What to Do When Your Dog Has a Runny Nose

Dogs are excellent and loyal companions that bring joy and comfort to their pet owners. As a dog owner, it can be concerning when your furry friend has a runny nose. Not only is this annoying for your dog, but it could also indicate an underlying health condition. So, what should you do when your dog’s nose won’t stop running? In this article, we will discuss the possible outcomes of a runny nose in dogs, the symptoms to watch out for, and what you can do to help your pet feel better.

Possible Causes of a Runny Nose in Dogs

There are several reasons why your dog may have a runny nose. Some of the common causes include:


Just like humans, allergies can cause dogs to develop a runny nose. Allergies can be caused by various things such as pollen, dust, or certain foods. When a dog is exposed to allergens, they exhibit other symptoms as well such as itching, redness, and swelling around the eyes, ears, or paws. It’s essential to contact your vet if you suspect your dog has an allergy, as they can prescribe the best course of treatment to help.


Excessive nasal discharge in dogs could be a sign of a viral or bacterial infection which can cause inflammation in the nasal passage and lead the nose to drip. Some respiratory infections that can cause this include kennel cough and canine influenza, canine distemper, and pneumonia. These infections are highly contagious and can spread from dog to dog quickly in places where dogs congregate, such as boarding facilities, shelters, or dog parks. Non-vaccinated dogs are highly vulnerable to these.

Foreign Object

Your dog could have a runny nose if they have a foreign object stuck in its nostrils. This is more common in dogs that are curious and like to sniff around. Sometimes they may inhale foreign materials like grass, seed, dust, or even small toys. They may also exhibit other symptoms such as sneezing, pawing at the nose, and nasal discharge that may be bloody or pus-like in appearance.

Dental Issues

Dental problems such as decay or gum disease can cause an infection that can spread to the nasal passages. If you notice your dog has yellow or brown teeth, take them for a dental checkup right away. Bacteria from dental problems can lead to serious systemic health issues beyond the mouth and nose.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Apart from a runny nose, there are other symptoms that you should watch out for. These symptoms could point toward a more serious health issue. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:


If your dog is sneezing uncontrollably, this could be a sign of an infection or allergies.

Difficulty breathing

If your dog is having difficulty breathing, it could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as pneumonia.

Discharge from the eyes

If your dog has discharge coming from its eyes along with a runny nose, it could be a sign of an infection.

Eating Less or Nothing

If your dog is not interested in food or water, it could be a sign that they are not feeling well.


Sick dogs can become less active than usual. If you notice your pet is lethargic, a trip to the vet might be in order.

What Can You Do to Relieve Discomfort?

There are a variety of things you can do to make your dog feel better if they have a runny nose, but it’s essential to keep in mind that if your dog exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, you should take them to the vet right away.

Treatment of a Runny Nose in Dogs

The treatment of a dripping snout in dogs depends on the underlying cause. The following are some of the treatment options:


If your dog is experiencing nasal drip due to a viral or bacterial infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medication to help fight the infection. If this symptom is due to allergies, your vet may recommend antihistamines or anti-inflammatories to help reduce inflammation and manage symptoms.


Surgery is recommended to help resolve a runny nose when the underlying condition is not managed with mediation and other prophylaxis. For example, surgery is required to remove the trapped foreign object to ease the blockage or to remove the tumors.

Supportive Care

In some instances, there may not be any specific treatment available. In these cases, supportive care, such as providing a warm and comfortable place for your dog to rest, giving them plenty of water to drink, and using a humidifier, can help alleviate their symptoms and aid in their recovery.

What You Can Do to Help

There are a few things you can do at home to help your dog with a runny nose.

Keep your Dog Hydrated

Make sure your dog always has access to clean water to keep them hydrated, as the mucus in the nose will become thick and harder to expel without enough water. If your dog is not drinking enough water, try feeding them wet food or adding ice cubs to their water. Call a veterinarian if your dog is showing any symptoms of dehydration.

Clean Their Nose

Use a warm, damp cloth to clean your dog’s nose. This will alleviate any waste and make breathing easier for your pet.

Use a Humidifier

If your dog is having trouble breathing due to congestion, you can use a humidifier to help moisturize the air. This will help to ease their breathing. Make sure to wipe off the humidifier on a regular basis to prevent mold and bacteria.

Bathe Your Dog

If your dog has allergies, bathing them can help to remove any allergens that may be on their fur.

Provide Nutritious Food

Giving your dog a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals will boost its immune system and aid in fast recovery. Choose essential nutrients like protein, fiber, and healthy fats.


You can examine the dog to ascertain whether or not the runny nose is brought on by a severe underlying condition. However, if your dog has a runny nose along with any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should take it to the vet immediately. The vet will be able to examine your dog more properly so that the illness may not escalate.

If your dog has a runny nose near Hinsdale, IL, contact Lane Veterinary. Our veterinarians can examine the cause of your pet’s runny nose and start getting them back to health. Contact us today!

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