Yes, dogs do sneeze, and in most cases, it looks nice and funny. But why do dogs sneeze? You may believe that they are sick and that you should take them to the vet. In reality, there are multiple reasons why all dogs do this, and we need to investigate all of them! Only then will you know the answer and be able to take him to the vet when that is actually needed.
Dog Sneezing Basics
All dogs sneeze at certain moments, and this is easy to explain. Once we are done with this section, we will look at the question, “Why do dogs sneeze when playing with you or with other dogs?”
Basically, when a dog sneezes, it means that there is an irritant inside the nose. This is the same reason why we sneeze, too. Dog or better said his brain will use this process to remove the irritant and make breathing normal or more comfortable. An interesting fact is that when sneezing, that irritant can be propelled to 100 miles per hour. Sneezing may look like a simple process, but it is actually more complex than that.
It involves many muscles—the nose, brain, and so much more. It is something scientists have been fascinated with. In addition, there is a centre in the brain called the “sneeze center.”
There is one more similarity with humans. When a dog sneezes, his eyes will be closed. You probably know that when you sneeze, your eyes are closed as well, and it is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
In a nutshell, dogs sneeze for countless reasons, but one of them is to remove irritants from the nose. On the other side, we can see that this isn’t always the case, especially when playing. In reality, there are a few reasons why dogs will sneeze when playing.
Why Do Dogs Sneeze? All Different Reasons Explained.
Due To Environment
This is the most common reason and the man answers to why do dogs sneeze questions. In its simplest form, we can see that some irritant will reach their nose, and they will sneeze in order to remove it.
This can be dust particles, perfume smells, a cleaner, some product, or something completely else. But, when this reason is present, your dog will smell grass, dust, or stick their nose in something. There is no need to do anything about it. It is perfectly normal, and the dog is trying to remove the irritant from the nose.
Dogs Seek Attention Using Sneezing
Believe it or not, dogs will sneeze when they seek attention. This happens when mealtime is close or they want to go for a walk. Once again, there is no need to do anything when this happens. But you should know that your pet needs something. It is definitely an interesting and effective form of communication.
Brachycephalic breeds will sneeze more often due to the shape of their nose and also throat. There is no need to worry about this. Some dogs breeds such as Boston Terrier and Bulldogs are well-known for sneezing. Keep in mind that these breeds must not be exposed to high temperatures.
Your Dog Sneezes As A Form Of Communication
Dogs cannot speak, so they have developed interesting methods to communicate. One of them is sneezing! One study that was conducted in 2017 discovered that wild dogs in Africa sneeze when negotiating, which is used for collective decisions.
Other dogs use the same method to reveal something calming. For instance, he will sneeze when taking a break or just tell other dogs that he is comfortable with that action. Keep in mind that dogs will use sneezing to communicate with people as well.
Why Dogs Sneeze When Playing With Other Dogs?
Most dogs will sneeze when playing with you or with other dogs. This is a very common thing and one that you need to understand. We did mention that their sense of smell is extremely powerful and this is one of the reasons why they sneeze often. But, they can sneeze due to other reasons as well.
Dog Will Wrinkle His Nose
Here is the most common reason why dogs sneeze in this case scenario. When they play, they will curl the upper lip and therefore the nose. This means they are happy and having a great time. But this will irritate their nose and force them to sneeze. Dogs’ sense of smell is 10.000–100.000 times more sensitive than ours, so even the smallest irritation can cause them to sneeze. It is perfectly normal, and there is no need to worry about it. It means your pet is having a good time. We must add that if your dog sneezes, it means that he is healthy.
They Want To Communicate
This is another reason that is extremely common, especially when your pet is playing with other dogs. They use sneezing to communicate and it basically is a calming sign and the one that should tell other dogs that they should have a break or they should stop playing. Your pet may use this method to communicate with you as well. Don’t forget that dogs use over 30 body and facial expressions to communicate with other dogs when playing, and sneezing is just another method.
We would like to add that some dog owners claim sneezing can be trained. Apparently, they trained their dogs to sneeze on command. This is theoretically possible but defeats the purpose. Your dog sneezes to communicate with you, and this isn’t something he should do when you want. It is like you have to say something when another person wants it.
He May Seek Attention
Dogs are smart and they will use different ways to communicate and to get what they want. Sneezing is one of them. This happens when he needs your attention or when he wants you to play with him.
Sneezing is an effective method and the one you need to understand. If you give him attention in this case scenario, he will learn that he can use this method all the time. That’s why some dogs sneeze on a regular basis. It happens when your dog wants to play or when he wants to prolong playing with you. It is up to you to accept this behavior or to ignore it.
There is no need in adding that this sneezing will be fake and there is no need to worry about anything. It should be short and always when you are present.
Sneezing Can Be A Sign Of Something Else
By now you all know that dogs sneeze when playing in order to communicate or when they want to play with you so they seek attention. But, these are all the reasons dogs have developed over time and they are not the primary purpose of sneezing. As a matter of fact, sneezing should be seen only when your dog has an irritant in the nose or a health-related issue.
Healthy sneezing will sort and it will come from the nose. If your dog is doing like this, there is no need to worry about and it is perfectly normal. The reasons why are explained above. This type of sneezing is rare and usually purpose-driven.
If your dog sneezes all the time you may need to take him to a vet. It means that there is a risk of flu, common cold, or some other issue. It also means that if sneezing comes from the lungs of your dog, you need to take him to a vet immediately. There are countless reasons why he is doing it and you need to solve any potential issues.
Health Related Reasons Why Your Dog Sneeze
All of the reasons we saw above are harmless and fun, in fact. But, there is an opposite side of the story. Dogs may sneeze when something else causes them to do so. Below you can see the most common reasons of this kind.
It simply means that there is something inside the nose of your pet that blocks or limits the air intake. You can hear your dog sneezing all the time. This can be harmless. It can happen when there is a piece of grass inside. Or, it can be more severe when your pet has a tumour in the airways! A vet help is needed in this case scenario.
Dogs do have allergies as well. They are more similar to humans than you may believe. Some, like seasonal allergies, are generally harmless. But others may be more dangerous, in which case you need to take him to a vet.
Reverse sneezing is present when a dog is inhaling quickly using his nose. Usually, it is harmless and will happen due to some irritant being present. But it can also be caused by inflammation or an allergy.
When You Should Take Your Pet To The Vet?
In most cases, you don’t have to take him to a vet. As you saw, there are many reasons why dogs sneeze. But if your dog is sneezing frequently, showing nasal discharge, or you can see that he is in pain once this happens, a serious issue may be present. There is no need to tell you that help from a vet is mandatory.
It can be a simple solution. For instance, hunting dogs may have a piece of grass stuck inside the nose, and all you have to do is remove it. You may want to examine his nose and check for any obstructions. However, it is still a better idea to take him to a vet.
You should be especially careful if you hear that the sneeze comes from the lungs rather than the nose. It usually means “cold,” and yes, medical attention is needed. If your dog spends a lot of time outside when the temperatures are low, this may be the reason.
We must add that not every sneeze is a sneeze. Snorting may look like sneezing, but it is completely different in terms of symptoms and severity. What this means is that snorting is a side effect of obesity in dogs or that the upper nasal airways are obstructed. There is nothing related to lungs in this scenario. Sadly, more and more dogs are overweight these days, which may cause this issue to become even more transparent.
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The Final Word
Why do dogs sneeze is an interesting question to know answers to. As you can see, we provided answers. There are multiple reasons why a dog will sneeze, and usually there is no need to be concerned. But, in some cases, this may show that a serious issue is present and that medical help is needed. Always consult this article first, and if you see any of the signs that your dog is sneezing due to health-related issues, take him to the vet.