It’s natural for us to start worrying when our dog won’t stop sneezing. Especially while they play with their dog friends.
You have surely also noticed that your dog sneezes when playing by itself or even with other dogs. But did you ever ask yourself why that is, why he or she does that? We have the answer!
Before we explain it in detail, we want you to know that this is nothing to worry about! In fact it’s completely normal and your dog does it for a very good reason!
Dog won’t stop sneezing while playing – Reason why
We’ve mentioned that your dog sneezing while playing is completely normal. However, we actually need to state that sneezing, no matter if it happens while playing or not, is completely normal!
Sneezing can actually be triggered by ordinary reasons like:
- Strong scents
- Seasonal allergies
- Particles flying in the air
- Dog furs that fly loose during play
Now, you might be wondering why dogs sneeze. For the same reason you sneeze! To get rid of something that is irritating your nose, for example dust, aerosols or pollen.
Another reason why your dog might be sneezing is that he or she has something stuck up their nose like a blade of grass, dirt or a leaf.
Sneezing while playing
Sneezing is a way for your dog to get rid of dust or polen, however, sneezing can also be a part of playtime with other dogs.
When things get rough during playtime for example by sneezing dogs signal each other (and you to in fact!) that things are good and that it’s just pure play!
Dogs sneeze to assure an atmosphere of non-aggression during dog play. So things won’t escalate to a fight.
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Turid Rugaas, a Norwegian dog behaviorist coined the term “calming signal” to point to the meaning of a dog sneeze. From observation, she saw that dogs often sneeze to assure other dogs that everything is cool and friendly when they’re in the middle of a play or roughhousing.
De-stressing and calming down
Another reason for sneezing while playing is to destress or de-escalate a highly excited or charged interaction. When your dog sneezes he cues other dogs to take a little break and calm down.
Simply put, by sneezing dogs remind each other to stay friendly and not to be aggressive.
Fun fact: Dog’s don’t use this cue only for other canines, but while playing with humans too!
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When should you worry
Generally speaking, sneezing is completely normal behavior, however, there are a few situations where it can turn into a concern.
For example, if it seems to you that your dog is sneezing more than usual, if your dog won’t stop sneezing it could be cause for concern. Especially if the sneezing is accompanied by other strange behavior changes. In those cases, your dog sneezing can be because of nasal mites, infections, or even tumors.
So, please if your dog sneezes excessively you might want to pay a visit to your veterinarian just to make sure that everything is good. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
In conclusion, sneezing is a completely normal, especially while playing. It’s a way of communication between your dog and other canines. So there is no need to worry about that.
However, if it seems like your dog won’t stop sneezing and if they are displaying other strange behaviors, if they act like never before you might want to contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment.
Besides this, if you’d like to learn about other reasons why your dog sneezes we have many articles on that topic too: