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Sneezing in Dogs

Sneezing in dogs is mostly caused due to inhalation of nasal irritants and allergens. To know about the causes, associated symptoms, and treatment of sneezing in dogs, read on.
DogAppy Staff
Like humans, dogs also sneeze and have cold symptoms. Sneezing in dogs and cats is the natural reflex action of the upper respiratory tract, triggered after inhalation of an irritant. There are certain nerves that line the nose and the nasal cavity. When a pet dog breathes in any sort of irritants, these nerves get sensitized, causing the dog to sneeze loudly or in an explosive manner. Thus, sneezing allows expelling of allergens which irritate the nasal passages.

Signs

Occasional sneezing is not an alarming sign of dog health problems. You may notice healthy dogs sneeze while playing indoors and outdoors. Nevertheless, if constant sneezing occurs, then it may be an indication of some serious illnesses. In case the sneezing is associated with a runny nose, then there is a high probability that your pet is having sinus and dental problems. Another commonly noticed allergic reaction is reverse sneezing in dogs. In contrary to regular sneezing, reverse sneezing causes abrupt pulling in of air, resulting in an explosive inspiratory noise.

Causes

Sneezing in canines can be caused due to many factors, out of which most cases are related to allergies. The most common problem is an infection by airborne pathogens (bacteria and virus) in the upper respiratory system. Temporary irritation due to inhalation of pollen, toxic molds, cigarette smoke, toxic fumes, and household cleaning chemicals can also trigger sneezing bouts in pets. Another severe cause is the presence of tumor(s) in either one or both the nostrils. In such a condition, a bloody nasal discharge is manifested along with the chronic sneezing.

Sneezing in dogs may be associated with other symptoms like frequent rubbing of the nose, nasal discharge, gagging, nose bleeding, wheezing, reverse sneezing, and lethargy. Also, an inflammation in the nose bridge may be manifested due to constant irritation of the area. If sneezing and the associated symptoms remain untreated, then the condition may worsen causing loss of appetite and sudden weight loss. Hence, whatever may be the cause of sneezing, it is very important to seek advice from a qualified veterinarian.

Treatment

The vet may conduct certain diagnostic treatments to identify the root cause of sternutation in your dog. The treatment of canine sneezing depends on the diagnostic results. For example, nasal infections, sinus problems, dental problems, and tumor growth in dogs should be treated with medicines, while temporary dog allergies are short-lived and require no medical intervention for treatment.

If allergens are the cause, then effective treatment involves avoiding exposure to probable irritants. At times, irritants like foxtail grass may get clogged in the nasal cavity of the pet dog and result in constant sneezing. Removal of these foreign particles will help alleviate the sneezing. Antibiotics and decongestants may be advocated to dogs having nasal infections and congestion. For hypersensitive dogs, the vet may prescribe a specific dose of antihistamines for treatment of sneezing, nasal discharge, and other allergic reactions.

As a dutiful pet owner, you should keep a keen eye over your dog's health and identify the behavioral changes that may indicate discomfort symptoms. Take a note of the frequency of sneezing in dogs and the accompanied signs (if any). If such symptoms disturb your pet for 2-3 days, do not delay in consulting the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. With proper dog care tips, you can help your best companion remain playful and comfortable.