Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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Why Do Dogs Sneeze?

Jul 19 ·

Why do dogs sneeze? Sneezing is super common in humans, and not usually cause for concern. When we sneeze, it’s usually something we quickly brush off, perhaps followed by one or two more. It can be dismissed as irritation, or an allergy—but on its own, it’s not that serious.

For some reason, we react differently with dogs. It can be a little startling to see your dog sneeze, especially if it’s constant or they’ve never done it before.

Possible Reasons For Sneezing

dogs outside playing

There are many possible reasons for sneezing. From the mild reasons that are nothing to worry about, to the more severe ones that need to be checked out by a veterinarian, here’s every reason your dog might be sneezing.

Dogs Sneeze – Irritation

Dogs get into everything. Anyone who has a dog knows that they’re constantly sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong, because dogs don’t have great boundaries. If they do, it takes a while to get them there, and requires a lot of effective training as a puppy. Even then, your dog may never get there!

Or perhaps they were sniffing in grass or brushes a lot while outside. It’s healthy to let dogs use their nose to explore their environments, but it does sometimes come with minor consequences.

Dogs often inhale something that gets stuck in their nose, and the irritation causes them to sneeze. A strong, irritating scent could also cause them to sneeze.

Communication With Other Dogs

Sometimes, dogs sneeze to communicate! Sneezing usually means they’re feeling playful, but it can mean a whole host of other things, depending on the context. This can seem like a strange concept since sneezing is very much involuntarily for us, but it’s worth considering if this is the possible reason.

Dogs Sneeze – Brachycephalic Breeds

Dogs Sneeze

Because of the shape of their muzzle, these breeds—”flat-faced”—can have trouble breathing. This means they’re more likely to sneeze frequently.

It’s important with these breeds to be very careful when it comes to exercise and irritants in the environment. In many ways, brachycephalic breeds need more specialized care than other dogs. This includes pugs, Frenchies, and other popular breeds.


Just like us, dogs can have allergies!

It’s often difficult to work out what a dog is allergic to, but if it pops up infrequently and seems very mild, it’s usually not a cause for concern. From environmental stimuli to different foods, there’s a wide range of things they can be allergic to.

For example, did you know that chicken is one of the most common dog allergies? Hard to imagine, since dogs love chicken so much!

Health Issues

Although the most common reasons for sneezing are harmless, dogs can sneeze due to possible health issues. Their nasal passage could be obstructed, and that’s what could be causing the sneezing.

This can be anything, up to a cancerous tumour, but you shouldn’t jump to this conclusion right away. Reasons as serious as this account for a very small percentage of all instances of sneezing, and are usually accompanied by much more dire symptoms.

What To Do

Just because your dog is sneezing, doesn’t mean you should panic! Most of the time, a dog sneezing is absolutely harmless. If it’s infrequent and doesn’t seem to be bothering them very much, or if it happens during playtime, it’s most likely something that can be ignored.

However, if it seems harsh or has other symptoms, you may want to take further action.

When To See A Vet

Dogs Sneeze

You’ll want to see your vet if the sneezing has other symptoms that go along with it. Depending on the problem causing the sneezing, these symptoms could be anything, but include:

  • A runny nose
  • Clear discomfort or pain
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive thirst

You can also see a vet if you think something might be wrong but can’t quite put your finger on it. You don’t need evidence to show up at the vet and if your dog starts to sneeze when they don’t usually, it’s understandable if you want to get your dog checked out.

If they tend to go through bouts of sneezing, you can always wait until your next check-up and bring it up then.

So, why do dogs sneeze? It’s hard to say. There are a whole variety of reasons, and you’ll have to know your dog well to determine why. Perhaps there’s an irritant in the environment, or they’re a dog who loves sniffing through the grass a lot and is getting things stuck in their nose!

As long as it’s infrequent and not accompanied by other symptoms, you’re likely fine and don’t need to worry about it. It’s very unlikely to be a severe reason, since sneezing is almost as common in dogs as it is in humans. If it is accompanied by other symptoms or you just want to be safe, contact your veterinarian!

Additional reading…Why do dogs eat grass?

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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