Help! My Pet Keeps Sneezing!

A common query here at My Pet Nutritionist, is the reasoning behind why a dog or cat may sneeze so often, and how to stop it. In this blog, we will look deeper into the reasons pets may sneeze, and what we can do to help them.


The excited sneeze…. Yes, it is a thing! Have you ever been greeted by your dog doing short sneezes when you’ve returned home? If so, don’t panic!

Another excitement related sneeze you may witness as a dog owner, is a very strange part of doggie communication. It’s a calming signal. Dogs display calming signals when they are comfortable with a situation, or ready for play – this is when they sneeze! Other calming signals include yawning, lip licking, turning the head to the side, and many other not-so-obvious cues; these often display discomfort, and tell other dogs “I need to slow down a bit”, or “I’m uncomfortable in this situation”.

Environmental Allergies/Hayfever

Common through certain times of the year, especially in the summer months, environmental allergies can cause a variety of issues, from respiratory problems (including sneezing) to contact/skin allergies. Just like us humans, dogs and cats can get hayfever too, and of course, sneezing is a symptom.

So what can we do to help those suffering with environmental allergies?
  • Work on gut health; most of the immune system is in the gut, so gut health is just as important for environmental allergies as it is dietary allergies and intolerances! Check out our canine gut health supplement, Gut Guardian here!
  • Feed fresh food! Dry food can contain various microscopic moulds, storage mites and aflatoxins which can lead to environmental allergies.
  • Consider a quercetin supplement; this is a natural antihistamine!

Findings Here
Findings Here

Nasal tumour

Nasal tumours, known as Nasal Adenosarcinomas can be a reason for a dog or cat excessively sneezing. This will usually be paired with bloody discharge, and snoring during sleep.
Nasal Adenocarcinomas are 50% more common in dogs than they are in cats.

This type of tumour is usually found in older dogs, and can be a very aggressive tumour. Though it rarely spreads from the nasal passage, it can spread to lymph nodes, brain and lungs. Seeking veterinary attention is crucial.

It’s thought that nasal tumours could be as a result of environmental pollutants including household cleaning products, car and tobacco fumes, and others often faced in an urban environment.

Dog breeds such as the Airedale Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Poodle, Beagle, Collie, German Shepherd and Labrador are genetically predisposed to Nasal Adenosarcinomas.

In order to help those suffering with nasal tumours:
  • Switch to natural cleaning products
  • Try to avoid further unnecessary exposure to other environmental toxins by walking in more rural places
  • Follow veterinary oncologists advice
  • Check out our cancer guides! (part 1, part 2 and part 3)

Findings Here
Findings Here

Foreign object

Foreign objects can be easily lodged inside a dog’s nose – they do spend much of their day sniffing, after all! A particularly annoying, but very common, foreign body often found inside the nasal passage is a pesky grass seed! These get stuck in dogs noses quite regularly, and due to their barbed shape, they’re very difficult to dislodge, and easily work their way further into the nose.

What to do if you suspect your dog has a foreign body in their nose:
  • Seek veterinary assistance! The nose is a sensitive area, and it’s crucial not to mess with it at home!
  • Try to avoid letting your dog sniff in seeding grasses. Scatter feed in snuffle matts and other dog-nose-friendly items!

Findings Here
Findings Here

Reverse sneezing

This one is a common one – and can be quite concerning at first! It’s scientific name is paroxysmal respiration, and it is caused by irritation of the soft palate, or a muscular spasm in the back of the throat, where the passageway splits into the trachea and windpipe.

Reverse sneezing presents as rapid inhalation while making a snorting noise; almost as if the dog is sneezing inwards, as opposed to expelling air. While this can affect any breed, those who are overweight or are brachycephalic may be more prone to it happening.

So what can we do to reduce the risk of this happening?
  • Use a harness to reduce pressure on the neck area
  • Keep your dog at an ideal bodyweight
  • Try to keep your dog as calm as possible
  • Explore BOAS if your dog is brachycephalic and this happens regularly
  • Look into helping your dog with possible environmental allergies (read above)

How do you stop reverse sneezing when it’s happening?
  • Method 1: gently hold the dog’s head up, and rub the neck to make the dog swallow
  • Method 2: gently cover the dog’s nostrils to make the dog breathe deeply

Findings Here


Brachycephalic Obstructive Airways Syndrome is a condition suffered by many brachycephalic individuals, whereby one or more of the breathing pathways are compromised due to the anatomy of the dog or cat’s snout, head and neck. Sneezing, particularly reverse sneezing, is common in those suffering with BOAS when their soft palate is too long. The irritation to the soft palate causes the sneeze.

Those with such breeds may wish to seek veterinary assistance, and have a BOAS grading, and possibly surgery to correct the compromised pathways.

Findings Here
Findings Here

Kennel Cough/Upper Respiratory Infections

Much like a common cold in us humans, bacterial upper respiratory infections (URI) and kennel cough can present as wheezing, sneezing, and coughing. Those suffering with mild to severe URIs, or severe cases of Kennel Cough may require antibiotics. Most dogs do recover from kennel cough by themselves.

If your dog is given the Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine, it’s important not to rule out kennel cough as a possible reason for your dog’s symptoms – the vaccine does not always stop the dog from contracting it!

Read more on the kennel cough vaccine here!

How can we support a dog with kennel cough?
  • If the dog has had antibiotics, ensure you work on the gut!
  • Supplement with Chamomile
  • Give honey! (not to puppies under 6 months)
  • Feed slippery elm to soothe the throat

More tips on helping a dog with kennel cough here!
Findings Here

If your dog is sneezing a lot, and you are concerned, seek veterinary assistance, and contact us to book a consultation with one of our team!
Team MPN x

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