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Poodles/Snorting or snuffling 4-month-old standard poodle puppy


QUESTION: Hi, there!

Our four-month-old male standard poodle puppy is doing very well, but started a kind of snuffling or almost-sneezing behaviour the last day or two. He seems well otherwise - eating well, very active, as always.

I emailed and asked the breeder, he thought maybe the dog is catching a cold or has an allergy.

I first noticed it yesterday. Our puppy sleeps in a comfortably large crate in our bedroom. He started snorting just about the time I get up to take him out. He has done it during play, as well. Perhaps it's a coincidence, but I'm wondering if it's perhaps behavioural, that he makes this sound to get our attention?

The puppy has had two of three vaccinations, and is expected to get his rabies vaccine at the end of this week.

Also, he is teething quite a bit!

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you, Kim.


ANSWER: Hello Cathy,
The snuffling or "reverse sneeze" that your dog is doing could be related to a number of things, including Allergies, a nasal or sinus infection or a cold type of thing, or could also be due to him cutting teeth kind of like a toddler will when they cut teeth.  A look-over by the Vet when he gets his Rabies shot should help put your concerns to ease.  

It could also be due to him just wanting attention, but this is less likely.  If you think that your dog could have allergies, you can start him on a Benedryl tablet or Zytec.  I would try the Benedryl first.  Give one tablet in the evening (it can have a drowsy effect) and try it for at least a week.  If you don't see any improvement, you can try the Zyrtec.  1 tablet per day, and it doesn't seem to have a drowsy effect on dogs, so it can be administrated am or pm.  Also, watch his skin and see if he is itching any.  Allergies can cause the skin to itch like it does in people, and dogs will start chewing and scratching themselves which can lead to
sores if it is severe.  Allergies can also make the eyes run which can be mild to severe depending on the severity of the allergies.  

You might ask your Vet if he thinks the recent shots could be the cause of the snuffling.  Some dogs can have reactions to the shots they receive, and its possible that he could have had a mild reaction to his vaccinations.  

I hope this helps you some.  If you have other questions or concerns about this, or other Poodle related questions, please feel free to ask me.

Thank You for using,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your quick and helpful response, Kim.

My four-month-old standard poodle puppy continues with the sneezing or snuffling, but it is now more noticeably "productive," so there is some spray coming from his nose when he does this. Also this morning he has less energy than usual.

I'm wondering if he has caught a cold virus. He does attend weekly obedience training classes at PetSmart, and meets other dogs in the store, not just puppies. The  procedure for meeting is that it be done quickly, but it is "nose to nose," so definite contact.

If this is a cold, should I take him to the vet's? I was going to schedule his rabies shot for Friday, but this will probably not be advised if he has a cold virus. I have read online that poodles are among the breeds identified by prominent vaccine researchers as being particular prone to problems caused by vaccinations.

You mentioned itching and scratching, and he does stop to scratch near the back of his front legs. I wouldn't say he does it excessively, but at least a couple of times a day.

This is much like the concern I experienced with my daughter as a baby and growing up!

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Hello again,
You didn't say if the spray coming out of the nose is yellow and more like mucus or if its more clear and watery.  If its just watery, then it can be more of an allergy.  However if its yellowy, then its most likely a cold.  You very well could have caught it at training class.  
The Vet should be able to tell you more.  

Sorry I didn't get back to you until now.  I saw the e-mail saying that there was a question for me, but thought it was the one I had already answered.  
I hope your pup is doing better.  

Thanks for using


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Kim Wingate


I can answer general questions about Poodles. My specific area of expertise is Standard Poodles, but I will answer all questions about Poodles and dog related questions if I can. If I can't answer your question, I will be able to find information or someone who can.


I am a Dog Groomer and Dog Trainer, who has raised Standard Poodles for over 25 years. I can answer Housebreaking questions, Obedience/Training questions, Grooming questions, Breeding questions, and General Dog questions. I can also give SUGGESTIONS about general Health questions, but as I am not a Certified Vet, I cannot and will not diagnose illnesses. If you think that your dog is seriously ill, please contact your own Vet.

I am a member of the American Kennel Club.

I have worked at several Pet stores in my area, worked for a year as a Vet Tech, was an apprentice for a Dog Trainer, and have also worked at a Grooming/Showing kennel for several months. I have also raised, shown, currently train, and groom my own Standard Poodles, and have for over 25 years.

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