“What happened to you, my friend? Why are you sneezing a lot and shaking your head? Why is my dog shaking its head and sneezing? Your “Ah-choo” is freaking me out!”
In this article below, you will find all your answers for “why do dogs shake their head when they sneeze”, and preventive measures to control it and make them healthy.
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Read on to learn more about why “dogs sneeze a lot and shake their heads?”
Why is your dog sneezing a lot and shaking his head?
Just imagine, you’re traveling on the bus and your face is continuously hit by dust particles or you are sitting in the room and you are hit by a cobweb or your hair stuck to your nose, what happens? Do you get a tingling feeling and you sneeze? Yes, you do it.
Similarly, dogs are not alien to this, any foreign objects, dust particles, nasal mites, nasal infections, nasal tumors, or communication are the common reasons why dogs sneeze and shake their head.
So, relax and I assure you it’s not always alarming. I will explain to you in detail why dogs shake their head and sneeze.
1. Inhalation of foreign objects
Inhalation of foreign bodies lodges the respiratory tract of your dog, especially his nose and he sneezes. Foreign objects can be your dog’s hair or bugs or clumps of soil or blades of grass, or anything that gives him a tingling sensation. Sometimes inhalation of perfume and hairspray can also be the prime reason for his sneezing.
It might be foxtails, a cluster of grass that looks like weed, and your dog sneezes to simply dislodge that foreign body, similarly like you do so that it gets out of the nose and stops the tingling sensation. Such sneezing is common when your dog is sniffing in the yard or just sitting in the room.
- Do not use perfume, aerosols, household liquid or solid cleansers, or hairspray on your dog or yourself when your dog is around. Always be aware of your surroundings because all these can irritate your dog.
- However, in the rare scenario, if you notice that he is sneezing for a long time or experiences nosebleeds, or frequently paws at the nose, I would suggest you take him to your vet and he will take care of it. Make the appointment because only he can remove it professionally!
- Check your dog daily! Make sure to check him thoroughly after coming back from a walk or ground. The dog may inhale any foreign object by simply sniffing an area.
2. Nasal infection
Bacterial infection or fungal infection can be another reason why your dog keeps sneezing and shaking his head. The infection can happen if your dog inhales grass particles, dust, and sand particles, or any small particles. This fungal infection is called Aspergillus fungus, it’s nothing but known as the common cold.
You will find your dog sneezing, reduced appetite, runny nose, nasal pain, swollen nose, or in extreme situations your dog may bleed through the nose. Sometimes excessive sneezing can result in sinusitis in the nose that blocks the interior nasal passages and results in severe inflammation.
- Never try to be creative and try homemade remedies. I would suggest you visit the vet immediately without any further delay.
- The use of a humidifier loosens the nasal mucus of the dog which helps in draining out the mucus.
- On-going antibiotics and antifungal medicines can cure his health soon
- The fungus affects the upper respiratory tract of the dog and if left untreated it can damage the bone structure around your pooch’s sinuses.
3. Nasal mites
If you’re a dog owner then I am sure that you’re well-acquainted with the term called nasal mites. Nasal mites are exclusively found in the dog’s nasal passages and sinus cavities and this is only one millimeter in size and cannot be seen with the naked eye.
These parasites are very contagious and can spread if your dog rubs its nose with another dog. Depending on the infection the common symptoms are nasal discharges, high-pitched sounds while breathing, facial itching, shaking, and a lot of irritation.
Tip: If your dog sneezes a lot and shakes its head because of nasal mites then keep other animals like cats and dogs of every size and breed away from him.
- Nasal mites need medical attention. Visit your doctor and follow his words.
- Selamectin treatment can be followed to kill the parasite so that it does not affect the dog from ear mites, flea, or heartworm.
- Oral injection of Ivermectin drug can also help to prevent nasal mites’ infection but always consult a doctor before having any of these medicines. Overdose of Ivermectin can be fatal.
4. Playful communication
An excited dog does a lot of things like he may bury his head into you, sneezes, shakes his head, runs and sometimes even barks at the wall. When your dog indulges in playing with other dogs or with a soft toy, I hope you have also noticed the same. This is called “play sneeze”, dog sneezing during the play is a sign of a happy, excited, and fun dog. So, it is not alarming!
“Play sneeze” is dog behavior to communicate with his doggo friends, basically “talking” to one another. Sometimes you might also notice that your dog sneezes after looking at you, everything is normal behavior. So, just try to film him and watch the video later and have fun. It’s a fun time for your dog to let him sneeze!
5. Nasal tumor
Nasal tumors in dogs are concerning. Nasal tumors are a type of cancer and the cause is largely unknown. The research reflects that dolichocephalic breeds, old dogs, dogs living in an urban environment, or long nose breeds like Great Danes, German shepherds, dachshunds, Airedale Terrier, and Collies are susceptible to nasal tumors.
Runny nose, face swelling, wheezing, blood discharge, and coughing are common symptoms of tumor growth in dogs. Do not delay and visit the vet at the very early stage because nasal tumors are likely to spread throughout the whole body and brain of your dog. Veterinary attention is a must.
- Exposure to the outer environment with a lot of inhalation of pollutants, smoking tobacco, and indoor exposure to fossil fuel combustion products is a major reason for nasal tumor
- Go to a dog diagnosis center and do a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray
- As per vet advice, treatment for dog sneezing from a nasal tumor is chemotherapy and radiation.
Home remedies for sneezing dog
- Humidifier: Warm steamy air can help in loosening up the cold and mucus stuck in your dog’s nose. The steam of hot water is also very healthy and effective
- Clean his space: A clean surrounding washed bed sheet and toys, with sufficient enough sunlight is another effective measure to stop the dog from sneezing.
- Hydration: If your dog sneezes a lot and shakes his head due to a common cold then offer him a lot of fluid food like chicken soup and water. He needs to stay hydrated as well as easy to digest.
Should I take my dog to the vet if he keeps sneezing?
Sneezing is normal dog behavior that reflects whether he is infected with the common cold, fungal infection, or too excited. Or, any tickling activity in the nose area is the reason behind sneezing.
However, if you notice your dog sneezing a lot and shaking his head over some time accompanied by loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and other uncommon symptoms then immediately visit the vet.
There is nothing bigger than your intuition; you have been with your dog for ages now. You know him better than I do so if you ever feel that something does not seem right, a quick appointment with the vet will not harm you.
Is my dog really sneezing or fake sneezing for attention?
Dogs are the cleverest animals and sometimes they fake sneeze just for your attention. If you have a healthy dog and find him snorting while sleeping then you should take him to the doctor because snorting is not good for your dog and it affects the dog’s breathing patterns. Sometimes a lot of people have mistaken snorting with sneezing, so I would recommend you to first verify before concluding.
When should I worry about reverse sneezing?
If you have a brachycephalic breed or any other small breed dog then there is a chance that your dog may experience reverse sneezing. You may find your dog inhaling air through their nose, resulting in a loud noise like honking or choking, or gagging. However, this is not very concerning but if the dog sneezes uncontrollably, you should take him to the doctor. Remember if it is not addressed properly then later it can be life-threatening.
Tip: Reverse sneezing lasts for 30 seconds or less, you do not have to take any part in it.
FAQs- Dog sneezing a lot and shaking his head
1. How do I know if my dog has nasal mites?
A: If your dog has nasal mites then he will show symptoms like nasal discharge, impaired sense of smell, labored breathing, coughing, restlessness, reverse sneezing, itching on the face, noisy breathing, and shaking of the head. Nasal flushing or scooping in the nasal passage can be performed to diagnose canine nasal mites in dogs.
2. Do dogs shake their heads because of allergies?
A: Yes, dogs shake their head because of allergies in their ears. Some dog head shaking symptoms are skin allergies, ear infection, swelling, redness, and a lot of inflammation around the ears.
3. Can dogs get mites in their nose?
A: Yes, dogs get mites in their nose and paranasal sinuses. Transmission of nasal mites is through rubbing of noses with the infected dog. The common symptoms of nasal mites in dogs are nasal discharge, reverse sneezing, coughing, head shaking, and impaired sense of smell.
4. Do nasal mites go away?
A: Nasal mites can go away only after oral medication suggested by the veterinarian. There are various treatments available and to eliminate the nasal mites you should follow the recommendation effectively.