Is My Dog’s Nose Dripping Because It Is Anxious?

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Is your dog’s behaviour a cause for concern? Do they seem to be a bit too highly strung or anxious? 

And have you just started to notice that their nose starts to run as they when they are in this anxious state? 

In this article, I aim to find out if a runny nose is a sign that your dog is a bit stressed. 

Or a sign of something completely different. 

And the irony is that I’m writing this article with a nasty head cold and so right now I appreciate how annoying having a dripping nose is! 

To start with, I want to define exactly what I mean by a dripping nose.

What do I mean by a runny nose?

I hope that you aren’t reading this at breakfast or dinner time! 

My definition of a runny nose ranges from the most watery of discharge to mucus and beyond to thick pus or even blood. 

The most common sort of a nose that drips in our dogs is the watery kind of discharge. 

Which is similar to the sort that we see on the faces of our small children when they have a cold! 

Having described fairly precisely what a runny nose is, it’s time to move swiftly onto the next section.

There, we will take a look at the classic symptoms of anxiety in dogs. 

6 signs that dog anxious are:

To make sure that I don’t write a list that is as long as my arm, I have narrowed my list down to six symptoms that are mentioned on two respected sources (here and here.) 

  1. Urinating and defacating
  2. Panting
  3. Barking
  4. Pacing or restlessness 
  5. Compulsive behaviours
  6. Drooling

And what is interesting is that a “dripping nose” is nowhere to be seen. 

However, excessive drooling, licking and yawning are on the list. 

And this is interesting because a dog’s mouth and nose are connected, much like ours. 

And we know that some dog breeds are more likely to have a runny nose than other breeds of dogs (more on that later.) 

So could it be that some dogs who drool when they are anxious, also have a runny nose?! 

Hmm.. 

Well, if a nose that drips isn’t a classic symptom of anxiety in a dog, then perhaps anxiety might be one of the main reasons why dogs suffer from runny noses. 

Let’s take a look, shall we?

3 reasons that dogs suffer from dripping noses

The nose is a very important tool to a dog. 

And the more inquisitive that the dog is, the harder that the nose has to work. 

I have an eight month old puppy who spends every second that she is outside using her nose to explore almost anything. 

Honestly, the sniffing is almost relentless! 

And so it shouldn’t come as a big shock that dogs have problems with their noses. 

Again, to keep things brief, I will discuss the three main reasons that your dog might be suffering from a runny nose. 

  1. Allergies
  2. Blockage
  3. Infection

Allergies

It seems that the most likely reason why a dog might have a runny nose is because of an allergy. 

Some dogs get allergies just as humans do. 

And they suffer in the same way with a nose that drips, eyes that water and a bit of sneezing here and there. 

Dogs can suffer from all kinds of allergies, the most common being those related to food or the environment. 

Environmental allergies might be to dust or from pollen. 

Blockage

Relating to what I said just a short while ago, it should come as no surprise to those of us with dogs who are constantly sniffing that occasionally a foreign object will get stuck up there… 

and cause a dripping nose. 

After all, if foreign objects get stuck in our vacuum cleaners, why can’t they get stuck up a dog’s noses? 

The two activities are very similar don’t you think?! 

The most likely blockage in your dog’s nose from their exploration outdoors  would be a seed or a blade of grass. 

Anything slightly bigger and more edible will probably have ended up in their mouth!

Infection

The final, most common cause of a runny nose is some sort of infection. 

Infections can be bacterial, viral or fungal. 

Earlier I drew a comparison between the dripping nose of a dog and a small child. 

Now, dogs don’t quite get colds in the same way that humans do. 

But they do get kennel cough. 

And in terms of symptoms of this illness, a runny nose runs a close second to a horrible cough… 

Having looked at some of the main causes for a dog to have a dripping nose. 

6 dog breeds that are most likely to have a nose that drips

Just as some breeds of dogs are more likely to dribble and slobber compared to other breeds, 

Some breeds of dogs are just destined to have a nose that drips like a leaky tap. 

This has nothing to do with how anxious they are or if they have an infection or not. 

And everything to do with the shape of their faces. 

Because the breeds of dogs that are most likely to have a nose that drips are those with the flattest faces. 

Brachyephalic breeds include:

  1.  French Bulldogs
  2. Bulldogs
  3.  Pugs
  4. Boston Terriers
  5. Shih Tzus
  6. Pekingese 

These dogs are all more likely to have breathing difficulties compared to breeds of dogs that have longer faces and noses. 

Their squashed faces makes breathing more difficult because they have too much flesh in too smaller space which blocks airways. 

And so a knock on effect of having breathing difficulties might be to also have a runny nose. 

As I begin to wrap this article up, I want to finish with a section about how you can stop a dog’s nose from dripping. 

How to stop a dripping nose on an anxious dog

Although there is very little evidence to suggest that dog’s noses drip when they anxious, it could be the case for a few dogs out there. 

But you should urge on the side of caution by making sure that the runny nose isn’t being caused by anything else. 

Look closely at and up your dog’s nose to make sure that there aren’t any blockages or signs of infection. 

And if the discharge coming from your dog’s nose is more like mucus, pus or blood than water then you must go and see your vet. 

Because there is more going on with your dog than just anxiety.. 

If the discharge isn’t a cause for a concern then to stop the drip you need to find out what is making your dog so anxious. 

Because just wiping their nose isn’t going to fix anything.. 

Photo credits

¹ Photo by OakleyOriginals on Flickr

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!