As our beloved dogs age, they may experience health issues they haven't had before. If you're worried about your senior dog's runny nose, know you're not alone. In this blog post, your vets in O’Fallon discuss why this may happen and provide solutions to help alleviate your concerns.

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses

If your geriatric or senior dog has a runny nose, it may not necessarily be a cause for concern. Dogs typically have a wet nose due to the glands in their nostrils that produce mucus, which helps to prevent dirt from reaching their airways. Additionally, dogs keep their nose wet by licking it throughout the day. This moisture is crucial for them to pick up scents effectively since molecules are more readily soluble in water than in dry air. 

It's important to keep a close eye on your dog if it has a runny nose, as this could indicate an underlying health condition. While a runny nose that lasts for a few hours or even a day is not a significant concern, constant nose dripping, especially for senior dogs, may require a visit to the vet.

Why is My Dog's Nose Running? 

It can be challenging to determine the cause if you observe your senior dog having a runny nose. Our veterinary team in O’Fallon has listed common reasons behind senior dog nose dripping. This information can assist you in identifying the cause of your dog's symptoms and managing them better.


Dogs can develop a runny nose due to allergies caused by hypersensitivity to certain environmental allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, mold spores, or even some foods or prescription drugs. This excessive immune system reaction causes nasal passage inflammation, increasing watery nasal discharge. Allergies are a common cause of nose dripping in senior dogs but can also cause a dry nose.

Though allergies may seem simple, identifying the exact allergen causing your dog's runny nose is often difficult, making appropriate treatment challenging. Therefore, it is crucial 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.

Applying a small amount of coconut oil, petroleum jelly, shea butter, or olive oil to your dog's nose several times a day can help. You can also consider using over-the-counter nose butters and balms, effectively 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 on its own within a few hours.

Nasal Blockages

Nasal blockages can significantly impact a dog's overall health and well-being 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.

If you notice that your dog has a runny nose, it could be caused by a nasal blockage. Nasal blockages can occur due to a foreign object being lodged in the nostrils or throat, infections, tumors, dental problems, or allergies. You must seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect a nasal blockage in your dog. Your veterinarian can conduct tests to determine the root cause of the blockage and provide the appropriate treatment for your furry friend.

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.

Veterinary Treatment of a Runny Nose in Senior Dogs

Take your senior dog to the vet because of a runny nose. The vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and request diagnostic tests such as blood work, imaging, and nasal swabs to identify the root cause of your dog's symptoms.

Home Care for Senior Dogs With a Dripping Nose

It is important to make sure that your senior dog is well-hydrated and clean to care for their runny nose. Older dogs are more vulnerable to developing health issues, so monitoring them closely between veterinary appointments is important.

Unfortunately, there isn't much one can do at home to relieve a runny nose. Therefore, it is best to act with caution and take your dog to the vet if they have persistent nasal discharge.

At Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital, our team is always ready to help you identify the cause of your dog's illness and ensure their speedy recovery.

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 or cat had a persistently runny nose? Contact our O’Fallon vets right away. We can help diagnose and treat your companion and stop the nose dripping.