Dogs have a stronger sense of smell than we do, this means that their noses are more sensitive than ours. A little irritation can cause our dogs to sneeze, and sometimes, a lot. There are, however, more reasons that dogs sneeze than just irritation.

Learning the reasons why dogs sneeze is important for us, dog owners, to know since sneezes in dogs can range from harmless to potentially serious health problems.

Want to know more? Stick around as we determine why dogs sneeze.

What Does It Mean If My Dog Sneezes?

Sneezing in dogs can be caused by different reasons, ranging in the severity of the concern. Let’s go through a few reasons why dogs sneeze.


When your dog is sneezing right at you, it might be their way of talking to you as an expression of emotion. Sneezing is one of the ways dogs communicate with each other or with you, much like whining, barking, and by their body language.


A dog’s nose is very sensitive to irritations which makes them sneeze, especially if your dog loves the outdoors. When you’re outside with them, grass and dirt can get into your dog’s nose. When you’re inside with them, perfumes and cleaning products all have strong scents that can irritate their nose.

Pollen can also be an irritant for your dog has allergies.

Health Concerns

Sneezing can be a symptom of an underlying sickness like cold and food allergies. Severe cases of health problems that can cause sneezing are teeth and nasal problems which can obstruct their breathing.

Another health concern that causes sneezing is that certain dog breeds are prone to difficulty in breathing and sneezing because of the shape of their face. Flat-faced dogs or brachycephalic dog breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Terriers have this problem because of the shape of their muzzle.

Obesity in dogs can also cause them to make a sneezing/snorting sound because it can obstruct their breathing.

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is when big and sudden inhalations are repeated into your dog’s nose and can cause a sneeze-like sound. This is usually a reaction to irritations, excitement, and inflammation. This is rarely a point of concern among dog owners.

Expressing Emotion

Dogs can fake their sneeze to get your attention. They do this when they are bored or they want to play with you. 

Dogs also often sneeze during playtime because of excitement. This is called “play sneezing” and shouldn’t be a point of concern to dog owners.

When Should I Worry About My Dog Sneezing?

Sneezing can be a symptom of an underlying health condition like colds, allergies, and in severe cases, nasal tumors, airway obstruction, and infected teeth. 

Excessive sneezing can be a sign of nasal blockage and should require you to contact your vet for instructions and bring your dog to the hospital for a professional evaluation. Observe your dog for any other unusual behavior and if they are displaying symptoms like labored breathing.

FAQs About Why Dogs Sneeze

Do Dog Sneezes Mean Anything?

Dog sneezes normally mean that their nose got irritated by foreign objects like grass, dirt, strong odors, or pollen if they have allergies. Most sneezes aren’t a point of concern, but there are cases where sneezes can be a sign of health problems and should be checked by a vet.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Sneezing?

You should be worried if your dog is sneezing excessively as it can be a sign of an underlying health problem like allergies, cold, and in severe cases, nasal tumors, airway blockage, and teeth infections. Consult with your vet if your dog is excessively sneezing.

Why Do Dogs Sneeze At Me?

When your dog is sneezing at you, it is their way of communicating with you. Sneezing, along with whining, barking, and their body language is one of their forms of communication. Sneezing at you can also mean that they are trying to get your attention.

What To Do If Your Dogs Is Sneezing A Lot?

You should consult with your vet before taking them to the hospital when your dog is sneezing a lot, as it can be a sign of an underlying health condition like allergies, cold, and in severe cases, nasal blockage and tumors, teeth infection, and airway blockage.

Why Does My Dog Sneeze When I Pet Him?

Your dog might sneeze when you pet them because they are excited. When your dog gets excited, sneezing is one way for them to express their excitement and shouldn’t be a point of concern to dog owners. This sneeze of excitement is often called “play sneezes”.

Why Do Dogs Sneeze When They Are Happy?

Sneezing when they are happy, or “play sneezing”, is their way of expressing that they are enjoying themselves. This is normal behavior for dogs and is considered harmless. Excited dogs can inhale a lot of air repeatedly and might cause them to sneeze.


Sneezing is normal behavior for dogs when they are communicating with you or other animals and most of the time is harmless. It is, however, important that you observe your dog for any other symptoms of health problems when they are sneezing excessively and that you should contact your vet right away.

Learn more about the what’s and how’s about your dog at Doggos Daily, where we provide you with all the information that you’ll need.

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by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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