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Why do dogs sneeze?

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Sneezing is an involuntary reflex to an external factor that causes irritation to the nasal membranes. For humans, whether caused by the allergy season, a common cold or just a bit of dust, a sneeze is usually just that, a sneeze.

However, in the world of dogs sneezing has a variety of meanings, some quite positive and actually funny, but they’re others that require careful attention in order to avoid medical complications for our beloved pets.

For example, many dogs show excitement and happiness by sneezing. For example, when Amelia, my eldest, wants an extended belly tickling, she contracts and sneezes a little, as if to say “Hey, who told you to stop.”

Commonly the causes of  dog sneezing are:

– A foreign body: When detecting the presence of a very small object that may be irritating his nasal mucous membranes, dogs will voluntarily and involuntarily try to expel it. This usually happens when, arriving at a new place, and they want to smell every corner. In fact, if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors don’t be surprised he eject small clippings of grass, twigs, bugs, etc.
– Infections: Just like humans, dogs can catch a cold. Bacterial and viral respiratory infections will also cause sneezing and coughing.
– Dental problems: The proximity between the nasal passages and the third upper premolar can generate a sneeze reflex due to a cavity or any sort of a toothache.
– Nasal mites: Due to an infection of nasal mites, dogs will fight against irritation and itching through sneezing. It’ll also trigger a nasal discharge.
– Strong odors: With a privileged smell that surpasses ours widely, dogs reject penetrating scents often found in cleaning products or perfume. Such scents are sometimes uncomfortable for our guests, imagine what can cause to a dog. Try to splash your perfume away from them, in a ventilated area and select cleaning products with less abrasive odors.

Finally, you know your dog. If he’s not feeling well, his sneeze episodes are frequent and you notice behavioral changes,  fatigue, runny nose … Take it to the vet and rule out any possible complications.

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