Dog Runny Nose Treatment

A dog runny nose may be a symptom of allergies or may also point to tumors or polyps in the nasal passages. The treatment of a runny nose will vary according to the factor causing it. It is important to get a clear diagnosis before applying any treatment, so you should see your vet. The most common cures for runny nose in dogs include antibiotics, antihistamines, steroids, surgery or the removal of foreign objects.

Diagnosing the Discharge

A runny nose may signal different illnesses in dogs; the color and the consistency of the discharge may help identifying the problem and getting suitable treatment. A transparent discharge may signal that there is a foreign object stuck in the nasal passages or that the dog has an allergic reaction. If the discharge is more consistent, this may point to a respiratory infection.

Allergy Medication

The most common cause of a runny nose is an allergic reaction to pollens, grasses, chemicals or smoke. Dogs can be affected by hay fever, just like humans.

A clear nasal discharge accompanied by an ocular discharge, itchy skin, sneezing and occasionally coughing are signs of allergic rhinitis.

The treatment should start with the detection of the allergen and by keeping away the dog from the allergen.

Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine are commonly prescribed for allergic rhinitis. Not all antihistamines may be effective in your dog, so the vet may test a few drugs before finding one that works.

In some cases, the vet may also recommend corticosteroids.

Antibiotics Treatment

If the nasal discharge is more consistent and is yellowish in color this may point to an infection. The respiratory infections in dogs may be viral, bacterial or fungal.  

The viral and bacterial infections will be cured with a 2 week antibiotic treatment.

If the discharge is thick and contains pus, this may indicate that the dog has canine distemper or influenza. These may be treated with antibiotics, but other treatments may also be required: fluid therapy or other medications to cure possible secondary infections.

Anti Fungal Medication

Fungal infections will be signaled by a pink colored nasal discharge. This type of infection may be difficult to treat, as fungi can multiply at an alarming rate; however, antifungicides are recommended to eliminate the fungi. The treatment may last several weeks or even more than 1 month.

Removal of Foreign Objects

If the dog presents a nasal discharge from only one nostril, this is a clear sign that there is a foreign object that blocks the nasal passage. Bleeding from the nostril may also occur, as the object may have injured the dog.

If you can identify the object, try to remove it with tweezers. If this is not possible, go to the vet; he may extract the object with special tools or if need be, by performing surgery.


A chronic runny nose can indicate that the dog has a tumor or polyps. These may cause bleeding and if possible, they should be surgically removed.

In case of tumors, the dog will also need chemotherapy and radiation therapy.