dog sneezing guide | Pupford

Dog Sneezing Guide

Dog sneezing… what’s the deal with it?!

Ahh-choo! You sneeze, your dog sneezes, we all sneeze!

But… you might have some questions about it.

Is it safe?

Are they experiencing something more?

How many sneezes are too many sneezes?

In this article, we’ll explore the causes behind your dog’s sneeze including when you should smile and laugh and when you should take action!

Let’s get to it ⤵️

(first, a fun compilation of pups sneezing you might enjoy 😁)

Why is My Dog Sneezing?

There are different reasons why dogs sneeze.

Keep reading to understand the different reasons why your pup might be sneezing.

Play Sneezes

longer haired dog sneezing | Pupford

The dramatic and adorable “play sneeze” is the most common sneeze we see with our pups. Typically, when a dog gets really excited, they will let out of sneeze in the midst of their playtime.

According to dog behavior experts, dogs use their entire bodies to communicate with each other and with humans.

Sometimes the play sneeze will come out just for fun or during an exciting time for the dog.

Other times it can be to diffuse a stressful situation during play, like during roughhousing with another pup. (In this case, be aware of the rest of your dog’s body language and act accordingly.)

These types of sneezes are likely nothing to worry about. It’s basically an indicator that your dog is having a good time and is happy with the situation!

Is Something Stuck In Their Nose?

Is your pup itching their nose with their paw or running it on the ground or onto furniture?

If so, there may be something stuck inside their nose! It could be some food or a blade of grass or something from the outdoors after a walk.

Another reason your dog may be excessively sneezing is a foxtail burr can get stuck in their nose. Foxtail burrs are a plant that has sharpened, barbed seeds.

These are prickly plants and they can get stuck in dog’s snouts, eyes and other areas of the body.

If you think something might be stuck in your dog’s nose, don’t take action yourself! Contact your vet immediately so they can take a look and take steps to remove it safely and comfortably.


brown dog sneezing with mouth open | Pupford

Just like you, your dog can experience allergies throughout certain seasons of the year.

They can also have allergic responses to mold, foods, pollen, and dust. Exposure to substances that can be sensitive to your pup’s immune system can cause sneezing and coughing.

Some of the most common allergies among dogs are…

  • Mold
  • Grass
  • Pollen
  • Trees
  • Dander (fur)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Shampoos
  • Fabrics
  • Food ingredients such as wheat, soy, corn, chicken and other proteins).

If your dog is sneezing due to allergies, you will notice other types of behaviors such as…

  • Paw licking
  • Scratching at their nose and eyes with their paws
  • Butt scooting
  • Hair loss
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling on feet, face, joints
  • General itchiness

If these symptoms don’t clear up within 7 days, we recommend taking your dog to the vet!

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog Sneezing?

If you’re noticing that your dog is sneezing uncontrollably and excessively, this may be a sign of a bigger problem.

First, identify any other symptoms they are experiencing besides the sneezing.

Are they coughing? Are they eating normally? Is there any discharge from the eyes or nose?

Check if your dog has a fever.

two dogs laying on a bed | Pupford

Sneezing can be a sign of the dog flu, or as mentioned earlier – an allergic reaction or something stuck inside your dog’s nose.

Your dog could also be experiencing a common cold! Just like humans, dogs can catch a cold from other dogs or from bacteria in public spaces.

If your dog recently visited a dog park or had a playmate who was a major drooler and they are sneezing, coughing and have watery eyes and nose, they could be dealing with a cold!

In any case, contact your vet if you believe your dog is acting abnormally.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Sick

If you are worried about your dog getting a cold or the flu, here are some tips from the experts on how to best prevent it!

pug on bed covered with blanket | Pupford
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations
  • Keep your dog warm during the colder season and after baths or rain
  • Keep the water in your dog’s water bowl fresh – change it at least once per day!
  • Clean and disinfect your dog’s toys regularly
  • Clean their food and water bowls thoroughly if shared with other pups
  • Limit contact with sick dogs. Keep an eye out at dog parks or during playdates!
  • Let your dog sleep! Dogs need a ton of sleep throughout the day and rest is very important for their health.
  • Feed your dog treats and foods that are all-natural, low calorie and healthy for them!

The Reverse Sneeze

flat-faced bulldog with respiratory issues | Pupford

A common condition in smaller and brachycephalic (or “flat-faced”) dogs is the “reverse sneeze”. You may recognize it as a choking or honking sound and a lot of the time it can be very concerning for dog parents!

Let’s start by saying that the reverse sneeze is harmless and almost never requires treatment. Typically, once a reverse sneezing starts you can just let it happen until the episode is over.

Reverse sneezing is common in small dogs likely due to their smaller throats and windpipes. Your dog may start honking because….

  • They are excited!
  • Leash pulling
  • Too much exercise, out of breath
  • A new smell like perfume or cologne
  • A sudden change of air temperature
  • Pollen, dust, mold or other environmental irritants

It’s important that as a pup parent, you remain calm while your dog is experiencing their reverse sneezing episode. If you are panicking, it will cause your dog more excitement and anxiety and the episode will continue.

Remain calm, and try to massage their throat or cover their snout so that they start to swallow more regularly.

If your dog is sneezing or reverse sneezing more often than usual and cannot seem to stop or control it, our best advice is to take them straight to a vet to get checked out.

Recap of Dog Sneezing

In most cases, your dog sneezing is just cute and funny.

If your dog has other symptoms, it may be a sign of other issues or illnesses. If you ever have a serious concern, talk to your vet.

Does your dog sneeze? Let us know in the comments below👇

Written by Devin Stagg

Since being deprived of dogs during his childhood, he and his wife decided to make up for it by having three dogs, two Lab puppies, and one grandpa Puggle. Meaning he is ALWAYS covered in dog hair. When he’s not busy training his dogs and/or picking up their poop, you can find him cheering on Tottenham Hotspur and the Cleveland Browns (yes, you read that right).

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2 Comments on “Dog Sneezing Guide

  1. It’s interesting you mentioned reverse sneezing as it happens to one of my dogs a lot. I think it’s just my motherly instinct that prompts me to gently massage his throat. I didn’t even know I was doing the right thing, but now I know! Thanks for the great insights.

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