The Furry Critter Network

Runny Nose

A dog’s nose is right there in the middle of the face - no one can miss the glossy black or pale pink nose that is usually glistening with moisture. We all know how sensitive the dog’s nose is. We also know that the condition of the nose is a good indication of the dog’s health. Just like their human friends, dogs too can get colds. Similar to humans with colds, the dog would sneeze, cough and have runny nose. While human colds may not call for any treatment aside from a steaming bowl of noodle soup, a dog’s runny nose can be a more serious concern that would need medical attention. What would you do if you noticed that aside from the moisture that keeps the dog’s nose cool, something else is coming out?

The first thing you need to do is to verify if the dog really has runny nose. Dogs have the habit of licking the nose especially during very hot weather. There is a possibility that the moisture is not really a nasal discharge but the result of the dog’s constant nose licking. Take a good look at the dog’s nose. Wipe the moisture away and see if discharge would come out from one or both nostrils. If the dog really does have a runny nose, you need to see what the discharge looks like. Similar to humans with cold, a clear watery discharge is generally not a serious concern. If the discharge is thick or creamy, yellowish or greenish in color or if the discharge is tinged with blood, you need to take the pet to the vets as these can be signs of health concern.

A dog’s runny nose can be due to a variety of health concerns. One of the most common reasons for this condition is allergic rhinitis. Just like humans, dogs can have allergies too. Hypersensitivity to foods, chemicals, plants, pollen and household cleaners would result to sneezing, coughing, wheezing and runny nose. The nasal discharge caused by allergies would be clear. This condition can be treated by preventing the dog from being exposed to allergens. However, this can be difficult given the fact that it would be very difficult to pinpoint the cause of the allergic reaction. As it is quite difficult to avoid the allergens, pets are usually given antihistamines.

The dog’s runny nose can be caused by bacterial, fungal and other infectious agents. Bacterial infections result to yellow mucus. Fungal infections results to pinkish nasal discharge. Broad spectrum antibiotic administered for two weeks would cure the infection. Oral antifungal medications given for about two months is the usual treatment for stubborn fungal infection. Chronic nasal discharge can be due to polyps or nasal tumors. Dogs are very active animals and it would not be impossible if one nostril would have a foreign object. These conditions would cause not only runny nose but also nasal bleeding. The polyp and the tumor are surgically removed. A vet would usually remove the foreign object with tweezers. Infection caused by nasal mite infestation is another cause of runny nose. This concern is prevalent in dogs in kennels. Presence of mites will be ascertained by examining the nasal discharge under the microscope. Ivermectin is administered to eradicate nasal mite infestation.

Runny nose can be an indication of a more serious concern. Thick purulent and yellowish discharge is often an indication of canine influenza and distemper. Both conditions are life threatening. Even vaccinated dogs can still suffer from distemper and canine influenza. Aggressive treatments are necessary to give the dog a good chance at recovery. A course of antibiotics and supportive treatments such as administration of IV fluids that will prevent dehydration are the usual treatments for this health concern.

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

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Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.