Snotty Nose in Dogs

Snotty nose in dogs is symptomatic for several medical conditions. Sometimes it is difficult to realize that your dog has snotty nose because he licks it frequently. The most common causes for snotty nose are upper respiratory infections. Given that there are several other possible causes, you should also look for other symptoms to be able to diagnose your dog correctly.

Snotty Nose in Dogs

Snotty nose in dogs helps diagnose a medical condition which affects the upper respiratory tract in most cases. It might be difficult to notice that your dog has a nasal discharge because of their natural habit to lick their nose. However, if you see snot coming out of your dog’s nose, it is important to assess its color and consistency.

A clear, watery nasal discharge is usually symptomatic for ocular irritations or viral infections. The eyes and the nose are connected through a very small duct which leads to the nostrils. Therefore, if the eyes are irritated and watery, they can also cause nasal discharge. Viral infections can cause watery nasal discharges.

If the snot comes out as thicker yellowish or greenish matter, you can associate it with bacterial infections, viral infections (e.g. the distemper virus) or some foreign matter that made its way to the nasal passages.

Whenever you detect snotty nose in your dog, look for associated symptoms in order to best diagnose the underlying illness. To be on the safe side, you should consult your veterinarian and have your dog diagnosed correctly.

Dog Infections of the Upper Respiratory Tract

Dogs can get upper respiratory tract infections as a result of bacterial activity or a virus. Most viral infections cause clear watery discharges but bacterial infections result in viscous yellowish or greenish snot.

Upper respiratory infections are generally caused by canine influenza or Bordetella. Symptoms are similar to those of human flu:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • problems breathing
  • nasal discharges

Your dog might be frequently pawing his nose and face.

Infection of the Sinus

Another cause of a snotty nose might be a sinus infection. A sinus infection happens when the bone cavities located in the area where the skull connects to the nose become irritated and swollen.

The infection manifests through:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • nasal discharge
  • nasal bleeding 
  • fever

The treatment usually consists of antibiotics.

Nasal Mites

Nasal mites are small bugs that can infect the dog’s nasal passages. They cause sneezing, nasal discharge and nasal bleeding. The nasal discharge is generally watery and clear. Nasal mites are transmitted through direct contact with infected dogs. The most common treatment is Ivermectin administered orally.

Nasal Tumors

A purulent and mucous nasal discharge can be symptomatic for a nasal tumor. Other symptoms may include bleeding and tearing eyes.

Nasal tumors are most likely to affect older dogs. Around 80% of all nasal tumors are malignant. Nasal tumors can also cause facial deformities.

Nasal Discharge Caused by Foreign Matter

Seeds, grass, pine needles, small sticks or other foreign matter can enter your dog’s nostrils and then get stuck in the nasal passages or even travel towards the lungs. Foreign matter may cause a thick or watery nasal discharge, depending on where the foreign matter will be lodged. When mistaken for bacterial infections, the nasal discharge can stop during the antibiotics treatment, but it reoccurs afterwards.