Just like humans, dogs sneeze--although dogs do not cover their noses when they do. It is normal for a dog to sneeze once or twice. When a dog sneezes continuously in bouts that occur repeatedly throughout a day, it is usually because something is wrong within its nasal passages.
A dog sneezes for the same reasons that a human does: its body is attempting to expel something from its nasal passages. It is an involuntary reflex that a dog cannot control. Dogs can sneeze because of allergies, a cold or canine influenza. A dog that sneezes continuously is displaying the signs of a medical problem, according to "Ear, Nose, Throat, and Tracheobronchial Diseases in Dogs and Cats."
Continuous sneezing in a dog usually begins with a violent, prolonged burst of sneezing. The sneezing fits will return often throughout the course of a day. After a day or so, the sneezing will become more intermittent but will still occur more often than usual. The dog will paw or rub at its nose. Discharge can leak from one nostril. This nasal discharge will be thick and it could be bloody, according to the "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook."
Most problems with a dog that is continuously sneezing begin with a foreign body lodged within a dog's nostril. A dog that goes outside often is at risk for getting a blade of grass or another bit of plant matter stuck within its nasal passage. Less often, a dog will have a tumour growing within its nasal passage that will irritate surrounding tissue, resulting in sneezing fits as its body tries to get rid of it.
Once the foreign body within a dog's nose is removed, the continuous sneezing will stop. If the object is easily visible, a dog owner can remove it with a pair of tweezers. If it is not visible, a veterinarian can use a tool called an otoscope to view the interior of the dog's nose and find the object. If a tumour is causing the problem, it can be removed surgically.
If the foreign object is not visible, a dog owner should not probe within the dog's nose to try to find it. This can push the object further up into the dog's nasal passage and make it harder to remove. If there has been bloody nasal discharge, a dog might need a course of antibiotics to prevent any infection that could have set in from damage caused by the foreign object.
- "Ear, Nose, Throat, and Tracheobronchial Diseases in Dogs and Cats"; Anjop J. Venker-van Haagen; 2005.
- "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"; Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffin; 2007.