Dog Sneezing? What’s Making Fido’s Honker Honk?

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brown dog sneezing in forest

Did you know that African Wild Dog packs sneeze as a way to cast a vote? Yes, it’s true! Researchers have observed these animals and realized that the dogs used sneezes to come to a group decision to move off and hunt. Perhaps your canine is using their dog sneezing as a form of communication, or maybe it’s just something in the air…

My Dog Keeps Sneezing! Is it Cute or Concerning?

Watching your little pup have sneezing fits might be adorable. But when does this involuntary action need more attention than a “bless you”?

There are Many Answers to the Question: Why is My Dog Sneezing a Lot?

From the common cold, allergies, playful achoos or diseases, your doggo’s sneeze could signal something more threatening than a little dust. While we do not want pet owners to panic, they need to know that sneezing can be a symptom of bigger problems. Or it could mean nothing at all. Know when you need to pay attention! 

Play Time! Why Do Dogs Sneeze When They Play?

Wagging their tail and sneezing – what a way to show excitement! Most common in small breed dogs, “play sneezing” is normal. Pet owners know that dogs are the best at body language, and “play sneezing” is just that. Experts believe that it is a way for them to communicate playful banter. If your dog sneezes when greeting other pups at the park, or while waiting for a treat, then there is probably no reason for concern. It’s just cute.

Dogs Sneezing in Spring: Pesky Allergies!

Ah, springtime: fresh air, blossoms on the trees, pollen floating on the breeze…tissues, red eyes, allergies! Unfortunately, your four-legged friend isn’t exempt from the irritation of seasonal allergies. Sneezing may be one of the symptoms of this for dogs. But, most allergic reactions manifest themselves through skin conditions and itchy patches on the skin or paws. Nasal discharge, leaky eyes or localized inflammation can also display that your pet has an allergy.

fluffy white dog keeps sneezing

My Dog is Sneezing! Perhaps There’s Something in His Honker!

Much like humans, the most common reason for sneezing is to expel an irritant from the nasal passage. Foreign bodies can find their way into your buddy’s nose if he’s been digging in the garden. Common culprits are grass, bugs, nasal mites, foxtail burs, or even food. If your furry friend is sneezing a lot, scratching their nose, pawing at it and seeming irritated, chances are they’re trying to get something out! If bleeding occurs, get a veterinarian to intervene.

Can Dogs Get Colds? Absolutely!

Unfortunately, your furball can contract the common cold or canine influenza. It is important to track your dog’s symptoms so that you can help them in the best way possible. Rest, fluids, natural remedies and time are the best way to help your pet to recover.

That Dog Runny Nose is a Sign: Dog Cold Symptoms

If you think man-flu is bad, imagine a sad pup with a runny nose and those sad, pleading eyes. Symptoms of the common cold are similar to those in humans and include dog sneezing, a runny nose, leaky eyes, fever and general lack of energy.

A cold is the least of your worries as there are serious infections and diseases to look out for:

  • The Parainfluenza Virus causes kennel cough and is highly contagious. The most common symptom is found in the name, and dog sneezing is unlikely to be one of them.
  • A Nasal Aspergillosis infection is a fungal infection caused by common mold in dust, straw, grass clippings and hay. Dogs with long heads and noses are more susceptible to this infection. The symptoms include dog sneezing, bleeding from the nose, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
  • Canine Distemper Virus is a viral disease, like the measles virus in humans. Older dogs and young pups with weak immune systems are the most likely victims. Symptoms to look out for include: dog sneezing, coughing, thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Make sure your pet has received the vaccine against this virus.
  • Periodontal disease (gum disease) in dogs can cause sneezing as the third upper premolar has roots close to the nasal passages. More obvious symptoms would be bleeding and swollen gums, trouble eating, and bad breath.
  • Nasal Tumours are common in dogs with long snouts. Dog sneezing can be a symptom of a nasal tumor, as well as chronic discharge from the nose.

reverse sneezing dog lying on grass

What is Dog Reverse Sneezing?

Well, it’s not sneezing at all! Where sneezing expels air, reverse sneezing sucks it in. This leads to a weird honking noise as the air is sucked into your dog’s airways and can often sound like choking or gagging. Don’t panic! Remain calm until the episode of reverse sneezing ends and Fido is breathing normally.

Potential Reasons for Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

A spasm of the throat and soft palet is what causes reverse sneezing. Dogs who reverse sneeze usually have a trigger: sudden temperature changes, excitement, exercise intolerant, tight collar, irritants in the environment, etc. Reverse sneezing can last a few seconds or up to two minutes. It is harmless and causes no long term damage once it has subsided. 

Pete the Pug Simply Has Narrow Airways!

Dog breeds with short muzzles are known as Brachycephalic breeds. This includes breeds such as Pugs, PekingeseBull MastiffsChow ChowsBulldogsShih Tzus, and more. Their short airways make them more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections and reactions to environmental irritants. As a result, they tend to sneeze a lot more than other breeds. Take care of your dog’s health and make sure they do not become overweight to help keep the sneezing at bay.

sneezing dog lying on bed

Take Fido to the Vet if the Sneezing Gets Worse

If your dog struggles with chronic sneezing then it would be a good idea to visit your local vet. Uncontrollable sneezing may be a warning sign. Pet Insurance, such as Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, can lighten the financial load so that you can rest assured that you’ll be able to make that trip to the vet. 

Pay attention to the furry member of your family. Their sneeze may be harmless, but if coupled with other symptoms or if you are concerned, don’t risk their health by blowing it off.

Common Questions on Dog Sneezing:

Do dogs sneeze when they are happy?

What are the symptoms of nasal cancer in dogs?

Can a dog die from reverse sneezing?

Is my dog sneezing because of allergies?

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