Have you ever been lying in bed at night and been awoken by the sound of your four-legged friend hacking up a lung? If so, you’re not alone. As many as 50% of dog owners have reported that they’ve had this experience. So why do our canine companions do such a thing? Well, the answer lies in a simple reflex. In fact, a sneeze can be triggered in a number of different ways. But why does it happen? Let’s find out!
Why Do Dogs Sneeze?
The term “doggy sneeze” is a colloquial term for when a dog coughs or hacks up mucus from the nose. While it may sometimes be accompanied by an audible snort or yip, a sneeze isn’t necessarily always audible. The sound can actually result from two different reflexes. The more common of the two is when the glottis (the opening to the larynx) is suddenly closed, forcing air from the nasal cavity to be expelled through the mouth. The second reflex is when the glottis is abruptly opened, allowing air from the nasal cavity to be forced through the glottis and out of the lungs. As you might expect, the glottis is controlled by a number of different muscles. When these muscles are relaxed, the glottis opens and closes. When these muscles are contracted, the glottis stays open.
The scientific name for sneezing is sternutation. A sneeze is an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm and the muscles surrounding the glottis. When the glottis is contracted, it prevents air from escaping through the lungs. When it’s relaxed, it allows air to pass through. The glottis also controls the flow of air through the larynx, the vocal chords, and the nose. When these muscles contract, they force the air out through one of these three orifices.
The precise reason that a sneeze is triggered isn’t always entirely clear. However, there are a variety of factors that can trigger a sneeze. These include dust, pollen, and allergens in the air, low or high atmospheric pressure, the presence of foreign objects in the nasal cavity, and a variety of irritants and other substances. While the most common reason for a sneeze is irritation in the nasal cavity, it’s also possible for a sneeze to be triggered by a non-nasal trigger.
Can A Dog Catch A Cold?
Even though their respiratory systems are very similar to ours, it’s technically impossible for a dog to catch a cold. This is because the common cold is caused by a virus known as human rhinovirus. This virus is transmitted by direct contact between people. While it’s possible for a human to contract a cold from contact with another human, it’s virtually impossible for the virus to be transmitted to an animal through the same route. Therefore, a dog cannot catch a cold in the same way that humans can.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, a sneeze can be an irritant. This is especially true if your dog is doing it in the middle of the night. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help your four-legged friend. First, you can brush their coat regularly to remove excess hair and dander. Second, you can clean their living space on a regular basis. This includes keeping their bed, food bowl, toys, and living spaces free of dust and dander. You can also talk to your veterinarian about allergy medication for dogs. And finally, make sure that you’re feeding your dog a high-quality diet. This will help to ensure that they receive all of the nutrients that they need to stay healthy.