Seeing a dog sneezing can be funny when it just happens once or twice, but if your pet is starting to sneeze a lot, you may begin to wonder why. Is it just a normal part of a dog’s life, or could it be a sign of something more serious?
Like humans, when animals sneeze it is because their nasal passages are irritated or inflamed. This may be caused by something getting into the nose, like pepper, or it could be a symptom of a viral infection that is causing inflammation. If your dog also has a runny nose it is likely that he is going down with some kind of virus.
An infection of the sinuses is another possible cause of repeated sneezing. Sometimes this can be caused by a tooth infection. An abscess in the upper jaw can easily spread to the sinuses. In this situation you will probably realize that the dog is in pain and needs treatment.
More rarely, a cyst or polyp in the nose might cause a dog to sneeze. If this happens, the dog sneezing could gradually become more and more frequent and you might not even notice that your pet’s habits had changed for a while.
Of course, sometimes dog sneezing may be one symptom of a more serious problem. In this case there will usually be other symptoms too. Consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet is panting, coughing or wheezing, or appears to have breathing difficulties.
It is also a good idea to see the vet if any viral infection lasts for longer than a couple of days, or if the dog is very tired and lethargic, or is running a fever. Some viruses are more serious than others and may require treatment.
Another sign that means a trip to the vet’s office is if your pet has nosebleeds along with the sneezing. It’s not unusual to have a few drops of blood when a sneeze causes a small capillary to burst, but a flow of blood could be a sign of mites, exposure to rat poison or even a tumor in the sinuses.
Of course, a canine sneeze from time to time is usually nothing to worry about. Dogs like to poke their noses and sniff in all kinds of places, so it is not surprising if sometimes they pick up something that irritates. This could be pollen from a plant, smoke, dust or a small foreign object.
Occasionally, they will get something larger stuck in the nose. If the sneezing continues and the dog is also pawing at its nose or shaking its head, it is probably trying to dislodge something. Most times, the dog sneezing will get rid of the irritant but if the problem continues, see your vet because there may be something there that needs to be removed.