As our beloved canine companions enter old age, new health issues that haven't been a problem before may arise. You're not alone if you are concerned about your senior dog's nose dripping. Our veterinarians in Seattle have put together a post that explains why this may be happening and offer solutions to help ease your worries.

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses

If your senior dog has a runny nose, it's not necessarily a cause for concern. A dog's nose is usually wet due to the glands within the nostrils that produce mucus. This mucus helps to prevent dirt from reaching the dog's airways.

Furthermore, a dog's nose stays wet as they lick it throughout the day. This moisture is essential for dogs to pick up scents effectively, as molecules are more readily dissolvable in water than in dry air.

It is important to monitor your dog if they are experiencing a runny nose, as this could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Although a runny nose for a few hours, or even a day, is not a big concern, constant nose dripping, especially for senior dogs, may require a visit to the vet.

Why is My Dog's Nose Running? 

If you notice that your senior dog has a runny nose, it can be difficult to determine the cause. Our veterinary team in Seattle has compiled a list of common reasons for senior dog nose dripping. This information can help you to identify the cause of your dog's symptoms and better manage them.


Dogs may experience a runny nose due to allergies caused by hypersensitivity to certain allergens in the environment, such as dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and even some foods or prescription drugs. This excessive immune system reaction leads to inflammation of the nasal passage, resulting in an increase in 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 exact 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 onto your dog's 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 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.

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 Madison Park 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. 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 Seattle vets right away. We can help diagnose and treat your companion and put an end to their nose dripping.