Why does my dog sneeze?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    As a puppy our Cavapoo would be continually sneezing, especially when she was first let out in the garden. Although she doesn’t sneeze quite as much now, in certain situations I have wondered if her sneezing is a cause for concern.

    A dog sneezing is a common occurance and does not generally indicate a cold. In fact dogs sneeze for many reasons such as an allergy, pollen, foreign objects, nasal mites, and even sneeze as a way of showing their emotions.

    For most dogs, sneezing is a normal reaction as a way of expelling an irritant that may have got caught up in their nasal passage, however, excessive sneezing could be a sign of something more serious.

    Here we look at how you can decipher your dogs sneeze!

    Should I be worried when my dog sneezes?

    There are many reasons why a dog will sneeze and not all of them are associated with a sign of illness, infection or are even a cause for concern.

    It may be down to the breed of dog you have, they might be more sensitive to irritants or it could just be that your pooch is trying to communicate with you.

    Below we look at the main causes for dogs to sneeze!

    Dog sneezing can indicate an allergy

    When your dog sneezes it could be because of allergies that are picked up outside the home, such as a reaction to the grass or pollen. Alternatively your dogs constant sneezing could be caused by your living environment.

    Household chemicals, cleaning products, perfume, deodorants, mold and smoke can all trigger a reaction in our dogs.

    For this reason, you should make sure that your home is as safe as possible for your Cavapoo. For more information, why not check out our blog on household items that are toxic for dogs.

    Dog sneezing can be due to a foreign object

    Dogs tend to explore the world through their noses as their eyesight is notoriously poor in comparison. This could lead to your Cavapoo inhaling or ingesting something they shouldn’t, which could get stuck in their nose or throat.

    The most likely culprits are blades of grass, soil particles, a hair, a piece of food, or a foxtail burr.

    If you notice your dog continually sneezing, coughing or pawing at their nose, then they may be trying to remove a foreign body from their airways and you should seek veterinarian assistance straight away.

    Dog sneezing may be caused by an infection

    Usually, the reason why your dog is sneezing is a one-off reaction to something in the air or even because of a play sneeze (more on this later!). However, if your pooch is sneezing excessively, it could be due to nasal fungal infections.

    Aspergillus fungus is a common nasal infection that is caused by inhalation of a fungus from dust, hay or bits of grass.

    Symptoms include sneezing, nose pain, nosebleeds, discharge and visible swelling. If your Cavapoo demonstrates any of these symptoms, then you should take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.

    Another infection which is displayed through sneezing is that of an infected tooth. The third upper premolar has roots that are really close to the nasal passages, so if this tooth or any that are near to it are infected, it may cause your dog to sneeze.

    In older dogs (usually those that are 7 years+ of age), then another possible cause of your dog sneezing, are nasal tumors.

    Symptoms of nasal tumors are usually characterized by increased frequency of sneezing over time, with the possibility of bleeding on one side of the nose. These are a lot more rare however, so it is important not to jump to conclusions before visiting your vet.

    Dog sneezing can be caused by nasal mites

    It could be that your dog keeps sneezing and shaking their head, because they are trying to get rid of nasal mites in their nose cavity.

    On rare occasions, persistent sneezing in dogs can also be caused by tiny bugs that get inside your dog’s nasal passages. These little mites are commonly picked up whilst your dog is digging in the dirt with their nose.

    Nasal mites are incredibly irritating for dogs and can cause nosebleeds and excess discharge from your dog’s nose as well as an impaired sense of smell. If your Cavapoo is showing any of these symptoms and you suspect your dog may have nasal mites, then you should take them to your veterinarian for treatment.

    Nasal mites can be cured in 85% of cases by using anti-parasitic medications. They aren’t a nice thing for your dog to be afflicted with, and can survive in your dogs nose for up to 19 days if left untreated.

    Although they are non-burrowing, they live on the mucosa of the naval cavities and sinuses. If you are interested to know more about dog nasal mites, then this is a great source of information.

    What breeds of dog are prone to sneezing?

    Sneezing can be more common in certain dogs such as brachycephalic breeds, which includes Pekingese, French Bulldogs, Pugs and even Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (the part parent to the gorgeous Cavapoo).

    This is because these dogs have shorter nasal passages that could cause them to sneeze a lot more when coming into contact with a foreign object or strong scent.

    It is important to note that brachycephalic breeds are generally prone to certain diseases, but sneezing for any dog is generally nothing to worry about.

    Do dogs sneeze to show they are happy?

    Quite often owners see their dogs starting to sneeze during playtime together or when out and about with other dogs. This is because dogs often sneeze in order to communicate.

    This form of sneezing is known as “play sneezing” and as our dogs are unable to talk to us, they find other ways to communicate with us.

    Play sneezing is your Cavapoos way of showing others that they are not afraid of the situation and that are excited and having fun.

    In fact, one dog owner in the UK managed to teach her Cavapoo dog to sneeze on demand. The little dog Rocco, loves the fact he can earn extra treats for this special talent he has learnt.

    Do dogs sneeze when they are stressed?

    If your dog is sneezing then it could be their body’s way of releasing pent-up stress or confusion. Sneezing can be a calming signal for dogs, just like lip licking and yawning can.

    Because every dog is different, they are likely to react differently to stress, so it’s important to know what your Cavapoo “trigger-stressors” are, in order to help minimize or even prevent stress from occurring in the first place.

    Other common questions that are frequently asked about dog’s and sneezes include:

    Why do puppies sneeze a lot?

    There is nothing more adorable than watching a small puppy running around the backyard, yapping in delight. But what you may notice is that your puppy sneezes a lot more than other dogs. Puppies can be more prone to sneezing, as they have a developing immune system, so allergies are often more pronounced. However, as your dog gets older, the sneezing should become less severe.

    What is reverse sneezing?

    On the odd occasion our Cavapoo, Rosie, will start breathing rapidly in and out of her nose whilst standing still. This movement then produces a weird snorting/sneezing sound. This is generally nothing to be alarmed about and what Rosie is actually doing is known as a reverse sneeze.

    Reverse sneezing can last for several moments and is often caused by irritations to the nose, sinuses or back of the throat. Small dogs and those with narrow nasal passages tend to be more commonly affected by a reverse sneeze, with vets referring to this condition as paroxysmal respiration.

    Are there any home remedies for dog sneezing?

    If your dog is suffering from allergies, then we strongly advise against trying to administer any human medicines as these can be dangerous to pets. Instead we suggest seeking advice on why your dog is sneezing from an expert.

    There are, however, some natural remedies that may help to ease your dogs sneeze, such as Homeopet Nose Relief which is made in America from natural raw materials, and helps provide support for your dogs nasal and sinus tract.

    You should make sure that you consult with your veterinarian first so that they can advise of the correct dosage. Using anti-itch and hypoallergenic shampoos are also a good way of looking after the health of your dog – especially if they are prone to allergies.

    When to take sneezing dogs to the Vet

    Occasional sneezing in dogs would not usually warrant a visit to the vet. However, some instances of dog sneezing do require a trip to the vet to see what’s wrong – especially if there has been a noticeable change in your dogs behavior, along with any of the below symptoms:
    Thick nasal discharge or blood
    Nasal swelling
    Reduced appetite


    There are many reasons why dogs sneeze, so it’s important to distinguish between playful or communicative dog sneezing versus an indicator of a more serious underlying health condition. If in doubt, seek an expert opinion.

    Scroll to Top