Nasal Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

Your dog's nasal allergy symptoms could initially make you think he has a cold or other condition, but nasal allergies present with slightly different and longer-lasting symptoms than a cold, upper respiratory infection or sinus infection. Here's a closer look at the similarities and differences between nasal allergy symptoms and symptoms that indicate other canine health problems.

When a Sneeze Indicates Allergies

Dogs with allergies will sneeze frequently through both nostrils, and allergies are the most common cause of canine sneezing. Nasal discharge may or may not be present during the sneezes, and your dog will go about his normal daily routine, eating and playing as if nothing else is wrong with him.

If your dog sneezes out of only one nostril, seems lethargic or loses his appetite completely, he has a health problem that is not caused by allergies and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

How to Interpret Canine Nasal Discharge

Allergic dogs may have thin, clear mucus run from their noses during or after sneezing. Clear discharge is an indication of your dog's allergies, and it should be treated per your veterinarian's instructions.

Discharge that is thick, bloody or colored white, yellow or green may indicate a bacterial, viral or fungal infection. This discharge may also have a foul smell to it, and your dog may attempt to wipe his nose on his bedding or other household items in an effort to clear his nose and ease his breathing.

Inhaled objects, tumors or polyps can also cause nasal discharge, so have your dog's nose checked by a veterinarian if he suddenly develops a bloody or seemingly infected nose.

In some cases, your dog's allergies may also cause him to have post-nasal drip. This means that mucus from his sinuses runs down his throat instead of through his nostrils. Dogs with post-nasal drip may swallow frequently, show little enthusiasm for food, have foul-smelling breath, and cough or wheeze. Post-nasal drip is most commonly associated with atopic allergies, although dogs with food allergies may also have the problem. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to alleviate post-nasal drip.

Other Canine Problems with Nasal Allergy Symptoms

A number of canine health conditions, some of which can be life threatening, can cause nasal allergy symptoms. These include cleft palate in puppies, distemper, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tumors or polyps. If you suspect your dog has any of these conditions, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for further evaluation.

Other Canine Nasal Allergy Symptoms

Although nasal symptoms are one sign of canine allergies, the most common indication that your dog has allergies will show up on his skin. He may begin to scratch excessively, his skin may become reddened, scaly or develop scabs, or his hair may become greasy or fall out. Other canine allergy symptoms to look for include watery eyes, foot and leg chewing, face rubbing and persistent ear infections.

Canine Allergy Treatments

Depending on the severity of your dog's allergies, he may require prescription medications from your veterinarian, or his allergies may be mild enough to be managed successfully using over-the-counter medications.