Why My Dog is Sneezing A Lot

Did you notice your dog sneezing a lot? It could be normal as well as a reason to be worried for a pet parent. There could be various causes of dog sneezing. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish the normal dog sneezing from the sneezing that indicates a serious underlying health problem.

In this blog post, you will learn about causes, possible types, prevention, and the time to consult your vet in case of dog sneezing.

What Is Dog Sneezing?

Normally, the dogs sneeze to clear their nasal passages. It can be physiological or triggered by various factors. Nature’s designed mechanism of sneezing in dogs is beneficial for them in either of the two scenarios. If you observe too much sneezing in your dog, it could be a health hazard.

Reasons for sneezing too much

Some of the reasons for your dog sneezing a lot are briefly explained below:

  • Nasal infection: A major cause of sneezing in dogs can be upper respiratory tract infections. These can be fungal or viral infections. In case of infections, more serious signs and symptoms may appear such as coughing, loss of appetite, and bloody nasal discharge
  • Infected tooth or tooth decay: Infected tooth or tooth decay may also lead to sneezing a lot in a dog because the long roots of some teeth are extended up to the nasal passage. So, there can be a spread of infection from teeth to nasal passage
  • Allergies: Too much sneezing in a dog can indicate an underlying allergy. It can be seasonal, environmental, or food allergy. It can be an allergy to allergens such as pollen and dust. In addition to sneezing other signs of allergy such as licking and scratching fur and watery eyes
  • Nasal mites: Small bugs or insects called nasal mites can cause too much sneezing in dogs. These are transmitted through the rubbing of the nose in dirt or mud by dogs. These cause severe inflammation and irritation. In this case, bloody or thick nasal discharge can be seen
  • Foreign Particles: Sometimes, unfamiliar foreign bodies for example sticks, thorns, Swatches of fabric, or blades of grass may get into your dog’s nasal passage. These cause severe irritation, discomfort, and sneezing

Possible Types of Dog Sneezing

The sneezing in dogs can be divided into two possible categories. These are explained below

Play Sneezing:

It is a source of communication in dogs. They sneeze while playing to show their playmate that they are not being aggressive. It’s also a sign of feeling playful, excited, or happy. This “fake sneeze” is your dog’s way of telling that they are having fun. There is no need to worry if your dog is sneezing while playing.

Reverse Sneezing?

Dog reverse sneezing refers to a very strange sound produced by a dog due to any obstruction, irritation, or swelling in the mouth. This sound often resembles honking or sneezing. It occurs in response to inflammation, irritants, or sometimes excitement.

This action seems very odd and unusual but it removes the source of discomfort from the dog’s nasal passage. The reflex action causes rapid inhalation of air through the nose. A Reverse sneeze may take around thirty seconds or more.

There is no need to worry in case of a single or a very few infrequent episodes but if your dog has multiple episodes of reverse sneezing then you should consult your Vet.


Why Brachycephalic Dogs are more affected by Sneezing?

Excessive Dog sneezing can develop in any breed and age of dogs. But the dogs that belong to a brachycephalic group of breeds for example bulldogs, Pugs and boxers are more prone to it. Their nostrils are narrower and shorter which puts them at a high risk of sneezing, reverse sneezing, and respiratory tract infections. If your flat-faced dog is going through excessive sneezing, you should speak to your vet

What to do if Your Dog is sneezing a Lot?

If your dog is sneezing a lot, you can take one or more of the following steps explained below

  • Home Remedies: Too much Sneezing and bad upper respiratory tract can be cured to some extent by running a hot shower. Let the dog breathe in steam to clear respiratory passages. Applying a cool mist humidifier in the room where your dog sleeps can be helpful for better quality sleep in cases of congestion and sneezing
  • Interim Medications before visiting the Vet: In cases of excessive sneezing, your dog’s immune system can be supported by giving them Immune-boosting supplements. Allergy supplements are very helpful in alleviating allergic sneezing.
  • OTC Drugs: You might think that over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as Benadryl may help provide some relief but these should never be used before consulting a Vet.

When to Consult Your Vet

Infrequent cases of sneezing in dogs are usually not a concern but too much sneezing accompanied by other symptoms needs consultation from a Vet.

You must consult your Vet if you observe:

  • Persisting frequent sneezing
  • Sneezing blood
  • A recurrent cough
  • Your dog suffering from signs of allergy for example scratching, itching, and licking
  • Thick mucoid or bloody discharge from the nose
  • Elevated body temperature and sneezing with other symptoms related to the respiratory tract
  • Loss of appetite

Preventive Measures

Here are some preventive measures to keep your dog safe from suffering through too much sneezing:

  • Regularly Cleaning the home environment plus Bedding and toys
  • Monitoring and reducing the exposure to known irritants and allergens
  • Maintaining a healthy diet for your dog particularly if it belongs to a brachycephalic group of breeds
  • Regular Check-ups from Vet who are professionally experienced in case of Dog allergy and respiratory system illness
  • Ensuring that your dog has been vaccinated to prevent infectious diseases that lead to sneezing and other respiratory symptoms.


Although dog sneezing is a natural phenomenon, too much sneezing in your dog can indicate an underlying disease. The first important thing is to understand the cause of dog sneezing. It can be due to infections, allergies, nasal mites, or due to foreign particles entangled in the nose or nostrils. It is to be remembered that playful sneezing is an indication of enjoyment by your dog. Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pubs require more serious attention in cases of sneezing a lot. Reverse sneezing is due to rapid inhalation of air by the nose. Its sound resembles sneezing or honking. Frequent episodes must be consulted with a Vet



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