Weirdo dog sneezes from a simple head scratch

Poncho is a 13 year old rescue dog from Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Bringing her back to Vancouver, Canada when she was just weeks old has been quite the journey through doghood. Over the years it always seems her owners find something new or quirky about Ponch. Early on when Poncho was just a pup, Brent her owner realized Poncho could learn new tricks very quickly and retain that skill, but he also learned she liked to wander away. Teaching an “old dog new tricks” can at times be easy, but keeping them within a 6 foot high fenced yard can be more of a challenge. At any means, Poncho has been a great pet. Moving forward with Poncho and her quirks, this past week in February 2020, it has been discovered that by simply rubbing the top of Poncho’s head between her ears, creates a sneeze reflex. Finding this quite hilarious, Sarah, Poncho’s human “sister” kept scratching Poncho while “mom” Elsa recorded the hilarity. This was not a one time, clear the nose from a tickle sneeze pattern, it seemed to be “involuntary” as the head scratching continued. Wondering why this was happening and what causes it, as we know, dogs have many of the same characteristics as humans, and this sneezing is just the same. The main reason dogs (and people sneeze) is because something is irritating the inside of the nose. The sneeze can also be triggered by the movement of the nose from the head scratching causing a slight irritation to the pooches nose and creating a sneeze. The body induces the sneeze in order to try and get rid of the irritation as fast as possible. A sneeze is actually quite complicated and certainly nothing to “sneeze at.” In fact, a sneeze can expel the irritating particles out of the nose at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Also, just like people, when dogs sneeze their eyelid muscles always close shut so dogs don’t see how funny they look while sneezing. Luckily, unlike being able to see how silly we look when sneezing, we get to see the bewildered look on our dog’s face after a particularly powerful sneeze fit. One reason dogs may sneeze when playing, is that with their highly sensitive noses, they tend to curl their lips when excited. This curling of the lips may cause a “tickle” in the dogs nose creating the sneezes. Stopping to play because of a sneeze is not in the cards for any playful pooch, so they just keep on playing. When a dog sneezes, it is a sign that they are healthy and their body is working just fine. Dogs sneezing while playing is also a form of communication for them. Dogs sometimes also use the sneeze as a “calming signal” to other dogs. Dogs use over 30 different calming signals to communicate that they need to take a break or slow things down. Poncho’s sneezing that particular day definitely causes some laughter around Brent's home that day. She is surely a fun pup to have around.

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