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Runny Nose in Dogs

Every dog owner must be aware of the common problem of a runny nose in dogs. Although it may be due to reasons as simple as a pollen allergy, in certain cases, a viral infection or a nasal tumor may also be the cause.
DogAppy Staff
A colorless discharge in a dog's nose (runny nose) is a common problem. Most of the time, a dog licks it away with its tongue. So, an owner may not notice it. Such discharge, if without symptoms, is not a cause of immediate worry. An owner should wait and see if the runny nose stops on its own or he/she should look for signs of illness of any kind. However, in case there are signs of discomfort or if the discharge is bloody, grayish, purulent, or viscous, then a visit to the vet is necessary.
Probable Causes
Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is a common health problem in dogs, in which the lining of the sinuses gets inflamed. Sinuses are the bone cavities that connect to the nasal cavities. This swelling can be caused due to reasons as simple as sniffing pollen, or the reason could be more serious, like a virus infection. The result of this infection is a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and also fever. Antibiotics are the drugs that are most commonly prescribed by a vet.
Upper Respiratory Infection
This is the most common cause of a dog's runny nose. Besides this, the other symptoms of such an infection in dogs include coughing and sneezing. In more serious cases of viral infections like Bordetella and canine influenza, a dog may also display a fever, loss of appetite, and difficulty in breathing. Check if your dog has had all its vaccines, and ensure that they are updated. There are vaccines that protect a dog from parainfluenza, bordetella, and distemper.
Nasal Tumors
Almost 1% of all dog cancers are that of the nasal cavity. Although nasal tumors are more common in older dogs, in case your dog's runny nose is accompanied with nosebleeds, watery eyes, tears, bulging of the eyes, facial deformities, green or yellow nasal discharge, and seizures, then there is a possibility that your dog (irrespective of its age) is having nasal tumor.
Nasal Mites
Nasal mites cause runny nose, nosebleeds, and sneezing in dogs. It also causes a persistent nasal discharge. Nasal mites are transmitted from an infected dog to a healthy canine, through nose to nose contact. An oral dose of Ivermectin may treat the problem.
One of the reasons for a runny nose is due to allergies. Pollen allergies and food allergies could cause this problem. However, in case of food allergies, the symptoms would be related more with the stomach. In case your dog has a runny nose during specific times of the year like the spring or fall, it indicates a pollen allergy. A runny nose may also be caused due to allergy to other pets' fur or due to certain smells.
Foreign Object
Many times, foreign objects get lodged in the nasal cavities of dogs. This may cause a runny nose. It is best not to try to remove it on your own, as this might push the object further back in or cause injury to the nose. Take your pet to the vet and get the foreign object removed only under medical supervision.
Dental Diseases
Some dental diseases like periodontitis, gingivitis, and abscessed teeth caused by bacteria, can also spread to the nasal cavities, giving a dog a runny nose. A vet will confirm the disease by examining the dog's mouth. Treatment may include teeth cleaning. In some cases, tooth removal may also be required, which the vet will perform under anesthesia.
For most of the causes of a dog's runny nose, a vet needs to be consulted. However, some special care at home, while the dog is recovering, is very important to facilitate the process. This is an important aspect of caring for a dog. Ensure that the dog has proper food and enough rest. Put a vaporizer near its sleeping area, as this will soothe the runny nose. Steamy chicken broth or warm liquids are especially helpful in opening the sinus passages.