Dog sneezing when playing- Why does my dog sneeze?

A dog sneezing when playing is a common occurrence but there are several reasons why your dog may sneeze.

Just like humans sneeze when they are irritated by something in their noses or a strong fragrance the same can happen to our four-legged friends.

However, these are not the only things that can make your doggie sneeze. Other reasons are;

  • Excitement
  • Mites
  • Infections
  • Allergies
  • Abscesses

Many dog lovers ask why their dog sneezes when he is playing which is what we are going to look at in this article.

This guide will help you better understand the reasons why your pooch may sneeze and what you can do about it.

Let us dive right into it. 

You dog may be sneezing due to an allergic reaction
Your dog may be sneezing due to an allergic reaction

1. Dog sneezing during play

The main reason why puppies sneeze when they play is due to excitement. It is still unclear why exactly this happens but it is one of the most harmless reasons.

This is normal behavior but it can be confusing if you are not used to this happening to your pooch.

You need to understand that dogs are social beings that are very expressive and your pooch tries to talk to you but we all know that he can use words.

However, once you understand the signs to look at, you start to put two and two together. Sneezing is one of the communication skills that dogs employ.

A play sneeze does not have the same sound as a normal sneeze which mainly happens when something is irritating them.

This type of sneeze is common in smaller dogs but it can also occur in larger dogs.

What does it mean when your pooch sneezes during play?

Some canines sneeze when playing to calm a heightened situation. It is nor always because they are excited some can also be stressed out or tense and it is something that you need to be mindful of.

It can also be a sign to you as the dog owner or other doggies to relax. Other dogs can easily understand this calming signal.

This is because as I mentioned earlier dogs cannot communicate as we humans do and they had to develop other cues to understand each other.

A Norwegian dog behavior expert named Turid Rugaas came up with the term “calming signal” which means that calms down a  threatening situation and destress a canine.

Essentially what this means is that your pooch is trying to be responsible.

He does this as a reminder that he is playing in peace and does not want to get into a fight.

But excitement or distress is not the only reason why dogs sneeze. There are other reasons why dogs sneeze some of which can be alarming. 


2. Virus or infection dog sneeze

When we humans come down with the flu or a cold, we tend to sneeze a lot, and the same can happen to your furry friend when a virus or an infection attacks him.

Fungal infections are common when a doggo comes into contact with hay, grass clippings, or even dust.

Once you notice that your four-legged friend has other symptoms apart from sneezing such as bleeding, discharge, or signs of pain, you should visit the vet. This could be a sign that your pooch has an infection and will need treatment.

Tooth infections can also make a dog sneeze.

The reason for this is because the roots of the upper premolars are close to the nasal passage. This can irritate the passage due to inflammation making the puppy sneeze.

3. Dog sneezing due to an allergic reaction

Allergies are not as common to dogs as they are to hoomans.

However, canines can still sneeze to expel anything that irritates their respiratory system. And there is a wide range of irritants that include;

  • Molds
  • Grasses
  • Trees
  • Pigweed
  • Dander
  • Dust mite and more

Some home products such as diffusers, air fresheners, detergents, and even fragrance can trigger an allergic reaction in a dog.

If you recently had a change in environments you might even notice your dog sneezing a lot.

You should remove any products that may be causing your furry friend to sneeze.

Also, if your dog is sneezing due to season triggers like pollen you should walk him during the cooler periods of the day when it is calm.

You can also speak to your vet on a possible solution that may include the administered antihistamine, especially during summer.

Why does my dog sneeze when he plays

4. Your dog may be having a tumor

Nasal tumors have become more prevalent in dogs mainly because of humans smoking which is unfortunate.

These tumors block the airflow and you may notice your dog panting after exercising or struggling to catch a breath due to this.

Some symptoms of dog nasal tumors are;

  • Excessive sneezing
  • Facial deformity
  • Inflammation
  • Nasal discharge

If you notice any of the above symptoms you should visit your vet with immediate effect.

5. Dog sneezing because of mites

Mites can hold on to anywhere on your dog’s body which includes their sinuses and noses.

Dogs that love to dig are at a higher risk of catching these mites which can, in turn, cause huge irritations to them.

Your pooch will sneeze continuously as he tries to get tried of these mites which can result in nasal discharge or nosebleeding.

A canine can also catch mites from another dog as they are greeting each other using their noses.

Fortunately, vets can easily see these mites using an examination. Scrapes or swabs will be taken, examined with the help of a microscope and your vet will prescribe the best medication for your furry friend.

6. Presence of an Abscess

An abscess if the build-up of pus in dog’s tissues often caused by bacteria infections.

The common cause of dog nasal issues is foxtails which can scatter across the land ice they are dry. Once your dog burrows the ground he may come into contact with tiny spikes from these tails and pose a risk the pooch’s ears, nose, and paws.

Your vet can examine the dog for any of these foxtails and remove them. He or she can then remove the abscess and prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.

You dog may be sneezing due to an allergic reaction
You dog may be sneezing due to an allergic reaction

Some dog breeds may sneeze more than others

There is not much data in dog sneezing frequency that is available and it varies from one dog to the other.

However, some breeds appear to sneeze more than others, especially brachycephalic breeds.

These are short-faced dog breeds that include;

  • Pugs
  • French bulldog
  • Boston terriers
  • Pekingese
  • Bulldogs
  • Boxers

Sneezing in these dogs can be a symptom of a condition known as Brachycephalic Syndrome. 

This makes the dog have difficulty breathing which is mainly because of how their heads are shaped.

Reserve sneezing is also common in these breeds.

What is reverse sneezing?

Also known as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration, this is not the typical dog sneeze but one where he quickly inhales air instead of expelling.

This inhalation can be forceful and can alarm some dog owners but it is common. It can be caused by an irritant or excitement lasting only a few seconds.

Reverse sneezing may look weird and it can make you think that your pooch is in distress which is understandable.

It may not be fun for your dog but it is also no cause for concern.

Reverse dog sneezing

Frequently asked questions

Why does my doggo keep sneezing?

There are several reasons why your pooch may sneeze;

  • Infection or presence of an abscess
  • An irritant or an environmental allergy
  • It may be a sign of an underlying issue like a nasal tumor

Do dogs sneeze when they are excited?

Yes, dogs sneeze when they are excited and especially during play sessions.

However, it is still unclear why canines sneeze when they get excited and if there are no other symptoms you should not be very concerned.

Can nasal mites cause sneezing in dogs?

Microscopic bugs such as mites may be the reason why your dog is sneezing and when this is the case there may be other symptoms such as nasal discharge or nosebleeding.

Sometimes there may be an increase in your doggos temperature, malaise, or even lethargy.

Can dog sneezing be treated?

Unless your pooch has an underlying health condition or allergy there is no way to prevent or treat dog sneezing.

With that said, you should visit your vet in case there are any other symptoms of an infection or if your suspect your dog may be sick.

Are there any home remedies to dog sneezing?

There are no home remedies or home treatments that you can administer to your canine friend to stop sneezing. But if there is an infection or any other condition the only thing you can do is visit the vet.

However, you should limit your dog’s exposure to allergens such as pollen and reduce the frequency by which your puppy sneezes.

Final take in dog sneezing when playing

There are several reasons that your dog sneezes and excitement during play is not the only one.

Most of the time it is no cause for alarm but if there are any other symptoms such as a discharge you should not hesitate to visit your veterinarian.

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