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What is Runny Nose?

A healthy dog may have a mild runny nose occasionally with no cause for alarm, but chronic or severe nasal discharge could indicate serious health issues. A mild runny nose is characterized by small amounts of watery discharge, may be accompanied by sneezing, and can be a sign of nervousness. However, a severe runny nose may persist with discharge that is thicker, a color other than clear, and may contain blood or pus. A runny nose is characterized by nasal discharge that may range from watery to thick and may contain blood or pus. Upper respiratory organs produce nasal discharge. It's important to remember that while sneezing and nasal discharge might be normal for dogs, it should be a concern if it becomes severe or chronic.

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Runny Nose Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$550

Symptoms of Runny Nose in Dogs

  • Nasal discharge
  • Swollen or puffy eyes
  • Reduction in nasal respiration
  • Trouble breathing
  • Secretions on the fur of the dog’s face and/or arms
  • Deterioration in dental health
  • Bad breath

Types

  • Mild, or periodic, infrequent runny nose
  • Severe or chronic runny nose
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Causes of Runny Nose in Dogs

Severe or chronic runny nose may be an indication of one of the following:

  • Allergies, an immune system reaction to your dog’s environment.
  • Foreign object in your dog’s nasal passages.
  • Bacterial or fungal infection of your dog’s sinuses.
  • Nasal mites, a parasitic infection of your dog’s sinuses.
  • Dental diseases, such as abscessed teeth, periodontitis and gingivitis, are bacterial infections that can spread into your dog’s nasal passages.
  • Nasal cancer, or nasal adenocarcinoma.
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Diagnosis of Runny Nose in Dogs

Proper diagnosis depends on your reporting your dog’s signs to a veterinarian promptly. If possible, schedule an appointment within 24 hours. The full scope of tests that may be used to diagnose the cause of your dog’s runny nose might include labwork, xrays, or rhinoscopy, which involves putting your dog under general anesthetic and examining the nasal passages through the insertion of a tube called an endoscope. 

Additional tests may include a dental exam, if dental health is deemed a potential cause. The nasal discharge may be sampled and examined for fungal and bacterial components. Your dog’s blood pressure may be recorded, as well as a test to determine your dog’s blood coagulation profile.

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Treatment of Runny Nose in Dogs

Treatment of runny nose in dogs varies depending upon the diagnosis.

  • Allergies require determination of the cause of the reaction: it may be seasonal, or something around your house that you can eliminate. Treatment ranges from elimination of the irritant, to antihistamines, steroids or other allergy medications.  
  • The veterinarian will remove any foreign objects and you will be advised on your dog’s recovery, which may involve an anti-inflammatory drug.
  • A bacterial infection will be treated with a prescription of antibiotics; the veterinarian may let a fungal infection try to clear on its own or may prescribe antifungals, depending on the severity.
  • Nasal mites are treated with anti-parasitic medications.
  • Dental diseases will need to be treated directly, through tooth cleaning and the possible removal of teeth under anesthesia.
  • Nasal cancer is by far the most serious cause of runny nose in dogs. Treatment may involve surgical removal of cancerous tumors, which can be very complicated due to the delicate structure of your dog’s nasal passages. Treatment may also include radiation therapy if diagnosed early.
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Recovery of Runny Nose in Dogs

As with causes and treatments, recovery and management of runny nose in dogs is varied. Follow through on all your veterinarian’s instructions, particularly in regards to medications, and follow up by monitoring your dog’s recovery. If discharge or sneezing continues, frequently clean your dog’s nasal passages by wiping with a soft cloth or tissue. Make sure your dog’s environment is clean, water is always available, and monitor and address your dog’s dental health regularly.

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Runny Nose Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$550

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Written by a Pugs lover Grace Park

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 09/30/2015, edited: 04/05/2021

Runny Nose Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pit Bull

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Lucy's is not herself she usually very active her nose sounds contested after a reverse sneeze no other symptoms

Jan. 3, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello this could be an upper respiratory infection. It would be best for your bet to look at her. Your dog can have Benadryl. The dosage is 1mg/pound. If she is not better by tomorrow it would be best for your vet to see her. They would be able to prescribe her antibiotics

Jan. 3, 2021

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German Shepherd

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Eighteen Months

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Nose Dripping, Sneezing When Outside, Loss Of Appetite, Constantly Licking

She's usually very active but she's an extremely picky eater. She will leave her food for 2 days at a time. She has had the licking issue for a while, but now it seems worse. She is a nervous dog and has separation anxiety and I can't seem to get her out of this habit. In the last two weeks she's been sneezing when she goes outside and the dripping from her nose has gotten a little worse.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your description, I think it is possible that she has mild allergies, and that she may need some medication to help with her anxiety. There are many good anti-anxiety medications that dogs can take, that help with situations like that and make life a little bit better. I think it would be a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian, and talk about these problems so that they can help you and her. I hope that all goes well for her.

Oct. 3, 2020

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German Spitz

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Ongoing Runny Nose

Hi, my name is Chanelle and I’m from India. I have a 13 year old German spitz..he is in good health, very active. It’s been a long while since I’ve noticed he has a runny nose at some parts of the day. Usually in the day when he’s most active, I don’t see much of it at night. We have extremely hot climate here too. I was wondering what it could be? Please advice.

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello Nasal discharge can be caused by an infection, inflammation, a foreign body or cancer (like a nasal tumor). I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. They may want to check lab work or take x-rays of his skull. Good luck.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Labrador Retriever German Shepherd

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Clear Watery Nasal Drip, Sneezing, Lethargic, Iron And Fish Smell

I’m just wondering if my dog has a cold or allergies.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without being able to see your dog, I can't tell if your dog has allergies or an infection. If this is something that has been going on for a little while, it would probably be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian. They can examine your dog, see what might be going on, and get any medication or treatment that might be needed. I hope that all goes well for your

July 26, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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Two Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Running Nose

Is it normal for my dog to have a runny nose if so what can I give him

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Dogs can have nasal discharge if they have allergies, an infection, a parasite, or it may be normal. If you are concerned that your dog has more discharge than normal, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can see what kind of discharge it is and get medications for him if needed. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 27, 2020

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Bentley

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Labrador Retriever

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Sneezing
Bad Breath
Running Nose
Stomach Ache

I have a rescue labrador who is about 10 years old and has begun to act sick. He has had a runny nose with clear discharge and a lot of sneezing. He has also had a loss of appetite and will occasionally vomit. At night you can hear his stomach gurgle and he is also extremely gassy and has horrendous breath. We have seen the vet about several moveable fatty lumps which were determined to be benign but I have found a harder bump on his side about the size of a pea and doesn't move. He has also acted more tired. He is older and has arthritis so I understand he may be lazier but after losing my 4 year old English springer to Lymphoma I want to make sure we detect any problems early on.

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Sassy

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toy poodle

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15 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Nose, Sneezing

My miniature poodle's nose will start running and it is like someone turned on a faucet. Her whole face gets wet and and she sneezes and she acts like her nose is stuffed up the way she breathes. Then it seems to pass. A little while later it happens again. The secretions are completely clear like water without any odor.

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Berkeley

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Bernese Mountain Dog

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Yellow Nasal Discharge

Berkeley is a 2 yr old Bernese Mountain Dog. She recently had surgery to remove her mammary glands (MON) for testing to check for cancer as she had one severely enlarged gland. No cancer was found (FRI). She was kept under observation after surgery in the vets for a week. She came home (MON) with a slightly congested sound in her nose like a stuffy sound. When I took her back to the vet (THU) he said it might be due to the tube they had in her throat during anesthesia. I asked for an extra round of antibiotics just in case so she didn't get a secondary infection. (FRI) she started to have clear nasal discharge. (SAT) today she has yellowish discharge and sounds more congested. She has an appointment on (MON) to begin removing her stitches. I am going to call them Monday morning before her appointment to let them know about this. But in the meantime, I was wondering if this is something I should be concerned about. I've lost so much sleep worrying about my pup. She's eating and drinking fine, no fever, no vomiting, going potty fine, and has energy. To me, it seems like a cold. But I don't know if dogs can get colds.

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Luna

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Cocker Spaniel

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Nasal Discharge
Productive Cough

Our 4 month Cocker spaniel has had what seems to be kennel cough and was given anti inflammatories to help her cough she has been eating great, lots of energy, normal temperature etc. She stopped coughing for a day or two then we noticed she started to cough again and has had lots of nasal discharge a clear / white colour and started to have a productive cough, this was constant. ( still she was eating and had lots of energy etc.) We took her back to the vets and she deemed it to be a secondary infection, so prescribed Nisamox for 10 days. We are on day 9 now and her cough and nasal discharge went within the first two days, no more keeping her awake at night etc. However her nose this morning has had some discharge and I'm worried its something else.

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Jax

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Shar-pei pit

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10 Months

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Yellow Discharge

Hello, I recused a 10 month old Shar-Pei Pit mix from a shelter on Wednesday. He was neutered on Tuesday. Since then he has a yellow discharge constantly and runny nose followed with sneezing. He’s eating and drinking normal. I’ve noticed when he tries to urinate sometimes it’s a lot, others it’s like he needs to go but doesn’t. I’m wondering if he possibly developed an infection? Any advice is extremely appreciated! Thank you

Runny Nose Average Cost

From 9 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$550

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