Why Is My Dog’s Nose Running?

White and Tan English Bulldog Lying on Black Rug

A runny nose in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from minor allergies to more serious health issues.

Common Causes of a Runny Nose in Dogs

When a dog’s nose runs, it can be a sign of several different health conditions. It’s important to understand the possible causes to determine the best course of action.

  • Allergies: Allergies are a common cause of runny noses in dogs. They can be triggered by environmental factors such as pollen, dust, mold, or even certain foods. Symptoms of allergies besides a runny nose may include sneezing, itching, and watery eyes.
  • Respiratory Infections: Dogs can catch respiratory infections, including bacterial, viral, or fungal infections that affect their nasal passages. Signs of respiratory infections include a runny nose with a discharge that may be clear, yellow, green, or even bloody.
  • Foreign Bodies: A runny nose can also be caused by something stuck in your dog’s nose, like a grass seed or small object. This may be accompanied by sneezing and pawing at the nose.
  • Nasal Tumors: Although less common, nasal tumors can cause a chronic runny nose. This is more often seen in older dogs and might be accompanied by other symptoms like nosebleeds or breathing difficulties.

Diagnosing and Treating a Runny Nose

To diagnose the underlying cause of a runny nose, a veterinarian will typically perform a physical examination, possibly followed by diagnostic tests such as blood work, x-rays, or even a nasal endoscopy.

Treatment Options

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The treatment for a runny nose will depend on the cause:

  • Infections: Typically treated with antibiotics, antifungals, or antivirals, depending on the type of infection.
  • Foreign Bodies: Removal under sedation or anesthesia.
  • Nasal Tumors: Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, depending on the tumor’s nature and progression.

When to See a Veterinarian

If your dog’s runny nose persists for more than a few days, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, or breathing difficulties, it is important to visit your veterinarian.

Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent more serious health issues and ensure your dog remains comfortable.


A runny nose in dogs can be innocuous or a sign of a more serious condition.

Monitoring your dog’s overall health and behavior is crucial when they show signs of illness.

Always consult with your veterinarian when you notice changes in your pet’s health to determine the appropriate care.

By understanding the possible causes and seeking timely medical advice, you can help maintain your dog’s health and well-being.