You’re going through the usual routine with your pet dog, taking a walk around the block or engaging in some playtime after work, and all of a sudden, your dog is sneezing. It’s the cutest thing, that’s for sure. But then it happens again, and again. Is it something you should worry about? Sneezing is a natural reflex where a sudden outflow of air goes through the nose and lungs, usually in response to irritants in the nasal passages. In a lot of cases, it’s harmless. Your dog is probably just too excited or too happy! But if the sneezing becomes continuous, he may be sneezing for more serious reasons.
Have you ever noticed your dog sneezing while playing with other animals? This is not at all uncommon behavior. As a matter of fact, experts say this is a form of communication and tells you nothing except that they’re having actual fun. If you don’t notice your dog sneezing outside of play, it’s likely that you have nothing at all to worry about.
Reasons Why Dogs Sneeze
Before you do anything, find out for sure what’s causing your dog to sneeze. Your furry pet may be wheezing and sneezing for reasons such as allergies, infection, mites, or a simple nasal congestion. Or, it could be that your dog may not be actually sneezing, but rather making funny sounds like snorting or choking, which could indicate “reverse” sneezing, also an involuntary action meant to expulse any foreign object your dog may have inhaled.
1. Allergies/ Irritants
Like humans, dogs are also prone to allergies. This could be a reason why all of a sudden, your dog is sneezing uncontrollably. Allergies in dogs may be triggered by various factors such as pollen, dust, mold, insect bites, and other irritants. You could usually tell if it’s an allergy from other symptoms like itchiness, coughing or wheezing, and discharge from the eyes and nose.
2. Nasal Blockage
Obstruction in the upper ways may also be causing your dog to sneeze. Some dog breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and terriers are more susceptible to what is called the brachycephalic syndrome, where they are more likely to experience nasal blockage due to their flat faces and short muzzles.
3. Foreign objects
If you’re wondering why all of a sudden, your dog is sneezing non-stop, there’s a good chance that he has inhaled a foreign object that’s stuck inside his nose. This can easily happen if your dog ventures outside for a few minutes unsupervised. Plants like foxtails are notorious for being inhaled by dogs. As long as the object blocking the nasal passages isn’t removed, the sneezing won’t stop.
4. Infectious diseases
Your dog could be sneezing due to an infectious disease in the respiratory system, in which case, you’d want to have him checked up by the vet immediately. Respiratory diseases may be due to bacteria, viruses, or fungus. Coughing, sneezing, and eye and nasal discharge are common signs of an infectious disease.
Parasites or mites that can live inside dogs’ nasal cavities may also be one reason why your dog is sneezing a lot lately. These mites can be passed on through contact with infected dogs. Nasal mites are relatively rare. Some indications include violent sneezing, a bleeding nose, and head shaking.
6. Tooth Disease
Dogs may develop tooth root abscess, wherein the root of the teeth extends through the tissue separating the oral cavity from the nose. Tooth disease can cause inflammation and sneezing.
Nasal tumors can also be the reason why your dog is sneezing uncontrollably. Long-nosed dogs, as well as elderly dogs, are more prone to nasal growth and tumors. Tumors grow only one on side of the nose. If there’s one-sided discharge, have your dog checked by the vet immediately.
What to Do About Non-Stop Sneezing
Once you’ve had an idea on what might be causing your dog to sneeze, these are the things you can do to help give him relief.
1. Let your pet get some rest.
Let your dog take a rest and observe if the sneezing continues. Confine him in a crate, if he has been crate-trained, or a small comfortable space like the bathroom. You might want to hold off long walks and avoid over-exercising during this period.
2. Do a physical checkup.
Is there discharge coming out of your dog’s eyes and nose? Do a thorough check of his nasal cavity for discharge or foreign objects, using a good light source. Check your dog’s temperature. If your pet has a fever, it’s best to take him to the vet as soon as you can.
3. Apply first-aid medication.
Saline nose drops can offer instant relief by moistening dry nasal cavities and getting rid of irritants. For mild allergy symptoms, you can try over-the-counter antihistamines. These usually come in the form of pills or liquid medicine. You can consult your vet for the proper dosage.
4. Take your dog to the vet.
If your dog other symptoms like coughing, fever, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, or discharge along with the sneezing, take him to the vet immediately. The vet will conduct a series of blood tests and if necessary, procedures like radiography and rhinoscopy to see if there are serious respiratory issues that need to be addressed.
All dogs sneeze every now and then, especially if they get excited during playtime or when socializing with other dogs. But when your dog is sneezing uncontrollably for no apparent reason, there might be a more serious cause. If it’s an allergy or a foreign object blocking his nasal cavity, you can offer relief with over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal drops. However, if the sneezing is accompanied by other troublesome symptoms like nose discharge, a fever, itching, loss of appetite and so on, your best bet is to take him to the vet so he can get examined and get treatment as needed.