While a single sneeze from your dog isn’t anything to worry about and may actually be kind of adorable, constant sneezing can be a sign that your dog’s nose isn’t doing so well. It might seem like overkill to bring your dog to the vet for a few sneezes, but there are many causes that require medical attention. To help you decide what you should do if your dog keeps sneezing, explore the main causes below.
Irritation in the Nose
Dogs have more sensitive noses than ours and may be irritated by strong smells, including cleaning chemicals, perfume, and other things you might spray into the air. If you can identify a likely cause, all you need to do is get your dog to some fresh air.
But, your dog’s nose might be irritated by a physical object too. We’ve all seen the medical show specials where a doctor, baffled, pulls out some kind of object from a child’s nose. Well, dogs may lack the opposable thumbs children have, but they can still manage to get objects stuck up there too. Sneezing may be your dog’s way of trying to remove the object. You should have a vet check out repeated sneezing for this reason.
Kennel cough is like a dog flu. When dogs are in close quarters, like at a kennel, they can transmit this respiratory infection between themselves. Sneezing is a main symptom, but if your dog has kennel cough you may also notice:
- A strong “honking” cough
- Running nose
- Loss of appetite
If you suspect kennel cough, it is important to call your vet, as some cases can be very serious. You’ll also want to alert the owners of the other dogs who have been near your dog.
Sneezing may be a sign of allergies your dog has developed to seasonal pollen or something in your home. You can try to sort out the allergen yourself, but sometimes they are kind of elusive. It is better to ask your vet to test your dog so that you can be sure you’ve identified the right allergen. Dogs may also take allergy medicine, as humans, to reduce their symptoms.
The Play Sneeze
This is rare, but some dogs exhibit a “play sneeze behavior” as part of play or when they are trying to initiate play. If you find your dog, especially a young puppy, tends to sneeze around other dogs when trying to engage them in play, then the sneeze is likely nothing to worry about.
What if you have an old dog who is suddenly sneezing a lot? This can be a sign of a brain tumor. It’s quite rare, but possible for tumors to cause sneezing. Sometimes tumors have no symptoms at all, but they can cause symptoms such as:
- Lack of coordination
- Hypersensitivity to touch
- Unusual behavior, especially aggression
Even if your dog does not have these symptoms, a sneeze that is otherwise unexplained may be the sign of a brain tumor. It is always best to refer to your vet.