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Why Is My Dog Sneezing?

Learn why dogs sneeze.

Most dogs don't sneeze too much, so if yours does, it can get your attention fast. You may be wondering why dogs sneeze and why yours, specifically, may be doing it.

Can My Dog Catch My Cold?

One of the most common questions vets receive about dog sneezes is whether dogs can catch colds from humans. The answer is no. Dogs have different viruses than humans do.

So, What Does Cause Dogs to Sneeze?

There are a variety of things that can cause dogs to sneeze. Many times, it's just something irritating getting into the nasal cavity. If that's the case, it will only be one sneeze or a set of sneezes and no more.

Dogs can also get colds, which means an upper respiratory infection. Viruses or bacteria can cause them. Dog colds aren't as common as human colds except for kennel cough, which is infectious tracheobronchitis, caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. Kennel cough can cause sneezing in some dogs, but it's much more likely to cause coughing.

A foreign body getting into the nasal cavity can cause a dog to sneeze. A common form of this is foxtails, which is a type of grass awn that is known to embed in body parts and travel. Learn more: "Foxtails: A Summer Hazard for Dogs."

Another common cause of sneezing is not a real sneeze at all. It's more of a snort, which is why it's called a reverse sneeze. It's caused by irritation to the throat or soft palate and is common in short-faced breeds, where the soft palate may be long enough to extend back into the airway.

Anything obstructing the nasal passages can cause a sneeze, and sometimes that's a polyp or tumor. In that case, sneezes are chronic and may be accompanied by nasal discharge.

Allergies can cause sneezing in dogs, though that's less common than it is in people.

What to Do If Your Dog Sneezes

If your dog sneezes a few times and nothing else is amiss, you can probably keep an eye on the situation. But if the sneezing becomes steady or is accompanied by other signs of illness, get an appointment with the vet. It can help if you record a sneezing episode to show your vet.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Can Dogs Get Colds?

Foxtails: A Summertime Hazard for Dogs

Dogs and Allergies: Living with a Dog When You're Allergic

Kennel Cough: Infectious Tracheobronchitis in Dogs

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