Why is My Dog’s Nose Running?

If you’ve noticed your dog’s nose running more than usual, you may be wondering what could be causing this behavior.

While a runny nose in dogs can be a common occurrence, it’s important to understand the underlying causes and how to address them to ensure your dog stays healthy and comfortable.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of a runny nose in dogs and answer your question “why is my dog’s nose running”.

Why is My Dog’s Nose Running? – Common Causes


Dogs, like humans, can suffer from allergies that cause a runny nose.

These allergens may be airborne or found in their environment.

Some common allergens include pollen, mold, dust mites, and certain foods.

When a dog is exposed to an allergen, their immune system responds by releasing histamines, which in turn cause inflammation and a runny nose.

Some symptoms associated with allergies in dogs include:

  • Red, watery eyes
  • Increased scratching and itching
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Infections

Bacterial and viral infections

Upper respiratory infections (URI), canine influenza, and kennel cough are some examples of infections that can lead to nasal discharge.

These conditions may be accompanied by other symptoms such as a cough, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

It is essential for dog owners to consult their veterinarian if they suspect their pet has an infection, as early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications.

Foreign Bodies

If a dog’s nose is constantly running, it could be due to the presence of a foreign object lodged in their nasal passage.

Dogs are curious creatures and may snuffle or sniff at various things, inadvertently getting debris or small objects stuck in their nose.

This can cause discomfort, inflammation, and a continuous runny nose.

Signs that a foreign body may be the cause include:

  • Excessive sneezing
  • Pawing at the nose
  • Visible discharge, especially from one nostril

In such cases, a veterinarian’s intervention may be necessary to remove the foreign object safely and properly.

Symptoms to Watch For

When determining the cause of a dog’s runny nose, it is important to closely observe the various symptoms.

In this section, we will be exploring the characteristics of the discharge, as well as any additional symptoms to be aware of.

Discharge Characteristics

Examining the consistency, color, and odor of the discharge from your dog’s nose can help determine the cause of the issue.

Pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • Consistency: If the discharge is watery and clear, it is likely due to allergies, irritation, or a mild infection. However, if it’s thick and yellow or green, it could indicate a more serious infection.
  • Color: Clear discharge is generally not a significant concern, whereas yellow or green discharge can be a sign of infection, and bloody discharge may indicate trauma, injury, or a foreign object in the nose.
  • Odor: Unusual or foul odors could indicate a bacterial infection or sinus condition.

Additional Symptoms

While a runny nose is the primary symptom to watch for, it is also essential to be aware of other signs and symptoms that might accompany it.

Some of these include:

  • Sneezing: Frequent sneezing can be a sign of irritation, allergies, or respiratory infection.
  • Difficulty breathing: Noisy or labored breathing may suggest a blockage in the nasal passages, presence of a foreign object, or inflammation due to infection.
  • Pawing at the face: Pawing at the face or rubbing the nose on surfaces can indicate discomfort, itchiness, or irritation in the nasal area.
  • Loss of appetite: A dog might experience a decrease in appetite if they are suffering from an infection or are struggling to smell their food due to nasal issues.
  • Lethargy: A sluggish or unenergetic dog might be experiencing a more severe illness or infection, which requires prompt attention.

By observing your dog’s runny nose and any additional symptoms, you can better understand their condition and seek appropriate treatment.

When to See a Vet

It’s important to closely monitor your dog’s health and be able to recognize when a running nose may require veterinary attention.

Being proactive can make a significant difference for your dog’s well-being.

Severity and Duration

If your dog’s runny nose is clear and persists for longer than a day or two, it may be time to consult a veterinarian.

Additionally, if the nasal discharge is thick, green, yellow, or bloody, this may indicate a more serious condition that needs to be addressed immediately.

Keep an eye on your dog’s overall health and behavior as well.

If they are experiencing other symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, fever or lethargy, a visit to the vet is strongly recommended.

Underlying Health Conditions

Some dogs may have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to a runny nose.

These conditions can include allergies, dental infections, nasal tumors, or respiratory infections.

If your dog has a history of experiencing a runny nose, it is important to discuss this with your veterinarian.

They can help determine if a genuine cause for concern exists or if a simple solution is available.

Associated Dog Symptoms

  • Allergies
  • Itchy skin
  • Scratching
  • Hair loss
  • Dental infections
  • Bad breath
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Swelling in the face
  • Nasal tumors
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Facial deformity
  • Nosebleeds
  • Respiratory infections
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing

In conclusion, if your dog’s runny nose is accompanied by worrisome symptoms or doesn’t improve within a few days, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian.

They can diagnose the issue and provide appropriate treatment to ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.

Treatment Options

When dealing with a dog’s runny nose, there are several treatment options to consider.

These methods can help relieve symptoms and address possible underlying causes.


Depending on the cause of the runny nose, a veterinarian may prescribe medications to help alleviate the symptoms.

In case of bacterial infection, antibiotics can be prescribed.

Also, for allergies or inflammation-related issues, antihistamines, decongestants or anti-inflammatory drugs may be suggested.

Home Remedies

There are also some home remedies pet owners can try to help reduce a dog’s runny nose symptoms:

  • Steam therapy – Exposing the dog to steam, e.g. through a hot shower, can help clear nasal passages and make breathing easier.
  • Saline solution – A saline nasal solution can help loosen mucus and alleviate congestion.
  • Keeping the environment clean – Regularly cleaning the home, including pet beds, to reduce allergens and irritants that can cause a runny nose.

It is important to remember that these remedies are meant to provide temporary relief and should not replace professional veterinary care if the issue persists.

Prevention Tips

Preventing a runny nose in dogs involves taking proper care of their health and being mindful of their environment.

Here are some tips to help your dog avoid a runny nose:

Environmental Factors

Ensuring that your dog’s environment is clean and free of allergens can significantly reduce the likelihood of a runny nose.

Make sure to:

  • Regularly clean your dog’s living space, including bedding and toys.
  • Use pet-friendly cleaning products to avoid exposing your dog to harsh chemicals.
  • Keep your dog away from areas prone to mold, pollen, or other common allergens.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to cigarette smoke or strong scents that can irritate their nasal passages.
  • Consider investing in an air purifier to improve indoor air quality.

Regular Checkups

Regular veterinary checkups are essential for maintaining your dog’s overall health and catching any potential issues early.

Ensure that:

  • Your dog receives routine vaccinations and deworming treatments as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Any dental issues are addressed promptly to avoid bacterial infections that can lead to a runny nose.
  • Your veterinarian is informed of any changes in your dog’s overall health or behavior, including signs of a runny nose, to identify the underlying cause and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Taking these preventive measures can help keep your dog’s nasal passages healthy and significantly reduce the risk of a runny nose.

Remember to always consult with your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s health or behavior, especially if you ask yourself “why is my dog’s nose running”.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “Why is my dog’s nose running?”.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.