Just like we human beings sneeze every now and then (because of an allergy or cold), your dog sneezes once in a while too, and that’s completely normal. It’s just our body’s (and our dog’s body) way of getting rid of something in its system that’s bothering it. But, and just like very frequent sneezing in us humans indicates that something’s wrong, frequent sneezing in your dog also gives a sign of the same thing.
And what may start as something very minor and simple may develop into something very serious (and possibly fatal) if you neglect your dog’s sneezing, if it goes on for a prolonged time that is. But, more on that later in this article.
So, moving on from that, how exactly can you tell if your dog’s sneezing is normal or if there’s something serious you should attend to? Let’s start off with the basics, the ABC’s of what you should do when your dog is sneezing.
Help! My Dog Keeps Sneezing, What Should I Do?
If your dog is sneezing and you want to make sure that it’s something normal that will go away on its own, and not something serious that threatens the health of your companion, then follow these steps.
- Check for blood. Before you do anything else, something VERY important should be highlighted at the very start of this article. If your dog is sneezing and you see any kind of blood coming out from their nostrils, stop reading this article and immediately take them to the veterinarian. When your dog is emitting blood, professional help (and nothing short of it) is immediately required.
- Give them water. If your dog isn’t emitting blood when sneezing and you’re over Step 1, let your dog drink water. If something was irritating their oronasal passage and causing them to sneeze, a drink of water will do the trick almost all the time and will stop the sneezing.
- Examine their face. (Before doing this step, get some sort of face and eye protection so you don’t catch any potential virus your dog is suffering from) If that doesn’t make the sneezing go away, examine your dog’s eyes and look for any asymmetries or swelling in the eyes, face, or muzzle. If you see any of the aforementioned, it’s very possible that they either injured that specific part of their body (where you found the swelling on) or been subjected to an insect bite or bee sting. It’s best you let your vet have a look at them in that case.
- Check for foreign bodies in your dog’s nose. Cover one nostril with your finger at a time and monitor your dog’s breathing to determine if the nasal passage of either nostril is being affected by something. Another trick you can do is to get a portable mirror and hold it under your dog’s nose and look at the mirror. If your dog’s nostrils are fine, you should get identical (or very similar) fogging on the mirror from both nostrils. If the nasal passage of one nostril is being affected by something, you will be able to tell from the difference in fogging on the mirror.
Why Do Dogs Sneeze?
- Airway Obstructions: This leads to the irritation of your dog’s nasal passages and, thus, your dog sneezing.
- Allergies: Is your dog allergic to anything in particular? Have they been subjected to any of these items recently? Did they inhale anything that might have triggered an allergy? (Such as a specific plant, pollen, dust, a perfume, pollen, etc …) In that case, contact your veterinarian and inquire about the specific medicine you should give to your dog and the required dosage. Dogs are susceptible to allergies (although to a much lesser extent than humans are) that irritate their nasal passages and cause sneezing.
- Infections: There are many different type of infections your dog can suffer from, the most common of which are tooth infections, bacterial infections, viral infections and fungal infections. If you see green or yellow discharge being emitted from your dog’s nostrils or mouth, it’s very possible that your dog is suffering from an infection, which is causing the sneezing. Your veterinarian will inform you of the required medical treatment if that’s the case.
- Foreign Bodies: Foreign bodies that have somehow made their way into your dog’s system are a major reason your dog might be sneezing scarily frequently. If you speak to veterinarians, they will tell you horrific stories about how they treated dogs and removed items such as sticks, dead insects and paper, all of which made their way inside your dog. And, finding foreign bodies such as the aforementioned in the noses of dogs who keep sneezing is much more common than you might think.
- Tumors: Tumors are one of the reasons dogs frequently sneeze, although they are probably one of the least common reasons. Seen more in dogs aged 8 years and above, a tumor in your dog is no small occurrence and certainly nothing to be taken lightly, which is all the more reason to stop everything you’re doing and immediately take your dog to the vet if you see any kind of blood discharge when your dog sneezes. The sooner the treatment starts with tumors, the better.
- Tooth Problems: Dogs tend to commonly suffer from tooth infections which lead to nasal problems and thus sneezing.
What To Do When Your Dog Is Sneezing
- Take it easy on the exercise. Before you get your dog checked by a professional veterinarian, you want to take it easy on the exercise, walks and physical demand you subject your dog to until the frequent sneezing goes away.
- Take your dog’s temperature. If your dog has a temperature that exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit, stop everything you’re doing and immediately take them to the vet. Sneezing along with fever means (most of the times) that your dog has a viral or bacteria infection bacteria and needs veterinarian treatment.
- Look for discharges. If your dog is emitting any kinds of nasal discharges (mucus, blood or any other material), immediately take them to the vet.
How To Stop Dog Nose Bleeding?
As we established, you want to take your dog to the vet as soon as you start seeing them emit blood when sneezing. But, until they get to the vet, how can you stop the bleeding? Here’s what you should do.
- Cover the nostril of your dog that’s emitting blood with something that can absorb the blood.
- Apply a cold compress to the top of your dog’s nose, between your dog’s eyes and nostrils.
- Keep your dog’s head still. Don’t attempt to tilt it back thinking you’re going to slow the blood flow.
- Do not attempt to insert anything inside your dog’s nostril thinking it’s going to absorb the blood and stop the bleeding.
What About Reverse Sneezing In Dogs?
Sneezing, in it’s normal, usual form is typically a regular sneeze followed with a movement of the head downwards. Meanwhile, during a reverse sneeze episode (which could last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute), your dog will make rapid and long inspirations, will stand still in its place, extend its head and make a loud snorting noise (or continuous loud snorting noises) that may alarm you.
Many dog owners, especially newer ones with not much experience around dogs, panic when they see their dog reverse sneeze and think that their dog is in danger. But, the fact of the matter is that reverse sneezing is a fairly common thing among dogs, and most dogs will reverse sneeze at least a few times during their lifetimes.
Reverse sneezing in dogs is nothing more than the result of irritation of the back of the throat of your dog, your dog’s attempt to get rid of mucus or just plain old over-excitement they had about something, and will cause your dog no harm whatsoever.
Now, what should you do when your dog has a reverse sneeze episode? First of all, one of the biggest MUST-DO’s is that you must remain calm. Panic and make a big deal out of it, and your dog will freak out as well, and that’s just added stress for everyone there. One thing that’s always recommended is to pinch your dog’s nose, scratch its throat and gently and lightly blow in its face. This will help your dog stop the reverse sneeze episode they’re having.
So, the next time your dog reverse sneezes, stay calm! It’s all okay 🙂
Now, if your dog’s reverse sneezing becomes increasingly frequent, or the reverse sneezing episodes are becoming longer in duration, you should definitely get your dog checked by your veterinarian to make sure nothing serious is to be worried about.