Allergies in dogs typically manifest through itchy skin rather than sneezing.
Infections or foreign bodies are a much more likely culprit. Consider the season, your dog’s environment, and lifestyle as part of the bigger picture.
When your dog’s violent sneezing combines with a nose bleed, the symptoms start to paint a picture.
Common causes of excessive sneezing in dogs
- foreign bodies
- fungal infections
Further reading: Excessive Sneezing in Dogs
Common causes of nosebleeds in dogs:
- foreign bodies
- fungal infections
- clotting disorders
Further reading: Should I Worry about Dog Nosebleeds?
Foxtail is a moniker used to describe grasses with dense, bristly brush-like flowering awns—they look like a tail of a fox. The genus that is most hazardous to dogs is Hordeum or wild barley.
The foxtail seeds are designed to spread by catching in the fur of a passing animal and burrow further in with each movement. Unless you find and remove them, they will keep making their way deep into the tissues, where they can cause severe damage.
Further reading: Those Frustrating Foxtails
An unsuspecting dog can get grass awns caught anywhere:
- mouth and throat
- fur and skin
Symptoms of a foxtail that made its way into the nose include:
- nose crinkling
- violent sneezing
- pawing at the nose
Foster was a vibrant, active Great Dane who loved his time outdoors. Foster enjoyed playing fetch, running through the fields, and exploring the countryside.
That day, shortly after they returned from a walk, Foster started sneezing. Not just a few sneezes—he went into a sneezing fit and couldn’t stop. At first, his mom figured Foster got something irritating his nose, and the sneezing would stop as soon as the irritant cleared. But Foster wasn’t stopping.
Foster’s mom had no idea how to help him and hoped that the problem would take care of itself with time. But time was passing, and Foster remained miserable. Should she call a vet over a sneezing fit? Somehow, that seemed like an over-reaction to Foster’s mom.
Foster, however, couldn’t get comfortable. He kept sneezing and started pawing at his nose. Whatever was in there wasn’t coming out. Then, Foster’s nose started bleeding.
At the veterinarian
Could have all the violent sneezing damaged some tissues and cause Foster’s nose to bleed? Either way, it was clear that Foster needed help his mom couldn’t provide. She now had a good excuse to rush Foster to a veterinarian.
After learning about the events of the day, the veterinarian had his suspect—a foxtail must have made it into Foster’s nose.
The veterinarian explained what he thought the problem was to Foster’s mom.—it was imperative to confirm the suspicion conclusively and get the awn out if possible. To do that safely, Foster would need anesthesia.
Fortunately, once the veterinarian got the scope in Foster’s nose, he could see the awn right away. It hasn’t made it’s way deep into the tissues yet and the veterinarian was able to retrieve it rather easily.
Foster was quite lucky that his mom acted when she did. The longer the foxtail would have remained in Foster’s nose, the deeper it would burrow into the tissues.
One problem with foxtails in the nose is that over time, the mucous in the nose could cover the awn, making it less irritating, That stops the sneezing but doesn’t solve the problem
The longer the foxtail remains in the nose, the deeper it travels. That can result in:
- chronic irritation
- secondary infections
- tissue damage
If untreated, from the nose, the grass awn can travel all the way into the brain. Now that’s serious trouble just from a grass awn.