Why Is My Dogs Nose Running?

The running of a dog’s nose can be a worrying symptom for pet owners. In some cases, a dog’s nose running can be caused by environmental factors, such as allergies or a cold, but in other cases, it can indicate something more serious. Understanding what causes a dog’s nose to run and recognizing the symptoms of an underlying health concern is the first step to ensuring your canine companion is healthy and happy. In this article, we will discuss why a dog’s nose may be running, along with some potential solutions.

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  1. Allergies: Allergies can cause a dog’s nose to run due to nasal and sinus irritation. Dogs can be allergic to various substances such as pollen, grass, dust, or other environmental irritants. When a dog is overexposed to these allergens, the immune system responds by producing a large amount of histamine. This histamine can cause the lining of the nose and sinus to become inflamed, resulting in increased mucus production. This excess mucus causes a running nose.
  2. Infection; Infections of the nasal cavity can cause running noses in dogs. Bacterial and viral infections, allergies, and foreign bodies, such as grass awns, can all cause inflammation of a dog’s nasal passages. This can cause mucus to build up, resulting in a runny nose. These infections can be caused by external sources, such as airborne particles or exposure to a contaminated environment, or internal sources, such as weakened immune systems or inflammatory illnesses.
  3. Mucus buildup: Mucus buildup can cause a dog’s running nose by blocking the nasal passage and restricting the flow of air to the lungs. When the nose is blocked and air cannot move freely through the nasal passage, the mucus accumulates and creates a moist environment that allows bacteria and other infectious agents to grow and cause infection. When the infection spreads, the respiratory system is forced to work harder to expel the mucus, thus causing a dog’s nose to run. In some cases, the nasal passage may be blocked entirely, making it difficult for a pet to breathe.
  4. Burning sensation: The burning sensation in a dog’s nose can be caused by allergens in the environment, such as dust, pollen, and other irritants, which can cause irritation of the nasal lining. This can lead to an increased production of mucus, resulting in a runny nose. Additionally, a burning sensation in the nose can be a symptom of an infection or an underlying condition such as allergies, foreign bodies in the nose, or even a tumor.
  5. Consumption of irritant substances: Consumption of irritant substances such as cigarettes, cleaning products, and aerosol sprays can cause irritation of the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages and throat. This irritation can cause the dog to secrete a thick, watery discharge from their nose, leading to a running nose. Additionally, ingestion of these substances can also lead to inflammation and swelling, further impairing the dog’s ability to breathe through its nose.
  6. Viral infection: Viral infections can cause running noses in dogs due to inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses. This is caused by the immune system attempting to fight the virus. This inflammation can cause the nasal passages to produce more mucus and the dog may then have a runny nose for several days. In extreme cases, the infection may cause further damage to the nasal passages causing coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. While most viral infections do not pose a serious threat to a dog’s overall health, they can still make them feel miserable and should be treated promptly to minimize symptoms.
  7. Cold environment: When dogs are exposed to cold temperatures, their bodies respond by attempting to warm the air entering their noses as quickly as possible. As the air passes through their nasal cavities, the cold air temperature causes their nasal membranes to swell up and create more mucus. This mucus provides an extra layer of protection for their delicate airways from cold temperatures. In other words, the dog’s body is protecting itself by producing excess mucus as a response to the cold climate. This can result in increased sneezing and a runny nose.
  8. Parasites: Parasites such as Demodex mites, roundworms, and tapeworms can cause a running nose in dogs. These parasites can live in the dog’s nose and sinus cavities, inflaming the area and producing thick, yellow mucus. Additionally, ticks, fleas, and mites can irritate the nose and cause itchiness and the associated nose-rubbing that leads to a runny nose.
  9. Blocked nasal passageways: Blocked nasal passageways can cause a running nose in a dog when the nasal cavity becomes inflamed or irritated, often due to an infection or environmental allergens. This inflammation can cause swollen tissues and mucous membranes, which can lead to a buildup of mucus that causes a runny nose. Allergies, infectious diseases, and foreign objects stuck in the nasal cavities are all potential causes of a blocked nasal passageway in a dog.
  10. Upset stomach: Upset stomach is often caused by eating something that has gone bad or that the pup isn’t accustomed to. When the stomach is upset, the body produces a large amount of histamine, which is a substance that directly causes inflammation of the nasal passages and a runny nose. The histamines stimulate the production of mucus in the dog’s nose to help dilute any offending material in an attempt to rid the body of the problem. The nasal mucus is then expelled through the nose, causing the pup’s nose to run.
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What is Runny Nose?

A runny nose in dogs, also known as rhinitis, is a condition in which a dog’s nose produces an excessive amount of mucus. This abnormal nasal discharge can be caused by various underlying conditions, including allergies, upper respiratory infections, and viral or bacterial infections. Additional symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, eye and nasal discharge, and fever. If left untreated, a runny nose can lead to more serious health problems. If your dog has a runny nose, it is important to have them examined by a veterinarian so the underlying cause can be identified and treated appropriately.

How Veterinarians Diagnose the Cause of Runny Nose in Dogs

Veterinarians diagnose the cause of runny noses in dogs by first conducting a thorough physical examination. This examination should check the dog’s nose to ensure there is no obstruction that could be causing the runny nose. They may also check the eyes to see if they are red, which could indicate an infection or allergy. The vet may take a nasal swab or sample of the discharge to test for bacteria or viruses. They will also likely take blood samples to check for signs of infection or inflammation. Depending on the results of the physical exam, your vet may recommend additional testing such as x-rays, ultrasounds, or endoscopy to better identify the cause.

Symptoms of Runny Nose in Dogs

  • Clear nasal discharge – A runny nose in dogs is often characterized by the presence of clear nasal discharge coming from the nostrils.
  • Coughing or Sneezing – Dogs with runny noses may also experience coughing and sneezing due to irritation from the nasal discharge.
  • Pawing at Nose – A dog with a runny nose may paw and rub his nose as a way to provide comfort or to spread the discharge to other parts of his body.
  • Reverse Sneezing – Dogs with runny noses often experience reverse sneezing, which is an episode in which the dog gasped for air several times in quick succession before taking a deep breath.
  • Snoring – Dogs with runny noses may also develop snoring due to the discomfort caused by the nasal discharge.
  • Loss of Appetite – A runny nose in dogs may also lead to a loss of appetite.
  • Changes in Behavior – Dogs with runny noses may be less active and may be more irritable than usual.
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Dog Nose Dripping Anxiety

If your dog’s nose is dripping, it can be a sign of anxiety. Some common reasons for anxiety in dogs include changes in routine, unfamiliar people or environments, disruptions to regular exercise, boredom, or even health issues. Signs of anxiety can also include excessive barking, increased pacing, panting or yawning, and hiding. If you suspect that your dog is showing signs of anxiety, it is important to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible as they can help determine the root cause and offer advice and recommendations for how to best manage the situation.

Senior Dog Nose Dripping

If your senior dog’s nose is dripping, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible to determine the cause. In some cases, nose dripping could be a sign of an underlying health issue such as a bacterial infection, allergic reaction, or respiratory infection. It could also be caused by something as simple as ingesting something that doesn’t agree with them. Never attempt to treat the condition yourself as it could lead to further complications.

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  1. Clear The Airway: If your dog has a runny nose, the first step should be to clear his airway. Use a can of compressed air to dislodge any debris or to remove any mucus build-up. If using a can of compressed air, be sure to do it in a well-ventilated area and wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
  2. Humidify Your Room: A runny nose might be caused by dry air. Try using a humidifier to keep the air in your home moist. Keeping the air humid can also help alleviate any congestion your pup might have caused by common allergens in the air like dust, pollen, dander, and smoke.
  3. Provide Hydration: Make sure your pup is getting enough water throughout the day. Rats and cats are often notorious for not drinking enough water, so make sure to offer your pup fresh, clean water each day.
  4. Use Nasal Drops: Some vets may recommend using a saline nasal drop to flush out any irritants in your pup’s nasal passages. A few drops of this solution can help remove debris and decrease inflammation.
  5. Change Your Dog’s Diet: If your pup has a food allergy, it could be causing his runny nose. Consider changing his diet to an allergy-friendly kibble or an elimination diet to see if that helps to clear your pup’s nasal passages in one or two weeks.
  6. Check for Foreign Objects: If your pup’s runny nose doesn’t seem to be getting any better, it may be due to something stuck in his nose. Make sure to check for any foreign objects that could be blocking your pup’s air passage.
  7. Veterinary Care: If none of the at-home remedies for a runny nose seem to be working, it’s time to visit the vet for a full evaluation and some prescription treatments that will help your pup recover.

Taking Care of Your Dog’s Nose

  • Clean your dog’s nose regularly. It’s important to wipe your dog’s nose regularly with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris and prevent infections.
  • Protect your dog’s nose from the Sun. Sunburns can damage the delicate tissue of your dog’s nose so be sure to apply pet-safe sunscreen before heading out for walks or outdoor activities.
  • Keep your dog’s nostrils hydrated. Dry air can dry out a dog’s nose, so make sure your pup has plenty of clean, fresh water available at all times.
  • Feed your dog a balanced and healthy diet. Eating a balanced and nutritional diet will help keep your dog’s nose healthy.
  • Check for any changes. Pay attention to the color, texture, and shape of your dog’s nose. If you notice any changes, be sure to talk to your veterinarian right away.
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Dog Runny Nose Treatment at Home

Home treatment for a dog’s runny nose will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. If the runny nose is caused by allergies, try to identify and reduce your pet’s exposure to any potential allergens. On the other hand, if the cause is a viral infection, supportive care at home could include cleaning the nostrils with a moist cotton ball, encouraging the pet to drink plenty of fluids, and providing small meals of easily digestible food during recovery. Additionally, your veterinarian may provide medications like antibiotics or antihistamines to help fight infections and reduce inflammation.

Recovery of Runny Nose in Dogs

Recovering from a runny nose in dogs typically depends on the underlying cause and may include a combination of treatments best determined by your veterinarian. Depending on the cause, treatments may include antibiotics, anti-allergy medications, and/or steroids. If your dog is exposed to allergens or other environmental irritants, your veterinarian can recommend ways to minimize exposure. Your veterinarian may also suggest lifestyle changes to reduce stress and improve nutrition. If your dog has an underlying disease, such as an infection or cancer, treatments will be aimed at addressing the underlying condition. Ultimately, the best way to recover from a runny nose in dogs is to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause.


Q. What do I do if my dog has a runny nose?

A. If your dog has a runny nose, it is important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The cause of a runny nose can range from an infection to allergies, and in some cases, it can be serious. A veterinarian can perform tests to determine the cause and recommend the proper course of treatment.

Q. What are the signs of a nose infection in dogs?

A. The most common signs of a nose infection in dogs include sneezing, nasal discharge, loss of smell, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Other signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, head shaking, pawing at the face or eyes, and nasal scarring or swelling.

Q. How long does a dog’s runny nose last?

A. The length of a dog’s runny nose can depend on several factors, including the underlying cause, such as allergies or illness. With treatment, most dogs will improve within a couple of days, but some may require ongoing medical management depending on the underlying cause.


In conclusion, a running nose in your dog can be caused by several different factors. These include allergies, infection, foreign particles in the nose, environmental factors, or physiological conditions. While a running nose can be a harmless sign of a cold, more serious conditions such as respiratory infections, cancer, or tumors should always be checked out by a veterinarian. If your dog is exhibiting other signs of illness in addition to a running nose, don’t wait, seek medical care right away.

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