Dog Sneezing: Raleigh Vets Share a Few Reasons Why Your Dog Sneezes

A few weeks ago, our Raleigh veterinarians shared a few thoughts on cat sneezing and one of our followers asked if we could put together an article on dog sneezing as well. Of course, we were more than happy to say yes, we love knowing that pet parents are interested in learning about their pet’s health!

Dog Sneezing: What Causes Your Dog to Sneeze?

Just like humans and cats, there are many reasons why your dog may sneeze, but some of those reasons are much more common than others. Today we’re going to look at some of those more common reasons for canine sneezing!

General Sneezes

Like us, our dogs can sneeze simply because they have a slight irritation in their nasal passages due to dust, debris, dirt…any small everyday irritant can cause sneezing as the body tries to clear the irritant from the nasal passage through sneezing. Sneezing can also be a result of the irritation of nasal tissue by the irritant itself.

This type of sneezing is not uncommon and is usually nothing to worry about at all. The best rule of thumb to remember is that if your dog’s pattern of sneezing changes from their norm then it may not be general sneezing after all and it’s best to check in with your vet.


Allergies are another common reason why dogs sneeze. Again, just like us, our dogs can have allergies to just about anything. For example, your dog can be allergic to dust, mold, pollen, etc. When your dog has this type of allergy, you will notice that they may exhibit a different pattern of sneezing. This sneezing can be accompanied by a number of other allergy symptoms too, for example, discharge or “goop” from the eyes, itching, “coughing”, wheezing, redness of the skin, and swelling of areas exposed to the allergen. It is possible, however, that the only symptoms of allergies that you might see in your dog are respiratory.

Chemical Irritation

Have you ever smelled a perfume or cologne only to start sneezing? This is a result of chemical irritation. When you smell that perfume or cologne, minuscule particles enter the nasal passages. These particles can irritate the sensitive tissue in the nasal cavity and cause sneezing or, if you are prone to allergies, you may experience sneezing as a result of your immune system trying to get rid of these irritant particles from the nasal cavity by blowing them out (or flushing them out in the case of a runny nose).

Chemical irritation is a similar process for our dogs, but if you think about how sensitive your dog’s sense of smell is, you will soon realize that it can take much smaller amounts of irritants to cause them to sneeze!

If you believe that your dog is sneezing due to chemical irritation, the first thing you should do is to try to pinpoint the source and remove it from your home. In addition, it’s best to reduce the number of chemicals and fragrances that you use in your home as well so that you can reduce the frequency or severity of future symptoms of chemical irritation.

If the chemical that causes your dog’s sneezing has the potential to be harmful or if your dog is exhibiting other signs of irritation in addition to their sneezing as a result of a chemical irritant, you should always check in with your vet. Your vet will be able to determine whether there has been any serious damage done to the sensitive respiratory tract and whether your dog needs any veterinary care in order to feel more comfortable.

Infection or Illness

Again, just like us, our dogs can develop respiratory infections or illnesses that cause them to experience sneezing in addition to other symptoms. Some of the most common upper respiratory infection or illness symptoms may include:

  • Nasal or eye discharge
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms, more severe symptoms, or simply suspect that your dog is not feeling like themselves, it’s always best to drop in and pay your vet a visit. It’s always better to be safe and seek out veterinary treatment as soon as possible so that you help your dog to feel better as soon as possible.

Dental Problems

Many pet parents don’t know that dental problems can cause their pets a whole host of medical problems. Your dog is likely to display a number of other symptoms of dental concerns before they exhibit sneezing. These symptoms may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Visibly broken, cracked, or chipped teeth
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Weight loss as a result of reluctance to eat
  • Visible signs of pain when eating

In some cases, however, your dog may also sneeze when they are suffering from dental issues. This tends to happen most often when your dog has an abscess or extended roots on their teeth that put pressure on the nasal passages.

If you suspect that your dog has any type of dental concern, it’s important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Most of us know how painful toothache can be and it’s just as painful for your pet. It’s also crucial to know that if left untreated, your dog’s dental concerns can contribute to more serious illnesses like heart disease and sepsis. Keep in mind that these types of problems can be prevented with routine veterinary dental care and cleanings!

Is Your Dog Sneezing and You’re Not Sure Why?

If your dog is sneezing and you’re not sure why or if you just want a professional opinion to ensure that your dog is as healthy as they can be, give us a call today at (919)870-7000 and make an appointment with one of our three Raleigh veterinarians! Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Our Hours

Monday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday: Boarding pick up 5 – 6 p.m.

Call Us: (919) 870-7000
Visit Us: 9309 Leesville Rd,
                 Raleigh, N.C. 27613


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