Dog Has Runny Nose – When to Worry

What Are Some Of The Different Causes Of Runny Noses In Dogs?

I’ve seen my owners get runny noses over the years, and it seems to cause them quite a lot of distress, especially when allergy season rolls around in May. Dogs can get a runny nose from allergies and irritants much in the same way humans can. Because we are much closer to the ground with our noses, we breathe in particles much more than humans do, leading to a runny nose and even sneezing.

Certain things can irritate a dog’s nose and cause sneezing, such as:

  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Perfume
  • Incense
  • Household cleaners

Sometimes we will also be allergic to pollen or mold, and when that’s in the air, it can wreak havoc in our nasal passage. We can also develop infections that lead to a runny nose, and you wouldn’t assume them to be contagious like the colds or flu that you as humans deal with, but they are.

There are also times that we aren’t able to keep our body temperature under control, resulting in a runny nose. We will sweat from our feet and noses when that happens. As humans, you sweat through your pores, but as dogs, we don’t have the ability to do that, and that’s one of the more common reasons why you’ll see us having runny noses.

What Are Some Causes of Runny Noses in Dogs To Be Concerned About?

There are some serious causes of a runny nose that should be looked into promptly, such as:

  • Toxins
  • Dental issues
  • Blood clots
  • Tumors

Sometimes we breathe in foxtails through our noses, leading to an infection and a runny nose. Sometimes you’ll also see us bleed from our noses when that happens. There are also times that we might accidentally eat something toxic, leading to nasal discharge.

Dogs that have teeth issues can experience a runny nose, and even sneezing. The roots of the teeth are close to the nasal passage, and because of that, a runny nose will begin to occur. Blood clots can cause a severe runny nose that might also look a little pinkish.

If you ever see me having a runny nose with blood included in it, that could point to it being more serious, such as a tumor.

A Dog’s Runny Nose – What to Do

Dog Runny Nose

When you see me having a runny nose that contains clear discharge and I am acting normally in other respects, you shouldn’t get into a panic right away. If I’m still eating fine and not coughing, it’s usually not a cause for concern. If you begin to see yellow or green discharge or blood, then you’ll want to bring me to the vet.

Clear discharge coming from my nose usually fades away by itself. However, when you do notice me having a runny nose, you’ll want to keep an eye on it. Check to see if I have any other symptoms along with the runny nose and write down everything that you see. I’m not able to tell you how I’m feeling as easily as humans are, so you’ll just have to monitor my well-being.

Sometimes I’ll develop a runny nose even if I just get nervous or excited. This isn’t a cause for concern, and it will dissipate once my levels of nervousness go down.

Nasal Discharge

To easily check the color of the nasal discharge coming from my nose, you can simply get a white paper towel and wipe it. After wiping up the discharge, check to see what color it is. If you notice that it’s yellow or green, that means that I most likely have an infection going on and will require antibiotics from the vet.

If I do have an infection going on, there is a good chance that I’ll have coughing and breathing issues, as well. You might notice me being a little more lethargic and not wanting to walk around as much when displaying these symptoms. Do a visual inspection of my nostril to see if the discharge is only coming out of one side.

Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it until you bring me to the vet to get properly diagnosed.

Breeds More Prone to Infections

Breeds More Prone to Infections


There are certain breeds of dogs that are more prone to getting infections in their noses:

  • English bulldogs
  • French bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Pugs

I find myself lucky to not be one of these dogs because I would get very irritated by having nose problems all of the time. Hunting dogs are also more prone to developing runny noses because their noses are always close to the ground.

Other dog breeds that contain long noses have a higher chance of getting tumors in the nose. If you take your dog to the vet for nose-related issues, they might administer some blood tests in order to see what’s causing it.

All in all, when you notice me having a runny nose that just won’t go away, you’ll want to take me to the vet. It’s always better to be on the safe side when it comes to my health, and there’s nothing to lose to get things checked out.

Upon taking me to the vet, they will check to see if I have any dental issues or lumps anywhere. They will do a complete blood count in order to figure out if I have an infection going on. There is a good chance they will do an X-ray on my lungs and nose to see if I have any tumors or pneumonia.

Will I Get Better?

The length of time that it takes for a runny nose to clear up depends on the cause of it. In most cases, a runny nose will clear up on its own. If it’s due to an infection, a course of antibiotics will usually take care of it. If the cause is due to an abscessed tooth, that can be simply treated by pulling out the tooth.

If the cause of the runny nose is related to cancer, then that’s a different ball game. There are certain tumors that can be taken out or treated with chemotherapy. If the tumor has spread to other parts of the body already, then things get a little more complicated to treat.

In cases related to cancer, early treatment needs to be undergone as soon as possible.

Understanding Us Dogs

It’s difficult for dog owners to understand what we are going through a lot of the time. A runny nose is sometimes a symptom of an underlying condition, and it helps if our owners pay close attention to us and what we are going through.

If it’s the middle of May and seasonal allergies are out in full blossom, you might notice me having a runny nose in the same way that you are. If that’s the case, consider taking me out for walks during the morning and evening hours of the day to avoid the afternoon when allergen counts are high.

If you suspect that I’m allergic to grass, consider walking me on dirt paths instead. Consider purchasing some pet wipes to wipe away any potential allergens I might be breathing in during our walks. Ask the vet for allergy relief medication so that I don’t have to deal with the symptoms of allergies on a day-to-day basis.

If I have food allergens, consider changing up my diet to one with limited ingredients. Pay close attention to my symptoms after each meal to figure out what allergen could be causing the symptoms. When it comes to allergens, we are fairly similar to humans in that we can be allergic to anything.

Final Thoughts

You’ll always want to pay close attention to us no matter what type of distress we are going through. The more attention that you focus on us during everyday life, the easier it will be to decipher whether we are having issues or not.