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Reasons Why Your Dog is Sneezing a Lot and Shaking Its Head

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Excessive sneezing coupled with head-shaking indicates an underlying condition such as nasal mites. Nasal mites cause discomfort and pain in dogs, along with frequent sneezing.

Sneezing is a normal part of a dog’s life. 

Dogs and humans sneeze due to allergies or randomly because of dust. Excessive sneezing without obvious irritants can be serious and requires proper veterinary attention.

Medical issues can be a cause of sneezing and head-shaking. It is also possible that this behavior is random and goes away after a couple of days.

This article discusses the various reasons for excessive sneezing and head shaking in dogs and provides you with the steps to stop this behavior.

Dog Sneezing a Lot and Shaking Head

Dogs shake their heads and sneeze obsessively due to several reasons. A foreign object inside its nose can make your dog shake its head. Sneezing helps remove irritants from the nose.

Sneezing is an involuntary reflex of the body when an irritant enters the nose. Occasional sneezing and head shaking are nothing to worry about. If the behavior becomes obsessive, there can be a medical condition that requires your attention.

Observe your dog’s symptoms to identify the potential cause of excessive sneezing and head shaking.

Dog Shivering and Sneezing

Dogs can feel cold and shiver in winter. If your dog is shivering uncontrollably and sneezing, it can be suffering from a cold. Most dogs have long thick coats on their bodies which protect them against the cold winds.

Dogs with short coats are more prone to getting cold than other dog breeds. Shivering in winter is a telltale sign of low body temperature in dogs.

Cover your pooch with a blanket and take it to a warmer part of the house. Consult a veterinarian to get proper medication for your dog’s cold.

Dog Shivering and Sneezing
Image Source

Dog Keeps Sneezing and Shaking Head

Continuous head shaking and sneezing can be a sign of foreign contamination in your dog’s nose. Observe your dog’s behavior and notice the different signs. If your dog has something stuck in its nose, it can shake its head to remove the object.

Your dog can be sneezing to get rid of foreign objects. Face pawing, snorting, and rubbing the nose against things are some of the common signs of foreign contamination inside your dog’s nose.

5 Reasons Why Your Dog is Sneezing a Lot and Shaking Head

Nasal mites are one of the most common causes of uncontrollable sneezing in dogs. If your dog has a foreign object stuck in its nose, it can shake its head and sneeze to remove it.

Obsessive head shaking and sneezing is not common among dogs. There are several causes of this behavior. Some of them are harmless, while others require serious medical attention and care.

Here are five reasons why dogs sneeze a lot and shake their heads.

1. Nasal Mites

Nasal Mites

Nasal mites are parasites. They are visible to the naked eye and live in the nasal cavity of canines. All dog breeds can attract this parasite. Dogs can get nasal mites via nose-to-nose transmission or the environment.[1]

These parasites feed on the keratin layer of the skin making dogs uncomfortable. If your dog has nasal mites, it can start shaking its head and sneezing a lot. Dogs do this to remove the mites from their nose.

There are several symptoms of nasal mites in dogs:

  • Sneezing and sniffing
  • Head-shaking
  • Nose bleeds
  • Impaired smell sense
  • Coughing
  • Labored breathing
  • Restlessness

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, take it straight to a veterinarian to get the proper treatment.

2. Foreign Object

Foreign Object

Dogs love sniffing. They sniff everything they find to identify what it is. This behavior is natural. Sniffing makes foreign objects enter the nasal cavity. Dogs start sneezing when objects get stuck in the mucous.

Grass blades are one of the most accidentally inhaled objects that cause sneezing. Your dog can be sneezing and shaking its head to remove the foreign object from its nose.

Some other irritants can also lead to excessive sneezing and head shaking in dogs:

  • Soil
  • Aerosol
  • Perfume
  • Cleaning chemicals

Take your dog to a veterinarian to get your dog’s nose checked for any foreign contamination.

3. Allergies

Dog Allergies
Image Source

Allergies are common among dogs. If your dog is suffering from an allergy, it can cause nose inflammation leading to continuous sneezing. Head shaking can also be a sign of discomfort due to the allergy.

Notice if your dog has runny eyes or if there is a discharge from its nose. Proper medication is required to treat allergies. Consult a veterinarian on how to proceed.

4. Infections

Aspergillosis, or nasal fungal infection, is a type of infection affecting the nasal cavity of dogs[2]. This is a serious medical condition usually caused by inhaling mold found in grass, dust, and hay.

Here are some of the symptoms of infections:

  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Nasal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nasal discharge
  • Swollen nose

Sinusitis is a common infection causing uncontrollable sneezing in your dog. This infection leads to nose and nasal cavity inflammation, which is extremely uncomfortable.

Infections are treated with antifungal creams or antibiotics. Visit a veterinarian if you believe your dog has a nasal infection.

5. Tumors

Dog Tumors

Dogs can develop tumors in their nasal cavity. Nasal tumors are usually malignant and affect older and long-nosed dogs[3]. These cancers are rare but must be treated as soon as possible. 

There are several signs of nasal tumors in dogs:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Head shaking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Face swelling
  • Coughing

This cancer can impact the brain due to its proximity. Take your dog straight to a veterinarian to provide proper medical care and attention.

How to Stop Dogs from Sneezing a Lot and Shaking Head

Identify the primary cause of sneezing and head shaking in your dog to stop it. Take it to the vet to identify allergies, look up its nose, or look for signs of an infection.

Obsessive head shaking and sneezing is tiring for dogs. 

Here are some steps you can take to stop your dog from sneezing and shaking:

  • Look in your dog’s nose and find any mites in its nasal cavity.
  • Don’t take your dog for walks in high grass areas to reduce its chances of inhaling any object.
  • Search your dog’s body after returning home from a walk for any seeds or objects trapped in its fur.
  • Try to remove any allergens from contacting your dog.
  • Treat nasal infections with OTC medications if the condition is not serious.
  • Observe your dog’s behavior and look for unusual signs of nose bleeds and nasal discharge.

Visit a veterinarian if your dog’s condition worsens.

Conclusion

Dogs shake their heads occasionally to show their excitement. Little pups look adorable when sneezing. Excess of these behaviors indicates an underlying problem that requires expert care and attention.

Identify the root cause of the problem and take the required steps to stop your dog from shaking its head and sneezing a lot.

FAQs

Why Does My Dog Keep Sneezing and Shaking Head?

Your dog can be shaking its head and sneezing due to nasal mites. These parasites feed off the keratin in the skin of dogs, making them a nuisance. Dogs sneeze to dislodge these mites from their nose. Head shaking is a sign of discomfort. When the mites bite into the skin, it can cause pain in dogs, making them shake their heads to relieve the pain.

What are the Symptoms of Nasal Mites in Dogs?

Sneezing, reverse sneezing, nose bleeds, and coughing are some of the most common symptoms of nasal mites in dogs. If your dog is shaking its head uncontrollably, it can be suffering from a nasal mite infestation.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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