such as pollen, dust, or mold, it may sneeze frequently. You can help your dog by identifying and avoiding the allergen, or by giving it allergy medication.
  • Play behavior: Dogs sometimes sneeze when they are playing, especially if they are excited or running around.
  • Irritation from particles: If your dog inhales something irritating, such as smoke, dust, or pepper, it may sneeze to try to clear its nasal passages.
  • Certain health issues: Some health issues, such as respiratory infections, nasal tumors, and dental problems, can cause sneezing in dogs. If your dog is sneezing frequently and you are concerned about its health, you should take it to the vet for a checkup.


Allergies are a common cause of your dog’s sneezing.

Particles trigger an immune response, irritating nasal passages.

  • Outdoor allergens like pollen or mold
  • Medication like antihistamines or steroids
  • Reducing exposure to environmental triggers

Play Behavior

These allergies can also manifest as playful attention-seeking sneezes—your dog’s way of happily communicating, getting your attention, and signaling this is just play.

While playful sneezing is normal communication for canines, persistent reverse sneezing or respiratory issues may indicate problems for brachycephalic breeds.

Let’s discuss potential causes.


Three common irritants that can cause your dog to sneeze repeatedly are:

  • Airborne particles like pollen or dust
  • Scented products like candles or cleaning solutions
  • Smoke

These can trigger allergic reactions or irritate nasal passages, leading to inflammation, discomfort, and repetitive sneezing.

Consider limiting exposure to irritants if your dog has frequent allergy sneezes.

Health Issues

If your dog’s been sneezing, it could be pointing to an underlying health problem that you’ll want to look into.

Conditions like infections, tooth abscesses, tumors, and parasites can all lead to chronic sneezing.

Prompt veterinary attention for diagnosis and treatment if the sneezing persists or worsens.

Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

Allergy Symptoms in Dogs
You may notice other allergy symptoms in your dog in addition to sneezing.

These can include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Nose rubbing
  • Coughing
  • Skin irritation
  • Licking or chewing at the paws or fur
  • Scratching the face

If the sneezing persists along with these other allergy signs, have your vet examine your dog to diagnose and treat the underlying cause.

Common Causes

When your dog’s sneezing persists, it’s likely due to common allergens that cause allergy symptoms you’ll want to address:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold

These can trigger itchy eyes, runny noses, and scratchy throats in dogs, much like human allergies.

Consulting your vet about medications or changes around the house can help relieve allergy irritation.

Treatment Options

Several effective treatments can provide relief for your dog’s allergy symptoms:

  • Consider holistic approaches:
    • Herbal remedies to soothe inflammation
    • Behavior modification to reduce exposure to allergens
  • Adjust their environment:
    • Use air purifiers
  • Consult an integrative vet for the best combination of options to:
    • Address the root causes of your dog’s sneezing
    • Provide lasting relief

When to Seek Help

You’ll want to take your dog to the vet if their allergy symptoms worsen or don’t improve with at-home care:

  • If sneezing is frequent or severe.
  • If additional symptoms develop like coughing or nose bleeds.
  • If over-the-counter medications don’t relieve symptoms.

Signs of Illness With Sneezing

Signs of Illness With Sneezing
Pay attention if your dog’s sneezing is accompanied by thick nasal discharge or even blood.

These symptoms, along with lethargy, reduced appetite, or other respiratory issues like coughing or wheezing, may indicate illness.

Prompt veterinary attention is warranted if you notice these concerning signs in addition to frequent sneezing.

Discharge or Bleeding

Your dog’s nasal discharge or sneezing blood warrants immediate veterinary examination.

These symptoms may indicate severe bacterial infections, fungal infections, or nasal tumors.

Nasal discharge containing blood or thick, colored mucus points to a potential emergency.

While playful sneezes or gentle blows are harmless communication, bloody discharge or uncontrolled sneezing needs immediate veterinary assessment.

This is to determine the underlying cause and proper treatment.

Don’t hesitate to seek emergency care if your dog shows these concerning signs along with sneezing.

Additional Respiratory Signs

You may also notice coughing or wheezing along with sneezing as signs of respiratory illness in your dog.

Respiratory distress like labored breathing, persistent coughing, exercise intolerance, and abnormal lung sounds can indicate more serious health issues.

These symptoms warrant an exam by your veterinarian, as they may be signs of severe infections, asthma, heart problems, or other concerning conditions affecting the lungs and airways.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to managing respiratory disease and restoring your dog’s breathing comfort.

Objects Stuck in Nose

Objects Stuck in Nose
After discussing signs of illness with sneezing, let’s move on to objects stuck in the nose.

Dogs are naturally curious creatures and sometimes stick their noses where they shouldn’t. Small objects like grass seeds, dirt, twigs, gravel, or even food can become lodged in your pup’s nasal passages.

These foreign bodies cause irritation, inflammation, and sneezing as your dog tries to expel them.

If you notice frequent violent sneezing spells or see something visibly stuck in your dog’s nose, contact your vet right away. They’ll examine your pup’s nasal passages and may need to sedate them to safely remove the object.

With prompt veterinary intervention, these situations can usually be resolved quickly.

Regular nail trims and blocking off hazardous areas can help prevent future incidents.

Let’s move on to discussing nasal tumors as a cause of sneezing next.

Tumors Causing Sneezing

Tumors Causing Sneezing
You’ll want to check with your vet if your dog’s sneezing worsens over time or becomes frequent and ongoing, as this could indicate the presence of a nasal tumor.

Tumors in the nasal cavity are uncommon but can lead to progressive sneezing along with nasal discharge or bleeding.

The type of tumor and location will determine available treatment options, which may include surgical intervention, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination.

Your vet will want to identify the tumor type through biopsy and imaging tests before making recommendations.

Depending on the tumor, your dog may require referral to a veterinary oncologist for specialized care.

While a nasal tumor diagnosis is serious, prompt treatment gives your pup the best chance at a good long-term prognosis.

Stay optimistic and trust your vet to guide you through the process.

Tooth Infections

Tooth Infections
If your dog has a chipped or infected tooth, it can cause a tooth root abscess that leads to sneezing and nasal discharge.

Dental infections should be evaluated and treated promptly, as they can be quite painful and lead to other health issues.

Here are 3 key signs of a dental issue causing sneezing:

  1. Pain or hesitation when chewing hard foods. Dogs may avoid chewing on one side.
  2. Swelling of the face around the affected tooth. Visible bulging may be present.
  3. Brown or bloody discharge from the nostril on the same side as the infected tooth.

Only a veterinarian can diagnose and treat a tooth infection properly.

Treatment may involve antibiotics, pain medication, and extraction if the tooth can’t be saved.

Preventive dental care, including brushing, can reduce the risk of painful infections.

Healthy teeth promote overall wellbeing in dogs.

When Sneezing Needs Evaluation

When Sneezing Needs Evaluation
You should take your dog to the veterinarian for an exam if the sneezing is frequent, severe, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

As caring pet parents, it’s understandable to worry about what might be causing all that sneezing. While some sneezing is normal, certain signs warrant a trip to the vet.

Behavioral Causes

  • Attention seeking
  • Boredom

    Environmental Triggers

  • Allergies
  • Irritants
  • Infections

    Emergency Situations

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nasal swelling
  • Bleeding/discharge

    Preventive Care

  • Dental exams
  • Parasite prevention
  • Vaccinations

Frequent bouts of sneezing without explanation, nasal discharge, swelling, or breathing issues require prompt veterinary attention. Stay on top of preventive care to catch issues early. But even with the best care, concerning sneezing deserves examination to get your pup back to their happy, sniffing selves.

Managing Seasonal Allergies

Managing Seasonal Allergies
Let’s shift our discussion to the management of seasonal allergies in dogs that are causing sneezing.

Pollen, mold, and other outdoor allergens can be hard to avoid, leading to inflammation and irritated nasal passages in affected pups.

Successful treatment often requires reducing exposure while supporting their immune system.

Start inside. Vacuum and dust frequently to limit indoor allergens, and use a HEPA air purifier for airborne irritants.

We also advise natural, holistic approaches like omega fatty acid supplements to reduce inflammation.

When heading out, limit walks at peak pollen times.

After activities, bathe your pup to remove allergens from their coat.

If sneezing and itching persist despite these efforts, speak to your vet about additional remedies like antihistamines or herbal blends to get their allergies under better control.

With some trial-and-error, most pups do well and can enjoy the outdoors again.

Sneezing for Communication

Sneezing for Communication
During play or in moments of excitement, your dog may consciously blow air out of its nose as a way to express happy feelings or signal just kidding behaviors.

This type of sneeze isn’t an automatic biological response, but rather a natural form of communication for dogs.

They may give an excitement sneeze when playing, seeing a familiar person after an absence, or as a signal to indicate non-aggressive intent during rowdy play.

Because sneezing often elicits positive reactions from owners, like attention or treats, some dogs learn to sneeze for attention-seeking purposes.

This learned behavior can become reinforced if owners consistently respond.

Dogs may also sneeze from boredom or in anticipation of activities like mealtimes or walks.

The best approach is recognizing when a sneeze communicates excitement versus boredom-fueled attention-seeking.

Interact positively during exciting sneezes, while ignoring bored sneezes to avoid reinforcing the behavior.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options
How can you treat excessive sneezing in dogs?

Depending on the cause, options may include medications, dental care, or removing irritants from the environment.

If allergies are the culprit, your vet may prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and itching.

For food allergies, your vet will help you identify the offending ingredient and recommend a hypoallergenic diet.

If an object is stuck in the nose, your vet will remove it using specialized instruments.

In cases of nasal mites, medicated drops or sprays can eliminate the pests.

For dental problems, your vet will clean the teeth, extract any rotten ones, and prescribe antibiotics if an infection is present.

If a tumor is the underlying cause, treatment will depend on the type and severity.

Surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy may be necessary.

Natural remedies like steam therapy and saline nasal flushes can help relieve nasal congestion and irritation.

You can also try using a humidifier to keep the air moist.

As always, consulting your veterinarian is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Home care is essential, including keeping the dog’s environment clean and allergen-free.

Regular dental checkups and cleanings are also important for preventing dental problems that can lead to sneezing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I give my dog allergy medicine like Benadryl for sneezing?

Yes, you can give Benadryl to your dog for sneezing caused by allergies.

Consult your vet on the proper dosage based on your dog’s weight.

Monitor your dog closely for side effects like sedation or lack of coordination after administering.

Combining allergy meds with other treatments your vet recommends should help relieve symptoms.

Is it normal for puppies to sneeze a lot?

Puppy sneezing can be normal as their developing immune systems adjust to new environments.

However, frequent or severe sneezing may indicate illness.

Gently wipe any discharge away, monitor for additional symptoms, and contact your veterinarian if concerned.

Providing a clean, irritant-free area supports health during this sensitive period.

How can I tell if my dog’s reverse sneezing is serious?

If your dog’s reverse sneezing is accompanied by nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, or lethargy, it’s time for a vet visit.

These could be signs of an underlying medical issue.

What home remedies help relieve dog sneezing?

Try natural remedies like honey or chamomile tea to soothe inflamed nasal passages.

Ensure proper hydration and humidity levels.

Discuss antihistamines or other medications with your veterinarian if symptoms persist.

Most importantly, identify and remove possible allergens or irritants from the home environment.

Is sneezing dangerous or harmful for older dogs?

Frequent sneezing in older dogs can indicate underlying health issues.

While not inherently dangerous, persistent sneezing or discharge warrants a veterinary visit.

This is to check for allergies, infections, dental problems, or other issues.

Catching and addressing sneezing early improves quality of life.


Even the best-behaved dogs can’t help but give a good sneeze now and then.

Paying attention to the context of your dog’s sneezing will help you sniff out any potential issues.

If your dog’s sneezing is accompanied by other symptoms, like discharge, bleeding, or labored breathing, it’s time to seek professional help.

Nip it in the bud before it turns into a bigger issue.

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.