Why is your dog sneezing? This might be the cause according to the vet

Kövess Péter

2024. April 20 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

How worried should you be about your dog's sneezing and what diseases or conditions might it be related to? We looked into it with the help of a vet.


A dog’s sneezing is a normal physical phenomenon that can have many causes. Sometimes a dog will sneeze during play when it is happy, but in other cases it may be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition.

Sneezing often indicates a respiratory infection in the dog

These are some of the possible causes of a dog sneezing

According to Dr Andrea Bodó, veterinarian, sneezing is the most common accompanying symptom of upper respiratory tract inflammation. In such a case, it is often accompanied by an acidic runny nose and sometimes tearing and conjunctivitis.

If the sneezing is accompanied by a runny nose, the nature of the discharge may indicate the underlying cause.

Acid nasal discharge usually appears at the onset of inflammation, viral infections or allergies. Thick, greenish discharge is a symptom of bacterial infections, fungal infections, the presence of foreign bodies or tumours.

If the sneezing is caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, Dr Andrea Bodó recommends that you should not let your pet meet other dogs because of the risk of infection. Give it an immune booster, a multivitamin, and if the symptoms worsen – it is not hungry, it is weak and has a fever – consult a vet.

Can be caused by a foreign body

According to the vet, in the case of sudden sneezing, especially if it occurs during a walk, you should also consider the possibility of a foreign body being inhaled. After sniffing, if the dog suddenly sniffles, sneezes, scratches or rubs its nose, it should be taken to a vet immediately to give it a chance to be removed before the foreign body migrates up the nasal cavity. This is usually not feasible while awake.

“Because of the narrow, long nasal passage, the foreign body can often be found only by endoscope. It can be almost any plant part, but most often it is the dried stalk of barley grass, or awn,” the expert added.

Can be caused by an allergenic substance or awn

The presence of a foreign body is also indicated by the presence of discharge from only one nostril. This is because inflammation is characterised by bilateral discharge from the nose. In addition, dogs can sneeze if they get water up their nose while bathing, or if they inhale smoke, allergens or other irritants such as dust or pollen. Less commonly, nasal tissue proliferations may also cause sneezing and especially discharge.

Some dog breeds are more prone to

Brachicephalic, or flat-nosed breeds are more prone to sneezing because of the anatomical narrowness of their nasal passages. The most common types with a tendency to breathe or sneeze include

  • the pug,
  • the boston terrier,
  • and the English bulldog.

Another thing worth noting is that sneezing caused by allergies can happen anytime during the year. You can read more about year-long allergies by clicking here.

allergies Disease dog infection sneeze spikes symptoms veterinarian

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