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Senior Dog Nose Dripping: Causes, Care & Comfort

As your dog gets older, health issues that haven't been a problem previously may arise. If you've noticed that your senior dog's nose is dripping, you're not alone. Here, our vets in Stockton explain why this might be happening and offer solutions to help ease your concerns.

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses

If your senior dog has a runny nose, this does not necessarily indicate a health issue. The glands in the nostrils of a dog's nose produce mucus that make the nose wet. This mucus helps keep dirt from getting into the dog's airways. 

Further, a dog's nose remains wet as they lick it throughout the day. This moisture plays a vital role in helping dogs pick up scents effectively, since molecules are more easily dissolved in water than in dry air. 

It is important to watch your dog closely if they are experiencing a runny nose, as this may point to an underlying health condition. While a runny nose for a few hours, or even a day, is not a large concern, you may need to visit your vet if constant nose dripping is an issue - particularly for your senior dog. 

Why is My Dog's Nose Running?

If you've noticed that your senior dog's nose is running, it can be challenging to identify the cause. Our veterinary team in Stockton has compiled a list of common reasons for senior dog nose dripping. This information can help you and your vet identify the cause of your dog's symptoms and manage them. 


A dog's nose may run due to allergies triggered by hypersensitivity to certain environmental allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and even some foods or medications. This excessive immune system reaction leads to inflammation of the nasal passage, which can result in an increase of watery nasal discharge. 

While allergies are a common culprit for nose dripping in senior dogs, they can also be the reason for a dry nose. Allergies may seem simple, but it may take some time to identify the exact allergen causing your dog's runny nose. As a result, it can be challenging to provide proper treatment. If you suspect your dog has an allergy, it's important to seek veterinary care. 

If allergies are causing your dog's dry nose, you can try a few home remedies such as applying a small amount of olive oil, petroleum jelly, shea butter, or coconut oil to your dog's nose several times a day. You can consider using over-the-counter nose balms and butters, since they can also effectively relieve dryness. 


If your dog has been sweating, you might find that their nose is dripping as well. This is usually not a serious issue. Unlike humans, dogs cannot regulate their body temperature through their skin, so they sweat through the pads on their noses and paws. If your dog's runny nose is caused by sweating, you've got nothing to worry about, as it should go away on its own within a few hours. 

Nasal Blockages 

Nasal blockages can significantly affect a dog's general health and well-being, and they should certainly not be discounted in older dogs. Left untreated, dogs may experience breathing problems, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Nose dripping may also be a symptom of the blockage. 

A nasal blockage may occur when a foreign object is stuck in the nostrils or throat, tumors, infections, dental problems, or allergies. If you suspect that your dog's runny nose is due to a nasal blockage, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian can conduct tests to determine what is causing the blockage and ensure your dog receives the necessary treatment.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are a common cause of runny noses in pets, and it is often the first thing that comes to a pet owner's mind. It is easy to assume that a cold is responsible for your dog's runny nose, just like it is for humans. However, older dogs are more vulnerable to respiratory infections due to a weakened immune system.

The signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection in dogs may include sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. If left untreated, respiratory infections can lead to severe complications like pneumonia. Therefore, it is imperative to seek veterinary care if you notice a persistent runny nose in your dog.

Veterinary Treatment of a Runny Nose in Senior Dogs

If you take your senior dog to the vet because of a runny nose, the vet will conduct a thorough physical examination. After that, the vet will ask for diagnostic tests such as blood work, imaging, and nasal swabs to be performed to identify the root cause of your dog's symptoms.

Home Care for Senior Dogs With a Dripping Nose

Ensuring your senior dog stays hydrated and clean is crucial in caring for their runny nose. Additionally, as senior dogs are more prone to developing health issues, you should closely watch them between veterinary appointments. 

Unfortunately, you cannot do much at home to alleviate a runny nose, so it is best to act cautiously and take your dog to the vet if they have persistent nasal discharge. Our team at Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital is always ready to help you find the cause of your dog's illness and get them back on the road to recovery!

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.

Has your senior dog had a persistently runny nose? Contact our vets in Stockton today to book an exam. We can help diagnose and treat your four-legged friend and stop their nose dripping.

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New Patients Welcome

Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital is welcoming new patients! Our compassionate vets are experienced in caring for Stockton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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