A dejected-looking brown and white dog lying on its stomach, looking toward the camera.

Understanding Your Dog’s Runny Nose

A canine’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times better than yours. Dogs have runny noses sometimes, and they can be caused by anything from excitement to an upper respiratory infection to a more serious health disorder. Read this article to learn more about dog health concerns that can be related to a runny nose.

Watery Discharge

Wet, clear discharge from the nose is normal, for example, some dogs might have a drippy nose when they’re anxious. Have you ever noticed your dog’s nose dripping when you’re going for a ride in the car or meeting other dogs? That’s probably just a case of the nerves or excitement. The runny nose should get better as soon as your dog calms down. If the discharge persists for several hours or days, it could indicate that there’s a problem.

Dogs Can Have Allergies

Did you know that your dog may have allergies that cause clear discharge to come out of its nose? This common reason for the sniffles can also cause nosebleeds, coughing, and respiratory issues. What is your dog allergic to? Dogs can have sensitivities to the same allergens as humans. They can react to environmental debris, chemicals, food, and medications. Your dog might even be allergic to you. According to Pet MD, dogs can be affected by human dander.

Pet Education explains that inhaled irritants can cause a dog to develop skin problems. Red, inflamed skin or persistent scratching accompanied by nose discharge can be signs of allergies. If you can pinpoint the source of the problem, you can try to avoid it. Allergy testing can help you find answers so that you can better determine the course of treatment.

Viruses And Infections

In some cases, nose discharge can be traced back to bacterial and viral infections. Kennel cough and distemper are common health problems in rescued or stray dogs. Kennel cough is a term that loosely describes a number of upper respiratory infections. Because it affects the windpipe and voice box, it can make your dog sound like it has a hacking cough. It can be caused by the influenza virus, the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptia, or canine distemper.

Dogs with kennel cough may sound like they’re honking like a goose. They may seem like they’re choking or gagging at times. They might even cough up foamy mucus. The dog may also have a fever and seem lethargic. However, many dogs with this condition seem perfectly healthy aside from the cough.

Kennel cough is highly contagious. It can be passed through the air when an animal coughs or sneezes. It can be transmitted by touch. Dogs that sniff each other’s butts or play together can pass it back and forth. The disease can also spread through contact with objects. Dogs that eat out of the same bowl or share a ball can catch kennel cough if one of the animals is infected. Dogs that stay home with their families and don’t go to daycare or the dog park are at a lower risk than those that are frequently boarded. Still, your pet could pick up the illness at the groomer’s or the veterinarian’s office.

Kennel cough usually isn’t serious, and most dogs recover within a few weeks. It can be fatal in puppies, very old dogs, and canines with compromised immune systems, however. Canines can also develop pneumonia from respiratory conditions. As you might expect, dogs with kennel cough can have runny noses. Especially if the cough is caused by distemper, you may see sticky, yellow mucus draining from your pet’s nose. Although you might think that only yellow or green mucus indicates that your dog has an infection, dogs with kennel cough may have clear discharge.

Although you can immunize your dog against Bordetella, distemper, and canine influenza, you can’t completely protect her from kennel cough. The vaccinations can reduce the severity of symptoms if your dog does contract the disease. However, they don’t do anything if they’re administered after your dog is already sick. Still, many facilities that care for dogs require owners to vaccinate their pets against diseases associated with kennel cough.

Something Went Up Your Dog’s Nose

Some dogs can sniff continuously for up to 40 seconds. Small pieces of debris can easily get snorted up and lodged in the dog’s nasal passage. A blockage can cause a runny nose or a bloody nose. If you can see something stuck in your dog’s nose, you can try to remove it carefully using tweezers. When in doubt, contact a veterinarian. Medical professionals are usually much more adept at sticking tools into dogs’ nostrils than you are. Plus, if the item made your dog’s nose bleed, she might need antibiotics to prevent infection.

Tumors or Polyps

If something is growing in your dog’s nose, she might experience nasal discharge. Nasal polyps occur when the glands that produce mucus become overgrown. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Surgery can be performed to remove benign tumors and polyps. However, polyps can reappear. Cancerous tumors are usually best treated with radiation.

When To Worry About a Runny Nose

If nasal discharge is accompanied by pus or blood, have your dog examined by a professional. According to Vetary, other symptoms that may indicate that your dog has a more serious condition are:

Keep Your Dog’s Nose Healthy

You may have been told that a wet nose is a sign of a dog’s health. That’s not necessarily true. A dry nose can indicate dehydration, but it can also be a normal state for your dog, especially if the air in your home is not humid. You can still watch your canine’s nose to monitor dog health concerns. Any time your dog’s nose drips mucus or discharge for more than several hours or appears crusty, red, or swollen, get your pet checked out by the vet. It might be nothing serious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.