8 Possible Causes for Your Dog’s Sneezing in Wicker Park, Chicago

All dog owners have seen their pet sneeze at least a handful of times throughout their dog’s life. However, many dog lovers have likely wondered about when sneezing is an indication of a serious problem in dogs. As you can probably imagine, most of the time sneezing is nothing that dog owners need to necessarily worry about, but there are some instances where sneezing may require a trip to the emergency vet.

Possibly the most common cause for sneezing in dogs is play sneezing. However, sneezing as a result of allergies, irritation, or some kind of infection are also pretty common in dogs. In addition to this, there are some other, more rare conditions that could cause a dog to sneeze as well such as a nasal tumor.

causes for dog sneezing

In this article we will be listing out all of the reasons why dogs sneeze and describing how to tell the difference between each of them. In addition to this, we will be explaining when you may want to take a trip to the emergency vet for a dog’s sneezing. Ok, let’s just jump into it!

1.  Sneezing As A Way To Communicate

 Dogs will sometimes sneeze when they are playing with both people and other dogs as a way to communicate. In dog language a sneeze basically means that they are just playing around and are enjoying themselves.

When interacting with other dogs a sneeze could take the edge off and prevent the other dog from misinterpreting their actions and body language. There is definitely nothing a dog owner needs to worry about if their dog likes to sneeze during playtime.

2.  Allergies

Just like in humans, allergies can cause a dog to sneeze, and it is actually fairly common for dogs to have allergies. You can tell if a dog is sneezing due to allergies by looking for some other common allergy symptoms in dogs. Some of the most common signs that a dog has an allergy include:

  • Excessive scratching (could lead to hair loss and skin infections if left untreated)
  • Red or pink skin and hives
  • Discharge coming from the nose and/or eyes
  • Excessive licking
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms along with sneezing then it is a good sign that your dog may have some allergies.

Although it is a good idea to take your dog to a vet to receive treatment and a diagnosis, allergies are not considered to be a medical emergency. 

As a result, you do not need to rush to the emergency vet, but you should make an appointment with your regular vet.

3.  Irritation Causing Your Dog to Sneeze a Lot

Have you ever gotten some pepper up your nose and sneezed as a result? This is called nasal irritation, and it can sometimes happen to both people and dogs. If your dog gives the occasional sneeze with no other symptoms then this is usually the cause.

Although nasal irritation is nothing that dog owners necessarily need to worry about, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on your dog to ensure that they are not exhibiting any other symptoms.

4.  They Inhaled Something They Shouldn’t Have

Sometimes a dog will have an intense sneezing fit if they have inhaled a foreign object such as a blade of grass or pebbles. This causes a lot of irritation, so a dog may also paw at their nose and shake their head in addition to sneezing.

Depending on the size of the object and your dog’s symptoms this may or may not be a medical emergency.

However, it is a good idea to head on over to the emergency vet if your dog seems to be struggling to breathe, if they are sneezing blood, or if the object will not come out on its own.

5.  Upper Respiratory Infections

Unfortunately, dogs can catch and spread upper respiratory infections like people can. However, dogs can rarely pass these diseases onto humans. Possibly the most common upper respiratory infection in dogs is kennel cough.

However, there are quite a few other respiratory infections in dogs as well. Some other symptoms of upper respiratory infections in dogs besides sneezing include but may not be limited to:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge (may be colored or clear)
  • Discharge from the eyes (may be colored or clear)
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite

If you believe that your dog is sneezing because they have an upper respiratory infection then it is a good idea to take them to your regular vet to get a diagnosis and proper treatment. Seeking emergency medical help is not usually necessary unless they are experiencing breathing difficulties or other signs of a medical emergency.

6.  Dental Disease

Although this may surprise some dog lovers, dental disease can also cause sneezing in dogs. This is because a dog’s nasal cavity and the roots of their teeth lie very close together. As a result, dogs can sometimes experience nasal irritation when the roots of their teeth become infected, and this causes them to sneeze. Here are some other common symptoms of dental disease in dogs.

  • Foul breath
  • Reduced appetite
  • Pain while eating or chewing
  • Otherwise unexplained loss of teeth
  • Drooling and swelling

It is a good idea to see your vet if you suspect that your dog is sneezing because they have dental disease. Although this condition in dogs is not curable, there are some things that a vet can do to help your pet feel more comfortable. This condition does not usually require emergency veterinary care.

7.  Mites

Dogs can get nasal mites from rubbing their nose on the ground outside. These tiny bugs cause a lot of itchy and uncomfortable nasal irritation in dogs, and this often causes them to sneeze and have some nasal discharge. Nasal mites are treatable by a vet.

8.  Tumors

Sometimes dogs will sneeze because a nasal tumor is irritating or blocking their airway. Although this cause of sneezing in dogs is more rare, it is definitely a cause to see the vet if your dog is having recurring sneezing fits.

If your dog seems to be struggling to breathe or is bleeding from the nose then you should take them to the closest emergency vet immediately.

When In Doubt, Contact Your Vet If Your Dog Is Sneezing a Lot

As always, if you ever have any questions regarding your dog’s health, you should contact your vet to see what the next steps should be if there need to be any. 

At Companion Animal Hospital Wicker Park, we’re here for all your pet care needs. If you find that your dog is sneezing irregularly, give us a call! We also highly recommend and encourage clients to send us pictures and/or videos of their pet so we can add it to their file so our team can get a better idea of what your pet is going through!

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