Sneezing is perfectly normal for a dog, just as it is for people.
However, a dog sneezing non-stop or sneezing in particular situations may suggest a medical issue that needs treatment.
Here is what you need to know about why your dog may be sneezing and whether you should do something about it or not.
Dog Sneezing Could Be Normal Communication
If you are wondering why your dogs are sneezing so much when they play together, you may be surprised to learn that the most likely cause is simply normal communication between dogs, not anything medical.
Dogs sneeze to show excitement or happiness to people and to other dogs.
They may also sneeze to show that they are not a threat.
It may even seem that your dogs are talking to one another by sneezing back and forth.
This behavior often precedes play or occurs during play.
If sneezing seems to occur when your dog has a reason to be happy, excited, or playful and not at other times, it is likely just normal communication.
Dog Sneezing Because Of An Irritant
If you notice that your dog is sneezing a lot when they are exposed to something specific, it may be that whatever they are being exposed to is an irritant for them.
Household cleaning products, smoke, scented candles, perfume, and much more can all irritate your dog’s nose and cause them to sneeze.
If your dog can’t stop sneezing when they are around a specific stimulus but they don’t sneeze at all when the stimulus is removed, it may be that something you view as an innocuous part of everyday life is an irritant for your dog.
Dog Sneezing Because Of Seasonal Allergies
One of the most common reasons that your dog may be sneezing so much is because of seasonal allergies.
If you notice that your dog keeps sneezing at a particular time of year, it may be seasonal allergies that are to blame.
If your dog is sneezing a lot more when you go outside or have the windows open, it is also more likely to be seasonal allergies that are at fault.
The most common causes for seasonal allergies are tree pollen like cedar and oak trees, grass pollen, and weed pollen.
If you notice a lot of pollen in the air at the same time that your dog is sneezing often, seasonal allergies to pollen are likely to blame.
You may be able to treat seasonal allergies with an antihistamine.
You can also protect your dog from exposure to the allergen by using an air purifier and keeping windows closed.
For dogs that react to pollen or other seasonal allergies on their feet, booties when they go out on a walk can be a good solution.
Frequent bathing can also rinse out allergens that get on the coat and can be absorbed through the skin.
Dog Sneezing Due To Food Allergies
If your dog keeps sneezing when they eat, food allergies may be to blame.
Sneezing isn’t as common of a symptom of food allergies as it is with seasonal allergies, but it can still occur.
Sneezing is especially likely while the dog is eating when particles of food may get into their nose and right after eating when food can irritate the throat.
If you notice lots of sneezing while your dog eats or within a couple of hours of eating, food allergies may be the problem.
If you notice gastrointestinal upset, skin irritation, and other symptoms of allergies, it’s even more likely that food allergies are the problem.
Dog Sneezing Because Something Is Stuck In Their Nose
If your dog won’t stop sneezing, something may be stuck in their nose.
Unlike sneezing related to allergies that tends to come and go in spurts, continuous sneezing may suggest that a foreign object has been inhaled.
You are probably well aware of the tendency of dogs to sniff everything.
Sometimes they sniff with a great deal of force.
It is possible that what they sniff will go up the nasal tract and get stuck in the nose.
If your dog is constantly sneezing, it is important to bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible, since having a foreign object stuck in the nose can be a serious medical issue.
Dog Sneezing Because Of A Tumor In Their Nose
Your dog may sneeze a lot because they have a tumor in the nasal passage, although this is not particularly common.
If you used to notice occasional sneezing but your dog is sneezing a lot lately, it may be more likely that a tumor is at fault.
As the tumor grows, sneezing will intensify until at a certain point your dog may not be able to sneeze at all because the tumor is completely obstructing the nasal passageway.
Your veterinarian should be able to see into the nasal passageway to identify whether frequent sneezing is caused by a tumor, something stuck in the nose, or another cause.
Dog Sneezing Due To Dental Issues
Your dog may sneeze so much because of dental issues.
If you notice that your dog sneezes a lot, a dental problem probably won’t be your first thought.
However, dental problems that are left untreated for an extended time can cause your dog to sneeze.
The nasal passageway and the mouth are very closely connected, so issues in the teeth, gums, and mouth can also cause problems in the nose.
If dogs have lots of calculus around the base of the teeth, an oronasal fistula that results in significant irritation of the nasal passageway is more likely.
It is important to have your dog’s teeth cleaned regularly, particularly if you have a small breed dog since they are particularly prone to dental issues.
If you notice lots of sneezing and your dog hasn’t had a dental recently, having the teeth checked is a good idea.
Your Dog Could Be Reverse Sneezing
If you notice that your dog keeps sneezing and coughing, but the sound isn’t quite like what you would expect with a normal sneeze, it may be that they are reverse sneezing.
When a dog reverse sneezes, the air goes into the nose instead of out of the nose.
The sound may be more like honking than it is like a classic sneeze.
Dogs often stand still and extend their head and neck while they make a loud snorting sound.
It can last several seconds or up to a minute.
While we aren’t sure exactly what causes reverse sneezing, it usually is not harmful.
Any of the types of irritation that can cause regular sneezing may also result in reverse sneezing.
However, your veterinarian will need to rule out other potential causes of sneezing before diagnosing reverse sneezing in your dog.
It can be very helpful to get a video of the episode to show your vet.
Why Is My Dog Sneezing A Lot?
If your dog has been sneezing a lot, you may find yourself wondering what may be going on to cause all the sneezing.
There are lots of reasons why your dog may be sneezing a lot, some of which are completely normal and others of which may suggest a serious medical problem.
To play it safe, it’s best to get help from your veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog’s sneezing and give your dog something for sneezing if necessary.