‘Why is My Dog Sneezing?’ – The 7 Most Common Reasons

Have you ever been worried because your dog started producing an unusual sound you found odd?

You probably looked at your pup and wondered:

What is going on? Why is my dog sneezing?

All dogs get into a sneezing frenzy at one point or another, and it is a completely normal thing. However, is there a time when you should truly be worried and seek medical help for your friend?

The truth is, many factors cause sneezing, and it is hard to say right away.

In this article, we will show you the most common reasons to help you better understand the core of the problem. By the end of it, you will have a full understanding of why your dog is sneezing and find out different ways to get rid of all problems.

Let’s start!

Why Do Dogs Sneeze In the First Place?

Here is a simple, most common explanation:

Dogs usually sneeze to discharge the unwanted or irritating particles out of their nose.

Simply put, sneezing is a type of defense mechanism. It is a way that your dog’s body releases something they accidentally inhaled:

  • dust,
  • grass particles,
  • irritating chemicals (like household cleaners or even perfume),
  • negative bacteria,
  • pollen, etc.

This way, their respiratory tract becomes cleaner, and they reduce the chances of developing diseases.

Mucus plays an essential role in the respiratory system. The connection between sneezing and mucous membranes is quite close. To better understand its function, feel free to simply imagine it as an air filter.

The inability of the body to adapt to environmental changes (air quality, dust particles, etc.) quickly leads to sneezing.

In other words, if you expose your dog to an unusual, strong smell (such as your new favorite perfume), their noses will notice that something weird is going on. The consequence of this exposure to a new feeling is – sneezing.

Similarly, we encounter this in many situations, don’t we?

Let’s go over the most common reasons that may irritate your dog’s nose!

Reason #1 – Regular Behavior

Dog sneeze to communicate.

The most common reason why your dog is sneezing is probably one of the following:

  • simple communication – they are looking for attention,
  • sneezing during play when they get fake angry,
  • they have something in their nose after sniffing around the park.

As you can see, none of these is anything you should worry about. It is all completely normal behavior that dogs will take part in now and then.

Now, let’s move on to the health-related reasons that you should pay more attention to as soon as you notice them.

Reason #2 – Seasonal Allergies

Dogs sneeze because of seasonal allergies.

Dogs undergo seasonal allergies the same as humans do. Most often, it is during the summer season or spring.

There are large amounts of pollen in the air in this period as plants start to bloom and our entire neighborhood comes to life. 

Such a sudden change in the air quality can negatively impact your dog’s immune system, causing an allergic reaction.

Watch out for how your dog reacts to seasonal changes and see if they become especially sensitive to pollen. If that is the case, try to change your daily routine to reduce the contact with allergens to a minimum.

It doesn’t have to be just the spring and the plants, though. The most widespread allergens are:

  • grass,
  • polen,
  • and fungi.

In extremely rare cases, shortness of breath caused by these allergies can even turn into a fatal case!

The following dog breeds belong to the high-risk group:

  • Labrador,
  • French bulldog,
  • German Shepherd,
  • Golden Retriever.

However, these allergies are not limited to just a few breeds!

According to studies, almost 80% of dogs experience allergic reactions.

For that reason, don’t be surprised to see your dog sneezing when exposed to any of the allergens we mentioned above. Nevertheless, you should know what to do when allergies show up.

What Can You Do to Prevent Allergies?

  • It’s always better to act before you face an issue. Do an allergy test for your dog. The test will help you act proactively and avoid troubles down the road.
  • You have two options – the skin and the blood test. Choose the skin test. The skin test is more accurate, while the price is often identical – around $200.

Quick Tip: Vitamin C is an excellent remedy for allergic reactions. There is a lot of it in fruit, such as watermelon, which your dog can safely eat.

Reason #3 – Lack of Oral Hygiene

Brushing dog's teeth.

When was the last time you checked your dog’s teeth?

Two-thirds of dogs have problems with oral hygiene. In addition, their dog parents have no idea of the potential consequences.

Ignoring oral hygiene can lead to rotten gums. The first symptom is the red color of the gums. Soon, the strength of your dog’s teeth becomes questionable. Further down the road, this leads to disturbed airways, and the dog begins to sneeze.

Also, poor oral hygiene creates a negative domino effect. Your dog’s bloodstream can transfer harmful particles to the vital organs, which can create huge problems for their overall health.

Please remember:

Daily teeth brushing can prolong your dog’s lifespan by as much as 20%!

Since you want to have your friend around for as long as possible, here is what you need to do.

How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Dental Health?

Let’s try the following steps to prevent dental problems:

  1. Visit your vet and set up a dental care routine for your dog.
  2. Do a bit of research and choose a diet that keeps their teeth healthy.
  3. Brush your dog’s teeth daily. Pick a time of the day when you do it and make it a part of your daily routine.
  4. From time to time, give your dog dental treats and let them play with dental toys during the playtime.
  5. Consider using water additives and dental gel to strengthen their teeth.

Reason #4 – Sinus Infection

White bulldog.

Most of the time they spend outside, dogs are sniffing the ground and exploring the area. As a result, their noses come into contact with potential allergens.

This behavior is especially characteristic of dogs with longer muzzles. However, this doesn’t mean that other dogs are resistant to infections.

Various particles can cause mucosal irritation. Microorganisms like fungi cause the most infections. If they linger in the dog’s nasal passages, it increases the chances of the dog developing a disease.

The appearance of nasal discharge determines the course of treatment. The red color of the discharge is usually a sign of foreign body presence.

The first step is always a visit to the vet. An X-ray and your vet’s diagnosis will accurately determine the appropriate therapy. If needed, your vet could conduct a blood or urine test to analyze the situation further.

How Does the Treatment Usually Look Like?

The use of antibiotics helps in the treatment of fungal infections. Vets often recommend cephalexin.

Additionally, the most effective way to get rid of some foreign bodies in your dog’s nasal tract is surgery. However, this is not the only solution and not a common course of action.

Detecting the presence of fungi in time will improve the chances of a successful recovery. If the infection spreads, recovery takes from 6 to 12 months.

Quick Tip: Consider buying a high-quality air purifier. It will improve air quality in your house and help your dog’s recovery.

Reason #5 – Nasal Tumor

Dog with a nasal tumor.

We wouldn’t want you to jump to conclusions and panic. Still, it is better to consider all possibilities if the symptoms are particularly worrying (bloody discharge from the nose, sneezing that lasts for days or weeks, etc.).

We have already talked about the harmful cells that can enter your dog’s nose. The spread of these cells in the dog’s nasal cavity can cause a tumor, often cancerous. The dog’s genetic history has a great impact on tumor development.

Usually, a nasal tumor occurs in the later stages of a dog’s life. Sneezing is the first symptom that stands out. The spread of cancer causes the appearance of bloody nasal discharge.

According to the Veterinary Society’s cancer research, 1 out of 4 dogs will develop cancer at some point. Equally, around 50% of dogs older than ten years could develop cancer.

A vet can detect tumors using X-rays or CT scans. Choosing radiation therapy, a vet would better control the situation. Without treatment, the dog could live anywhere from 3 to 5 months. Radiation therapy can prolong the dog’s life by 12 months. However, the tumor is hardly curable.

Quick Tip: Your dog most likely doesn’t enjoy the smell of cigarettes. Smoking around the dog can increase the chances of cancer development.

Reason #6 – The Presence of Nasal Mites

Nasal mites can cause sneezing in dogs.

Mite transmission takes place everywhere. They are incredibly mobile and easily transmitted.

What you need to know is that mites can also live in your dog’s sinuses. The dog most frequently gets mites by interacting with other dogs.

The symptoms can include:

  • bleeding from the nose,
  • bloody discharge,
  • sneezing,
  • head shaking,
  • difficult breathing, etc.

In most cases, the use of antiparasitic medication wins the battle with mites. About 85% of cases treated with it are successful.

There is a silver lining here. Luckily, the transmission of mites from a dog to a human is impossible, so you don’t have to worry about getting infected.

Reason #7 – Household Cleaner Poisoning

Household cleaners can be harmful for dogs.

Cheerfully running with your dog around the house can very easily turn into a nightmare, especially if your dog likes to sniff around near the washing machine.

Wondering why?

We easily forget how many dangerous chemicals (such as bleach) we use when doing household chores.

Due to its curious nature, a dog can smell bleach, which can seriously endanger its health. Bleach contains elements that cause unpleasant and harmful irritation. The degree of the poisoning depends on the method of ingestion.

The best advice we can give you is to seek the vet’s advice immediately! Consider bringing the packaging of the cleaning chemical to the vet. This will help the vet to assess the problem more reliably.

Bonus Tips!

Just before the end of this article, we have prepared a list of interesting tips that may help you prevent and treat your dog’s sneezing problem:

  1. Isolate your dog while vacuuming the house to avoid the possibility of them inhaling allergens that fly into the air as you start cleaning.
  2. Consider changing your dog’s diet. Dogs can be allergic to gluten, which can, however surprising this may sound – cause sneezing.
  3. Determine the particular rooms or areas of your house that may be dangerous for your dog (for example, the laundry room). Keep your dog away from those potentially harmful areas.
  4. Keep the hygiene in check. Bathe your dog regularly, and take care of their dental health.


We hope you have gained some useful information from our list!

We also suggest you take a look at our article on how to discipline a dog. It will improve your dog’s ability to adapt to new conditions.

Now, please let us know which piece of advice we shared today did you find the most helpful.

Leave a comment so we can see your opinions!