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I sent this question to 2 different dog researchers:

I have wondered about this for several years:
Sometimes when my Zenta gets excited or excited, she sneezes.
The vet says it’s because she ventilates faster and therefore sucks impurities into her nose, which then have to be blown out.
But I don’t believe this explanation.
What do you think?

I got this answer from Dog psychologist & dog behaviorist Liva Søgaard:

Sneezing in the way you describe is a social signal the dog uses.
Research is not quite sure of all the meanings yet, but it is usually during high excitement that the sneeze is used – when the waves go high one way or the other.
Some believe it is a “stress valve”, like when people pick their noses or pick at their hair when they get emotionally excited.
You see it when the dog needs to be fed, right after an activity such as agility, which is done together with the owner, and as an invitation to play, where the behavior is combined with other of the dog’s signals, e.g. a “playboy” or head turner.
You can read much more about the dog’s dampening signals by searching for the term on Google, or read the book “Talking to the dog: the dampening signals” by Turid Rugaas
See it as Zenta being happy and expressing her excitement.
Thanks for an interesting question 🙂


And this from Karen Thodberg, Senior researcher, Aarhus University:

I’m not sure I can get any closer than your vet.
Sneezing in dogs is apparently most studied in connection with illness, and that is not what we are talking about here.
Sometimes you see so-called irrelevant behavior when animals (or people) experience behavioral conflicts.
A classic example is when an animal meets a fellow species, and at the same time is both curious and aggressive.
In such situations, animals often show behavior that either switches between these two motivations, or a combination.
They can also make so-called skip actions.
This is behavior that works out of context – e.g. suddenly scratching or yawning – and perhaps sneezing could also be an example of this?

Interesting 🙂



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