What does it mean when my dog sneezes?
To your wishes my doggie! Ok, your dog sneezes every now and then, because he has a cloud of dust in his nostrils. Sneezing clears the airways. We all know that! But what to do when sneezing attacks are frequent? Does that mean the dog is sick? If the sneezing is normal, it becomes a symptom of a health problem when it recurs. You might as well know what it is!
Causes of sneezing in dogs
Don’t panic, most often the causes of sneezing in dogs are mild. This is because sneezing indicates superficial irritation of the upper respiratory tract. When something is blocking the passage of air, sneezing is a reflex. On the other hand, if the dog sneezes several times in a row without being able to stop, it means that the body is unable to clear what is bothering it. We can then look for other causes:
A cold: It’s okay, just like humans.
Kennel cough: more worrying and very contagious between pets
An allergy: dust, pollen, matter present in the house, smoke, etc.
A foreign body stuck in the airways. The one to be most wary of is once again the terrible spikelet. It is not by sneezing that the dog will be able to get rid of it!
Irritated respiratory tract: if the air is too cold or too loaded with irritating particles.
Although rare, a yeast infection of the muzzle is very painful and can lead to sneezing attacks. Long-nosed dogs are more likely than others to be affected, but all breeds can be affected.
Note: some breeders have observed that dogs often sneeze when playing with each other. We don’t know exactly why, but we think it is a social language. Is it to request that the game be stopped? An attempt at reconciliation when the situation is tense?
Usually, you sneeze when you breathe out. Sometimes the dog sneezes while inhaling. This is a very loud and quite impressive reverse sneezing. With his mouth closed, his neck outstretched, your dog will utter loud snoring for 30 seconds to two minutes.
The exact reasons for this spectacular phenomenon are not very well known, but rest assured, it is not serious. The dog is not choking, despite appearances.
The seizure can be helped to end by stroking the dog’s throat while blocking its nostrils.
Examine your dog when he sneezes a lot
What should grab your attention is the frequency of sneezing attacks. It is not immediately necessary to call the vet. As a first step, you can auscultate the dog yourself and see how he reacts.
To inspect his nostrils, have him sit down and tilt his head back into the rays of strong light. Be careful, however, just because you can’t see anything doesn’t mean there’s nothing! If you see an object in the nose, do not try to remove it unless it is smooth (chunk that kibble) and close to the exit.
You can also watch out for other symptoms:
- cough and fever, which may indicate an infection
- depression and lack of appetite
- nasal discharge of mucus
- nose bleed
- breathing difficulties in the context of physical exertion or not
- If any of these symptoms accompany sneezing, it is best to make an appointment with the vet to prevent the dog from getting worse.
As always, treatment depends on the cause. In less severe cases, giving the dog clean water and away from sources of smoke or dust is sufficient.
Alternatively, a nasal saline water spray can help clean the respiratory mucous membranes.
However, if there is a case of greater concern, an antibiotic or antihistamine may be necessary.
As for the presence of the foreign body, the veterinarian will have to carry out a small surgical intervention to free the dog.
Be careful, apart from physiological serum, medicines for humans are not necessarily suitable for our friends the dogs!