When I finally got the dog of my dreams —a cute and cuddly pug — I wasn’t quite prepared for the sneezes that she would shower me with. It looked like even the smallest things could set her off, and I began to worry if this was normal.
I was worried that my dog was sick or had come home with a strange health condition from the breeder I had purchased her from, so I booked her for a complete check-up with the local vet.
Luckily, my vet is great at teaching newbie dog owners like me a thing or ten about dogs.
What I learned about dog sneezing and what to do about it was quite an eye-opener. I am sure you will be just as curious to learn that my dog sneezes so much for reasons I hadn’t even previously considered.
Why Does My Dog Sneeze So Much?
Sneezing for dogs is usually a response to some airway irritant. Another reason is changes in their breathing patterns like when they’re playing. Sneezing in dogs can also be breed-related or brought about by infections and their subsequent discharges, tumors, or abscesses.
Five Reasons Why Dogs Sneeze So Much
There are a number of reasons why dogs tend to sneeze frequently, and most of these are pretty harmless. As a dog owner, you need to know what is a normal sneeze and what isn’t, and what requires action.
These are the five top reasons why dogs sneeze:
Reason One: Irritation
Dogs can’t blow their noses when they get something lodged up their nose as humans can. Instead, they have to rely on sneezing out any foreign matter that starts to irritate their noses.
Additionally, dogs are also highly sensitive to olfactory triggers. Strange tastes and smells can really set their noses off.
Dogs have over 300 million olfactory receptors in their nasal passages, compared to the mere 6 million that people have. This means that every smell a dog sniffs will be amplified to a massive extent.
If they don’t like the smell, a dog can’t pinch their nose shut either. Instead, they have to rely on sneezing it out.
Reason Two: Changes in Breathing Patterns
Your dog may sneeze when they breathe rapidly such as when they run or play. This “play sneezing” can be a result of the increased airflow to the dog’s nasal passages that can trigger sneezing.
This is a harmless sneeze, and you don’t have to do anything other than play along.
Reason Three: Infection and Discharge
A dog has a particularly wet nose and their nasal passages are also moist. When they inhale fungal spores or mites, it can cause an infection.
Usually, an infection will be accompanied by nosebleeds, nasal discharge, and excessive sneezing. You will probably notice your dog having difficulty breathing.
If you find your dog is sneezing and there’s a bloody or mucous discharge, then you should take them to the vet to rule out an infection and get treated with antibiotics if they do have one.
Reason Four: Tumors or Abscesses
Dogs can also suffer cancerous growths. When your dog has cancer of their nasal passages, it can obstruct their breathing, leading to irritation and sneezing.
If your dog does suffer from cancer, they require medical treatment.
Your dog may have obstructed nasal passages if they are suffering an abscess from a broken tooth or a bite by another dog. Any of these reasons cause the same effect on your dog’s breathing as a tumor.
Medical treatment is required to drain and heal an abscess.
Reason Five: Brachycephalic Breeds
The fifth reason is why my dear little pug has the sneezies. She’s a pug, which is one of the brachycephalic breeds.
This means she has a compacted nasal passageway. As a result, she struggles with breathing.
Any exertion can cause her breathing to become strained, and sneezing can result.
While sneezing is normal for her breed, I have learned to keep my pug as calm as possible and not let her over-exert herself as this worsens her sneezing.
What to Do When Your Dog Sneezes Non-Stop
If you notice your dog sneezing a lot, you may need to pay special attention to them.
Find out why they seem to be sneezing.
- Is it a result of a strange smell?
- Have they overexerted themself?
- Did they pass a mucous discharge when they sneezed?
- Is it happening more often than not, and does it seem like your dog is suffering because of it?
If you answer yes to the last three questions, you need to take your dog to the vet for an in-depth checkup.
If you answered yes to the first two questions, then you can remove the smell that has set off their sneezing. You can also place your dog on their lead or harness so they can calm down and breathe better.
How to Know Your Dog Is Actually Sick When They Sneeze a Lot
My pug is not sick when she sneezes. It is normal for her breed.
However, I have learned that if I see any discharge for several sneezes, I need to contact my vet immediately.
Nasal discharge, runny liquid from their nose, and bleeding can all indicate that there is something wrong with your dog, so pay attention and act responsibly.
Frequently Asked Questions about Why Does My Dog Sneeze So Much
What should I do if my dog keeps sneezing?
If your dog sneezes continuously, investigate what’s causing it. Should you notice there is a discharge that accompanies the sneeze, consult your vet immediately.
What to do if I find my dog sneezing continuously?
If your dog sneezes continuously, you can give them a single dose of Benadryl, which has an analgesic effect. This should calm the nasal passages and other mucus membranes, reducing the sneezing.
The Final Sneeze
I still find it odd that my pug sneezes. Luckily, I now know what is normal sneezing for my pug and what may indicate that she is ill.
Sneezing is no simple matter to wipe your nose on, but your dog will appreciate your careful consideration.