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Sneezing in Dogs

Normal, healthy animals may sneeze occasionally as a result to dust or other irritants. Persistent, repeated, or violent sneezing has many potential causes.

Common Causes

More common causes are listed first.  Less common causes are listed later.

  • Sneezing as a reaction to irritants in the environment is extremely common.
  • Foreign objects in the nose, such as bits of food, foxtails, or blades of grass, may trigger bouts of violent sneezing.
  • Nasal or sinus infections with bacteria, viruses, or fungi may trigger sneezing.
  • Tumors of the nose or sinus may cause sneezing.
  • Canine distemper virus may cause sneezing.  This occurs primarily in unvaccinated dogs.
  • Nasal mites, a parasite of dogs, can trigger sneezing.
  • Nasal allergies (similar to hay fever in people) are rare in dogs.

Recommended Course of Action

Seek veterinary attention for any dog that sneezes abnormally often, or that sneezes violently.  As well, a veterinarian should assess any dog that suffers from sneezing in combination with nasal discharge.

When in doubt, the safest course of action is to consult with a veterinarian.

Copyright © Eric Barchas, DVM All rights reserved.
The contents of this page are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation with a veterinarian.