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Senior Dog Nose Dripping: Causes, Care & Comfort

New health issues may arise as our beloved dog companions enter old age. It's common to be concerned about your senior dog's runny nose. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and care for a senior dog's nose is essential for ensuring their comfort and well-being. Addressing the issue of a senior dog's dry nose can significantly improve their quality of life.

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses

If your senior dog has a runny nose, it's usually nothing to worry about. The mucus produced by the glands inside the nostrils keeps the nose wet, helping protect the dog's airways from dirt. The moisture on a dog's nose is also important for picking up scents effectively.

However, watching your dog if it has a runny nose is important, as it could indicate an underlying health issue. While a runny nose for a few hours or a day is not a big concern, constant nose dripping, especially in senior dogs, may require a visit to the vet.

Why is my senior dog's nose dripping or running?

Several factors can contribute to a senior dog's nose dripping or running. Some of the most common causes include:


Dogs may experience a runny nose due to allergies caused by hypersensitivity to certain environmental allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and even some foods or prescription drugs. This excessive immune system reaction leads to nasal passage inflammation, increasing watery nasal discharge. 

Allergies are a common cause of nose dripping in senior dogs, but they can also be the reason for a dry nose. Although allergies may seem simple, identifying the allergen causing your dog's runny nose is often difficult. As a result, providing appropriate treatment can be challenging. It is essential to seek veterinary care if you suspect your dog has an allergy.

If your dog has a dry nose due to allergies, you can try a few home remedies, such as applying a small amount of coconut oil, petroleum jelly, shea butter, or olive oil to its nose several times a day. You can also consider using over-the-counter nose butters and balms, as they are also effective in relieving dryness.


It is common for dogs to have a dripping nose due to sweating, which is usually not a serious issue. Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature through their skin like humans, so they sweat through the pads on their paws and noses. If your dog's runny nose is caused by sweating, there is no need to worry, as it will go away within a few hours.

Nasal Blockages

Nasal blockages can significantly impact a dog's overall health and well-being and should 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 occur when a foreign object is stuck in the nostrils or throat, tumors, infections, dental problems, or allergies. If you suspect 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 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.

Symptoms to Watch For Dog Nose Dripping

In addition to nose dripping, other symptoms may indicate an underlying issue with your senior dog's nasal health:

  • Frequent sneezing can indicate irritation or infection in the nasal passages.
  • Discolored discharge: Clear discharge is usually not a cause for concern, but yellow, green, or bloody discharge may indicate an infection or more serious condition.
  • Breathing difficulties: Noisy breathing, snoring, or visible effort in breathing can signal obstructions in the nasal passages.
  • Facial swelling could indicate an abscess or tumor affecting the nasal area.

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. Then, the vet will ask for diagnostic tests such as blood work, imaging, and nasal swabs to identify the root cause of your dog's symptoms.

Tips for Moisturizing a Senior Dog's Dry Nose

A dry nose can be uncomfortable for your senior dog and may lead to cracking or bleeding if left untreated. Here are some practical tips to help keep your dog's nose moisturized and healthy:

  • Hydration: Ensure your dog always has access to fresh water. Proper hydration is key to maintaining overall health and preventing a dry nose.
  • Humidifier: Use a humidifier to add moisture to your home, especially during dry seasons or in climates with low humidity.
  • Natural balms: Apply a dog-safe nose balm or moisturizer. Products containing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax can relieve and prevent further dryness.
  • Regular cleaning: Gently clean your dog's nose with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris contributing to dryness or irritation.
  • Dietary considerations: A balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, can promote healthy skin and coat, including the nose.

Ensuring Comfort and Well-Being

Caring for a senior dog's nose, whether dealing with dripping or dryness, requires attention and dedication. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to identify and address any underlying health issues. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best action if you notice persistent or severe symptoms.

Understanding the causes and symptoms of nose issues in senior dogs and implementing practical care tips can ensure that your furry friend remains comfortable and healthy in their golden years. Remember, extra care goes a long way in keeping your senior dog's nose in tip-top shape.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition or boarding needs.

Has your senior dog had a persistently runny nose? Contact our Walnut Creek vets right away. We can help diagnose and treat your companion and stop the nose dripping.

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