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Is your dog’s nose always glistening?
Have you noticed a visibly runny nose?
Is the discharge funny colours?
Are you wondering what you should and should not worry about when it comes to your dog’s runny nose?
Well, worry no more (or a little less at least). This article will help you decipher the symptoms and underlying causes of a dog’s runny nose.
Runny Nose in Dogs
So, your dog’s nose is running and you’re curious about the possible causes.
While a dog’s wet nose is entirely normal, chronic nasal discharge should be addressed by a veterinarian.
There are several possible causes for a dog’s runny nose, so it can be hard to figure out the culprit without some assistance from a professional.
Some common causes include:
- Fungal diseases
- Foreign bodies
- Nasal tumours
- Allergic and immune-mediated diseases
Fungal infections can cause a dog’s runny nose. These conditions most often come about from dog’s doing what they do so well, sticking their noses where they don’t belong!
Hey, what can you do? Dogs love to sniff gross things, but sometimes their instincts can get the best of them.
Aspergillus, a common fungus, often causes fungal infections.
Fungal infections are more common in long nose breeds and in tropical climates. Snotty or bloody discharge can often occur initially from one side or the other.
Sure they also rely on their other four senses, but the nose is the money maker for the canine family.
Sometimes a small blade of grass, a piece of a seed, or a tiny stick can get sucked up into a dog’s nose, causing severe and sometimes bloody nasal discharge. Often the injury may be on only one side of the nose, which is a good indication of a localized obstruction or damage.
Check out this video of a dog who got into something (because let’s be honest, you don’t always know what) causing a nasal infection on only one side.
About one out of every four dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime. Of those dogs, about 1% will grow nasal tumours.
Let’s take a closer look at two of the most common types:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
When too many cells in the animal’s nasal and sinus passages come together, it is called adenocarcinoma. This cancer progresses slowly and occurs in both cats and dogs.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a tumour of the skin cells.
The skin has several layers of cells, with the squamous layer located at the top. This type of cancer arises from squamous cells, so tumours can develop anywhere these cells are present, including:
- Paw pads
- Nail beds
Longer nosed dogs living in urban areas like cities and towns are more likely to have nasal tumours.
Symptoms of nasal tumours include:
- Nasal discharge – puss/snotty/bloody
- Noisy breathing
- Facial deformity as tumour increases in size
- Head pain
- Nerve damage
The early symptoms of fungal infections and foreign bodies appear very similar to those of nasal tumours in dogs. If symptoms persist, consult a veterinarian for diagnostic tools.
Seasonal allergies don’t always cause upper respiratory symptoms, but it is not unheard of that some dogs may experience symptoms such as:
- Dog runny nose
- Watery eyes
However, the primary telltale sign of seasonal allergies when it comes to dogs is dermatitis or itchy skin.
Seasonal allergies in dogs are often caused by:
Dogs who suffer from seasonal allergies may be more sensitive to other irritants, sometimes causing damage to the lungs. Similar to humans, dogs that suffer from allergies are more likely to develop sinusitis and bronchitis in dogs.
Sometimes, the cause for a dog’s runny nose is as simple as a cold or dog flu. Viral agents often cause upper respiratory symptoms such as a runny nose.
Like humans, dogs can catch cold viruses from other dogs, particularly in close quarters where viral agents are easily transferable.
Finally, bacterial infections can be the cause of a dog’s runny nose. However, symptoms like coughing may be more severe and noticeable.
Bordetella Bronchiseptica is the most famous culprit responsible for “kennel cough.” This bacteria loves to combine forces with viral agents that affect the upper respiratory system, like parainfluenza and adenovirus-2.
“Kennel cough” is an umbrella term used to describe canine infectious tracheobronchitis in dogs. While Bordetella Bronchiseptica is one of the most common causes of bacterial infections in dogs, it is by no means the only one.
Dog Sneezing and Runny Nose
Runny nose and sneezing can occur if a dog is experiencing many of the afflictions discussed above.
Occasional sneezing is usually not very concerning, but there is likely an underlying cause when symptoms compile.
Causes of dog runny nose and sneezing include:
- “Kennel cough”
- Fungal infections
Dog Runny Nose Treatment
It can be annoying and challenging to figure out the reason for a dog’s runny nose, especially a chronic case.
So, how do you diagnose the causes of a dog’s runny nose?
There are several questions one must consider when determining possible underlying causes, such as:
- Does the dog has a history of symptoms including a runny nose?
- How long has the dog’s nose been running?
- Is your dog’s nose consistently runny or only at certain times of the year? If at certain times of the year, when?
Several different tests are available to determine the reason for a dog’s runny nose, for example:
- Blood test
- Nasal swab
- CT scans
My Dog Has a Runny Nose, What Can I Give Him?
Treating a dog’s runny nose is again dependent on the underlying cause. First things first, consult your veterinarian. If they aren’t sure of the culprit causing the symptoms, they may start with a “treatment trial”.
A treatment trial will begin with the most obvious ones and alter them depending on the abatement or worsening of symptoms.
Here are some of the top commonly used treatments for dogs’ runny noses.
The importance of hydration cannot be overstated! Proper hydration is necessary for many processes of the body. When congestion is the issue, getting enough water is imperative, as hydration moistens sticky mucous so it can be expelled more easily.
To sneak more water into your dog’s diet, try this:
- Try a high moisture diet – you can even add warm water to wet food
- Offer low sodium chicken or beef stock in water for a bit of flavour
- Keep your dog’s water bowl clean and full
- Offer running water if that’s their thing. Pet fountains can make water more enticing as well.
A pet can often recover from a sudden case of a runny nose without medication, especially if the cause was due to a chill in the air, a change of season, or an irritant in the home. However, if a dog’s runny nose does not improve, medication may be necessary, such as:
Antihistamines relieve allergy symptoms by blocking the histamines made in the body when an allergen is present.
Commonly used antihistamines in dogs are:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Clemastine (Tavist-1, Antihist-1)
Corticosteroids occur naturally in the body and are a part of many processes such as:
- Immune response
- Stress response
- Electrolyte maintenance
- Reducing inflammation
Steroids are often prescribed for their anti-inflammatory properties, and they can help in suppressing allergic responses.
Corticosteroids are also prescribed to dogs with severe upper respiratory infections to reduce inflammation of the throat and larynx from excessive coughing.
If the reason for a dog’s runny nose is bordetella, kennel cough antibiotics will be prescribed.
Antibiotics will also be prescribed to treat an infection caused by a lesion or cut in the nose.
Dog Runny Nose Home Remedy
Although it is hard to assume the underlying reason for a dog’s runny nose, there are some basic things you can do at home to help your sick pup.
Supportive care is maybe the most important piece of caring for a dog with a runny nose. The pillars of supportive care include things you, the pet owner, can do and actions you can encourage.
Supportive care remedies include:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Encourage proper hydration and nutrition
- Keep your dog’s area clean
- Keep them warm
- Avoid extended cold weather walks
Is Your Dog Sneezing A Lot?
Pet owners may wonder, can dogs get colds?
The short answer is yes, but just as with humans, cold symptoms can be caused by many things.
Why is My Dog Sneezing So Much?
For dogs who suddenly start sneezing frequently, the culprit could very well be allergies, and they aren’t always seasonal.
Allergies are often caused by household items and smelly stuff like perfumes, air fresheners, incense, and aromatherapy diffusers.
If your dog has started having sudden allergic reactions, consider if you have recently:
- Started a new dog food
- Introduced new irritants
- Cleaned with something harsh like bleach or ammonia
- Smoked indoors
Why Do Dogs Sneeze?
Most of the time, dogs sneeze for the same reasons people do. However, dogs enjoy a deep, investigative sniff, which can cause them to inhale something irritating into the nasal cavity.
Other reasons for sneezing in dogs are as follows:
Irritants are usually things that are within the pet parent’s control. Harsh cleaners and other everyday items you may have in the home can be causing a pet to sneeze. Here are a few everyday irritants that can make dogs sneeze:
- Household cleaners
- Aromatherapy (though cats are more sensitive)
These allergic reactions are most often seasonal.
Some folks – including dogs – have immune systems that overreact to otherwise harmless things like:
Veterinarians and doctors can recommend and prescribe antihistamines and corticosteroids for swelling, thereby easing the symptoms of allergic reactions.
Sneezing is only one of the many common symptoms accompanying viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
Keeping tabs on your pup’s symptoms can help to expedite a veterinarian’s diagnosis, so pay attention to and know the signs of:
- Bordetella in dogs
- Dog Flu
Most times, dogs recover from these infectious agents with no problem, but be ready to get prompt medical attention and provide attentive care.
Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
Have you ever heard of “reverse sneezing?”
Many dogs experience reverse sneezing from time to time. The first time a pet parent hears their dog breathing fast or abnormally, it can be a frightening sound.
What does reverse sneezing sound like?
Check out this video of this cute doggo reverse sneezing to get a better idea.
What is a Reverse Sneeze in a Dog?
Reverse sneezing results from irritation of the muscular area of the back of the roof of the mouth; this is the dog’s soft palate. The soft palate assists in vocalization, swallowing, and breathing.
Irritation can cause the soft palate to spasm while at the same time causing narrowing of the trachea.
When the dog tries to breathe, its narrowed trachea will not allow a full breath. The pup begins to panic a bit and forcefully tries to breathe in through the nose, causing the “reverse sneeze.”
How to Stop Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
To stop reverse sneezing in dogs, simply follow these two easy steps:
- Briefly cover the nostrils to cause your dog to swallow, hopefully eliminating the irritant responsible.
- Massage your dog’s throat gently, possibly dislodging and soothing irritation in that area.
If the problem is chronic, you’ll need to consult your veterinarian to diagnose the underlying cause and provide treatment such as:
- Antihistamine for allergies
- Antiparasitic for nasal mites
- Removal of foreign material
What Causes Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
Reverse sneezing in dogs has many causes, including:
- Household products
- Pulling on the leash while attached to a collar
- Exercise intolerance
- Objects in the throat area (such as a foreign body or a mass)
- Nasal mites
- Elongated soft palate (common in brachycephalic breeds or breeds with shortened snouts)
- Going quickly from hot to cold
When should I be worried?
Reverse sneezing is often nothing serious. The most important part is to stay calm. Reverse sneezing may make your dog nervous so keeping your cool is crucial.
If your dog is persistently reverse sneezing, please consult your veterinarian. More serious conditions like polyps and infections will need to be diagnosed and treated professionally.
Home Remedies for Sneezing Dog
Sometimes home remedies are the best treatment for a sneezing dog. Popular home treatment options include:
- Liquorice tincture
Benadryl or Diphenhydramine is an over the counter antihistamine that is often used for humans and dogs to combat allergic reactions. You can find Benadryl and generic Diphenhydramine at your local drug or grocery store.
Nettle is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, offering health benefits to people and dogs alike. Nettle can be boiled like tea and added to water.
Liquorice root has been used since ancient times to treat symptoms caused by:
- Digestive problems
- Menopausal symptoms
- Bacterial and viral infections.
Liquorice root comes in a convenient tincture form, ready to use to make things even simpler.
|Home Remedy for Sneezing Dog||Dosage|
|Benadryl||1 mg per pound.|
|Nettle||Diffuse nettle leaves in boiling water|
Allow to cool
Add to water
|Liquorice Tincture||1/2 millilitre per 25 pounds. |
The tincture can be administered directly into the mouth or added to food or water.
Nasal Mites in Dogs
Many types of mites live on various animals, including humans. Nasal mites, however, live exclusively in the sinus cavities and nasal passages of dogs.
Nasal mites are easily spread from one dog to another at their larval stage via direct and indirect contact.
How to Get Rid of Nasal Mites in Dogs
Endoscopic examination and nasal flushing may be used to diagnose nasal mites in dogs as well as:
- Blood and urine tests
- Nasal or dental X-rays
- CT scan
- Nasal biopsy
There is no one perfect cure for nasal mites in dogs. Often topical and oral meds will be prescribed by your veterinarian.
Nasal Mites in Dogs Home Treatment
Although nasal mites will often require medical evaluation and treatment, some things can help symptoms that you may already have in your kitchen cupboards.
Honey is one of the best home remedies for kennel cough and also may help nasal mites.
Honey offers natural antibacterial and antimicrobial healing properties that have been used as long as honey has been harvested.
Raw, unfiltered honey is where all the natural benefits lie. If you’re planning on getting one of those honey bears from aisle 13 at the market, don’t bother, that’s just sugar. Get the good stuff.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a helpful tool in the arsenal of dog home remedies. Apple cider vinegar is a natural antimicrobial that combats many conditions listed in the table below.
Regardless of the home remedy, nasal mites must be treated by the veterinarian.
Home Remedies for Nasal Mites in Dogs
|Honey||Serve either in warm water or right off of the spoon|
One tsp 1-3 times daily
|Apple Cider Vinegar||Dilute apple cider vinegar with warm water|
Wipe the nose gently with a soft washcloth
Nasal Mites in Dogs Treatment
Antiparasitics will often be prescribed to treat nasal mites and are successful 85% of the time. The type will depend on your veterinarian’s recommendation and the severity of the infestation.
Antihistamines and steroids may also be prescribed to control sneezing and inflammation.
Dog Sinus Infection
Sinus infections in dogs are usually a result of another infection or disease, including:
- Upper respiratory infection
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Insect stings or bites
- Abnormal tissue growth
- Infections of the mouth and teeth
- Allergens and irritants
Dog Sinus Infection Symptoms
A sinus infection can mess up a dog’s good time. Inflammation of the sinuses causes many symptoms.
- Reverse sneezing
- Inflammation of the sinuses
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Thick, sticky nasal discharge and mucous
Dog Sinus Infection Home Remedies
Humidifiers are beneficial in the case of ongoing congestion and sinus infections.
Like steam baths, humidifiers add moisture to the air, which aids in the loosening and expelling of mucus.
Humidifiers have one up on steam baths because they can be used more consistently, keeping the air moist and breathable.
Dog Sinus Infection Treatment
Chronic sinus infection and congestion cannot be cured completely, but there are ways to treat the symptoms safely on an ongoing basis.
Here are some possible treatment options for chronic sinus infections in dogs:
- Antifungal therapy
- Anti-inflammation therapy
- Flushing the sinuses
Best Antibiotic for Dog Sinus Infection
The best antibiotic for treating sinus infections is dependent on what the dog handles well. Amoxicillin is a go-to for bacterial infections in humans as well as dogs. However, some do not respond well to that particular antibiotic.
The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for dogs with sinus infections and sinusitis are:
Why Are Dogs Noses Wet?
Dog’s noses are one of their best attributes, besides being a loyal companion to the undeserving human race.
It’s no secret to your dog that wet noses help accelerate their sense of smell.
Whether you have a hound dog that loves to hunt or an adopted mix breed that loves to sniff every flower on your daily walks, dogs live to smell stuff! Therefore, they will constantly lick their noses to engage their superpower.
Dog Nose Dripping
A dripping, runny nose can cause concern, and the possible causes are many. Bacterial and viral infections, as well as a foreign object or piece of earth stuck in the nose, can cause a severe nasal drip.
Before you get too nervous, check the nasal cavity for a piece of grass or something of the like. Align the snout to see directly down the nasal passages to check for anything abnormal hanging out in there.
Dog Stuffy Nose
The inflammation of the nasal membranes causes dog congestion and a stuffy nose. This condition leads to difficulty breathing and an uncomfortably clogged nose.
Inflammation is usually a response to allergens or irritants.
Home Remedies for Dog Stuffy Nose
Besides the necessary supportive care, almost any other home remedies listed above would be advantageous for a dog with a stuffy nose. Steam is a great tool to loosen congestion and soothe irritation in dogs.
Steam may make a congested dog’s nose runnier, and that’s okay.
The point of this home remedy is to hopefully moisten and loosen the mucus causing your dog’s discomfort, making it easier to dislodge the sticky goobers clogging the nasal cavity and sinuses.
So go ahead and bring the dog into the bathroom with you with a comfy blanket or towel for your daily hot shower. Be sure to keep the door closed to create your homemade sauna.
Dog Has Stuffy Nose and Wheezing
If congestion is at a point where your dog is wheezing, you will want to speak to your veterinarian and schedule a visit.
Wheezing is often indicative of lower respiratory infections like pneumonia in dogs. Oxygen therapy and other bronchial therapy or hospitalization may be necessary.
Dog Stuffy Nose & Trouble Breathing
Depending on the congestion level, stuffy noses lead to trouble breathing. Anyone who has had a cold knows what it’s like to breathe with a stuffy nose. It’s incredibly annoying.
Use home remedies mentioned above like steam and humidifiers to lessen the symptoms until you can go to the veterinarian.
A dog that is visibly struggling to breathe should be taken to emergency services. Never take for granted how much time you may have.
Dog’s can experience many of the same nose issues as humans do, but humans don’t sniff around as their primary way of sensing the environment around them.
Therefore, doggies are more likely to run into a few more nasal conditions and infections than their Homosapien companions.
Now that you know the many causes of dog runny nose, you can rest easy in your preparedness in how to handle and treat nasal problems in dogs.