A dog’s nose must normally be moist to the touch, just moist enough to dampen your finger tip and not dripping wet or full of mucus. A dog’s nose should also be cool, not cold or overly warm.
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What should you do when your dog has a runny nose?
Sometimes, when a dog gets overly excited or very nervous, their noses can run with a clear watery discharge. This is however just a clear runny nose on its own and not accompanied by sneezing. As soon as the dog calms down or are not so scared anymore this will go away and you need not worry or take any further action.
If you know your dog is not scared or overly excited and the runny nose is accompanied by other symptoms you should pay special care. If the runny nose persists past a few hours you should seek veterinary assistance.
When a dog has a runny nose it may be an indicating symptom that somewhere in the nasal passage is something not quite right. This is usually caused by an irritant and this irritant can have a great many origins. It can be caused by something stuck in your dog’s nose, an allergic reaction or even a bad infection. A dog with runny nose that does not get better for several hours is a cause for concern – it suggests a more serious problem.
Sniffles are signs that something is wrong.
If you dog have a constant runny nose and you know it’s not from excitement or fear watch out for other symptoms that accompany the runny nose. These will help to give you a good indication of what the cause of the irritation is. You may watch out for signs like sneezing and gagging or actually retching or vomiting. Pay close attention to the colour of the nasal discharge. Is it clear and watery? Or are there bloody streaks in it? Also see if you can find out if it is from both or just one nostril?
Runny noses can be caused by a foreign object trapped inside the animal’s nasal cavity. The object can wear away the mucous membranes in the hollow space, causing a blood-stained discharge from the nose, or even a proper nosebleed. If it was something stuck in the mouth you could still try and remove it yourself, but around the nasal cavity is such a small and delicate area, it is strongly recommended you do not attempt that by yourself and let a veterinarian help you.
As in humans, allergies are the most common cause for giving dogs runny noses. You will find this is especially a common problem during spring and summer when the pollen is plentiful. This also happens to correlate with an outbreak of seasonal canine atopy. If your dog does suffer from atopy, a runny nose may very well be one of the symptoms. Areas with a high pollen concentration will find the dogs there are suffering more with runny noses.
Rhinitis or Sinusitis
These medical terms are used to describe infections of either the nose or sinuses or in bad cases, both the nose and sinuses. Symptoms are marked by sneezing and runny nose. The drip caused by the runny nose can also make the dog retch, making him get sick. Because of the infection, the discharge will be thick and green, just like in the human counterparts. What causes nose and sinus infections you ask? Again, as in humans, respiratory diseases are largely to blame but in older dogs tooth disease and tumours around the facial area plays a big role.
This is one of the reasons why it is so very important to vaccinate your dog regularly and at regular intervals. Read more on vaccinations in our article on vaccinations. The disease distemper has symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and also fever.
There is another respiratory disease called kennel cough which is an upper respiratory disease.
Canine influenza may show up with a yellow nose discharge together with coughing.
Gum disease and abscessed teeth will sometimes cause your dog’s nose to become runny. This will not stop until the problem is taken care of. In severe cases the discharge may be very bloody. It will come from the nostril that is closest to the infected tooth or part of the gum. The only way to take care of this is by taking your dog to see the veterinarian and have the offending tooth removed.
As dogs get older they tend to develop tumors and cancers as we ourselves do as well. The biggest cause of nasal discharge from a single nostril in older dogs can be singled out by the presence of a nasal tumor. It is possible with a veterinary intervention that the tumor can be removed and your dog can have many happy healthy years added to their lives.