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Why do Dogs Sneeze?

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Why do Dogs Sneeze?

There are many reasons that your dog might sneeze. In humans, sneezing is generally associated with having a cold of some sort. This is not the same for dogs. The most common cause of sneezing in dogs is a response to an irritant in your dog’s nose. Irritants such as dust, pollen or perfume can get into your dog’s airways for which a sneeze is needed to get them out.

Although irritation is the most common form of sneezing in dogs, your dog could also be sneezing playfully or alternatively, his sneezing could be related to a more serious condition.

Why do Dogs Sneeze when Playing?

Dogs sneeze when they are playing. This can be witnessed when your dog is play-fighting with another dog or human. The sneezing signals that their behaviour is only play and that they are not actually being aggressive.

If your dog is sneezing when you’re playing with them then there is nothing to worry about. Your dog is just having fun.

Other Reasons your Dog May be Sneezing

There are many things that may make your dog to sneeze.

Nasal Infection

Dogs can get nasal infections such as Aspergillus fungus by inhaling fungus from dust or grass. Symptoms of aspergillus fungus include sneezing, nose pain, nosebleeds and swelling. If your dog shows signs of any of these symptoms you should speak to a vet.

Nasal Mites

Persistent sneezing in dogs can be caused by nasal mites. Dogs can get nasal mites from digging in dirt. These tiny bugs get into your dog’s nasal passage and are very irritating. Along with excessive sneezing your dog may also get nosebleeds and discharge from their nose. Nasal mites are easily treated so it is worth visiting the vet to alleviate your dogs irritation.

Infected Tooth

If your dog has an infection on one of his upper teeth this may cause sneezing. The roots of some upper teeth are close to the nasal passage so the pain of an infected tooth may cause your dog to sneeze.

Sneezing and Gagging

In some cases dogs may gag and sneeze at the same time. This again could be caused by many things, including:

  • Foreign objects stuck in throat
  • Nasal passage obstruction
  • Inflammation of the nasal passage


Very rarely, excessive sneezing in dogs can be a sign of something more serious like a tumour. If you have suspicion that your dog’s sneezing is more than a playful sneeze or an irritation sneeze from dust it is always best to seek professional advice from a vet.

Certain Dog Breeds Sneeze More

Certain dog breeds have compressed nasal passages. This makes them more susceptible to sneezing. Brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs and pugs have shorter nasal passages and therefore sneeze more often.

Should i be Worried if my Dog is Sneezing?

Because there are so many causes for dog sneezing, this is a question that you must answer yourself. An occasional sneeze from irritation or a playful sneeze is nothing to be worried about and shouldn’t warrant a trip to the vet. 

But if your dog is sneezing excessively or has any other symptoms outlined above then it is safer to speak to a vet to assess the severity of the problem.

Home Remedies for Sneezing Dog

Although it is not recommended to give your dog human medication, antihistamines can be helpful for mild allergy symptoms. Benadryl is an antihistamine that is tolerated well by dogs. If you suspect that your dog has allergy symptoms that don’t warrant seeing a vet this could be an option to ease their sneezing.