Dogs sneeze for many reasons, just like humans, but sometimes dogs get going with their sneezing, and we dog parents wonder why is my dog sneezing so much?
Just because your dog sneezes, it does not mean there is something wrong. Your dog might be ill, but it is just as likely they are reacting to allergens or sneezing as a way to communicate during play.
Why Is My Dog Sneezing? Allergies Impact Dogs, Too
As odd as it may sound, dogs can have problems with allergies just like humans. Dogs react to airborne allergens by sneezing. However, if you wonder why is my dog sneezing so much, you will notice other symptoms that indicate a problem.
For example, your dog might scratch a lot because they are itchy either all over their bodies or in a specific area.
Also, respiratory symptoms might include wheezing and discharge from the nose or even the eyes.
Common allergies in dogs include fleas, mold spores, dust mites, pollens, and skin cells. Also, if you just started your dog on a new medication, there may be an allergy associated with the meds.
A trip to the vet can expose the reasons behind excessive dog sneezes.
Is It Really a Sneeze?
Sometimes dog owners ask why is my dog sneezing when the dog is actually producing a snort or wheezing.
This sound happens a lot if a dog is overweight because the added weight makes it challenging to breathe.
However, if there is an obstruction in a dog’s nose, they will make that sound. In this case, you need to bring your pup to the vet to have it checked out, especially if your dog does not have a short muzzle and is a healthy weight.
What Is a Reverse Sneeze?
Dogs do this odd thing called a reverse sneeze. Small breeds tend to reverse sneeze, as do dogs with short muzzles.
When a dog has a reverse sneeze, the air is sucked in through the nose really fast and loudly. It sounds like a honk or an odd laugh. A reverse sneeze is normal for many dogs, so it is nothing to worry about.
Why Is My Dog Sneezing? When To Worry
There are times your dog’s excessive sneezing is something to notice. If a dog has an infected tooth or infected gums, it may sneeze a lot. In some cases, dental issues cause sinus cavity issues. If you suspect your dog has dental problems, a visit to the vet is in order.
Related Read: What Happens if My Dog Has Poor Oral Hygiene?
If you notice your dog is struggling to breathe, is bleeding from their nose, or if you see your dog is scratching and pawing at their nose, head to the vet right away.
If you see your dog sneezing blood, the trip to the vet needs to be right away.
There are several reasons why your dog’s nose is bleeding and sneezing. First, Fido could have something lodged in the nose.
Grass awns are a common culprit of bloody sneezes. Grass awns are stiff-bristled and barbed grass seeds and are hard to find. These culprits are common in tall grass. If one of these gets up your dog’s nose, it needs removal by a vet.
Also, if your dog has a bacterial infection or a fungal disease, bloody sneezes could happen.
Lastly, and we do not mean to alarm you, nasal tumors are not uncommon, so you must pay close attention to what is coming out of your dog’s nose when it sneezes.
A Word On Nasal Infections
Usually, when a dog has an upper respiratory infection, they tend to wheeze or cough rather than sneeze.
However, if the sneezing will not stop or the sneezing goes along with coughing and wheezing, please see a vet.
Sometimes nasal infections happen when a dog inhales fungus from grass, hay, or even dust.
If you notice the sneezing goes along with a discharge of some sort, this is a sign you need to visit your vet, as well.
Why Is My Dog Sneezing So Much: What About Medications?
Before you give your dog medications to help with sneezing, it is best to contact your vet first.
Ideally, it would help if you sorted out the cause of the sneezing before medicating the sneeze. At the same time, many human medications are suitable for dogs because there are weight requirements and off-limit medications.
Your vet is an excellent source for figuring out what is wrong and helping you decide on a medication course of action.
Why Is My Dog Sneezing so Much During Play?
- Amer. Coll. of Veterinary Behaviorists (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 384 Pages - 01/06/2015 (Publication Date) - Mariner Books (Publisher)
When your dog is playing, you may notice Fido snorting and sneezing. The good news is this is normal dog behavior.
Dogs communicate with their whole body, and when they play, they tend to get excited. In fact, recent research shows that wild dogs sneeze to communicate with their pack, which is fascinating.
One way of communicating with other dogs while playing is to sneeze. The sneeze is a reminder saying, “Hey, before things get crazy, let’s remember we are just playing.”Also, sneezing during play is known to be an invitation to play and avoid conflict.
In addition, dogs have sensitive noses. Therefore, when they get worked up and excited, they wrinkle their nose. Nose wrinkling tickles, and your dog might sneeze.
If you notice your dog sneezes only when playing, you can chalk it up to doggy fun.
What Are You Saying?
Dogs have many other ways by which to communicate with one another, as well.
Dogs are social by nature, and before dogs became domestic pets, they traveled and cooperated in packs. In order to successfully thrive, dogs had to communicate with one another. Also, dogs do not just communicate to hunt and survive; they do so to resolve conflicts.
A lot of the quirky ways dogs communicate seem obvious, but if you really think about it, dogs are clever enough to figure out a way to intentionally communicate with humans, and that is amazing.
It’s all in the nose
When dogs first meet each other, they sniff both the muzzle and the back end of one another.
While this seems odd to humans, it is perfectly reasonable for dogs.
Dogs have an organ in their nasal cavity that is special enough to detect a load of information. For instance, when they sniff each other, they learn gender, if breeding is a possibility, and a whole host of other things.
Noticing how dogs communicate is helpful for humans because when we pay attention to our dogs, we can differentiate between normal dog behavior and when our dog is hurt, in pain, or ill.
Also, we can prevent destructive behaviors from dogs when we learn their language and work to communicate with them.
- Hardcover Book
- Chin, Lili (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Furthermore, dogs communicate with their bodies as well.
For instance, we may think of a tail wag as the ultimate friendly signal, but that is not necessarily so. If your dog is wagging its tail but seems tense and the ears are pointed forward, that tells a story of a dog that is very alert.
If the dog’s ears point back, they might be feeling stress. If you look at the eyes and all the body language, you might notice a hard stare of a soft gaze.
All of these nonverbal cues combine to tell us what our dog is thinking and feeling.
Why are you barking? No one is there
There are several reasons why a dog barks. In our house, we have an old lady dog who barks menacingly at leaves that have the audacity to float past our window.
Dogs use their bark to communicate, and the barks have different meanings.
A dog can change the pitch of its bark, the quiet between barks, and the number of barks in a row. In all cases, the barks signal a different meaning.
If the bark is on the lower side, the dog is taking a serious tone. If the bark is a higher pitch, your dog is likely excited to play or thrilled to see you.
In the case of our old lady dog, the steady stream of loud and low barks at literally anything that catches her interest outside is an alarm to warn us of our imminent death.
- Abrantes, Roger (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 264 Pages - 12/01/1997 (Publication Date) - Dogwise Publishing (Publisher)
Take a bow
If you ever watched dogs play, you might notice dogs bowing to one another. They keep their back ends up, but front legs go down. The body language and relaxed and happy face tell other dogs and us they want to play.
If you pay close attention, you may notice the dogs are still right before one of the dogs performs a bow. It is a signal to one another that the shenanigans are all in good fun.
The bow signals play with wolf pups, as well.
It is all in the paws
We have an eight-month-old puppy, and he paws on us all the time.
While he is still a puppy, he is over 70 pounds with giant paws. Therefore, the pawing stands out, especially if his nails are untrimmed.
Pawing is a very normal way for dogs to communicate and to ask for attention. Now, you can pay attention to your dog every time they paw for your attention, but then you teach them that the pawing will always elicit a response.
When dogs place their paw on one another, it is a way to signal it is playtime.
Mouthing vs. biting
You might notice two dogs playing and appearing to bite one another. Our old-lady dog and the puppy do this a lot, and at first, it was concerning.
However, when dogs mouth one another during play, it is normal dog behavior. We came to terms with what we call ‘rawr-rawr’ time when our dogs play.
Mouthing during play mimics fighting but without serious biting. Sometimes playing like this gets out of hand, and you might hear a yelp and see a pause in the playing. This action is how dogs communicate, “hey, that hurt.” It is in this way dogs learn to be more gentle.
You can tell when play fighting becomes more aggressive because the dog’s body will go from relaxed to stiff and the muzzle pulls back to show the teeth.
- training field calm aggressive behavior
- Rugaas, Turid (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Play with me
You might notice some curious behaviors when your dog is asking you to play. For instance, if your dog rams or tucks its head under you or an object, it probably wants your attention to play.
Also, they might not just stop with their head but instead try to crawl entirely under you or a body part to prompt you to give some playful attention.
Lastly, if your dog gives you a paw or touches you with their paw, they definitely want your attention.
In our home, the old lady dog is content to lay on the couch and bark at leaves, so she wants to be left alone. However, the puppy wants all the pets.
If you see your dog is rolling onto their side or their back showing you their chest and tummy, your dog wants some pets. Also, your dog might push their body up and under your hand or leg to force you to pet them whether you consent to the petting or not.
You may see Fido pressing their face or nose into your body as well, indicating they want attention in the form of petting and snuggles.
Furthermore, if they lick you repeatedly, they want the same thing.
Why Is My Dog Sneezing and Other Curiosities
There are multiple reasons why your dog might sneeze. In some cases, your dog may not feel well or be dealing with an irritant or allergies.
Sometimes dogs do a reverse sneeze or are just wheezing or snorting. However, if you notice a discharge from the nose, including mucus or blood, you need to see a vet right away.
But more often than not, your dog is just playing or trying to communicate with you or another dog.
Dogs have several ways to communicate with one another and humans, and if we are paying close enough attention, we can figure out what our dogs want and need.
How does your dog ask for attention? Let us know in the comments below.
Last update on 2024-02-28 at 10:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API