Occasional sneezing in dogs is not a cause for concern, as it is in humans. However, frequent sneezing and/or sneezing associated with other symptoms (breathing difficulties, nasal discharge, etc.) should be taken seriously. We propose to discover the different causes that can be responsible for sneezing in dogs. Sneezing is to be differentiated from reverse sneezing.
How to differentiate sneezing from reverse sneezing?
Sneezing in dogs is sometimes confused with reverse sneezing.
Sneezing in dogs is characterized by the reflex expulsion of air through the nose and mouth as a result of irritation of the nasal mucosa. If you place your hand in front of your dog's nose when he sneezes, you will be able to smell air.
Reverse sneezing is the opposite of sneezing. This is an impressive seizure in which the dog suddenly extends its neck and begins to breathe in through its nose loudly and repeatedly with its mouth closed, while making a snoring sound. If you place your hand in front of your dog's nose, you won't feel any air, unlike with sneezing. The origin of reverse sneezing is an irritation of the nose and pharynx.
Whether it is for sneezing or reverse sneezing, the frequency is important to take into account. If they are only occasional, then there is no need to worry! However, if they are frequent or if the animal presents other symptoms, a consultation with a vet is necessary.
What causes sneezing in dogs?
Among the causes that can be responsible for sneezing in dogs, we distinguish :
Viruses and bacteria can be responsible for rhinitis in dogs. Kennel cough in particular is a disease caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria. The most common symptoms are coughing, depression, fever, vomiting, sneezing... Dogs can be vaccinated to protect them against this disease.
A foreign body
Dogs can inhale foreign bodies that get lodged in their nasal cavities (spikes, blades of grass, etc.). Be careful when walking in tall grass! Sneezing is frequent as long as the foreign body is present. Sometimes the foreign body can be dislodged by sneezing, but often a visit to the veterinarian is necessary to remove it. Nasal discharge may be associated. A bacterial superinfection is possible.
Polyps are benign masses located in the nasal cavity or between the nasal cavity and the pharynx. They progressively cause an obstruction of the airways. The symptoms encountered are breathing noises, discharge, sneezing, etc...
A cleft palate
This hypothesis is to be considered in young animals. It is a congenital malformation resulting in a hole in the palate. There is then a communication between the mouth and the nose. Sneezes may contain food particles.
A nasal tumor
It affects mostly older dogs. Most often, sneezing does not appear suddenly, but is associated with other symptoms such as jetting, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, etc. A deformation of the face may be present as well as a bacterial superinfection.
Aspergillosis is a disease caused by fungi, the main culprit in dogs is Aspergillus fumigatus. It most often affects dogs between the ages of 1 and 7 years, unlike nasal tumors, which affect mostly older dogs. It can occur in a primary or secondary way (foreign body, tumor, etc...). Dogs may present with purulent discharge, sneezing, epistaxis, depression, etc...