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My Dog Keeps Sneezing, What Should I Do Now?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs may sneeze due to irritants such as dry air, household cleaning agents, perfumes, dust, pollen, or something lodged in their nostrils.
  • Sneezing can also be a result of viral, fungal, or bacterial infections, as well as nasal mites or food allergies.
  • Reverse sneezing or paroxysmal respiration is a normal sneeze that occurs when dogs inhale loudly, typically caused by something irritating their nasopharynx.
  • Dog owners can inspect their dog's nose for foreign objects or excessive discharge, monitor for any changes, change their diet, utilize over-the-counter medications, or visit a veterinarian if necessary.
  • Persistent sneezing accompanied by swelling, fever, appetite loss, or lethargy may indicate an underlying condition that requires urgent medical attention.
Written by Viena
Viena is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Thursday 18 March 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 30 May 2023
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As a dog owner, you might wonder, “Why does my dog keep sneezing?” Sneezing is common in dogs, just like in other animals and humans. But excessive sneezing can be a cause for concern. It’s essential to understand the different types of sneezes and their potential causes.

Some sneezes are harmless, while others could signal health problems. As a result, it’s crucial to understand what’s causing your dog’s sneezing. Don’t trust just any remedy you find on the internet to help your furry friend feel better.

By reading on, you’ll learn about the various reasons why dogs sneeze and the different types of sneezes. This information will help you better understand your dog’s sneezing and how to keep them healthy

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.

Nasal Infection

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

Nasal Mites

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.

Food Allergies

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

If you’ve ever heard your dog making a loud snorting or “snorking” sound while inhaling, don’t worry! It’s likely just reverse sneezing, a harmless occurrence that can happen when something irritates the nose.

Smaller breeds and flat-faced dogs like Bulldogs and Pugs may experience it more often. If your dog’s reverse sneezing becomes persistent, you can try massaging their neck or gently blowing on their face to help stop it. However, if it continues or worsens, it’s best to visit a veterinarian to rule out any underlying issues.

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?

Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell that is crucial for their survival, and it is even more important than their vision and hearing. Sneezing is a normal reflex in dogs, just like it is in humans. It helps to get rid of any irritants that may have entered their nose.

Sometimes, sneezing can be caused by allergens in the environment, such as pollen or dust. In such cases, over-the-counter antihistamines can help alleviate the symptoms. Food allergies can also cause sneezing, along with upset stomach and vomiting.

Dogs may sneeze during playtime, which is a sign that they are having fun. However, in brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds, sneezing can also be a reverse cough. If you notice thick discharge or blood from your dog’s nose, swelling, fever, loss of appetite, or lethargy, it’s essential to visit the vet as soon as possible.

In summary, dogs’ sneezing is a natural bodily reflex that helps remove irritants from their nose. While it’s usually harmless, there are some cases when it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

dog keeps sneezing
The sense of smell is vital for a dog’s survival.

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.

What can you give a dog for sneezing?

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.

When should I take my dog to the vet for sneezing?

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.

Is it bad if my dog reverse sneezes a lot?

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.

How do I treat my dog’s nose mites?

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.

Is sneezing a sign of kennel cough?

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.

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