Why Do Dogs Sneeze When Playing

In most cases, dogs sneeze for the same reasons as humans. The most common causes are dust particles entering the nasal passage or a mild allergic reaction. However, have you noticed that sometimes dogs also sneeze during the game? This feature also has a logical explanation – and we will deal with it in our article.

The Main Feature of the Communicative Behavior of Dogs

Even though the causes of sneezing are almost the same for both humans and dogs, human speech is inaccessible to our four-legged friends. To communicate with us, dogs fully use body language. The dog’s posture, gaze, deflection of the spine, the frequency of tail wagging and yes, even sneezing, can directly speak about the well-being, mood, and intentions of the animal.

What is more, the environment in which the dog exhibits certain behavior also matters. Here are a few reasons why a dog can sneeze while playing.

Relieve Emotional Overload

A game is always a whole spectrum of positive emotions. Especially if it is a long-awaited walk with the owner or an active game. In this case, at some point, the dog’s joyful emotions reach their maximum level, and the animal feels the need to get rid of them to stabilize its nervous system. In such a situation, sneezing is a tool to restore the emotional background.

Remind of Personal Boundaries and Rules

If a dog sneezes during a game that involves competition and rivalry, for example, by pulling a rope with its owner, then sneezing can be a way to show the owner that the dog controls the situation and remembers the rules of the game.

make your dog obidient

The reverse situation is also possible. For example, if the animal feels that a certain behavior of the owner goes beyond the permissible limits, it may sneeze to restore its personal borders. And yes, to distract the owner from unwanted behavior without harming him.

Reduce the Level of Aggressiveness in the Game

This reason is typical of a situation where two or more dogs are playing with each other. In this case, if one of the participants in the game feels that the situation is heating up and a friendly meeting risks turning into a quarrel, sneezing is a way to reduce the degree of aggression and show its friendly attitude. As a rule, at this moment the game stops for a few seconds and then continues at a lower tone.

How to Distinguish Communicative Sneezing During a Game From Alarming Symptoms?

When a dog suddenly sneezes during a game, it looks very funny and touching. In this case, the dog sneezes suddenly, it shakes its head and ears sharply, possibly several times in a row. In this case, the dog does not rub its nose with its paws, and there is no reason for concern.

Moreover, short-term and irregular sneezing is also not a disturbing sign in itself. However, there are features that you need to pay attention to.

  • It can be a sign of a cold if the dog sneezes throughout the day, has a slight runny nose, depressed appetite, and mood. If sneezing does not stop for several days, then most likely the dog suffers from a respiratory infection.
  • Dogs, like humans, can suffer from allergic reactions associated with nutrition or the presence of certain particles in the air (for example, when most plants are in bloom). In this case, sneezing will be seasonal and it will manifest itself in a certain environment, for example, during a walk through the forest.
  • Also, it is necessary to pay special attention to dogs that have a special nose structure – for example, a pug or sharpie. For these dogs, it’s normal to sneeze more often or even snore while sleeping. Therefore, the owners of these breeds need to monitor their pets more closely, track the behavior and well-being of the dog and focus on the so-called “sneezing normal rate”, which is individual for each dog of such breeds.


As you can see, dogs can sneeze for both obvious and non-obvious reasons. Sneezing during the game is one of the normal options, and it is also a way of transmitting an emotional message from the dog to the owner or another dog. Observe your dog’s behavior from this point of view – and very soon, you will learn to distinguish its signals during the game. Even if they are set in such a fun way.

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