What's Making Your Dog Sneeze?

A dog sneeze is an involuntary act that can be indicative of an irritation or a more serious respiratory infection. Most of the times, the sneeze is not due to a severe medical condition. However, you need to monitor your pet for additional symptoms and in case your dog is sneezing blood, you should consult the vet immediately.


Allergies or irritations may cause the dog to sneeze. An inhalant allergen such as pollen, dust, a fragrance, mold, cigarette smoke or chemicals may irritate your dog’s nose, resulting in sneezing.

The sneezing caused by allergies is typically consists of several sneezing episodes and nasal discharge. When the dog is allergic, the immune system will respond with a secretion of histamines; a dose of antihistamines can relieve light episodes of sneezing.

In case the allergy symptoms are more severe, steroids or allergy shots should be administered.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases may cause sneezing in dogs, being caused by harmful bacteria or viruses. Puppies are particularly exposed to colds, flues and sinus infections.

The most frequent respiratory diseases in dogs are the parainflueza or the adenovirus, which cause sneezing among the first symptoms.

The sneezing will be accompanied by nasal and eye discharges, swollen eyes, swollen lymph nodes, elevated fever, coughing, panting or lack or energy.

Kennel Cough Syndrome

The kennel cough syndrome is an infection that is frequent in dogs that are kept in shelters. The syndrome will also manifest itself through sneezing, fever and coughing.

Foreign Objects

Dogs are curious and they often swallow or inhale different small objects by accident. These objects can irritate the nose or the respiratory ways. The dog will sneeze frequently, due to the irritation. You can try removing the foreign object with a pair of tweezers, but in case the object is not easily accessible, you should rush to the vet. If the dog sneezes blood, this means that the object is scratching your pet’s air ways or nose. This may cause swelling and difficulties in breathing.

Small objects may block the air ways and may be fatal.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in dogs may be dangerous, as these lead to infections. These infections will cause pus to accumulate and if left untreated, the bacteria may enter the blood flow and affect the dog’s internal organs.

Teeth infections will cause frequent sneezing. Other symptoms include swollen gums and bad breath that is caused by the accumulation of pus.

Teeth infections are more common in dogs after the age of 3 and may be prevented through daily teeth brushing and the administration of chew treats and chew toys.


Tumors in the respiratory tract can cause sneezing. The sneezing can be accompanied by blood.

To identify a tumor, your vet will need some x-rays and possibly some biopsies to determine if the swelling is benign or malignant.

Sneezing may be frequent in certain dog breeds that have a flat nose; in any case, if the sneezing is frequent and chronic and there is also blood in the sneeze, you need to consult a vet.