Old Dog Sneezing Happens For Several Reasons

That sudden expulsion of air through the nasal passages and mouth are common in both people and pets. This is how the body eliminates the irritant within the nose or pharynx.

What’s Causing My Dog To Sneeze

    • Sinus infection or a cold
    • Grass or pollen (allergies) can cause inflammation and old dog sneezing
    • Foreign body inhaled through the nose
  • Tumor

Each of the above causes has different symptoms and form. The anatomy of a dog’s nose is similar to a humans. However, there are some breeds collies, Dobermans and pugs with much longer and much shorter nasal passageways.

Sinus Infection/Cold

Bacterial, viral and fungal infections are not seasonal and often end up as a chronic long term problem. Affecting either side of the nose or both, symptoms usually include a discharge of blood and/or pus.

If a dog has an infection unaccompanied by sneezing, this can be a serious condition such as an infected tooth.  See a vet.

Intranasal Tumor

Although uncommon, vets see a few annual cases of an older dog sneezing due to an intranasal tumor.  Sneezing starts as occasional with a bloody discharge present in only one side of the nose.  The process is slow, but eventually the elderly dog sneezing increases.  Unfortunately, intranasal tumors are usually malignant and hard to treat due to the location of the tumor.  Anytime blood is present, see a vet.


Our yellow lab Lulu had severe allergies her entire life.  From late spring through fall, her eyes were runny and she would sneeze, itch, and chew.   When allergies are involved, usually the dog has a discharge from both nostrils with no blood or pus except in rare cases.  After many years of battling her allergies with prescriptions medicines, etc., I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I found that by keeping her clean, this helped tremendously.  I wiped her down and washed her feet daily.  What a difference this makes when dealing with environmental allergies.  You can read more about the importance of a clean dog when dealing with allergies from my interview with Dr. Shawn Messonier.

Foreign Material

Dogs are often so much like little kids.  Things just end up in the nose!  This can cause excessive elderly dog sneezing.  Here’s a quick story about one of our other dog’s Gretchen, a beautiful Doberman Pinscher.  One night my husband and I were having a cup of coffee after dinner when all of a sudden Gretchen started sneezing uncontrollably.  I got a flashlight and could see the kibble stuck up inside her nostril, but I couldn’t grab it.  What’s funny is I told her to “sneeze a good one Gretch” and she did; out flew the piece of kibble.

So, if the sneezing comes on quickly over and over, get a flashlight and check inside the nose.

Reverse Sneezing – What Is It?

Most dog owners have dealt with an episode of reverse sneezing at one point or another. It sounds like the dog is pulling air into his nose or snorting. The incident usually lasts maybe a couple of seconds to a minute. Although it sounds concerning to dog owners, reverse sneezing is usually nothing to worry about and the dog is back to normal within minutes.

The most common cause of reverse sneezing in dogs is a spasm resulting from a soft palate. The spasm temporarily narrows the airway which makes it hard for the dog to take in air.

Other common causes associated with reverse sneezing are:

    • Pulling on The Leash
    • Allergies
    • Excitement
    • Eating/Drinking
    • Foreign Materials
    • Post-Nasal Drip
    • Viral Infection
  • Respiratory Mites

So if you have a sneezing dog, don’t panic, give it a few minutes and most likely the dog will be back to normal in no time.  However, keep an eye on brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs, Boxers, and King Charles.  Although it may sound like a reverse sneeze, this could be a sign of a respiratory issue common in these breeds.

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