Why Do Dogs Sneeze When Excited?

Theres just something about a dog sneeze, particularly a play sneeze, that is absolutely adorable. A sneeze from a dog can easily produce a laugh from their human. As cute and comical as it is, its also curious.

Sneezes are an involuntary response by the body, usually to some type of irritation in the nose. Dogs have over 50 calming signals and gestures, including sneezing.

If youve ever smelled perfume and started sneezing, you likely experienced a similar type of nasal irritation. Your dog will sneeze when exposed to the irritant, but wont show other signs of allergy. This often occurs with scents, so consider perfume, lotion, laundry detergent, and cleaning products.

If this is the case, youll notice that your dog is watching to see if you are paying attention when they sneeze. If your dog sneezed and you found it funny or endearing, they will remember it and repeat the behavior. Its part of the dogs universal language, and sends the message that only play, and not aggression, is intended.

What starts off as a friendly game can turn into a fight when excitement runs high. Play sessions can be very physical, and its common for dogs to experience a bump here and there. The most common reason a dog sneezes in this position is that its nose is essentially on the ground.

The position also makes it more likely for the irritant to travel past the nasal cavity, which can also cause sneezing. Add items back one at a time, and watch for signs your dog is allergic. If your dog is allergic to grass, pollen, or dust, you can limit exposure but eliminating it isnt possible.

If your dog is sneezing frequently and experiencing pain, nasal discharge, red eyes, or a cough, you should get them checked out.

Why do dogs sneeze when play fighting with humans?

According to dog behaviorist and trainer Katherine Smith, the sneeze is a dog’s signal to the other dog that a rowdy dance/fight play sesh is strictly play– so both dogs know it’s all in good fun. The sneeze is a mark of when your dog “is really loving what you’re doing.”

Why do dogs huff when excited?

When dogs are in an excited state, they often sneeze more shallowly, emitting a snorting sound caused by a sudden force of breath from the nose. … “This can be a ‘remember it is just play’ sound, something to cool things off if they are getting a bit heated. The sneeze communicates that the dogs are playing,” Dr.

You must remember this: A kiss is just a kiss, but a sneeze might be more than just a sneeze. So, why do dogs sneeze when theyre excited? There seem to be two schools of thought on the topic, adding a whiff of controversy to this common behavior.

Dogs play with tremendous gusto and energy which can sometimes cause aaaaaachooo, a sneeze or two. There are different theories as to why dogs sneeze while playing, but the answer may be as plain as the nose on your dogs face.

How Sneezes Occur

Sneezes are an involuntary response by the body, usually to some type of irritation in the nose. The brain has a “sneeze center” that controls all the muscles needed to produce a sneeze. Just like humans, dogs will close their eyes when sneezing. However, not all dog sneezes are “real sneezes”. A real sneeze comes up from the respiratory tract, while play sneezes are more shallow.

‘Happiness

You read that right. Some dogs sneeze because they are happy. It sounds strange to us. After all, sneezing usually isn’t a pleasant human experience. However, dogs have different types of sneezes. Essentially, a dog can sneeze for the same reason cats purr. Just to express their happiness or contentment.

Invitation to play

If your dog enjoys playing, the sneeze could be its way of saying “hey let’s play”. Excitement often leads to play, especially for young or energetic dogs. If your dog sneezes then grabs its favorite toy, you know how to decode their sneeze.If your dog is overly excited, they may sneeze as a way to calm down. Dogs have over 50 calming signals and gestures, including sneezing. It can be their equivalent of taking a deep breath to relax.

Happiness

Your dog could be sneezing out of happiness or excitement. It can be his way of saying, “I like this”. The sneeze will be shallow if this is the reason.

Allergies

This is the more concerning, or at least inconvenient, reason your dog is sneezing when you pet him. If it’s a hard sneeze from the respiratory tract, it’s likely caused by allergies. Just like humans, dogs can have allergies. It could be your perfume, lotion, or even the sweater you are wearing. If you’ve recently been outdoors, it can also be pollen on your body or clothes.Unlike humans, whose allergies often get better as they age, dogs are more likely to have allergies as they get older. Skin allergies are common in dogs, so if your dog is sneezing, keep an eye out for itching, skin irritation, or frequent licking.

Nasal Irritation

Their sensitive nose also makes them more susceptible to irritation. This is similar to allergies, but it’s not a true allergic reaction. If you’ve ever smelled perfume and started sneezing, you likely experienced a similar type of nasal irritation. Your dog will sneeze when exposed to the irritant, but won’t show other signs of allergy. Soon after the irritant is gone, the dog will stop sneezing. This often occurs with scents, so consider perfume, lotion, laundry detergent, and cleaning products.

Fake sneezing

Your dog may be fake sneezing to get your attention. This can be because they are excited, happy, or just to say “hey, I’m here”. Just like kids, dogs learn what works to get what they want. If they sneezed and it got your attention, they may keep it up because it works. If this is the case, you’ll notice that your dog is watching to see if you are paying attention when they sneeze.

Positive Reinforcement

If your dog sneezed and you found it funny or endearing, they will remember it and repeat the behavior. Dogs don’t have detailed memories like people. Instead, they have positive and negative associations. Your dog probably won’t remember that you laughed when they sneezed. They will remember that something good happened after they sneezed.

Deep Sneeze

Again, it’s important to notice the type of sneeze your dog is having. If it sounds like a deep sneeze, it could be allergies or an irritant. Does it occur when you are very close to your dog, or simply in the same room?

Why does my dog sneeze when playing?

Sneezing during play is common for dogs. There are a few different causes, and it can be either nasal irritation or a way to communicate.

Play Sneezing

Play sneezing can be a way to start play or a way to say “Hey, I’m just playing”. It’s part of the dog’s universal language, and sends the message that only play, and not aggression, is intended.

Calming Signal

Just like kids, sometimes a play session can get a bit out of hand. What starts off as a friendly game can turn into a fight when excitement runs high. A dog can sneeze as a way to say “hey, let’s calm down a bit”. It can diffuse an intense situation. Perhaps humans should develop this skill! It can also be used to say “I’m tired. I need a break from play”.

Curling lip

Dogs often curl their lip when playing. It can look like a smile or an almost snarl. When they curl their lip, they also wrinkle their nose. This can cause a tickle in their nose, which leads to a sneeze.

Nose bump

When a dog’s nose gets bumped, it will sneeze. Play sessions can be very physical, and it’s common for dogs to experience a bump here and there.

Dirt

Playing can also disturb the ground, kicking up dirt and dust. When dirt or another irritant gets in the nose, the dog will sneeze as a way to remove it. If a dog is digging as part of play, this can also cause them to get dirt in their nose.

Irritant in nose

The most common reason a dog sneezes in this position is that its nose is essentially on the ground. It’s easy for dirt or dust to get into the nose. The position also makes it more likely for the irritant to travel past the nasal cavity, which can also cause sneezing.

Allergies

If your dog is allergic to grass or pollen, this can cause them to sneeze as well. Again, their nose is to the ground, so it’s easy for allergens to enter the nose and cause sneezing. If your dog is inside, it could be dust causing the allergy.

Shallow Sneezes

The good news is if your dog has shallow sneezes, you don’t need to do anything other than listen to what your dog is saying. Shallow sneezes occur as a way of communicating or expressing happiness. Are they playing or asking you to play with them? Are they excited or happy to see you? Are they overstimulated and trying to calm down?

Allergies and Irritants

Some allergens and irritants can be avoided, but many can’t. If your dog is forcefully sneezing, allergies or irritation are the most likely culprit. It’s best to work with your vet to determine the cause and treatment. If your dog sneezes when you pet him or indoors, try eliminating fragrances. This includes lotion, perfume, candles, and household cleaners. Add items back one at a time, and watch for signs your dog is allergic.If your dog is allergic to grass, pollen, or dust, you can limit exposure but eliminating it isn’t possible. Let your dog outside when the pollen count is low, and keep them inside when it’s high. Invest in a high-quality air filter. Dust your home regularly. Your vet may recommend allergy testing and medication.

Medical Issues

Dogs are susceptible to colds just like humans. If your dog is sneezing frequently, they could have a cold. If they are sneezing from the chest, they may have a respiratory infection. Sneezing can also indicate an obstruction in the nose. This can be a simple piece of grass or something serious like a tumor.Dogs can also get nasal infections. The most common cause is a fungus inhaled from grass, hay, or dust. Nasal mites are rare, but they can also cause frequent sneezing.

Why do dogs sneeze … in reverse?

Reverse sneezing is a spasm caused by something irritating the throat, nasal cavity or soft palate. A reverse sneeze brings air in, not out,” says Debra Eldredge, DVM. Brachycephalic (short-nosed or flat-faced dogs) and small dogs are more prone to reverse sneezing.“Our Corgis have done this at times,” Dr. Eldredge says. “The dog will stop moving and make a bizarre sound.” Watching a dog reverse sneeze can be scary because it looks and sounds as though the dog is gasping for air. But these fairly common, often recurring episodes usually are brief and generally do not require medical care. Softly massaging your dog’s throat can alleviate an episode. And Dr. Eldredge suggests, “Putting your hand gently over the nose often helps to stop it and ‘reset’ normal breathing.”

Why do dogs sneeze in the wild?

When African wild dogs sneeze, they might be casting a vote. These dogs gather their pack and determine whether to move based on sneezes, according to a study published in the September 2017 Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, a London, England-based research journal.Researchers studied five packs of African wild dogs in Botswana and found that the dogs hold a group decision-making “rally” before setting out on a hunt. If the rally is initiated by a dominant pack member, at least three sneezes from among the pack will launch a collective move. Lower-ranking members also have their say, albeit requiring a bit more agreement: a minimum of 10 sneezes.“Physiologically, the rapid exhalation may function to prepare the pack to hunt by clearing the nasal cavity to make scenting and running easier,” the study states, “but this does not preclude that sneezing may also be a true voting mechanism.”

Dog Sneezing 101

Sneezing for dogs is not very different from people sneezes. The main reason dogs (and people sneeze) is because something is irritating the inside of the nose, such as pollen from seasonal pet allergies. The body induces the sneeze to try and get rid of the irritation as quickly as possible. There’s even a part of the brain called the sneeze center which regulates all the muscles and organs needed to create the sneeze. A sneeze is actually quite complicated and certainly nothing to “sneeze at.” In fact, a sneeze can expel the irritating particles out of the nose at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Also, just like people, when dogs sneeze their eyelid muscles always close shut so dogs don’t see how funny they look while sneezing. Luckily, we get to see the bewildered look on our dog’s face after a particularly robust sneeze.

Sensitive Sense of Smell

Dogs, of course, have a very strong sense of smell. Scientists, interviewed in a PBS article, estimate that dogs sense of smell to be 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than a humans. This can lead to their cute noses being particularly sensitive to irritants and must be protected at all times. There are a lot of different reasons why dogs sneeze when they are playing or excited. One reason is that dogs tend to curl their lips when playing or having fun. This causes the dog to wrinkle their highly sensitive nose, which can cause a tickle that the body interprets as a signal to sneeze. When a dog sneezes, it’s usually a sign that the dog is healthy, and the body is doing its job.