A runny nose can be a big deal for a dog, who has 220 million smell receptors compared to your 5 million. And while nose discharge can be a sign of something as simple as your dog's excitement that you're home, it can also be a symptom of a problem as serious as cancer.
Get the quick facts about the causes of nose discharge in dogs.
Common Causes and Treatments of Nose Discharge in Dogs
Generally, you don't have to worry about clear nose discharge in dogs unless it lingers or there are other symptoms. However, discharge that's cloudy, yellow, green, or smelly is always cause for concern. When in doubt, talk to your vet.
Here are some common causes of nose discharge in dogs:
Allergies.If there's a clear nasal discharge from your dog's nose, chances are good it's caused by allergies, by far the most common reason for abnormal nasal secretions in dogs.
Just like people, dogs can be allergic to pollens, foods, drugs, mites, spores, and chemicals. They can even be allergic to human dander (our shed skin). A dog's allergy symptoms don't stop at a runny nose; they can also include sneezing, coughing, itchiness, nosebleeds, and breathing problems.
Avoiding the allergy trigger is the best way to treat allergies, but that can be hard to do, especially if you don't know what's behind your dog's symptoms. Talk to your vet, who may suggest an allergy test and/or treatment with antihistamine drugs.
A blockage. A discharge from just one of your dog's nostrils is often a sign there's something stuck in that nostril, like a seed or blade of grass. Other signs include sneezing, pawing at the nose, and nosebleeds.
If you can easily see what's in your dog's nose, carefully remove it with tweezers. If you can't or don't feel comfortable -- the nose can bleed a lot with minor trauma -- call your vet, who may need to sedate your pet to dislodge the blockage, and then prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection.
Infection. A nose discharge of mucus or pus could indicate your dog has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Additional signs of an infection might include a bad odor, a nosebleed, and coughing or choking resulting from postnasal drip.