Dog Sneezing a Lot and Shaking Head: Causes and Solutions

Dog Sneezing

Dog owners may occasionally notice their furry companions sneezing a lot and shaking their heads. While the occasional sneeze or head shake is normal for dogs, excessive occurrences could indicate an underlying issue that may require attention. This article will explore some potential causes for these behaviors and offer suggestions on when to seek professional help.

Sneezing in dogs can occur for various reasons, including excitement, irritants, or inflammation. Sometimes, dogs experience reverse sneezing, which involves sudden, repeated inhalations through the nose and a honking sound.

This may appear as though the dog is having trouble breathing, but it’s a fairly common occurrence. Another potential cause for persistent sneezing is the presence of nasal mites, a parasite that inhabits the nasal cavity and can affect all dog breeds.

Head shaking in dogs can be attributed to various factors, such as earwax build-up, causing itching and irritation. Dogs may scratch their ears and shake their heads in an attempt to find relief.

However, if your dog’s sneezing and head shaking are accompanied by other symptoms or a sudden change in behavior, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any serious health concerns.

Possible Causes for Frequent Sneezing and Head Shaking

Dogs may sneeze frequently and shake their heads for a variety of reasons. In this section, we will explore some of the possible causes, including allergies, nasal infections, foreign bodies, and breed-related conditions.


Allergies are one of the common reasons for sneezing and head shaking in dogs. They can suffer from different types of allergies, such as:

  • Grain/Dust Mite Allergy: Some dogs may be allergic to certain grains or dust mites, causing sneezing and head shaking.
  • Inhalant Allergy: Dogs can develop allergies to pollen, mold, or other airborne irritants, leading to frequent sneezing and head shaking.
  • Flea Allergy: A reaction to flea saliva can cause irritation and itching, resulting in head shaking and sneezing.
  • Food Allergy: Certain ingredients in dog food may cause allergic reactions, leading to sneezing and head shaking.

A veterinarian can help identify the cause of your dog’s allergies and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Related: Bernese Mountain Dog Allergies

Nasal Infections

Bacterial or fungal infections in a dog’s nasal passages can cause sneezing and head shaking as their body tries to expel the infection. If you suspect your dog has a nasal infection, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary to receive the correct treatment, such as antibiotics or antifungal medications.

Foreign Bodies

A foreign object lodged in a dog’s nasal passage or airway can cause frequent sneezing and head shaking as they attempt to dislodge it. Common foreign bodies include grass seeds, twigs, and toys. In some cases, a vet may need to sedate or administer anesthesia to your dog in order to remove the foreign object safely.

Breed-Related Conditions

Some dog breeds are more prone to sneezing and head shaking due to their anatomy. For example, brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, have shorter nasal passages, which can make them more susceptible to respiratory issues. Additionally, dogs with long, floppy ears may be more prone to ear infections, which can cause head shaking.

It’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior and consult your veterinarian if you notice excessive sneezing or head shaking, as these could be signs of an underlying health issue.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

Severe Sneezing Episodes

If your furry friend is enduring severe sneezing bouts, especially if there’s mucus or blood trickling from their nose, it’s crucial to seek veterinary assistance. Although sneezing is typical for dogs, increased frequency or intensity may be a sign of an underlying issue that requires medical attention. Remember to act quickly to give your doggo the best chance of recovery.

Persistent Symptoms

In cases where your dog’s sneezing and head shaking persist for an extended period, it’s crucial to consult with a vet. A chronic sneezing problem could be due to various causes such as allergies, irritation, infection, or foreign objects lodged in the nasal passages. Obtaining a professional diagnosis will ensure proper treatment is administered and prevent any potential complications.

Other Concerning Signs

Apart from severe sneezing episodes and persistent symptoms, there are additional concerning signs that warrant a visit to the vet:

  • Nasal discharge, especially if it’s thick, discolored, or has an unpleasant odor
  • Difficulty breathing or signs of respiratory distress
  • A sudden increase in lethargy or a decrease in appetite
  • Facial swelling or visible signs of pain

In conclusion, it’s crucial to closely monitor your dog’s sneezing and head-shaking behavior and note any concerning symptoms. Seeking veterinary help when necessary will ensure your furry friend’s well-being and provide you with peace of mind.

Home Remedies for Minor Sneezing and Head Shaking

Monitor Triggers

If your dog is experiencing sneezing and head shaking, it could be due to certain triggers. Pay close attention to when the symptoms occur and try to identify any potential causes. These may include:

  • Exposure to airborne irritants (pollen, dust, or chemicals)
  • Presence of foreign objects (seeds, grass, or insects)
  • Playful behavior (dog sneezing in excitement)

By monitoring these triggers, you can better understand the reasons behind your dog’s sneezing and head shaking episodes.

Minimize Exposure to Allergens

Once you’ve identified potential allergens or irritants, take steps to minimize your dog’s exposure to these substances. Some ways to do this include:

  • Regular grooming to remove trapped debris or allergens from fur
  • Using hypoallergenic products for cleaning and grooming
  • Limiting outdoor time during specific seasons when allergen levels are high

This can help reduce the frequency of your dog’s sneezing and head shaking, improving their overall comfort and well-being.

Keep the Environment Clean

Maintaining a clean environment for your dog is essential in reducing symptoms. Here are some tips for keeping your home a healthy space for your pet:

  1. Vacuum and clean floors regularly to remove dust and allergens
  2. Replace air filters in your home and use air purifiers to improve air quality
  3. Use pet-friendly cleaning products to avoid causing irritation
  4. Wash your dog’s bedding and toys often, using gentle detergents

By implementing these home remedies for minor sneezing and head shaking, you can help your dog feel more comfortable and reduce these symptoms. Remember to consult your veterinarian if symptoms persist or worsen, as there may be other underlying health issues that require professional care.

Prevention Tips

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming plays a significant role in preventing your dog from sneezing and shaking its head. By maintaining a clean and healthy coat, you can minimize the chances of foreign objects, such as seeds or debris, getting trapped in their fur.

Grooming your furry friend not only keeps them looking their best, but it’s also essential for their health and wellbeing. Regular brushing helps prevent mats and tangles, and inspecting your dog’s ears and face can help identify any infections or irritations that might cause sneezing or head shaking. Take the time to check for any abnormalities at least once a week to ensure your pup is happy and healthy!

Routine Check-Ups

To keep your furry friend from sneezing too much and shaking its head, scheduling regular check-ups with your veterinarian is a must. Routine visits can identify crucial issues early on, like pesky nasal mites or infections, and ensure prompt treatment. In addition, your vet can offer valuable guidance on managing allergies or environmental irritants that might be adding to your dog’s discomfort. Don’t miss out on an annual health assessment and any necessary vaccinations to maintain your pup’s optimal health. Remember to care for your dog, and it will love you forever.