Message Us

Why Do Dogs Sneeze?

By SheriRenaud. | Dog Health Dog Info

When dogs sneeze, humans almost always laugh. There's plenty of YouTube evidence of this! It seems to hit our funny bone in just the right way.

It's tempting to think our canine friends are just natural born comedians who love to make us laugh. While there may be a sliver of truth to that, the role of sneezing in dogs is rather complex

Let's take a look. 

Sneezing Versus Snorting

In the vernacular, any abrupt and forceful exhalation of air through the nose is called a "sneeze." Technically speaking, however, a "sneeze" is defined as an INVOLUNTARY act, i.e. it's uncontrollable.

In plain English, a sneeze comes whether you want it to or not! The mucus lining of the nasal passageways get contaminated with foreign invaders and the body automatically jumps into action to expel them!

A snort looks almost identical to a real sneeze but it differs in one very important aspect. It's a VOLUNTARY act, i.e. it's done intentionally! Unless your dog has allergies or is sick, most dog "sneezes" are actually snorts.

You can tell the difference by noticing if the sneeze comes from deep down or not. The air of true sneezes comes from deep down in the lungs but the air for snorts are more shallow, although your pooch may be putting on quite the animation when it happens.

It's common for people, sometimes even scientists, to use the word "sneeze" when they actually mean "snort."

"Sneezing" (Snorting) Is an Important Social Cue

When dogs interact, they speak to each other with signals, i.e. social cues. From a survival perspective, one of the most important signals for a canine to give is the "I want to be friendly, not aggressive" signal!

Snorting at each other is one of these universal canine cues they send each other, and by extensive, to their human family and friends!

For dogs, snorting is analogous to one human smiling and giving a friendly "hello!" to another human. Just head down to the dog park one day and watch the snort signals back and forth.

Why Do Dogs Sneeze More When Laying On Their Backs?

You may have noticed that your dog sneezes more when laying on her back, especially when outside. In some cases, this is because she's in a position where dust, pollen, and other airborne particles can more easily fall into her nostrils!

If this is the case, she's letting out a genuine sneeze, not a snort. However, it may also be a snort if she is laying on her back to show she trusts you and just wants to play. "Sneezing" (snorting) is her special signal to say, "I'm playing, not fighting!"

It's an added signal to the fact she's laying there exposing her tender belly to you! So, it's okay if you laugh.

Try Pretend Sneezing With Your Dog

If you want to have some fun, and prove your dog is just snorting (play sneezing voluntarily), try to pretend sneezing in the presence of your dog and see if she'll copy you and start sneezing back.

Like yawning, play sneezing (snorting) can be contagious. This will work best if you grab a toy and start playing while you play sneeze at your dog. Just make sure your neighbors aren't watching because they may think you're loony tune!

African Wild Dogs Use Sneezing To Make Group Decisions

It's always fun to see our domesticated pooches give us a glimpse into their wild past when they were free roaming wolf-like canines. African Wild Dogs are endangered species living wild in Botswana. 

In an effort to save this species, researchers with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, have been studying their behavior in the wild. Through their observations, they have noticed that African Wild Dogs use sneezes to cast their individual "vote" on whether or not the pack should go out hunting. Of course, this is a much-needed activity but it is also dangerous and energy consuming.

In these free-ranging African Wild Dog packs, they have a rather democratic process. Each member of the group gets a vote but the leader of the pack has their vote count more.

So, if the leader is present, and he sneezes to indicate he wants the pack to hunt, it only takes a few more affirmative votes (sneezes) for the whole pack to follow.

On the other hand, even the pack leader can be overruled if no one else sneezes! Further, if the leader isn't there, scientists estimated it takes about ten votes (sneezes) for the whole pack to go on the hunt!

Dog Sneezing Is Complicated

In canines, sneezing is more than just body language. It can indicate a precise social signal that is very important to the individual and to the entire pack. Now go practice your pretend sneezing in the mirror so you can try it out on your favorite pouch and see if she snorts right back!!

Good luck to you and pooch!

Best Natural Constipation Remedies for Dogs and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers


Sheri RenaudSheri Renaud

Sheri is the owner and founder of trainthatpooch.com, a blog inspired by her girl Bella, a five pound Yorkshire terrier with “attitude”. She was ready to have the perfect Yorkie… And she did… for about a minute. That’s when she realized that she had to train her if she wanted to have a well-behaved companion. Long story short, through many mess-ups and not knowing what she was doing, she was able to figure out a few things. Reading, researching and studying about dog training online helped her to better understand Bella and what she was going through, and she learned even more. As she talked to other dog owners at dog parks, out and about and at dog-related forums, she realized one thing – More people could benefit from what she was learning through trial and error. That was the moment that Train That Pooch was born. The only thing that outweighs her love for all things dog related is here love for Bella. She knows how much you love your pooch and wants you to have the same kinds of fun experiences and memories that Bella and she have had thus far.


 

Comments

Signup/Login to post a reply

 

Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

READ MORE »
Diane Breland

Fantastic

This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.

READ MORE »
GREG BATEMAN

Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

READ MORE »
Cristina Jones

Split Rear Dog Seat Cover - Fitted - No Hammock

I had ordered this item from an on-line site and was extremely disappointed when I received the wrong item. I was impressed with the quality of the seat cover and decided to contact 4Knines directly. I placed my order with Maggie and received the Split Rear Dog Seat Cover within three days. The seat cover fits nicely in my new Honda CR-V and as stated by 4Knines, is very easy to install and remove. My 8-month old labradoodle Brodie likes the comfort, and friends agree with him. Great quality item, reasonably priced, and outstanding customer service. Thanks 4Knines.

READ MORE »
Sally LIEDHOLM

New seat cover and side panels in Nissan Titan

Excellent solution for my truck. Absolutely no complaints. A+ quality materials, engineering, and design. Fast service on delivery. Cannot ask for anything better. J Jones Aiken, SC

READ MORE »
john jones

New truck seat cover and side panels

I really do like the seat cover and door side panels. The side panels are a must as the Beagle mix puts her feet on the doors. Every now and again someone comes up with a nice product that works well, has quality in its materials, and is well engineered. These are those. I am super satisfied.

READ MORE »
john jones

Pawesomeness!!!

Easy and fast install. Stays in place...works great!! (and the dogs are happy that they get to ride along again!) :)

READ MORE »
Ericka Spiva

Great fit, Great look, Stays in Place

I really like the look of this cover on my front bucket seat. You can't tell it's to protect the seat from the dog! It's very nice looking and fits great. Most importantly, it stays in place! My dog is wiggly, up and down, looking out the windows; and this seat cover doesn't mind. Do make sure you watch the video and carefully follow the installation instructions. I did not at first; and Support was Wonderful in helping me figure out what I was doing incorrectly.

READ MORE »
Sherry McClurkin

4Knines.com

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509
Email: support@4Knines.com

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy