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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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BABEE

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Australian Shepherd

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Clawing ears. Gave ear mite medication, started sneezing & eyes watering. She has bad breath and she just won’t get up & go. She was also born deaf. I need some advice on home remedy’s or something. Please!

Sept. 2, 2018

BABEE's Owner

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Zoey

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Shorkie Tzu

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Nasal Discharge

My shorkie ate grass and it went into her nasel passage.the vet had removed it with a scope I'm assuming.they gave her a cortisone and was sent home.5 days later she started sneezing and having a really clear runny nose. I gave her some natural allergie medicine and it seems to work abit.but I'm wondering now if there is imflamation going on from the scope and if it is causing her to be congested in the nose.what can be used for imflamation.

Sept. 1, 2018

Zoey's Owner

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brownie

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toy poodle

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Yellow Green Mucus From Nose Eye

My 6yo toy poodle swallowed a bone last November. The bone was lodged in her esophagus and had to get it extracted through her mouth. After the surgery, she had a nose/throat infection and had yellow/green mucus discharge from her nose. The vet prescribed antibiotics. That worked for a few days to stop the mucus and it came back again soon after. The vet then prescribed another antibiotic and that worked for a few days and then the mucus discharge came back again. The vet then had her on antibiotic IV overnight and same result. We then took her to a specialist and had a panel of tests done on her nose discharge and came back with a list of antibiotics that had an effect. Also found in the tests was that there was no fungal infection. The vet prescribed several of the antibiotics on the list and those worked for a few days and then the mucus came back again. Nothing seems to be working. What she has does not look to be infectious as our other poodle hasn't contracted it. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks.

June 9, 2018

brownie's Owner


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0 Recommendations

Green mucus would be characteristic of an infection and at this point after all treatment and testing, it may be worth having another culture and sensitivity test performed to rule out after resistant infection which may be still present. Mucus may also form due to inflammation due to irritation of the soft tissues; however without a thorough examination I cannot say what the specific cause is at the moment and I doubt I could add any more value than your Specialist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 10, 2018

is your dog okay now? my dog is sick too.

June 19, 2018

Kim W.


Thank you very much Dr Turner for your reply. When the vet did the procedure to remove the lodged bone, her esophagus did stretch and ruptured a bit. She is only about 8 lbs and so the probe relatively large as it sounds from the vet. The vet on recent examination said that her tonsils are swollen. We've gone back many times to 3 different vets and tried more than 8 types of antibiotics and still it seems to always come back. Will try the culture again. In the previous culture, it was found that is was gram-negative rods type of bacteria.

June 11, 2018

brownie's Owner

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Pippin

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Pomapoo

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Nasal Discharge

My dog has had a runny nose for 6 months - help??? Taken to vet numerous times - done a nasal flush, antibiotics, steroids, allergy meds Nothing is helping. What do I try next - he seems so miserable

April 16, 2018

Pippin's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Without knowing more about Pippin's condition, I cannot comment on how to help him, unfortunately. If you have seen your veterinarian and he is not getting better, he may need to see a specialist to try and find out the cause of his runny nose. I hope that you are able to solve this problem for him.

April 16, 2018

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Shadow

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Lab retriever

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2 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Running Nose
Running Nose, Sneezing, Snorting

I got my puppy a couple days ago and she started sneezing a lot and has a runny nose it’s clear and watery I believe. She’s only 2 months and was in a shelter i dont know if it’s allergies or something else.

Feb. 21, 2018

Shadow's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It is possible that Shadow is either allergic to something in your home, a change in environment has caused some irritation to her nose, she picked up a small infection, there is a foreign object or another cause; keep an eye on Shadow for now if she is breathing normally and bring this up with your Veterinarian when you visit for vaccination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 21, 2018

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Runny Nose Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$550

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