Why Do Dogs Sneeze?

Author Bio
Alaaddin Sarac has been an avid dog enthusiast since childhood. He started buypetsupplyonline.com in hopes of helping owners find answers to questions he had after owning his first dog.

Dogs do a lot of things that remind us they are not that different from us. They love eating, socializing, they love nature, and they get sick sometimes. There is another thing that they do, which is very humane, and that is sneezing. But dogs are not the only species in the world that sneeze because other animals do that too.

Sneezing is one of the best ways to clean the nose when matters such as dirt, pollen, smoke, or dust enter the nostrils. That is why a lot of mammals, including us, do that from time to time.

But I should mention that there is a difference between how we sneeze and how other animals sneeze. When we sneeze, we do everything to keep it together, and that is why most people hold their sneezes, which is very unhealthy.

On the other hand, when animals sneeze, they just let them rip and don’t care whether they spread germs all over the place. That is why you can be sure that your tail-wagger finds relief when he sneezes.

Most pet parents already know that it is perfectly normal for their pup to sneeze. But they tend to get worried if it happens too often and they start to think that it is a sign of a more severe issue.

In this article, I will talk about the reasons why dogs sneeze and if there are more serious implications of it.

Why Do Dogs Sneeze?

Sneezing in humans can be caused by a lot of different reasons, and the situation is no different for dogs.

First, it can be a sign that your dog has an allergy to something. That allergy can be caused by dust or perfume, it can be a seasonal allergy, or it can even be an allergy to cleaning products that you’re using at home.

Other than that, sneezing might be caused by the dirt that gets stuck in your dog’s nose. That can especially happen if your dog spends a lot of time in the dog park, sand, or nature.

That is especially true for hunting dogs because they spend a lot of time smelling around, which causes a lot of leaves and twigs get stuck in their nose.

Besides the reasons I mentioned above, in rare cases, sneezing can be the sign of a more severe issue. In that case, it will require more severe treatment.

Reasons that cause Sneezing in Dogs

Let’s look at all the reasons that cause sneezing in dogs and the implications of them.

Nasal Irritants and Allergies

Nasal irritants and allergies are the most common reasons for sneezing in dogs. In both cases, something in their nose creates a tickling sensation which makes them want to get rid of it by sneezing.

This might be caused by allergies, pollen, dust, or some other things that get into their nose. That doesn’t indicate a big issue unless your dog sneezes too often.

If you believe that sneezing is triggered by allergies, you could get a hypoallergenic dog bed that will relieve his discomfort by creating an allergy-free environment around the place where your dog sleeps.

Calming Signal

As you may have already noticed, some dogs tend to sneeze a lot during the playtime. If that is the case for your dog, you shouldn’t be worried because he might be doing that for a reason.

It is known that dogs communicate with each other either vocally or by body language. Norwegian dog expert Turid Rugass believes that most dogs send a signal called “calming signal” during playtime and sneezing is probably a way to do that. They might do that to calm the situation when things get a little tense.

This brings the question of whether dogs can sneeze voluntarily and the answer to that question is yes, they can. There are even dogs that learned to sneeze on command to get a treat.

Nasal Infections

There are some cases that sneezing is the indication of a more severe issue, and nasal infection is one of them.

Nasal infection is usually caused by virus, bacteria, or fungi that got into your dog’s nose. It is a very frustrating issue because infection makes mucus build up in your pup’s nose, and that is why it makes breathing much harder. Other than that, it might cause constant sneezing.

In most cases, nasal infection in dogs is healed by itself. So, you don’t have to take your pooch to the vet immediately. But if the issue persists, then, it might be a good idea to take action.

Dental Problems

I should start by mentioning that sneezing in dogs are not generally caused by dental problems, so, those issues are not that related.

But there is a chance that dental problems trigger other nasal problems, which causes sneezing because they are next to the nose.


Although sneezing in dogs can rarely be caused by a much more severe issue, nasal tumors are one of them. Nasal tumors are not that often encountered in dogs because they don’t smoke. But if you’re a smoker, you should always be careful about second-hand smoking because your dog might get affected by it.

Should I Worry If My Dog Sneezes?

In most cases, there is nothing to worry about, because like humans, dogs sneeze for very healthy reasons. But some cases require immediate action. If you see the symptoms you see below, you should contact your vet immediately:

  • If your dog doesn’t seem to stop sneezing. The meaning of too much varies a lot. So, you should trust your instincts on that one. But you will probably feel it if your dogs’ sneezing becomes unnatural. In that case, it is probably a very good idea to seek medical advice.
  • If your dog has a nasal discharge, swelling, or constant itching. Since this is an indication that your dog has a severe issue such as a nasal infection, a more serious treatment will be required.


Since there are a lot of possible causes of sneezing in dogs, you should look for the symptoms and find the issue that is causing your pooch to sneeze.

If you see the symptoms that I mentioned above, which are related to an underlying condition, you should seek medical advice for your dog. Even though sneezing is generally harmless, you should keep in mind that it is good to be very cautious because it is always better to be safe than sorry.