How to Clean a Dog's Runny Nose

5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day


If your pup has a clear runny discharge coming from his nose, this is quite common as long as he doesn't have any other symptoms of being ill. However, most vets recommend you keep an eye on the discharge in case an underlying cause should decide to make itself known. While you should keep an eye on any type of discharge, if you see any that has blood in it, is purulent, gray, or viscous in nature, you should take your pup in to see his vet. Once you get the hang of cleaning your dog's nose, it should only take a few minutes to get the job done. 

Dog's Perspective

You might think your pup doesn't care too much about that mucus buildup on his nose. But, if you watch, you will see him constantly licking at the side of his nose with the buildup. He doesn't like any more than you do, it probably interferes with his breathing and is far from comfortable. 

Caution & Considerations

  • When applying a warm washcloth, keep a close eye on the temperature. If it is too hot for you to handle, it could burn your dog's nose.
  • Never attempt to pull dried on mucus from your pup's nose. Doing this can rip tender skin, causing a painful injury.
  • Use a soft cloth, the skin on your dog's nose is very thin and easily damaged. A rough cloth would be like using sandpaper to do the job.
  • Be very careful using a suction bulb. Do not insert it more than just inside the nostril, you could cause serious injury.
  • Be sure to keep talking to your pup in a nice soothing voice to keep him from moving while you work.
  • Finally, be sure you give your pup a treat and plenty of praise. Letting you touch his nose is a major step in the bonds of trust between your dog and you. 


Go slow and let your pup get used to having his nose cleaned. Even if you have to do the job in stages, the more time you give to the task, the more your pup will learn to enjoy this kind of treatment. This is one of those jobs that is sure to help build an even stronger bond between the two of you. 

Be gentle, the skin on your pup's nose is very thin and easily damaged. If you see any changes in the color or consistency of the mucus, be sure to take your dog in to the vet for a check up. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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