What Does it Mean When a Dog Has a Runny Nose?

Updated November 21, 2016

A runny nose is normal for dogs after sneezing and in some other situations. A persistent, chronic nasal discharge may be a symptom of a serious health condition. Dogs who have a runny nose for more than a day, or who have a severe and/or bloody nasal discharge, should be seen by a veterinarian.


Clear nasal discharge is called serous discharge. A cloudy discharge is mucoid. Bloody nasal discharge is called epistaxis.


Most nasal discharge comes from the upper respiratory organs, including the sinuses, the nasal cavities and the postnasal area. In less common cases, nasal discharge can originate in the eyes or throat.


Nasal discharge is most frequently caused by dental problems or an infection of the upper respiratory organs. A dog's runny nose might also be caused by nasal mites, chronic pneumonia or a host of other conditions. Only a veterinarian can determine why a dog has a runny nose.


All dogs will experience nasal discharge at some point during their lives. Runny noses can be kept to a minimum by keeping your dog in a warm and clean environment.


Most runny noses don't require veterinary treatment. If a fungal or bacterial infection is present, however, your veterinarian will prescribe medication.

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