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Why Your Senior Dog's Nose is Dripping: Causes, Care, & Comfort

When your four-legged friend reaches his golden years, it isn't uncommon for them to develop age-related health conditions. You may find yourself wondering, 'Why is my dog's nose running?'. In this post, our Astoria vets discuss why your senior dog's nose might be dripping, and offer insights to ease your concerns. 

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses

Does your senior dog have a runny nose? If so, this isn't an immediate cause for concern. Typically, a dog's nose is wet for a few reasons. Within your pooch's nostrils are glands that produce mucus to prevent dirt from reaching its airways. As dog's lick their nose during the day, the nose becomes even more moist. 

A dog's nose allows them to pick scents more effectively when it is wet, as molecules dissolve more easiliy in water compared to dry air. Since your dog's nose will be wet most of the time, the slightest thing can turn a wet nose into a runny one. Something as simple as their excitement to see you when you arrive home from work is enough to cause a runny nose. 

That said, some underlying health conditions and other factors may cause your dog's nose to drip. You'll want to keep an eye on your dog if they have a runny nose. While nose dripping isn't automatically a concern if it only lasts a few hours or even a day, constant nose dripping, particularly for senior dogs, may warrant a trip to the vet. 

Why is My Dog's Nose Dripping?

If your senior dog has a runny nose, you may not find it easy to identify the exact reason. Below, our Astoria veterinarians list some common reasons for senior dog nose dripping to help you spot and manage your pooch's symptoms. 


A hypersensitivity to certain allergens in your dog's environment may cause their nose to drip. These allergens may include dust mites, foods, prescription drugs, pollen, and mold spores. An excessive reaction from the immune system to these substances (even if the substances are harmless) can lead to inflammation of the nasal passage and an increase in watery nasal discharge. 


The most common, least serious cause for a dog with a dripping nose is sweat. This happens because dogs are unable to adjust their body temperature through their skin, like humans do. Dogs will often sweat through the pads on their paws and their noses to compensate.

If your dog's nose is runny due to sweating, you have nothing to worry about, since this will stop on its own within a couple of hours.

Nasal Blockages

Nasal blockages can significantly impact the overall health and well-being of dogs, and should certainly not be underestimated in older dogs. Left untreated, dogs may experience difficulty breathing, decreased appetite, and lethargy. Nose dripping may also be a symptom of the blockage.

A nasal blockage may develop due to a foreign object being lodged in the nostrils or throat, tumors, infections, dental problems, or allergies. If you believe your dog's runny nose could be due to a nasal blockage, it is crucial to seek veterinary care right away. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine the underlying cause and make sure your dog gets the appropriate treatment they need.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections can be a common cause of a runny nose and are often a pet owner's first thought. Since a cold is a likely cause of a runny nose in humans, it is easy to assume it is also the cause of your pet's runny nose. Older dogs are also more susceptible to respiratory infections because of their weakened immune system.

The signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection include sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. Left untreated, respiratory infections can lead to complications such as pneumonia, so it is important that you seek veterinary care if your dog seems to have a persistently runny nose.

Veterinary Treatment of a Runny Nose in Senior Dogs

When you bring your senior dog to the vet because of a runny nose, diagnostic tests such as blood work, imaging, and nasal swabs may be performed to find the underlying cause of your dog's symptoms. The diagnostic tests your vet will select will depend on the dog's medical history, physical examination results, and initial laboratory results.

Once a diagnosis has been made, your vet can recommend treatment options based on the underlying condition. It is critical that you do not give your dog any medication without the approval of your veterinarian.

Home Care for Senior Dogs With a Dripping Nose

Ensuring your senior dog maintains proper hydration and cleanliness are important aspects of caring for your dog's runny nose at home. You should also keep a close eye on them between veterinary appointments since senior dogs are more likely to develop issues, including those that don't lead to nose dripping.

There isn't much else you can do at home to care for a runny nose, so it is best to err on the side of caution and take your dog to the vet if they have persistent nasal discharge. Our team at Steinway Court Veterinarian is always happy to help determine the cause of your dog's illness and get them back on their feet!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your senior dog have a persistently runny nose? Contact our vets at Steinway Court Veterinarian right away. We can help diagnose and treat your pet's issue, and put an end to their nose dripping.

New Patients Welcome

At Steinway Court Veterinarian, we are always accepting new patients. Our vets are dedicated to keeping pets healthy and happy in our Astoria clinic. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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