Doggie health is a complicated topic. It can be challenging to know whether specific symptoms are serious or if you should ignore them. One example of this is sneezing. When your dog sneezes once or twice, you probably don’t think twice about it. However, when they seem to be having a “sneeze attack,” you might wonder if something is wrong.
Should pet owners be concerned about frequent sneezing? In most cases, the answer is no. However, there are a few cases where non-stop sneezing could be a sign of something more serious.
In this guide, we will go over the eight most common reasons dogs get sneeze attacks and what you can do to prevent it from happening consistently.
8 Most Common Reasons For Non-Stop Sneezing
It’s time to put on your detective hat and figure out why your dog keeps on sneezing. Once you figure out the cause, you can then work on finding the solution.
1) Too Much Excitement
When dogs get excited, they make all kinds of sounds. This includes sneezing. So, sneezing may be a sign that your dog is really excited about something, such as getting ready to go for a walk, their owner returning from work, or when they are about to get a treat.
Researchers aren’t sure why dogs express their excitement this way, but one thing is for sure… it’s adorable! One of my favorite things to do is watch two excited dogs play with each other. It’s almost like they’re taking turns sneezing.
You know excitement is the cause of non-stop sneezing if it only happens when your dog is in a playful mood.
Much like their human counterparts, dogs can experience allergies to many things found outdoors (pollen is the most common). If you notice that your dog has been sneezing a lot after being outdoors, allergies could be the culprit.
This is especially true if you notice that in addition to the sneezing, there are other common symptoms of allergies, such as itching ears, swollen lips or eyelids, runny nose, skin inflammation, or watering eyes.
Dogs can experience seasonal allergies, so you may notice sneezing more frequently when there is a high pollen count. Try to avoid areas that seem to aggravate your dog’s allergies and see if his sneezing stops! Unfortunately, that might mean avoiding his favorite park until the pollen count begins to drop.
Alternatively, dogs do respond well to certain OTC allergy medication. Still, it’s important to speak to your vet before going down that route (more on this in the prevention section below).
3) Infections and Kennel Cough
Non-stop sneezing could be a sign that your doggie has an infection. Kennel cough is a virus that can cause a lot of sneezing and coughing in dogs. Dogs can easily pick up germs from other infected dogs, especially those in close contact such as kennels, dog daycare, or shelters.
Other viruses and infections will also cause increased sneezing in dogs. This includes the doggie cold (not the same as the common human cold), canine herpes virus, and canine influenza virus.
In addition to more frequent sneezing, you may notice that your dog has a fever, seems more tired than usual, or is eating less than he used to eat.
4) Household Products
Many pet owners never consider that household products could be causing their pet’s health issues. This can include products used to clean the floors (which may leave a residue on your dog’s paws), any household products you use that are scented, and any pesticides you may have used to keep unwanted animals from entering your home. Before using pesticides and other household cleaners, make sure they are safe for pets!
5) Something Got Stuck in Dog’s Nose
Unfortunately, sometimes small objects or debris can get caught inside your dog’s nose. This should be no surprise since dogs continuously have their nose toward the ground when exploring.
Whether it is a piece of food from his last meal, dust, or a small insect, anything that gets stuck inside your dog’s nose will make him sneeze. The constant sneezing is your dog’s natural reaction to try to get the object out of its nose. It could be something as simple as dirt from digging a hole to hide his toy or something larger like a piece of his kibble.
6) Tooth Abscess
When teeth start to decay, the root of the tooth could become damaged. You’re probably wondering what the root of the tooth has to do with your dog sneezing, right? Dog’s teeth and nose are located close together. When there’s an issue with one, it can also impact the other. In this case, the damaged root could be irritating the nasal passage, which will lead to a lot of sneezing.
7) Nasal Tumors
Perhaps one of the more severe causes of non-stop sneezing in dogs is tumors that are located in the dog’s nose. While nasal tumors are relatively uncommon (affecting only about 1% or 2% of dogs), most of the tumors in the nose are cancerous. If your dog’s sneezing is accompanied by a large amount of nasal discharge that does not stop, this might be a factor to consider. It’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect a nasal tumor.
8) Nasal Mites
Nasal mites are small bugs, a kind of parasite, that thrive in the noses of dogs. Understandably, your dog will experience discomfort and lots of sneezing if these annoying pests decide to inhabit his or her nose. Some of the most common signs of nasal mites include nose bleeds, itching, trouble breathing, nasal discharge, and lots of sneezing, of course.
How To Stop The Sneeze Attacks
At this point, you should have an idea of what’s causing your dog to have sneeze attacks. Now it’s time to find the solution!
Use Allergy Medicine
Luckily, most sneezing issues in dogs can be fixed by administering antihistamines to your pup. Make sure to check with your vet for proper dosage. One common allergy medicine that is used with dogs is Benadryl. This should be especially helpful for seasonal allergies.
However, Benadryl can cause drowsiness for some dogs. If your dog experiences drowsiness, Zyrtec works just as well and is considered safe. Make sure you DO NOT give your dog Zyrtec-D. This contains pseudoephedrine, which is toxic to dogs.
Lavender Essential Oil
Essential oils are becoming more and more popular in the dog community. If you believe the sneezing is due to allergies, you can use lavender essential oil. Place it in a diffuser and leave it in the same room as your dog. Lavender oil has an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect, which can put an end to the sneezing.
Inspect Your Dog’s Nose
Check inside your dog’s nose to see whether any food, plant parts, debris, or dirt got stuck up there. You will want to keep your dog calm while trying to assess whether there is anything caught in his nose. If you see something in there, don’t try to get it out yourself. You can push it further back into the nasal passage. Instead, take him to the vet who has specialized tools to help safely remove the object.
Visit Your Vet
Most problems on this list require that you check in with your vet. Your vet will be able to do a thorough examination to look for any issues with your dog’s oral or nasal passages, which may be causing him to sneeze.
Your vet may even use a rhinoscope to get a better look at whether there are any tumors or objects in your dog’s nose that are causing the frequent sneezing. Blood tests can be run to check for the presence of certain infections. In the case of suspected tumors, your dog may need an X-Ray.
Limit Outdoor Time
If you suspect your dog has allergies to something outside, consider limiting outdoor time during peak pollen seasons. Alternatives include having your dog play inside or at an indoor doggie play area. Whenever you do take your dog outside, try to wipe his or her paws after being outside to remove any allergens that may be stuck on his feet.
Use Products without Scents
Lastly, try to stick to unscented household products. You can also use unscented shampoo when bathing your dog. Something as simple as a minor scent could be causing your dog to sneeze.
As you can see, there are a variety of factors that cause non-stop sneezing in dogs. Many of these are mild in nature, such as allergies or excitement, while others such as nasal tumors or tooth abscess are more severe. At home, you can try using unscented products, limiting outdoor time, using allergy medicine (Benadryl or Zyrtec), and inspecting your dog’s nose to see whether anything is stuck.
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