dog with its eyes closed, about to sneeze

What You Should Do If Your Dog is Sneezing?

Pet Care

Sneezing in dogs is common and normal. But what does it mean? Well, when it comes to sneezing in dogs, it is not always to mean that they are suffering from a cold like in the case of humans. It could be a result of many things, from minor reactions to dust, to more serious health cases. It all depends on the color of the discharge, and how often your dog sneezes.

Why Dogs Sneeze

There are multiple reasons dogs sneeze. In many instances, it can be a reaction to an irritant in the upper airways of the nose. These could include perfume, dust, and pollen, among others. It could also be a result of something stuck in the nose, such as dirt or leaves caught while digging. If you find your pet sneezing a lot, it could be a result of a change in the atmosphere. It is important that you watch what is sprayed in the presence of your pet. The good thing is; sneezing allows your dog to expel irritants. However, if he keeps pawing at the nose or is bleeding, check with your vet. This could be a sign of an object stuck up its nose that needs to be removed.

Why do Dogs Sneeze while Playing?

When your dog is excited about something or playing, you may notice frequent episodes of sneezing. This is what is referred to as “play sneezing” and is very normal. When he sneezes as he plays, it is a sign that he is having fun and is common among the smaller breeds, although other older dogs do it too. If you are playing together and he begins to sneeze, do not panic. Dogs use their bodies to communicate, and sneezes are a tool for diffusing stress and inform the playmate to continue playing. However, if he sneezes uncontrollably and you notice traces of blood, rush him to the vet clinic.

2 dogs playing with a stick in the water

The Canine Reverse Sneeze

If your dog makes a repeated choking noise suddenly, this could shock you. It is, however, a reverse sneeze that occurs when your dog inhales loudly through the nose in spasms that sound like a gasp. It is believed to be a response to irritation and could help your pet to get rid of foreign bodies and irritants. These sneezes may be harmless, but if your dog seems to be in discomfort or can’t stop sneezing, you could help the situation by massaging his throat gently. Also, try to blow in his face to trigger the swallowing reflex. For this type of sneezing, your pet may not require any medication, but some antihistamines may be prescribed in case the sneezing is triggered by allergies.

Common Causes of Sneezing in Dogs

Medically, a sneeze means expelling air forcibly from the nose and the mouth in an explosive action. There are common reasons your dog might sneeze, and these include:

1. Foreign Bodies

These are items that should not be in your pet’s nose. For instance, if your pet likes to dig or sniff around, some soil, leaves, or grass could wind up in his nose. Your pet will then sneeze to expel it naturally. Signs of foreign bodies include pawing at the nose, nosebleeds and sneezing. The breathing of your pet might also be noisier than normal, and a visible bulge on the nose may be noticeable. Read about how to deal with issues pertaining to your dog at this link https://www.wellpet.org/dog-not-eating-drinking/

2. Infections

Many times, viral and bacterial infections in pets’ upper respiratory tract lead to coughing. However, an infection caused by Aspergillus fungus leads to sneezing. These infections are believed to develop from getting into contact with the fungus through the sinus and the nose. It is an action that occurs when pets are exposed to dust and grass clippings outdoors. Infections can lead to pain when sneezing and may cause bleeding or discharge from the nose.

3. Tumors

These are common in dogs, especially those with longer noses. Tobacco smoke has been linked to nasal cancer in pets. Many tumors are known to spread and can destroy the structure of the nose. Sneezing can signify nasal tumor in dogs. Unfortunately, dogs with nasal cancer tend to have a poor prognosis.

4. Mites

These are microscopic bugs that can reside in your pet’s nose and sinuses. They can cause severe itching in the nose and may lead to nosebleeds and chronic discharge. If your dog has the habit of digging in the ground with his face, he could suffer from a nasal mite infection.

5. Allergies

Although allergic rhinitis is not common in dogs, it does occur. Pets are susceptible to allergies that affect the nasal passage.

Dog digging under the fence

Home Remedies for Sneezing Dogs

If your dog is constantly sneezing and snorting at different patterns, see your veterinarian. Here are several home remedies to apply before getting to the clinic:

1. Take his temperature: If the fever is above 101-102 degrees, rush him to the vet immediately

2. Confine him: Lock your pet in a small room to monitor his behavior

3. Calm him down: Avoid taking your pet on long walks or engaging him in exercises until you get to the clinic

If you notice other weird behaviors such as poor appetite, difficulty breathing, pain, or an awkward behavior, check with your vet immediately. Also, if you notice nasal discharge, coughing, or blood, let your vet know. These could be signs of a more serious condition that requires medical urgency. Click here to find out how to deal with other symptoms your dog has.

Upon visiting your vet, the following are things that might be done:

  • History: Your vet may ask a few questions about the history of the problem. He may need to know when the sneezing started and recent changes in the behavior of your pet.
  • Physical examination: Because many possibilities can be presented by sneezes, the pet may be examined to rule out severe medical cases.
  • Lab test: A full blood count may be done to identify specific diseases and infections
  • Visual examination under anesthesia: A rigid or flexible scope may be used to visualize the nasal tissues. Tissue samples may be taken for microscopic evaluation.

A dog’s nose is a powerful sensory organ, and the passages are better developed than those of humans. Ordinarily, sneezes in dogs are ephemeral, even funny phenomenon. If your pet is sneezing constantly followed by a fever, swelling or fluid discharge or if there is blood in urine, consult your vet.

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