Why does my dog keep sneezing? (8 most common causes)

If your dog keeps sneezing, it can be quite worrying. This could be a symptom of many conditions and illnesses. Read here to find out more about dog sneezing.
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Sneezing in dogs is a natural process, but it may sometimes seek your attention and become a matter of concern if your dog keeps sneezing for an unnatural duration. 

Moreover, several reasons are out there that bring about sneezing in your furry fellows. 

You have to distinguish between communicative or playful sneezing versus the one that witnesses some underlying diseased condition. 

There are a variety of possible causes for sneezing in dogs, including allergies, a foreign body in the nose, a sinus infection, a nasal tumor, a respiratory infection, and a few others. Since there are a variety of possible causes, it is important to first have the dog seen to determine what is actually causing the sneezing.

Here I’ll tell you what could be the possible causes of sneezing and when to worry.

Why Does My Dog Keep Sneezing?

dog keeps sneezing - my dog is sneezing a lot

There are several reasons for sneezing in dogs, but the most important, simple, and ordinary cause is the presence of something in the nose that irritates. Therefore, the irritation triggers the local nerves to stimulate a nervous response in return. 

The nervous system depicts its response by signaling for sneezing mechanisms to the respiratory system. 

The most important foreign bodies that bring about irritation include:

  • Dust
  • Aerosol
  • Pollens
  • Grass blade
  • Dirt
  • Small leaf

Moreover, sneezing in dogs may indicate some obstructions of the local nasal passages by mucus that turns out as a nasal plug. 

Likewise, if your dog keeps sneezing for a considerable duration and occurs off and on, it may be an indication of allergies. 

Such allergies may result from:

  • Airborne allergens
  • Food allergies
  • Nasal infections
  • Nasal mites

Furthermore, excessive sneezing in dogs is not taken for granted as it tells that things are not as simple as they seem. 

There might be the possibility of some abnormal growths inside the nasal cavity that need immediate intervention and treatments.

These abnormal growths may be due to:

  • Nasal tumors
  • Nasal polyps
  • Cancers

At times, sneezing in dogs may be a sign of playfulness and excitement. This is the same way a dog manifests his excitement by barking or tail wagging. A pet parent can easily figure out such a situation. 

Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Sneezing

1. Communication

It is common for you to observe your dog sneezing while having fun during playtime or meeting with a new person or another dog. 

These play sneezes seem to indicate a way of communication by dogs.

The question is, why do dogs exhibit their excitement by sneezing?

The definite answer needs more research, but according to some experts, it is just a gesture towards being free of any threat and indicating a positive attitude. 

Play-sneezing is something that shows a dog’s cheerfulness and neglects to have any negative intentions. For instance, during a play-fight, if your dog sneezes, he claims that everything is ok.   

Many canine behaviorists support the notion that play-sneezing is not only for humans that signals a good attitude. It is also a way of communication with other dogs showing friendliness. 

So, till now, you have got my point that sneezing is sometimes nothing but the indication of a happy dog. Even some dogs are in the habit of fake sneezes to seek your attention to have playtime.

On close observation, you can easily distinguish between a play sneeze and a real one. Always keep in mind that the play-sneeze is relatively shallow than that of an actual sneeze.

2. Irritants

You might remember several types of substances and smells that made you sneeze someday. Ground pepper, for instance, is a potential source of triggering sneezes in most people. 

The chemical composition of this ingredient makes it stimulate a sneeze reflex.

In certain dogs, just like humans, sneezing merely occurs whenever they are exposed to irritants. You might wonder to know that a dog has almost ten thousand times more sense of smell than a human. 

So, what would you expect from your dog regarding the detection of irritants? 

In fact, they would detect irritants that you even can’t notice. Therefore, irritants may bring about sneezing episodes in your dog.

Here I’ve mentioned some irritants that can make your dog sneeze.

Common irritants that cause dogs to sneeze:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Small particles
  • Strong smell
  • Perfume

3. Nasal Blockage

If your dog keeps sneezing for a longer duration that suddenly turns out to be an unnatural sneezing episode, this might be due to some physical object in your dog’s nose rather than small particles in the air. 

Moreover, dogs possess a habit of keeping on sniffing whatever comes their way. They do because it is in dogs’ instinct to explore their surroundings by sniffing whatever sparks their interests.

The major downside of this habit charges them to inhale something accidentally that brings about irritation. Consequently, such physical objects lead to disturbing the nasal passage and trigger a sneezing reflex. 

The sneezing reflex generates automatically to expel any foreign object out from the airway passage. Some important foreign objects are:

  • A clump of dirt
  • A tiny blade of grass
  • A grain of sand

Sometimes, the object is too large to be expelled by sneezing. In such conditions, the airway may get blocked by such an object. 

Your dog, in such a situation, needs assistance to get rid of severe irritation and sneezing.  

In veterinary terminology, they call it foreign body blockage. You need to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible in such conditions. 

Symptoms of Foreign Nasal Blockage:

If your dog keeps sneezing because of foreign body blockage, specific symptoms will help you out to make a confirmatory diagnosis:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Pawing at his face
  • Pawing at the nose

4. Allergies

Allergies are also common in dogs, just like humans, and they may exhibit it by sneezing. Certain types of allergens are out there that cause allergies in dogs, including:

  • Fleas (flea saliva)
  • Mold spores
  • Mites
  • Pollens

Moreover, your dog may inherit some food born allergies that are another leading cause of allergies in dogs. Certain food ingredients and medication end up as allergic reactions in particular dogs. 

Sometimes, dogs are prone to seasonal allergies, much similar to humans. One of the ordinary types of seasonal allergy in dogs is hay fever

So, keep patience AND LOOK for the GENUINE sneezing reason. 

Furthermore, don’t forget to consider the other prevailing symptoms of allergies in dogs in addition to sneezing. Several other indications will confirm that your dog is suffering from allergies.

Some common symptoms of dog allergies are:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing
  • Excessive sneezing

However, it is also believed that allergies in dogs do not necessarily include respiratory reactions and sneezing only. 

There are other things too that will likely occur in such a condition. It includes:

  • Skin allergies
  • Itching

5. Nasal Mites

A typical canine nasal mite known as Penumonyssoides caninum is reported worldwide to affect dogs of all ages and breeds. According to one report, dogs older than three years and large breeds are more prone to nasal mite infestation. Moreover, the transmission is by either direct or indirect contact between dogs. 

These nasal mites harbor the nasal sinuses and call forth severe irritation along with excessive sneezing. 

Several symptoms are associated with a nasal infestation that helps in confirmation:

  • Bleeding nose
  • Sneezing
  • Facial itching
  • Inability to sense smells
  • Nasal discharge
  • Head shaking
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Labored breathing
  • Noisy and high-pitched breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Coughing
  • Collapse

So, if you observe your dogs keep sneezing for a considerable duration with the signs mentioned above, you would think about mites and call your vet ASAP.

Fortunately, the diagnosis of this deadly parasitic infestation is easy by your vet, and by providing proper and timely medication, you can save your dog from unpleasant consequences. 

6. Viral Infections

It may surprise you, but dogs are at the same risk of getting common colds as humans. For instance, the influenza virus to dogs is the same as the flu to us. Therefore, your best friend may get sick because of viral infections.

Viral infections in dogs are contagious, which means these viruses can spread from one dog to the other or even between dogs and cats

So, such infections are another cause of sneezing in dogs with many other symptoms. 

Some crucial symptoms of canine colds are:

  • Watery eyes 
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing

However, the influenza virus shares the same symptoms with the addition of lethargy and fever in dogs. Don’t forget to consider sneezing alongside these viral infections. 

Furthermore, dogs’ other important viral disease is brought about by the canine distemper virus exhibited by a congested or running nose.

This virus is a leading cause of sneezing in dogs with other symptoms. These include:

  1. Running nose
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Sneezing
  5. Salivation
  6. Weight loss

Whenever you doubt whether your dog is suffering from viral infections or not, it will be better for you to call a vet immediately to catch symptoms timely for prompt treatment. 

7. Tumors 

Breathing problems in dogs may occur because of abnormal growths inside your dog’s nose that are accompanied by airways obstruction and sneezing as well. These abnormal growths are tumors.

Nasal tumors in dogs are followed by several other respiratory and neurological symptoms apart from sneezing. 

Some of them are as common as foreign body obstructions, while others reflect tumors:

  1. Nasal discharge
  2. Coughing
  3. Nosebleeds (or mucus plus blood)
  4. Weight loss
  5. Lethargy
  6. Noisy breathing
  7. Neurological signs

Luckily, the incidence of tumor formation in dogs accounts for less than 1%, which means a few dogs are at risk of getting nasal tumors and cancers. 

However, several environmental factors augmented their occurrence in dogs; thus, your dog keeps sneezing for an unusual period. 

Such environmental factors include:

  • Living in a polluted environment (urban environment)
  • Breathing in the passive or second-hand smoke area

8. Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome

Alongside certain viral infections, genetic factor is also another way to predispose breathing difficulties thus sneezing in particular dog breeds. 

Besides sneezing, other conditions like snoring and noisy breathing are also common to observe in brachycephalic dog breeds. 

Moreover, brachycephalic dogs have small snouts that result from their specific genetic makeup, thus imposing breathing problems. 

If you are adopting such a breed, you must make your mind to experience snoring and sneezing routine processes. 

Therefore, such breathing problems are common in the brachycephalic breed, thus named brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome. 

More than 24 breeds fall in this category; out of them, some are mentioned here:

  • Pugs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Shih Tzus
  • English Bulldogs
  • Boxers

Although one of the obvious characteristics of this syndrome is frequent sneezing, there are other symptoms too. These include:

  • Loud and labored breathing
  • Shallow breathing patterns
  • Narrowed nostrils
  • Reverse sneezing

Dog Sneezing: When to Concern and What to Watch For

Sneezing in dogs is not something new and alarming until it does not last for a considerable length of time and is accompanied by other respiratory symptoms

Furthermore, if your dog keeps sneezing with a nasal discharge, nasal bleeding, and labored breathing, it is the clear-cut indication of something terrible undergoing on. 

Therefore, don’t waste your time making self-based diagnoses and doing medication on your own; it would be wise to take your furry fellow to a veterinarian immediately. 

Here I will show you some important conditions that are common in dogs, along with sneezing at times. 

1. Dog Sneezing and Coughing

If your best friend is sneezing along with coughing and related respiratory symptoms, it will indicate the presence of some severe underlying disease

What would you expect from it? 

The possible causes of such a condition may include:

2. Dog Sneezing and Wheezing

Another commonly observed condition in dogs is the occurrence of sneezing along with wheezing. Always keep in mind that this condition does not happen in dogs but the involvement of lungs too

Therefore, you need a veterinary visit to get further details. The common causes of dog’s wheezing include respiratory issues like asthma.

3. Dog Sneezing With Blood

The presence of blood in your dog’s nasal discharge is an accurate indication of something worse going on inside nasal passages. 

Therefore, don’t take it lightly and contact your vet to rule out:

  • Nasal tumors
  • Foreign bodies
  • Fungal infections 
  • Bacterial infections

How to Treat and Stop a Dog That Keeps Sneezing

Several reasons are there that bring about sneezing in your dog. Some of these causes are not serious and don’t require further treatments. 

However, in some instances, dog sneezing is something more than pollen and smoke allergies.

You can try Benadryl, a human product, to provide some relief to your best friend from intense itching and discomforts.  

It would be better to consult a local veterinarian before attempting any self-treatment to avoid complications.


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When Do Dogs Keep Sneezing?

You can find your dog sneezing for quite a long duration to expel some foreign bodies and irritants that are accidentally inhaled into their nostrils. Sometimes, nasal mites and common allergens like pollens and a grass blade may lead to keeping your dog sneezing.   

When to Take My Sneezing Dog to The Vet?

Occasional sneezing in dogs is quite normal; however, if your dog keeps sneezing violently, excessively, and uncontrollably with other symptoms like fever, nasal discharge with bleeding, and labored breathing, it would be better to take him to the vet.

What to Do When My Dog Keeps Sneezing?

If your sneezing dog appears normal without any other respiratory and neurological symptoms, you need not bother over it. However, the occurrence of nasal bleeding, nasal discharge, lethargy, and fever require a quick veterinary visit. 

Can a Dog Get Nasal Infections?

Nasal infections in dogs like sinusitis and sinus infections are reported. However, the incidents of these infections are more common in small dogs compared to large ones. Moreover, certain types of bacterial, fungal, and viral nasal infections are also occurring worldwide.  

How to Treat a Dog That Keeps Sneezing?

You can attempt to blow your best friend’s face along with gentle throat massaging. This would help to ease spasms and stimulate the swallowing reflex. However, to rule out the other leading and underlying causes, it would be best to take your dog to a local vet.   


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Sneezing is a slow natural process in your best friend until it may not get worse by other underlying causes. 

If your fido keeps sneezing for a length of time, it would need your attention. 

Sneezing in dogs results from several causes including irritants, nasal blockage, allergies, tumors, nasal mites, infections, or a simple means of communication.

However, dog sneezing is also accompanied by other relative conditions like wheezing, snorting, and nasal bleeding. 

On observing such conditions, one thing must hurry to your mind that things are going out of hands. Therefore, make a hurried trip towards your vet for treatment.

I hope you like reading this blog; for more queries, you can email me, and don’t forget to share it with friends.   

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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