“Why does my dog keep sneezing?” is a prevalent question among the dog owner community, especially with new dog owners. There is a range of reasons behind your dog’s sneezing. Some are less than harmful, but others pose a threat to a dog’s health.
Dogs sneeze like most of the animals on Earth and like their owners. However, dog owners can get quite worried and alarmed if their fur babies can’t stop sneezing. Some dog owners try to alleviate it with a dog sneezing treatment they found on the internet. Continue reading to get more information about the causes of sneezing to dogs and different types of dog sneezes.
Why Do Dogs Sneeze?
You might not quickly notice why do dogs sneeze when you play with them. It merely means that they are enjoying themselves and are called “play sneezes.” It usually means nothing, and there’s no reason to be worried. However, if your dog is sneezing more than usual, then it might be concerning. Although there can be various reasons, here are the most common:
One plausible reason why your dog’s sneezing is the irritants around them. Many things will irritate them due to their nose’s sensitivity and leave a dog sneezing attack and runny nose. Some examples are dry air, chemicals in household cleaning agents, perfumes, dust, and pollen.
Dog’s also sneeze when they have something lodged in their nostrils. Hunting dogs such as Beagles and Bloodhounds love to sniff around your house and backyard. These breeds may pick up tiny twigs and leaves, or even small toys like LEGO bricks. Sneezing can help alleviate the odor or dislodge the small object. However, if the sneezing persists and your dog feels uncomfortable, make sure to visit the vet to remove the item.
Sometimes, you may see your dog sneezing and coughing, and it can be a result of an infection. It can be either a nasal or upper respiratory tract infection, and both are dangerous and need urgent medical attention. Here are some of the common causes of infection to a dog:
- Virus – similar to humans, several viruses can affect a dog’s body. Most of these viruses can cause sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharges. It can affect the dog’s respiratory system or even their nervous system. One good example is canine influenza or dog flu
- Fungi – many fungi are living around us, and some can be infectious to humans and dogs. Dogs with delicate immune systems are more prone to fungal infection than those with stronger ones. The most common fungal infection is Aspergillosis that comes from the fungus Aspergillus
- Bacteria – dogs with bacterial infection may experience sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and lethargy. One famous bacteria in dogs is the Bordetella Bronchiseptica, which causes the “kennel cough.” Once infected, the bacteria affect your dog’s trachea and bronchial tubes
If you’re still thinking, “my dog still keeps sneezing,” you need to check if there are mites in their nostrils. Canine nasal mites or Pneumonyssoides caninum (sometimes Pneumonyssus caninum) usually lodge themselves on the nasal passages and paranasal sinuses. However, a trip to the veterinarian is highly advised to make sure of the infestation. Vets will do nasal scoping or deep nasal flushing to know if mites cause the frequent sneezing. The mites eat the keratin layer of the nostrils’ epidermis, thus irritating the dog.
According to the Merck Manual’s Veterinary Manual, the common symptoms are bleeding nose, sneezing, reverse sneezing, and nasal discharge. The manual also indicated that it could be transmitted through indirect and direct contact with other dogs with nasal mites. There is no approved treatment, but some antiparasitic medications cure the infection.
What if my dog keeps sneezing, and I ruled out every possible problem? Maybe you haven’t checked everything, particularly on your dog’s food. Food allergies can happen to most living creatures on the planet, and dogs are not exempted. Some dogs might have allergic reactions to food constituents, and they can appear at any stage of their lives. Common food allergies are from dairy and gluten products, but some can be found in other food.
However, some food allergies are ingrained in a breed’s bloodline. Moreover, some dogs, such as German Shepherds and Irish Setters, are more prone to allergies. Substituting your dog’s food with hypoallergenic dog foods is highly beneficial.
Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
A dog sneezing and gagging is not a harmless occurrence, and you don’t need to be worried. Your dog just might be experiencing reverse sneezing or paroxysmal respiration. Reverse sneezing is a normal sneeze like sneezing when your dog plays.
This type of sneezing occurs when your dog inhales loudly and makes a somewhat snorting or “snorking” sound. It can occur in successions within a 30-second timeframe. Usually, dogs do it because something is irritating their nasopharynx, like dust or other allergens.
It usually happens to smaller breeds and brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs. You can lightly massage their neck and try to blow softly on your dog’s face to alleviate the reverse sneezing. However, if your dog cannot stop reverse sneezing or become persistent, visit a veterinarian for any underlying problems.
What to Do if Your Dog Keeps Sneezing?
Dog owners don’t need to panic if you see a small dog sneezing. There are countless home remedies for sneezing dogs scattered throughout the internet, but they’re sometimes not too useful. Moreover, not all information found on the internet is not always credible. Here are some things to do when your dog keeps sneezing:
- Nose inspection – if your small dog’s sneezing, naturally, the first thing you need to check its nose. Dog owners need to look for any foreign objects, nasal discharges, or anything out of the ordinary. You can use a small flashlight or a penlight to peek in the dog’s nostrils. However, do not irritate your dog by putting sharp or foreign objects inside their nostrils
- Monitoring – if there aren’t any visible changes inside or outside your dog’s nose, keep monitoring them. Check if other symptoms will arise within 24 to 48 hours
- Dietary changes – check what your dog eats daily or what they eat when you’re not around. Sometimes you give your dog too much food or if there are allergens in their food
- Over the Counter (OTC) medicine – there are some over-the-counter medications made for humans that are safe for dogs. For example, Benadryl, which most vets prescribe to dog owners. However, human meds can have a different reaction to dogs. Use OTC meds with caution and only use them for mild allergies
- Go to the veterinarian – if you don’t see anything unusual, but your dog is still sneezing, you should schedule a visit to your vet
Should You Worry if Your Dog Keeps Sneezing?
Many studies have proven the exceptional capabilities of a dog’s nose. Aside from their sight and hearing, the sense of smell is vital for a dog’s survival. A dog’s sneezing attack is usually something trivial and will pass. Like humans, sneezing for our canine companions is a normal bodily reflex. It’s our natural way of removing any irritant that came in contact with our nose.
Sometimes, it is caused by allergens in the environment. You might need OTC antihistamines to help alleviate the sneezing caused by those allergens. Food allergens are often the culprit behind your dog’s sneezing. However, food allergens can also make your puppy’s stomach upset and make them vomit.
Sneezing can sometimes occur in their playtime, which suggests that they’re enjoying themselves. It can also be a reverse cough, which is common to brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds. However, if you notice thick discharge or blood, swelling, fever, appetite loss, or lethargy, you should visit the vet.
Dog Sneezing – FAQ
It is advisable to ask for your vet’s advice before giving any medicine to your pup. If you observed that your dog is sneezing regularly with no probable or visible cause, you need to watch for any other signs or symptoms. Remember that there is no better way to treat your furry friend than asking for professional help. Here are more answers to some of your questions when it comes to your fur baby.
You can give your dog antihistamines such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin. The mentioned medications are some of the commonly prescribed antihistamines by veterinarians. They are also over-the-counter medicines that can be bought in most drugstores.
However, be cautious when administering OTC medication made for humans. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can respond differently to human meds. Ask your veterinarian the correct dosage for every medicine you’ll be giving your puppy.
Bring your dog to the vet if the sneezing is persistent and has occurred for more than a day. Moreover, you need to take them to the vet if they experience swelling, nasal discharge, fever, and appetite loss.
If you observed that your dog is sneezing regularly with no probable or visible cause, you need to watch for any other signs or symptoms. There are other invisible or underlying causes to the constant sneezing, which can be fatal to some.
Frequent reverse sneezing can be a bad sign for some dogs. However, reverse sneezing is a common bodily reaction of dogs. Sometimes, it can be the result of something irritating their nasal passages.
If your pet enters a bout of reverse sneezes, you can help them by gently massaging their neck. You can also gently blow on their face to alleviate the sneezing by triggering the swallowing reflex.
You can use antiparasitic medications on your dog. These types of drugs are 85% effective in eliminating nasal mites. Antiparasitic medications can be either topical, oral, or injectable.
However, do not jump to the conclusion that your dog has nasal mites. Antiparasitic medications can have adverse effects on your dogs if used excessively. Always get a prescription from your veterinarian before applying any medication.
Sneezing is one of many symptoms of kennel cough, and the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria cause it. It affects your dog’s trachea and bronchial tubes and can be mild to severe. Other symptoms include coughing, lethargy, fever, and nasal discharge.
Kennel cough, or Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIDR), can be transmitted airborne or through touching contaminated objects. It usually takes a dog ten days to recover from kennel cough, but it can differ from dog to dog. Moreover, you may wait for 6 to 14 weeks for your dog to get back in perfect condition.
If the question of why dogs sneeze pops into your mind, you’re equipped with the necessary information to answer it. There are different factors why your dog sneezes, from the playful one to a more severe reason. It is best to check your dog regularly by monitoring them and visiting the veterinarian. This way, you’ll become a better parent to your dog.