Treating and Preventing Runny Nose in Dogs

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Dog noses are naturally moist and cool to the touch. It shouldn’t be runny or constantly dripping. Just like in humans, runny nose in dogs is caused by an irritant in the nasal passages. The irritant could be anything from an allergen to microbes. If your dog’s nose is runny and he’s sneezing, it;s likely an allergic reaction.

If say, the nasal discharge is clear, don’t worry. Your dog is just excited to see you. Dogs will secrete clear water discharge when it’s nervous or excited. Once the dog calms down, the nasal discharge will go away on its own.

Persistent runny nose coupled by retching or gagging, have your dog checked. In this case, track the nasal discharge. See if the discharge is clear, cloudy, blood-streaked or bloody. Runny nose that do not get better for several hours could be a symptom of an underlying condition. By monitoring the nasal discharge, you will have an idea what could be causing the symptom. Below are likely causes of runny nose in dogs:

Skin Disorders

Runny nose in dogs could be caused by a skin problem. The symptoms will include watery eyes and runny nose. Again, if the nasal discharge is clear and your dog is sneezing, he could be allergic to irritants. You can consult your vet to treat the root cause of the problem.


It’s not normal for thick, cloudy discharge to drip out of your dog’s nose. If your dog exhibited this symptom along with fever or fatigue, he could be suffering from an infection. Clean your dog’s nose with a warm, damp cloth and take him to the vet. Your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics to reduce inflammation and swelling. If you are using any homemade remedies, do so but only after your vet examined the dog.

Canine Flu

Is your dog coughing and is struggling to breath? Is his nasal discharge yellowish and he seemed less active? He could be suffering from canine flu. This is a common illness and should be treated right away.


Runny nose caused by an abscess should be checked immediately. If water, food or strange discharge is coming out of your dog’s nose, open his mouth wide. Check the roof of his mouth for signs of trauma, lump or abscess. These things could be causing runny nose. Most times, abscesses are caused by foreign object stuck in the oral tissues, like a stick. Dogs love to chew and gnaw on things so this is normal. If the abscess is caused by a stuck stick, remove it. The abscess should shrink and go away on its own after.


Is the nasal discharge blood-streaked or bloody? This could be caused by two things: tumor or accident. Dogs will go into all sorts of trouble when they’re outside. A bloody discharge may be caused by severe trauma. If your dog does not exhibit symptoms consistent with an accident, have him checked for cancer. Either way, rush your dog to a vet immediately at the first sign of blood coming out of your pet’s nose!