Why Your Dog Is Sneezing and How To Cure It

Happy and active purebred Welsh Corgi dog outdoors in the flowers on a sunny summer day.

Have you noticed your dog sneezing a lot? Don’t worry. Sneezing isn’t always a sign that your dog is sick. 

Yes, there are times when a dog’s excessive sneezing can be indicative of a health problem. There are also some less severe reasons why your dog might be sneezing. In this article you’ll learn more about the most common reasons for those sneezin’s — and what you can do to relieve that condition. 

Sneezing May Be a Sign of Happiness

Dogs often act in ways that humans find strange when they are giddy or excited. Your dog may sneeze when they are happy. This is a way for them to get rid of some of their excess energy.

If you leave your dog alone for a long time, go on a trip, or bring them their favorite treat, they may get very excited and start to sneeze. Pay attention to when your dog sneezes the most to determine the likely trigger(s). The cause could be something else if they sneeze when they don’t have much energy or exhibit other symptoms along with the sneezing.

If your dog sneezes when they are excited but stops when they calm down, it’s a good sign that your “best friend” is just glad to see you.

Signs of Allergies in Dogs

Just like their owners, dogs sneeze because they have allergies. This can be anything from pollen to dust mites. Allergies that cause itching can either be localized to a single area or cause itching all over the body. If your dog is allergic to something in its immediate environment, it may also have itchy skin, watery eyes, a runny nose, coughing, and wheezing.

If you know your dog’s allergies, avoid those things and use antihistamines or corticosteroids as recommended by your veterinary professional to treat them.

dog prancing through field of flowers

Food Allergies

Dog food allergies are common and can cause mild to severe symptoms. Your dog may be allergic to something in their food if they sneeze or exhibit other allergy symptoms like scratching or excessively licking their paws.

There are a few ways to determine if a dog has a food allergy. Perhaps the best way is for your vet to take a skin prick or blood test to determine if your dog is allergic to food ingredients. In the meantime, give them a different dog food that doesn’t have the same main ingredients.

Some dog foods are hypoallergenic and only have ingredients to which most dogs are not allergic. Be aware that suddenly changing your dog’s food can cause stomach upset or irritation. It is best to switch gradually by adding small amounts of new food to the old food each day. In a few days, your dog can eat the new food on its own without risking an upset stomach. 

If your dog still sneezes after a substantial amount of time has passed with the new food, there may be another cause.

Dr. Magda Szajcz, a British Columbia veterinarian, says her favorite hypoallergenic dog food brand is Kabo’s. She believes it is important to feed a dog healthy, live-promoting foods.

“Allergies can be a complex disease to deal with,” Szajcz confirms. “The good news is that dogs have more options to live their best lives despite having allergies. Like other brands labeled as ‘prescription’ diets, Kabo’s hypoallergenic recipe is available without a veterinary prescription, directly from Kabo. Food can affect the overall health status of a dog, and a quality diet can go a long way in making sure your dog lives a happy, healthy life.”

sneezing dog wearing a red bandana

Your Cleaning Products 

You might not give much thought to the household cleaning products you use every day, but they could contain chemicals that make a dog’s nose itch and cause sneezing.

One of the most common causes of dog allergies is floor cleaners. After all, your dog spends most of their day with their nose close to the floor. They eat from the floor, sleep on it, and many of their toys and bedding are on the floor.

If your dog starts sneezing after you use a particular cleaning product, try switching to an all-natural product, or one made for people with allergies. Keeping your dog’s toys and bed off the floor can also help, regardless of what products you use. 

Laundry Detergent

If your dog sneezes more than usual, it could be due to your laundry detergent. Your dog gets close to your clothes and bedding, which puts them close to your detergent. Some detergents contain ingredients that can cause your canine to have an allergic reaction.

Many laundry detergent brands are made of harsh chemicals that can make a dog’s nose runny and eyes watery. If your dog is frequently sneezing and you’re worried about it, try switching to a natural or hypoallergenic laundry detergent. Ensure your fabric softener and dryer sheets are safe for dogs. Don’t use detergents that have strong smells.

Grooming Supplies

If your dog is sneezing and has a runny nose, it might be because they are allergic to the shampoo or conditioner you use on them. If you’ve also noticed your dog’s skin is dry and itchy, they’re likely allergic to something in their shampoo or conditioner.

Look at their products’ ingredients to help determine what your dog is allergic to. Fragrances, dyes, and preservatives are all common allergens. You might have to try more than one brand before you find one that doesn’t make your dog uncomfortable.

If your dog has a skin reaction to shampoo or conditioner after a bath, rinse the area where the reaction is happening. This will eliminate any allergen leftovers and keep the site from worsening. 

White and grey dog with tongue hanging out

Your Dog’s Breed May Be Prone to Sneezing

Did you know that some types of dogs sneeze more than others? 

Certain breeds’ characteristics cause a likeliness of sneezing, depending on their facial structure and health issues. The technical term, brachycephalic breeds, include pugs, pekinese, bulldogs, and Boston terriers. 

Their unusual facial shape can make it hard for these breeds of dog to breathe, resulting in more frequent sneezing.

Reverse Sneezing 

Reverse sneezing is a condition that causes dogs to quickly breathe in through their noses. This condition is also called “inspiratory paroxysms” or “paroxysmal breathing.” Reverse sneezing may sound scary, but it is not a medical emergency and doesn’t need to be treated.

Reverse sneezing is caused by irritation in the throat or soft palate — the fleshy area at the back of the roof of the mouth. An episode of reverse sneezing usually lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes.

During an attack, your dog might stand still with their head out, and its chest may quickly move upward and downward. Your dog should quickly be back to normal after an episode.

Age Is a Factor

As pets get older, they might start to sneeze more often. This is due to several reasons, including a weakening immune system, environmental changes, and allergies. Most of the time, sneezing is just a normal part of aging for dogs and is nothing to worry about.

Are Changes in the Weather to Blame?

Dogs are just as susceptible to seasonal allergies as humans are. Like human allergies, a dog’s can change with the seasons. In the spring, tree pollen is the main culprit for canine allergies.

Grass and weeds are the main allergens in the summer, while ragweed pollen is the worst culprit for dogs in the fall. Watch out for other allergy symptoms like itchiness, a runny nose, and watery eyes.

Certain plants in your yard or house could make your dog sick. If your dog sneezes after being outside or eating a piece of your indoor plant, do some research to see if that plant is harmful or irritating to dogs.

Sneezing husky laying near pile of yellow and red roses

Nasal Obstruction

Another possible cause of sneezing could be that your dog’s nose is blocked. This can be caused by allergies, foreign objects, and respiratory infections. If your dog sneezes and has other symptoms like a runny nose or watery eyes, it’s very likely due to an allergy. If your dog is sneezing but has no other symptoms, it could have something in its nose, like a blade of grass or a piece of dirt.

Treatment for a blocked nasal passage will depend on what caused it. Shine a light up your dog’s nose to see if you can see anything inside. Depending on the dog, this could be challenging. If the dog is too contrary –or simply too wiggly — you may need to have a vet inspect the nasal passage.

If a dog has something in its nose, it will sneeze, scratch at it, or rub it against its bed or couch. If they look like they’re trying to get something out of their nose, they probably are doing just that!


Dogs can contract various infections that can make them sneeze. Some of these include kennel cough, canine parainfluenza, and canine adenovirus. Each of these infectious diseases is highly contagious and can rapidly spread when dogs are in close proximity to each other.

Kennel cough is a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics. Canine parainfluenza and canine adenovirus are both viral infections that can’t be cured but can be controlled with medication.

If your dog is sneezing, it is essential to allow them to rest and relax to help assist in healing. If one of your dogs has tested positive for canine parainfluenza, keep them away from other dogs or put them in quarantine to stop the disease from spreading. An infected dog will spread this respiratory disease to other dogs in your home for about two weeks after they get sick.

Dental Issues

Dogs often sneeze when they have dental problems. If your dog sneezes, you should look closely at its teeth and gums. If you don’t take proper care of your dog’s teeth, plaque and tartar can build up, which irritates their nose and makes them sneeze.

Start brushing their teeth at home when they are still puppies. This will help them get used to the feel of the toothbrush and the taste of the toothpaste. You can brush your dog’s teeth every day or once every few days, whichever is easier for you (as long as you are consistently doing it). 

Many treats on the market are also made to help clean your dog’s teeth between brushings or professional cleanings. Getting your dog’s teeth cleaned at the vet is another excellent way to ensure they have good oral health. Your vet will also be able to find any problems with your dog’s teeth, fix them, and work on ways to keep them from happening in the future.

Sneezing dog with red and blue collar

Nasal Mites 

These tiny parasites without wings are hard to see with the naked eye, but they can cause a lot of trouble for your dog. Nasal mites are one of the most common reasons dogs sneeze, and it can be tough to get rid of them. 

If your dog is sneezing more than usual, look into it. Nasal mites are tiny, round parasites that live in the nose and feed on the blood of their host. Most of the time, these mites live on puppies and young dogs, but they can infect dogs of any age.

Nasal mites can cause dogs to sneeze, snort, reverse sneeze, and have discharge from their nose. These mites can cause anemia and even death in the worst cases.

Nasal Tumors

Nasal tumors are a common reason why dogs may frequently sneeze. The most prominent sign of a nasal tumor is sneezing, but other symptoms can include nasal discharge, nosebleeds, and facial pain.

When a vet does a physical exam, they can feel a lump in the nose or throat if there is a tumor. Nose or throat tumors are very dangerous and must be surgically removed. Nasal tumors can be either benign or malignant, but both can cause your dog a lot of trouble.

Usually, you can’t find these tumors on your own unless they are in an advanced stage. Don’t rule this out as a possibility just because you don’t see a tumor. 

Before jumping to the conclusion that your pup has a tumor, consider the likely causes discussed above to narrow down the possibilities. If your dog just started sneezing a lot, it may not be time to worry. If your dog continues to sneeze often and starts to show other signs, it will be time to take them to the vet to rule out any possible problems.

Dogs Talk to Each Other by Sneezing

Dogs communicate in many ways besides barking, snorting, or whining. Sneezing is a unique way for a dog to show how they feel.

When your dog is stressed or anxious, it may sneeze to release this energy, helping them feel more comfortable. Pay attention to their body language. If they seem restricted or on the defense, additional sneezing may be a stress response. 

Try to make your dog feel comfortable by working with them. Don’t introduce them to new dogs or people in a way that might make them feel uneasy. If your dog sneezes when it meets a new person or dog but acts aloof, it’s likely because it’s nervous or showing signs of being defensive.

If your dog sneezes a lot at the dog park, it could be because they are nervous or overly excited. To fix the problem, try taking your dog to the park at a different time when there are fewer dogs, or try going to a different dog park that isn’t as busy. 

White dog sneezing while smelling flowers

When To Take Your Dog to the Vet

You should keep an eye on your dog if they start sneezing or if the sneezing doesn’t stop. If your dog only sneezes now and then, it’s probably nothing to worry about, and they need to rest. If your dog is sneezing and has a runny nose, watery eyes, or a fever, you should take them to the vet.

Monitor Your Dog’s Sneezes

Dogs play outside, lick dirty surfaces, and interact with other animals. This makes it easy for them to catch a bug or non-serious cold, or have exposure to allergens. Frequently, dogs may develop symptoms such as sneezing without much of a reason at all.

Don’t be alarmed the next time you notice your canine companion having a sneezing fit. Your dog could be experiencing seasonal allergies and may need to spend some time inside. If you’ve changed your dog food recently, check the ingredients to see if you’ve introduced any new foods into their diet. If the sneezing persists, examine their nasal passages and see if you can identify any obstructions. 

Monitor your dog throughout the day, and see if anything changes. While most cases of sneezing require no medical attention, it’s important to reach out to your vet if the problem persists or if other symptoms accompany the sneezing. If there are no other symptoms accompanying the sneezes, find a way to help your dog relax or drink some water.

Your pup is your family, and it’s crucial that families stay healthy and happy!

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