So what do you do when your dog keeps sneezing repeatedly? We all, dog and humans alike love one good sneeze… it's instant relief.
But what happens when one sneeze turns to two, three, five, nine, in rapid succession?
What Causes Dog Sneezing?
Sneezing occurs when your dog’s nasal mucosa — the tender inner lining of the nose — is aggravated. An occasional sneeze is normal, but if your dog keeps sneezing, you need to perk up because some of the causes of such sneezing are downright nasty.
The most common causes of sneezing include the following:
- Allergies: Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies over the years. In the context of sneezing, your pet can become allergic to innumerable items including pollen, mold spores, mites, dust, dander, perfumes, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, and shampoo.
- Infection: There are a number of disease agents that can trigger sneezing as a symptom. These include kennel cough, canine distemper, and canine influenza.
- Foreign Body: There could be something lodged in your dog’s nasal cavity. Grass awns are an example that can be particularly dangerous. Parasites within the sinus can also trigger sneezing, although this does not tend to be continuous; instead, these are usually periodic bouts of intense sneezing.
- Nasal Tumor: A growth in the nasal cavity may also make your dog more susceptible to bouts of sneezing. Such tumors can be benign or malignant.
When to Get Concerned
Sneezing is a generic attempt by the body to stop nasal irritation. It often works. However, if your dog’s sneezing is continuous, violent, and accompanied by nasal discharge, you need to commence an investigation.
What to Do
Since you have some idea about what causes sneezing (see above), you should be able to evaluate contributory factors.
- If the sneezing started quite suddenly during or after a walk in the fields, it could well be a foreign body, although it could be a temporary allergic reaction too.
- If your pet is newly adopted from a shelter, he may have picked up an infection there;
- Also, he may be allergic to something in your house.
- If your pet has a spotty vaccination history, infection could well be the cause.
- If the frequency of sneezing has gradually picked up over weeks, there could be a nasal growth that’s the root cause.
Blood in the Discharge
If your dog’s sneezing has commenced abruptly and he has been sneezing for over six hours or so but there is no blood in his nasal discharge, you need to book an immediate appointment with your veterinarian. Ideally, your dog should be examined within the next 24 hours.
When the frequency of sneezing has gradually seen an uptick, your dog will need professional help. Certainly, the earlier the better, but a delay of a couple of days should be fine.
In the meantime, keep him “quarantined” from other dogs, especially if you think that he may be infected with a disease.
Typical Treatment – How to Stop The Sneezing?
Treatment for chronic sneezing will need to be directed by a veterinarian. Needless to say, treatment will be based on the diagnosis.
Usually, you should have some answers immediately following the examination. In some cases — for example, allergies or growths — a definitive diagnosis could take a while, but you should have a fairly clear idea in a matter of weeks.
Treatment for allergies will depend on the agent involved; the perfect protocol may require a period of trial and error.
Infection is usually treated with antibiotics; even viral infections (that do not respond to antibiotics) can increase the susceptibility of your pet to bacteria, so it’s not uncommon to have a mixed infection that will respond to antibiotics.
The treatment regime for parasites is relatively straightforward, but a foreign body can be tricky to treat. Nasal growths will need to be analyzed to figure out how to deal with them.
Irrespective, you will need to closely follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.
A Final Word
When your dog keeps sneezing, you should be concerned. If you are attuned to your pet, you should be well placed to assist your veterinarian in homing in on the cause. As always, the quicker you get in touch with a veterinary professional, the better the prognosis for your dog.