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by Veronique Fournier October 22, 2019 5 min read
We know that in humans, sneezing can be a sign of allergies, the development of a cold or flu, or simply from dust that tickles our nostrils.
But what about in our canine companions? Does a dog sneeze for the same reasons as us? Is it normal for a dog to sneeze a lot, or even constantly? Should you consult a vet if this is the case?
The next section will answer all of these questions and help you to understand why your dog sneezes. I will also give you some tips to help your dog from his sneezing fits!
As with us humans, if an irritant is lodged in a dog's nasal cavity, it will sneeze. Whether it's dust, a blade of grass, an insect or a bit of soil, a dog will sneeze in order to expel this foreign body. Moreover, a dog that keeps sneezing could mean that a foreign body is stuck in its nasal cavity.
A dog can sneeze at the mere touch of an allergen. A little bit like what is explained in the previous point, your dog’s nasal cavity is exposed to an irritant. In this case, an allergen, pollen for example, irritates its mucosa.
Dogs, especially small dogs, sometimes sneeze when they play or are excited, and this is totally normal. It's their little way of telling us, or their partner in canine play, that they are having fun.
If your dog only sneezes while playing or excited, you have no reason to worry.
Respiratory system infections can be caused by a bacteria or a virus. They are called infectious rhinitis. An infection of this type that we often hear about is kennel cough. It is often characterized by coughing, as the name says, but regular episodes of sneezing may also be a symptom.
If this is the cause of your dog’s sneezing, he will probably need antibiotics and cough medicine.
The premolars and molars of a dog’s upper jaw have roots that grow near the nasal passage. An infection of one of these teeth could therefore affect this area and could cause sneezing.
These infections can become quite serious. At the clinic where I work I saw a dog with a badly infected tooth. The condition had deteriorated so much that a huge abscess had formed under his eye and surgery was required to save his vision.
Nasal Tumors are more common in dogs with long snouts, but are possible in any breed of dog. They can cause sneezing and a runny nose. Because of their location, they are also dangerous. If they grow without stopping, they can destroy the structure of the muzzle and impair breathing. This gives you one more reason to consult a vet if your dog’s sneezing persists.
Nasosinus Aspergillosis is another type of infection, but this time, instead of being caused by bacteria or a virus, it’s caused by a fungus. In fact, it’s caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus. In addition to sneezing, an infected dog may be in pain, have nose bleeds, nasal discharge and his snout may become swollen.
Dogs called brachycephalics have compressed nasal passages (flat nose syndrome). I think in particular of our friends the Pugs, English Bulldogs, and French and Boston Terriers. Given the anatomy of their snouts, they are more prone to sneezing.
We could consider these sneezes as normal, but they are still genetically modified breeds to have this look.
Mites are microscopic creatures of the large acari family. Your dog's nostrils and sinuses can become the comfortable home of a particular species of mite, particularly after spending an afternoon digging in the ground or simply having been in direct contact with an infected dog.
Mites can cause a lot of irritation and the incessant sneezing can even cause nosebleeds.
Read more about our natural products below, which will help your dog get rid of his sneezing fits.
A dog can also sometimes produce a sound somewhere between a grunt and a snore. Unlike a standard sneeze where your dog violently expels air from his nose, in a reverse sneeze, the dog begins repeatedly sucking a lot of air in through its nose, which produces this rather worrying sound.
A dog that is having an episode of such a nature will adopt a particular posture. He will stop and lean down on his elbows, lengthen his body and you will notice large movements of the rib cage. The dog will keep his mouth closed and will seem like he has run out of air.
A reverse sneeze can last up to 30 seconds, sometimes 1 minute, and will resolve itself in most cases.
As with sneezing, reverse sneezes are often caused by an irritant in the airways. In this case, instead of being in the nasal passage, the irritant (dust, a little water or food, a blade of grass, etc.) is lodged further down the pharynx.
Small dog breeds or brachycephalic dogs are more susceptible to these attacks. By the way, my little dog Kiwi still has small bouts of reverse sneezing when we come home as he gets over-excited. Once he calms down, it's like nothing has happened at all!
As with regular sneezing, it’s important to consult a vet if these episodes are frequent. They will be able to determine if these reverse sneezes are hiding something infectious or tumoral for example. Monitor for other symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, etc. in order to help guide your vet to the correct diagnosis.
As you may have noticed, your dog's sneezing can be caused by a wide variety of things. That's why I talk here about different natural products, in order to cover the majority of causes for sneezing and thus provide help to your dog with these symptoms. Zumalka suggests the following products:
Finally, use your good judgment to determine if your dog needs to see a vet or not. Your dog’s sneezing or reverse sneezing may be trivial, but it may also be hiding a more serious cause that requires additional help. Moreover, our natural products can be of great help when your dog is having these symptoms.
Stay tuned for anything that could irritate your furry friend's nose!
ANIMAL HEALTH TECHNICIAN
Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for Zumalka.
She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.
She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.
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