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When should I consult my veterinarian about my dog’s sneezing?

By Natalie Sacks, RVT. Reviewed by Dr. Elizabeth Davis, MVB

If your dog’s sneezing (or reverse sneezing) episodes are happening more frequently or if they are lasting for a longer duration, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. The episodes could be a symptom of an underlying issue such as allergies, an upper airway infection or foreign body, dental disease or a nasal tumor.

If you see any bloody or yellow discharge or other respiratory issues during a sneezing or a reverse sneezing episode, call your veterinarian right away since this can potentially be a serious issue.

dog sneezing and when to see the vet
Make note of the frequency of your dog's sneezing and any seasonality changes - these will help your vet determine the underlying cause of excessive sneezing episodes.

Since reverse sneezing can be confused for other conditions, it’s important to note other changes that may indicate it’s time to contact your vet. These include sudden exercise intolerance or a blue-ish tinge to their gums.

It’s also a good idea to take a video of your dog sneezing along with any other symptoms you may want to describe (for example, if your dog has nasal discharge, what does it look like? Does it come from one or both nostrils?). It can be hard to relay verbally exactly how your dog is behaving and distinguishing the difference between a sneeze, cough, gag, or regurgitation can be tricky with dogs. Videos can be very helpful with diagnosing in this particular condition.

Pro Tips:
  • If your dog is sneezing for longer and more frequently, or if there’s bloody or yellow discharge, contact your vet right away
  • Take a video of your dog’s (reverse) sneezing episode to show the vet – this is the best way to show them what exactly is going on

References for Sneezing (and Reverse Sneezing) 

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