Health Topics  >  Respiratory  > Discharge from Nose

A veterinarian’s advice on handling runny noses in dogs

While a wet nose is normal (and adorable) in dogs, excessive watery discharge or discharge that is thick, green, or bloody, is usually cause for concern.

In an otherwise healthy pup with just a bit of a runny nose, allergies and other airway irritants are always the first thing to rule out.

All other types of nasal discharge will require veterinary treatment. Even if your dog appears to be otherwise well, thick, green, or bloody discharge should always be checked out. Do not allow this sort of issue to become chronic as it could result in extensive damage to your dog’s nasal passage!

As with most things, early detection of possible nasal irritants or infections will prevent long term damage to your dog's overall health.

What may seem like a simple symptom can in some cases be difficult to diagnose. You can help your veterinarian by being as specific as possible about the type of discharge you’re seeing – for example:

  • When did it start?
  • Are both nostrils affected or just one?
  • What color and consistency is the discharge?
  • Are there any other symptoms that showed up around the same time?


Take photos of the discharge whenever possible! Your veterinarian may prescribe medication, take swabs, or run blood and urine tests to determine the cause of the discharge. It is also common for imaging to be required, such as a nasal scope or CT scan of the nasal passages.

Have patience ‒ your veterinary team will figure this out.  

Pro Tip: Always try to take photos of your dog’s nasal discharge and any other visible symptoms – these details will all help your veterinary team help diagnose the situation quicker.