Dogs do not usually sneeze for the same reasons as humans. Canine animals typically cough when they have upper respiratory issues. When they have allergies, they usually express it through their skin. The few times a dog sneezes, it’s usually due to inhaled irritants.
However, dogs sneezing constantly for a period of time are a cause for concern. Continuous sneezing can be an early indication that your dog has caught something that caused nasal irritation. This could develop into a respiratory infection. If you’re wondering what’s making your furry companion sneeze so much, one of the following may be the culprit.
Foreign bodies can get into your dog’s nose and cause terrible sneezing fits. This is the simplest form of nasal irritation and is not a cause for concern. However, if your furry pal is unable to expel the foreign object, bring him quickly to a veterinarian. The most common objects extracted from a dog’s nose are sticks, dead insects, strings, and paper clips.
If your dog starts sneezing (with watery eyes and occasional pawing of the face) in late spring or early summer, he may have allergic rhinitis. This condition is linked to pollen production and also the proliferation of dust and mould. Other common allergens for dogs are cigarette smoke, dust, perfume, and rug powder, etc. Allergy-induced sneezing rarely affects the daily activities of the dog.
Kennel Cough (KC)
If your dog exhibits persistent sneezing or snorting with a harsh and dry cough, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your dog can be suffering from Kennel Cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, which is a highly contagious disease—both viral and bacterial. This happens when dogs inhale bacteria or virus particles. KC causes inflammation in the dog’s windpipe, making it difficult for him to breathe. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Your dog can suffer from infectious diseases that induce sneezing. Infections in dogs are usually more serious and might be caused by any injury to membranes within the nose or sinuses. It can also be induced by an Aspergillus fungus infection, which occurs when your dog inhales hay, dust, or grass clippings outdoors. An infected tooth can also induce canine sneezing. The third upper premolar is closer to the nasal passages and, when infected, can cause sneezing.
Watch out for nasal discharges of mucus or pus, bad odour or bleeding. If you think your pet is suffering from an infection, take him to the veterinarian. If it’s a chronic infection, surgery is often recommended.
Canine Influenza, commonly called dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease. Its symptoms almost resemble that of kennel cough, which is tough to determine without proper diagnosis.
Other signs include eye discharge, fever, and reduced appetite. Since it is a contagious disease, the affected dog should be isolated from the healthy dogs. He should also be brought to a veterinarian as soon as possible before the dog develops secondary bacterial infections.
Canine Distemper is a contagious viral disease that is prevalent in unvaccinated or non-immunized dogs. In the first stages of canine distemper, dogs will exhibit sneezing and coughing. It is then followed by a high fever and red and watery eyes.
The dog will also become lethargic and will suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. The disease affects not only the respiratory and the gastrointestinal systems but also the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) if not immediately treated.
Nasal Tumours are common in older pooches and dog breeds with longer nasal passages like the Collie. It is often caused by tobacco smoke and other environmental carcinogens. Symptoms include nasal discharges, sneezing, laboured and noisy breathing, facial deformity, visible pain, and excessive eye discharge. Treatment often includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
What You Can Do at Home When Your Dog Sneezes Constantly
If your dog is sneezing continuously, confine him in a crate, bathroom, or some other small space for further observation. Don’t exercise him in the meantime. If he has nasal or eye discharges, sudden facial deformities, and other unusual symptoms mentioned earlier, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Should your dog require treatment or surgery, don’t forget to check if it’s covered by his pet insurance. If you haven’t gotten one yet, it is wise to prepare for the unexpected and get a pet insurance early on so you can breathe easier.
Above all, keep calm even as you attend to the needs of your sneezing dog. Your dog will look to you for reassurance and it’s very helpful for him if you exude calmness.