When a dog sneezes on you, it’s a sign of playfulness. For dogs, sneezing at each other is social behavior. It’s their way of saying they are having fun and don’t have any aggressive intent. Of course, it could also mean there was an irritation in their nose.
Dog behavior can sometimes be difficult to interpret. We tend to get so connected and emotionally linked with our furry friends, we occasionally forget how our actions can have different meanings behind them.
For example: if someone walked up to you and sneezed in your face, this might prompt confrontation and physical altercations. But a very common behavior dogs will exhibit is exactly this—a good hearty sneeze right to the face.
If you experience this, worry not! There are tons of reasons why your pooch blew snot right into your dome. Here are a few of the most common reasons your dog might sneeze on you.
Reason 1: Sneezing Is Part of Social Behavior
First things first, sneezing is actually a common aspect of a dog’s social behavior. Pups will often sneeze to signify that they do not have aggressive intentions. It’s a method used to show each other that everything is all in good fun and light spirits.
It’s a basic communication skill that is even observed within their wolf ancestors. It also displays that they are having a good time! All of that pent-up energy gets released so rapidly, they simply can’t control themselves.
As a dog owner, you have most likely experienced this after spending a long time away from home. Right when you come home, you get greeted by those furious snorts and tail wags.
Every time I visit my mom, my boxer undergoes a furry of wild sneezes. But this is solely due to over excitement.
Reason 2: The Sneeze Could Also Be Unintentional
Did you know that dogs can get hay fever?
Pooches are not immune to the fluster of allergies that are manifested by the change in seasons. In fact, some dogs have to be put on special allergy medication (that’s a little bit adorable). The allergy meds given to dogs can be the same stuff humans take.
It’s not always easy to figure out if your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, but observing the color and texture of their discharge can be an accurate indicator. Yellow(ish) snot tends to be an indicator of allergies.
Before putting your dog on any medication, be sure to consult a veterinarian or medical professional first.
Reason 3: Irritation In The Nasal Tract
Sneezes are the body’s reaction to foreign particles inside the upper nasal tract (just like humans).
It’s no secret that dogs love to get into things they probably shouldn’t, and their nose is their primary exploratory tool. This makes it easy for something to get into the nasal tract and cause irritation, which will lead to sneezing.
Additionally, dogs love to dig! Which I’m sure is, unfortunately, no surprise to you. While the dirt and dust flies, that nose of theirs is right there absorbing it all.
All in all, this is nothing to worry about. There is very little you can do to prevent a dog from acting on instinct. But if you notice blood is mixed with the snot, contact a professional for advice.
Reason 4: Health Issues That Cause Sneezing
As discussed above, a dog sneezing in your face isn’t something to be offended by (but it doesn’t make it pleasant either), rather a natural aspect of behavior. But sometimes sneezing isn’t always harmless. In some instances, this can signify more severe health complications.
Nasal Infections are very common in dogs. These infections stem from multiple facets, such as fungal, bacterial, or even viral.
This may cause a consistent nasal drip in the nose, causing excessive sneezing and even coughing. In most cases, this can be alleviated by a regiment of antibiotics.
This is when the lining of the nasal passage becomes inflamed. This passage is responsible for filtering out foreign particles/items. When these passages deteriorate, nothing is stopping obstructions from entering and getting stuck.
This is a similar disorder, which may stem from sinusitis. This is when the membranes that produce mucus become damaged or inflamed. This may produce an abundance of mucous, which prompts excessive sneezing.
Believe it or not, infected teeth can be another factor. Frontal teeth, which have roots near the nasal cavity, can cause complications. The infected tooth can cause the area to become hypersensitive. This extra pressure causes big sneezes.
In a worst-case scenario, nasal issues can be caused by a tumor. If they are lodged near the nasal cavity, these tumors may add extra pressure. Growths within the nose are more common in dogs with longer snouts.
Reason 5: Overwhelmed By a Scent
A dog’s nose is roughly 10,000 times more sensitive than our own.
You know how you can smell a skunk from a mile away? Well, that’s how dogs smell everything all the time! That’s an extreme sense.
With this heightened sense of smell, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Be it an overbearing fragrance, or a pungent odor, this can be enough to provoke a sneeze attack right to the face.
This means your dog might be sneezing on you because they’re sensitive to a scent you’re wearing. This could either be perfume, cologne, deodorant, or even your laundry detergent. So maybe lay off on the musk before playing with your dog.
Brachycephalic Breeds Sneeze a LOT!
Sometimes the answer to why your dog sneezes on you lies in the specific breed of dog.
Brachycephalic breeds are dogs with compressed nasal passages. The scrunchy nosed dogs!
These breeds can have a harder time breathing than other breeds due to their constricted airways. This can cause a lot of extra sneezing and snorting.
Examples of these breeds are: Boxers, Pugs, Bull Dogs, Boston Terriers, and Bull Mastiffs.
I have two boxers, and they are a couple of sneezy, snorty fiends.
Are You Sure It’s A Sneeze?
Dog’s are big fluffy dorks, complete with weird smells and noises.
You might think your dog has a sneezing problem when you bend down to scratch their ears, but the truth is, it might just be a snort.
Besides snorting out of excitement, being overweight can be a contributing factor. The extra weight can constrict the airways, making it harder for them to breathe. This is nothing that a healthy diet and lots of walk/exercise can’t fix.
Sneezing On You is Nothing Personal
If your dog gifts you a great big sneeze right to your face, don’t worry, they still respect you! If anything, it should be taken as a compliment! In most cases, it just means they’re happy to see you and are being playful.
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