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Why does my dog have a runny nose?

Runny noses in dogs are quite common. They can be benign but this is not always the case. It is therefore very important to identify the cause, because a runny nose in a dog, combined with other symptoms, may indicate a more serious health problem. If in doubt, it is best to take your dog to the veterinarian if the runny nose persists for more than a day.

Nasal discharge in dogs: possible causes

This frequent clinical sign can be due to a trivial or more serious cause, namely:
  • An allergy,
  • A chronic rhinitis, which is quite rare,
  • An infectious or viral disease like distemper (very contagious),
  • A mycosis,
  • An infection in the nasal cavities,
  • An abscess on the root of a tooth or any other type of dental disease,
  • A foreign body, which is a common cause for dogs who roam in the wild, especially because of spikelets, the inflorescences that can be seen on grasses. A spikelet can enter a nostril and progress to the trachea, bronchi or lungs.
  • A cancerous tumor such as a carcinoma which is life threatening for the dog.
It should be noted that nasal discharge is much more frequent in brachycephalic dogs because of the anatomy of their "crushed" nose, as is the case for example with the Pug, the Bulldog or the Pekingese and many others.

It is of course essential to know the origin of a dog's runny nose so that it can be treated as quickly as possible. Let's not forget that the sense of smell is fundamental in these animals, and that in case of a runny nose it is much less developed than in ordinary times. This can disturb the animal to the point of making it depressed if the symptoms persist.

Runny nose in dogs: associated symptoms to watch out for

Runny noses can be accompanied by other symptoms that show something is seriously wrong. You should therefore not neglect your dog's health and consult your veterinarian if, in addition to a runny nose, he presents one or more of the following symptoms
  • Bleeding from the muzzle,
  • Fever,
  • A purulent sore or an abscess in the mouth,
  • Sneezing,
  • A foul-smelling breath,
  • A more or less persistent cough,
  • A wheezing or difficult breathing,
  • Dehydration,
  • A loss of appetite,
  • A state of torpor,
  • A great fatigue,
  • Discharge from the eyes,
  • Itching in the nose, ears ...,
  • Of the urticaria,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Convulsions.
The appearance of the nasal discharge can tell the veterinarian a lot about the dog's condition and the origin of its discomfort. It is therefore useful to be able to tell the veterinarian how long the discharge has been going on, how bad it is and what it looks like. They can be clear and liquid like water or more or less thick and sticky, yellow, greenish, brown, bloody or not, smelly, etc...

Runny nose in dogs: diagnosis

The veterinarian must first auscultate the animal, inspect its oral cavity as well as the state of its teeth, gums, check the general condition of the dog, take its temperature and listen to its breathing. Then he proceeds to additional examinations if necessary to make his diagnosis and to set up the protocol of care which is necessary. Urine analysis, blood tests, X-rays of the nasal cavities and lungs are among the possible tests.

Depending on the results obtained, an appropriate treatment can be put in place since the origin of the nasal discharge will have been perfectly identified. It must be followed to the letter, both in terms of dosage and duration. It is absolutely necessary to preserve the health of your dog.