Why Does My Dog Have a Runny Nose

Why Does My Dog Have a Runny Nose? Possible Causes and Remedies.

What happens if your dog has a runny nose? What does it mean and what should you do? 

There are many reasons that your dog’s nose may be runny. Some are common reasons such as things in the air and are not to worry about but it could also be a sign of something more serious. 

From foreign objects to allergic reactions, viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, or just simply inflammation you need to consider the possibilities when your dog’s nose is runny.

Figuring out what is causing your dog’s runny nose will help you focus on the treatment path for your dog. Remember, always call your vet for professional advice.

dog runny nose treatment at home

Healthy Dogs Can Have a Runny Nose 

Most of the time this can be due to a simple cold just like we get occasionally, or everyday irritants in your dog’s nasal passages. 

While dogs do not get sick the same way we do, they can catch viruses and other infections. 

There are, unfortunately, other more sinister reasons behind a runny nose and it is a good idea to know of the many other underlying causes of runny noses in dogs.

It is important that pet owners beware of serious problems that can be the reason behind their pup’s runny nose that are much more concerning than a passing allergy or cold. 

If you notice that your dog has a constantly running nose or that they are experiencing difficulty breathing, or yellow discharge, it is important that you get them to a vet immediately. 

Causes of Your Dog’s Runny Nose

There are numerous reasons that your dog’s nose is runny. 

Thankfully, many of these causes of runny noses in dogs are easily treatable and only present with mild symptoms

why does my dog have a runny nose and cough

Other times, the cause of a runny nose can be a very big deal with serious implications. These will need immediate vet care and further treatment immediately. 

There are many possible causes for a dog’s runny nose. While many of the causes for a dog’s runny nose are mild, some are more serious.


Symptoms of allergies in dogs:

  • Itching
  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Ear infections
  • Excessive grooming or licking along with excessive panting
  • Digestive issues
  • Anxiety
  • Eye discharge
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Clear discharge out of the nose 

Dogs can be affected by seasonal allergies, food allergies, or allergens in the dog’s environment. 

Your vet may recommend performing an allergy test or elimination diet with your dog. The best way to decrease allergic reactions is by removing the allergen, but this can be tricky.  


There are many infections that can affect our dogs. They include bacterial infections, viral infections, or bacterial infections. 

Each of these infections will need different treatment options, so seeking veterinary care if your dog presents any of these symptoms is important for your dog’s health.

Common symptoms of an infection or the dreaded dog cold

  • Cold symptoms
  • Lack of appetite
  • Severe runny nose with a bad odor and thick, green, or yellow nasal discharge
  • A high body temperature
  • Bloody nose
  • Noisy breathing (common in upper respiratory infections)
  • Decreased energy levels

Common causes of infections in dogs

  • Kennel cough
Some other causes include:
  • Canine adenovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine influenza viruses
  • Canine herpesvirus
  • Canine parainfluenza virus
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Streptococcus Equi subspecies zooepidemicus
  • Mycoplasma spp
  • Parasitic nasal mites

Nasal mites are parasites that live in dogs’ nasal passages and sinuses.

Symptoms include:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Bloody discharge from the nose or full nose bleeds
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of smell
  • An itchy face, especially around the nose
  • Head shaking
  • Nasal aspergillosis 

Nasal aspergillosis is a fungal infection that can be seen as a runny nose. On the side of the nose, there are usually sores present as well. 

Your vet will need to perform an endoscopy or even a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. 

  • A foreign object in your dog’s nose

Dogs are inquisitive, and because of this, they are prone to getting things stuck in their nose. This is a very common reason for a runny nose in a dog. 

Make sure to get your dog looked at as quickly as possible. If a foreign object is left in for too long, it can cause an infection.

Treatment and Outlook

The method of treatment is going to vary depending on why your dog has a runny nose, but thankfully, most of the time a slightly runny nose is not a major cause for concern. 

The best thing to do is to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and keep a close eye on your dog. 

Using a journal to track symptoms may be helpful in dogs with allergies. Most infections can be cleared up effectively with treatment. 

Your vet will be able to make a wise decision for treatment for your dog.  

It is important to always consult with your veterinarian. Please keep in mind that we are NOT veterinarians, but we do conduct thorough research.

What Dog Breeds Are More Likely to Have a Runny Nose?

Any dog can and often does have a runny nose but there are certain breeds that are more susceptible. In general, flat-faced dogs are more likely to suffer from a runny nose.

can a dog catch a cold

Interestingly, hunting dogs are susceptible to having a runny nose as they are often putting their nose to the ground for long periods of time tracking down prey.

Dog Breeds More Likely to Have a Runny Nose

  • Bulldogs (French and English)
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzus
  • Pekenise
  • Boxers

Related Questions

Can a cleft palate cause a dog to have a runny nose?

A cleft palate is a serious medical condition in dogs and can’t be left untreated. In fact, most puppies won’t survive long if they don’t receive early medical help for a cleft palate.

If left untreated a cleft palate can result in many problems for a dog such as infection, pneumonia, and yes, a runny nose along with congestion.

How often do dogs have colds?

Remember, dogs don’t get the same type of cold that a human does. However, dogs can get a ‘cold’ or sickness with all the normal systems such as runny nose, sneezing, and congestion.

Dog colds are different but they still should be treated as any other sickness by giving them quick care and asking your vet for advice.

As far as how often dogs get colds? Well, kind of like humans, in general not all that often if your pup is well-fed and taken care of.

What is a reverse sneeze?

A reverse sneeze is a somewhat common occurrence in dogs where they rapidly inhale air through their nose which makes a loud noise.

This is the opposite of a normal sneeze where air is exhaled through the nose. While this noise may sound alarming it is usually not a problem for your dog.

If your dog keeps doing it try holding their nose slightly closed for just a second and then gently massage their throat. Some say to lightly blow in their face to help.

There are many reasons for a reverse sneeze such as allergies, nasal mites and even just excitement. If the condition continues call your vet.

Take Your Dog’s Runny Nose Seriously

Hope you learned more about why your dog has a runny nose and what you should do about it. Make sure to always consult your vet when you are unsure about your dog’s health.

why do dogs get runny noses

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