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Why Do Dogs Sneeze When They Play?

By June 30, 2020August 1st, 2020Dogs

Dogs are literally one of the world’s cutest pets, with fluffy bodies and cute paws.  As pet owners it’s most likely for us to want to be in involved so as to help us understand our pets and communicate with them extremely well.  You may have wondered why do dogs sneeze when they play?

You may begin to notice that your dog tends to sneeze more often than usual which may likely raise a question in your mind but even if you haven’t been really conscious of occasions to which your little princes and princess’ sneeze, hearing them actually perform this action may be of great concern.  At some point when I first noticed my dogs sneezing habit, it got me a bit worried and I consulted a vet who told me she was perfectly fine.

Even at that the frequency at which my dog would sneeze when we play together or when she plays with other dogs was really getting me worried, so I decided to go researching.

I read some dog reaction books and poof! All my worries were long forgotten!  As a passionate dog-parent, I would also love to share my discoveries with as many pet parents as possible.

Why Exactly Do Dogs Sneeze When They Play?

Like I said earlier, this got me very worried but having done a lot of reading on common dog habits and reasons why they do them, I became more certain of my princess’ state of health.  First off, dog sneezing is very similar to that of humans but that doesn’t mean that each time a dog sneezes he/she has got a cold. Here are possible reasons that could actually cause your dog to sneeze while playing.

Environment sensitive

Personally as a pet parent, I enjoy taking my dog out for a walk in the park or along with me when I’m exercising. If your dog is a type that really loves sniffing around like mine it is very likely for your dog to pick up dust particles or a very strong smell which can lead to irritation.

Don’t forget, though studies have proven that dogs are great sniffs, they also have very sensitive cute noses which can get easily irritated.

As a pet owner, it’s also very necessary to be sensitive to your pet’s reaction to seasons. Most dogs have what is known as seasonal dog allergy

This is very real.

I noticed mine over time but I felt my dog was only having the flu and didn’t exactly picture this constant and consistent sneezing to be due to season change!

Every time we play during winter, my pet constantly sneezes even after being treated for a cold and I just got to discover that recently. Though this can equally occur when your pet is playing there is always a way to point pick whether your dog is sneezing playfully (most dogs do this a lot).


In dog language, sneezing is a serious form of communication. It literally screams ‘I’m having fun’ or ‘I’m happy’. If your dog sneezes while playing, it’s a definite sign of excitement. The joy of playing with its parent or another pet could propel a sneeze.

Note, when your dog sneezes around another pet, your dog is actually trying to send a friendly signal to the other dog as a play invitation, or they are trying to show that there is actually no threat between them or show sincere contentment during play.

Same goes to you as a pet owner. After long hours of being apart from my dog, she has the habit of sneezing and wagging her tail at me just to show a sincere sign of excitement that she had missed me all day.
At first this was a bit hard to understand, I would freak out whenever she does that and begin to mop the floor or clean her beddings just in case she was having a flu but after much research, I no longer have a reason to panic over such small issues and most times to show my equal excitement, I would also sneeze at her and she would get more excited and begin to play even more.

Sometimes, my dog usually sneezes around me when she needs my attention. If I get just too busy to play with her or get too occupied and forget to go for an evening run, she would offer to drag my jogging shoes along with her to my bedside or study table to remind me of the routine I’m leaving out. 

How Exactly Can I Differentiate a Playful Sneeze From a Real Sneeze When Playing with My Dog?

There was a time I also didn’t know the difference between these two but I can really assure you that this is extremely easy. So below are few things you have to look out for to be certain.

1. The intensity of the sneeze

A playful dog sneeze would never be as intensified as a serious sneeze during an allergy reaction. Serious sneezes come out from the chest and would have an unusually sharp sound but for a playful sneeze it’s very evident it’s out of excitement. Though the sound is similar, it’s shorter than and definitely not as deep as a real sneeze.

2. Snort release

If your dog is having an allergic reaction, if he/she sneezes, snort release is most likely to be evident.

Fluids like saliva, mucus or colored nasal discharges would be noticed. If your dog is having any discharge while sneezing please consult a vet.
Do not panic when you notice your dogs sneezing habits if these symptoms don’t show up. Your dog is apparently very healthy and just seeking your attention or is just extremely excited about its routine or activities it is engaged in.

If your dog sneezes while playing with other dogs then your dog is just trying to make new friends or ensure the level of communication between them isn’t in any form violent.

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