Why Do Dogs Sneeze

Like people, dogs sneeze for a variety of causes. There are several degrees of sneeze severity.


Dogs typically sneeze because they inhaled something irritating that became lodged in their nostril. Dogs sneeze after putting their snouts into the grass or digging in the dirt for this reason.

Sometimes they’ll smell something unpleasant that causes them sneeze, like perfume, cleaning supplies, or dust.


Sneezes are a means of communication for dogs with both people and other animals. Similar to how a dog communicates through body language or facial expressions, sneezes are simply one way of doing so.

In fact, a 2017 study indicated that sneezes were a form of negotiation used by wild African canines to influence group decision-making.

Sneezing is another way that dogs communicate that they need to settle down, take a break, or that they are okay with what is going on.


When playing with humans or other dogs, a lot of dogs enjoy sneezing. This “play sneezing” is common and used by dogs to express their excitement and enjoyment. Dogs will also sneeze during play to demonstrate that their actions are purely playful.

Dogs also have a tendency to pucker their lips when playing a game. Their body might sneeze as a result of the lip curl that results in a wrinkled nose. Playful sneezes typically consist of a quick snort that originates from the nose rather than the lungs.


It’s possible that your dog is pretending to sneeze when they sneeze around mealtimes or during routine walks.

Dogs who pretend sneeze frequently look at you while doing so to catch your attention. To make sure you pay attention, they might even approach you and sneeze on or next to you.

Health Problems

Since the body is doing its necessary functions, sneezing is really beneficial. It might also be a sign of a minor illness like a cold.

But occasionally, it might be a sign of more serious issues with the teeth or the nasal passages. A piece of grass or a malignant tumor could be the cause of a nasal blockage.


Due to the shape of their muzzle and throat, brachycephalic breeds have more trouble breathing. Pugs, Pekingese, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers are among the breeds whose compressed nasal passages increase their propensity to sneeze.

Excellent Sense of Smell

Dogs are very perceptive to their surroundings. They may use their keen sense of smell to hunt for prey, locate hidden treats, and detect unfamiliar dogs entering their area.

Reverse Sneezes

Reactions to inflammation, irritants, or excitement can cause reverse sneezes, which are abrupt and repeated inhalations via the nose. Terriers and other toy breeds frequently sneeze backwards.

What does a dog sneeze indicate?

Have you recently noticed your dog sneezing? Although sneezing is pretty typical in dogs, if your dog is sneezing frequently, you might question if they are actually okay. Regardless of whether you have had dogs in the past or this is your first pet dog, persistent sneezing can be scary and concerning.

Seasonal Allergies

Sneezing in dogs is frequently brought on by seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are probably to blame if your dog sneezes more frequently after going outside or while a window is open within your home.

During seasons with high pollen counts, your dog may require allergy medicine. For severe allergic reactions, they could also require steroids, but your veterinarian can tell you more about the ideal course of action.

Food Allergies

Sneezing may also be more common in dogs with food allergies compared to dogs without them. Food allergies can still induce sneezing in affected dogs, even though they usually affect the skin, coat, and digestive system more so than the respiratory system. This may be the cause of your dog’s increased sneezing within a couple of hours of their last meal.

Give your dog diets with different protein sources and high-quality ingredients to help manage a food allergy. Don’t change your dog’s food too frequently; instead, go slowly to avoid upsetting their tummy. You’ll undoubtedly locate the best option for their requirements eventually.

Inhalation of a Foreign Object

Items that dogs sniff may end up stuck in the nasal tube. This is a rare issue, but it might happen, especially if the dog has recently been investigating tiny objects like shattered toys.

Take your dog to the emergency vet right away if you suspect that they may have inhaled something strange. The issue could be in her nose, or they could have something obstructing their airway. In either case, a medical practitioner will need to remove the object, and they will also need to be examined for other indications of problems.

Nasal Tumor

Your dog may start sneezing frequently and continuously, which gets worse over time, if they have a nasal tumor. The likelihood that they will sneeze increases as the tumor grows. As the tumor develops, they could also experience additional upper respiratory issues like wheezing, coughing, and runny nose.

The optimum course of action for a dog with a nasal tumor will be decided in collaboration with you and your veterinarian. These tumors can frequently be removed, though occasionally they need chemotherapy or other types of treatment to help them get smaller.

Dental Problems

Dogs may sneeze due to dental issues, particularly if the issue is ignored for an extended period of time. Sneezing is one of many symptoms that can result from a range of dental issues, including mouth and gum tumors, abscesses on the gums, decaying or broken teeth, infections of the roots of the teeth, and other similar dental issues.

You might be able to see the issue if you peek inside your dog’s mouth, but you might not. Your dog may need to be put under anesthesia for the dental cleaning and care after your veterinarian performs a dental checkup.

Normal Dog Communication

The final and most frequent reason for a dog to sneeze is just regular dog communication. Dogs frequently sneeze, and they do so to communicate with one another. The same method is used by them to attempt and communicate with their human family. Dogs might sneeze when they’re joyful, eager, or demonstrating subordination to other canines, for instance.

There is probably nothing to worry about if your dog sneezes most frequently when they are anticipating a stroll or greeting you at the door. This is a typical dog sneeze, and having a dog should be accepted as such!

There is typically minimal cause for concern if your dog is only sneezing a little bit because the majority of causes of canine sneezing are harmless. However, if your dog is sneezing a lot and the issue doesn’t seem to go better after a few days or if it worsens over time, this is a solid indication that they should visit the vet for a checkup.

Should I be concerned if my dog sniffles?

Dogs may sneeze for any number of reasons, including either of those two possibilities. An rare sneeze or two in a dog who is generally content and healthy is nothing to be concerned about, but frequent or persistent sneezing in a dog who appears ill should prompt a trip to the vet.

Dogs may sneeze as a result of nasal irritation or foreign objects inhaled. They frequently sniff about, which is the body’s natural method of removing them. Additionally, they could sneeze as a result of inhaling irritants like pollen and grass.

Dogs may also have nasal mites, which occasionally result in nasal discharge and sneezing. They spread through nose-to-nose contact with canines. Fortunately, they are not particularly prevalent and, once discovered, are simple to treat.

Nasal tumors and dental issues are a couple of other factors that can make you sneeze. Like licking their lips and yawning, dogs can use sneezing as a relaxing signal. Sneezing can also result from rolling around on the floor, excitement, or bug stings. Consult your veterinarian if your dog is acting unwell or is frequently sneezing or has episodes of sneezing.

When a dog sneezes in your face, what does it mean?

Have you ever noticed your dog sneezing at you while waggling his tail and sort of bending down on his front legs? He’s attempting to communicate to you his desire to play. Dogs commonly sneeze in this manner to get your attention and communicate their needs.

These sneezes are actually phony. It’s merely a means for them to draw attention to themselves. There’s no way you can ignore them since if you pay attention, you’ll frequently see them getting closer as they sneeze at you.

Why is my dog constantly sneezing?

Your dog may have an aspergillus fungus nasal infection if they sneeze all the time. It might also be brought on by a disease, such as the common cold.

When a dog inhales a fungus, typically from dust or other microscopic particles, Aspergillus fungus develops. The aspergillus fungus can also cause edema, nasal discharge, and nosebleeds.

Dogs can have colds too, and they might have the same symptoms as people do, such as lethargy, fever, watery eyes, and a runny nose all the time.

How can I treat my dog’s sniffles?

The brand name for the active component diphenhydramine HCl is Benadryl. Diphenhydramine is a first-generation ethanolamine-derivative antihistamine, which is the scientific classification of antihistamines that can cross the blood-brain barrier and, as a result, increase the effectiveness of the drug while simultaneously increasing the risk of unwanted side effects. Although the FDA has not yet approved Benadryl for use in animals, it is widely utilized in veterinary clinics across the United States and is thought to be safe for use in dogs and cats.

Diphenhydramine functions by obstructing the body’s histamine receptors. Itching, sneezing, and hives are among the symptoms of allergies that are significantly reduced by doing this. Although the body continues to manufacture histamines, the receptor antagonist prevents the receptors from detecting them.

My dog keeps looking at me; why?

  • Dogs stare at their owners for a variety of reasons, including to interact with and comprehend us.
  • Some dogs use their gaze to browbeat their owners into giving them food or letting them let them outside.
  • Focused gazing behavior can be positively influenced by training and canine sports.

Have you ever had the impression that your dog is monitoring every move you make? Perhaps your dog is ogling you while gnawing on a chew bone or toy. Or perhaps you like to sit and look into each other’s eyes with your dog. Whatever the circumstance, dogs often spend a lot of time gazing at people. And a lot of dog owners spend a lot of time pondering the reasons.

Unluckily, there isn’t a straightforward solution that works for everyone. Dogs may focus their attention on us for a variety of reasons. However, they spend the most of their time either interacting with us or waiting for us to do so. You can learn to distinguish between them with a little research and careful observation. You can teach your dog other communication techniques that aren’t quite as perplexing as staring.

Dogs Are Reading Us

Dogs are more attuned to people than practically any other animal on the planet. They read us for clues about what will happen next by observing our moods, responding to our pointing, and reading our body language. That implies that they frequently glare at us in order to learn about their surroundings. They are essentially waiting for us to take action that will affect them. Dogs, for instance, quickly pick up on the fact that their owners always pick up the leash before leading them for a stroll. They will therefore keep an eye out for that indication that a journey outside is approaching. The same is true for meals, playtime, car excursions, and a lot more occasions.

Dogs also wait for their owners to give them more deliberate cues. Cues to carry out a certain activity, such sit or down, are opportunities to receive a reward. Dogs will look out for these opportunities since they enjoy receiving treats, toys, or games. This is especially true for dogs who have been trained using positive reinforcement techniques. These dogs develop a love of training and eagerly await cues to engage in training games.

Dogs Are Trying to Tell Us Something

Staring also happens when your dog is attempting to communicate with you or seek your attention. Your dog might sit at the door and stare at you if it’s time for a bathroom break, for instance. Or, if you’re eating and your dog is hungry, staring may be a request that you share your food. It’s the canine version of a shoulder tap.

Some canines use staring to sway their humans and obtain what they want. This situation with begging at the dinner table is typical. The owner will give the dog a piece of their dinner if they glare at them for a while. In actuality, you made that monster. The dog would have initially regarded me out of curiosity. Your dog would have undoubtedly found something else to do if you had turned away from the look. However, the look makes you feel awkward or bad, so you acquiesce to stop it. The dog has now mastered a new kind of communication, so there you have it.

Your dog will ultimately try different activities to grab your attention if you become conscious of how you respond to his staring behavior and stop rewarding him. Teaching your dog what you want is a more effective strategy. For instance, your dog might munch on a bone as you eat in a dog bed or ring a doggy bell to signal that it’s time for an outdoor bathroom break. You will quickly have a dog who looks at you for clues rather than guilt trips if you encourage the new behavior and ignore the gazing.

Dogs Are Telling Us How They Feel

Additionally, your dog communicates both positive and negative feelings through eye contact. Staring is considered aggressive and impolite by their wolf ancestors. Some dogs are still like that. Because of this, you shouldn’t hold dogs steady and stare into their eyes or stare down unusual canines. Back aside and avoid eye contact if a dog gives you a strong stare with unblinking eyes and a stiff posture. When a bone or other valuable treat is at stake, you might observe this behavior in your own dog. The act of defending a resource is frequently accompanied with an intense gaze and other combative nonverbal cues. If your dog exhibits it, speak with a qualified trainer or behaviorist.

Of course, excessive canine gazing is precisely what it seems—a sign of affection. Dogs will stare at their owners to show affection, just like people do when they are in love. In actuality, the love hormone, oxytocin, is released when dogs and people stare at each other. This hormone is crucial for bonding and enhancing feelings of trust and love. When you stare at your dog, the same hormone that is released when a new mother looks at her infant is likewise released. It makes sense why our pets like constantly gazing at us.

Dogs and Humans Can Benefit from Staring

The majority of dog glares combine affection and attentiveness. Your dog probably finds you fascinating, even though it could make you uncomfortable. You can therefore make that human-centric approach work for both of you rather than discouraging it. First, pay attention to the cues you offer your dog. For instance, are you indicating to sit with your words while fully indicating something else with your body language? Be consistent and clear with your intentions to help your dog comprehend them.

A attentive dog is also simpler to train. The distractions in the immediate environment are less likely to interfere if your dog is focused on you. Think about using commands like “look at me” or “watch me” to encourage your dog to maintain eye contact. When you want your dog to focus on you rather than the surroundings, you can then ask for some looks.

Finally, think about how that intense eye contact might improve your performance in dog sports. Teamwork is essential in sports like agility and AKC rally. The dog must constantly be aware of the handler’s body language and cues. Additionally, dogs must learn very precise tasks and then perform them without being interrupted in sports like AKC Trick Dog and Obedience. Dogs that are focused intently on their owners will pick things up more quickly and perform better.

Do you need assistance training your dog? In spite of the fact that you might not be able to attend live training sessions during COVID-19, we are still available to you electronically through the AKC GoodDog! Helpline. With the help of this live telephone service, you may speak with a qualified trainer who will provide you with unrestricted, personalized advise on anything from behavioral problems to CGC preparation to getting started in dog sports.