Excessive dog sneezing: Is it a serious problem?

When people sneeze, we think little of it beyond simply a normal physical reaction to something that tickles our nose. Our pets sneeze from time-to-time, which is normal and something to which we pay very little attention. Sneezing once in a while is expected and should not be cause for alarm. However, if your dog begins to sneeze excessively, and heavily, there may be an underlying problem that could lead to bleeding or signal a serious condition which may require medical attention.

SYMPTOMS TO WATCH
If your dog has started sneezing more often than normal and more heavily than usual, you should pay close attention to each episode, take note of what happens, and consider taking your dog to a veterinarian to have him checked.

Some important things to look for are:

  • Check your dogs eyes immediately following a sneezing episode, by looking directly into them to see if they're both looking in the same direction.
  • Check his face and muzzle to make sure it looks normal; make sure both sides look the same and not distorted or unusual or even swollen.
  • Listen to your dog’s breathing between sneezes; listen for wheezing or signs that he may be having difficulty breathing out of his nose, even if the difficulty is only with one nostril. If this is the case, check to make sure there isn't any obstruction or foreign object your dog may have snorted into his nasal passage. Use a flashlight to check inside the nose, if needed. One way to check a block nose is to close one nostril, then the other, as the dog breathes.

THINGS TO CONSIDER
There are several important factors that need to be considered when attempting to evaluate what is causing your dog to sneeze:

  1. Does your dog have allergies? If this sneezing episode seems to be seasonally influenced, the allergies could be the cause, although there may still be another cause for this excessive sneezing problem. Respiratory allergies often result in episodes of heavy sneezing during certain seasons, especially when pollen and other airborne elements are heavier.
  2. Did the sneezing episode occur immediately following being outdoors for a period of time, especially unsupervised? Your dog may have disturbed some bees, or been stung by a wasp, or been bitten by some other insect. If this is the case, then your dog’s condition will deteriorate and the sneezing may increase. If the symptoms get worse, call your veterinarian immediately.
  3. Is there swelling of your dog’s face, along with the sneezing? He may have suffered some sort of bump or trauma to his nose or muzzle area which is causing internal swelling. He may even have snorted a bug into his nasal passage that is blocking his breathing.
  4. Dogs love to romp around outside, and when they're active they can easily injure their noses while sniffing around the yard. If your dog has had a cut on his nose recently, he may be sneezing excessively as a result of yellow or green discharge from an infection that has developed, or even blood which he is trying to expel in order to breath better. Make sure you note any discharge and contact your veterinarian at once.
  5. Other possible causes could be small sticks, dust, or pebbles sniffed or inhaled. Also be aware of where your dog was prior to the sneezing episode, in case he was in the garage or shed where chemicals, or other hazardous liquids are kept and may have been ingested or inhaled.
  6. Physical conditions which may be a possible contributing factor for excessive sneezing episodes could be a tumor which might include a bloody discharge from the nose, or even an upper tooth that has abscessed and causes an infection that reaches into the nasal passages.

Is your dog sneezing a tad more than normal? Did you find any of the causes above to be the root of the problem, or was it something else? Please fill us in, in the comments below.

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