Is Your Dog's Nose Dripping From Anxiety?

Is Your Dog's Nose Dripping From Anxiety?

Key Points

  • A dog's nose dripping from anxiety might be a symptom of an illness.

  • You lessen your dog's nose dripping from anxiety by calming them.

  • A dog's runny nose may come from a variety of causes.

Is your dog's nose running? You'd better go catch it! Seriously, you may wonder if they have an illness. Is your dog's nose dripping from anxiety? It's a possibility. There are also several other reasons your dog has a runny nose.

You know that your dog's nose knows no boundaries. They've got their sniffer on the ground, in the air, in your face, and many other places that you'd rather not think about. If their snout is snotty, nerves may be the cause. You lessen your dog's nose dripping from anxiety by calming them.

A Dog's Wet Nose

You may think a dog having a wet nose is normal, and you're right -- to an extent. The moisture normally comes from their sweat and from them licking their nose. The wetness from these sources is completely normal.

In a 2018 article from Monument Vets in the United Kingdom, they explain why a dog's nose is typically wet.

Dog nose

"A dog’s nose is covered in thousands of tiny pores that secrete sweat. This sweat has two functions. The first is to trap scent chemicals, found in the air, on the surface of the nose – when the dog licks its nose, these chemicals will be brought to the roof of their mouth, where a specialised organ, the vomeronasal organ, will assist in smelling. It is basically tasting the air, much like a snake does."

The second reason, they say, is for heat regulation which you read about a little later in this article. It is normal then if your dog's nose is a little wet -- especially during hot summer months. What you need to watch out for is excessive discharge coming from your dog's nostrils.

A little bit of liquid is nothing to worry about, but pay attention to the frequency, consistency, as well as color of the discharge. If there is a clear, almost watery discharge from their nose every once in a while, it's probably not concerning. It's when the output is thicker or yellowish or green and seems excessive that you want to pay more attention.

Causes of a Runny Nose

Dogs get colds like humans, though not by the same types of viruses. It is rare for your dog to catch a cold from you or vice versa. Besides a common cold, a runny nose might indicate other health issues. If you feel that your dog's nose-dripping is excessive or looks concerning, there are various possible causes.

At Lincolnway Veterinary Clinic, they list several reasons that your dog may have a runny nose.


Dogs get allergies just like humans. Some are seasonal, triggered by pollen. Others are due to their everyday surroundings like dander, dust mites, mold, or spores. There are also specific factors like some medications, foods, or chemicals that may cause a reaction.

To narrow down whether an allergy is the cause of your dog's runny nose, look for other symptoms. Itchiness, watery eyes or discharge, sneezing, and coughing are ailments often accompanied by a dripping nose. With food allergies, a dog typically experiences digestive issues and skin irritation.

Dog sneezing

Environmental Irritants

If your dog has a runny nose year-round, there may be something in their environment that is causing the problem. Cigarette smoke, dust, perfumes, cleaning products, incense, or candles -- all these are possible suspects. Removing the offending culprit is the easiest solution in this case.

If left untreated, these irritants cause nasal or sinus inflammation and infection. Besides a runny nose, other symptoms may include odor, bloody nose, coughing, and fever. If your dog has these symptoms, get them to the vet to prevent damage to their respiratory tract.


Dogs don't sweat through their skin but through their nose and paws. If you notice that your dog's nose is especially wet and dripping on hot days, it may be a simple cooling method. If your dog has long hair, groom them regularly during the summer to remove excess fur and keep them cooler.

Make sure your dog has plenty of water, both inside and out. A pet fountain encourages your dog to drink more water. It also has a "white noise" calming effect for dogs with anxiety. Carry a portable waterer with you when going on walks on especially hot, humid days.

Foreign Bodies

Your dog explores the world through their nose, so it's not uncommon for something to get lodged in their nostrils. If this is the case, look for other signs like nosebleeds, pawing at their nose, sneezing, or shaking their head to attempt to expel the item.

Dog pawing at nose

If you look into your dog's nose and you see the object, you may be able to remove it carefully with tweezers if your dog is cooperative. If not, take them to the vet. You don't want to cause more injury by shoving it further in or scratching the nasal passage.


Infections come in several forms including viral, bacterial, and fungal. Other symptoms of an infection include odor, nose bleeding, coughing, and choking on mucus. A vet needs to treat the infection with antibiotics and/or other medication.

Be aware that these symptoms are common in kennel cough in puppies which is a serious condition and very contagious. If you suspect your puppy has kennel cough, separate them from their littermates and call your vet immediately.

Periodontal Disease

This is the result of untreated gingivitis which is the buildup of tartar on the teeth and gums. If your dog has periodontal disease, the discharge is normally out of one nostril and pus-like. Look for other symptoms like lack of appetite or pain while chewing.

Try to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease by brushing your dog's teeth. There are kinds of toothpaste and brushes made especially for dogs. Some brushes fit on your finger to make it more convenient. Just like in humans, good oral hygiene helps maintain good overall health.

Breed of Dog

Some breeds of dogs are prone to runny noses more than others. English bulldogs, French bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and other flat-faced breeds are at risk for chronic nose-dripping. This happens because of respiratory issues due to the structure of their noses. The narrow nasal passages trap more microbes leading to an upper respiratory tract infection.

Dog licking nose

Bloodhounds and other hunting dogs are likely to get runny noses too. With their noses to the ground much of the time, it is not uncommon for a bug or blade of grass to get lodged in a nostril.

Other Causes

Besides the reasons listed above, there may be other factors at play. A tumor is rarer but it still needs consideration. Finally, age and anxiety are other issues with a lot of dogs and a runny nose is sometimes a symptom.

Polyps and Tumors

This is a diagnosis that no pet owner wants to experience. It is the worst-case scenario for a dog with these symptoms.

Wendy C. Fries is a freelance writer and contract senior editor for WebMD. For nine years she has worked with doctors, writers, and editors to create WebMD content.

In a 2021 article for Fetch by WebMD, she writes that "Blood, pus, or mucus can be a sign that your dog has nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) or nasal tumors. Other signs include noisy breathing or a bulge on one side of the nose. Your pet’s appetite may decrease, as well."

Fries says that these are usually treated with surgery and may require additional treatments, depending on whether the growth is cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor may require radiation as well.


Just like humans, older dogs are more prone to sickness and disease than younger dogs. If the nose-dripping has come during their senior years, look for other signs of aging as well. Has their appetite changed? Are they more lethargic? Do they exhibit pain or stiffness in their joints? These are all common among senior dogs and your vet may be able to prescribe medication to help alleviate some of their symptoms.


You may notice that your dog's nose-dripping comes and goes. Take note of when it occurs. For instance, do you notice it when you first get home from a day at work? Does it happen in the car? Is it still present when your dog is with you at home, calm and happy?

Dripping dog nose

Tim Falk is a writer for Wag!, a veterinary-based site dedicated to the health and fitness of dogs. In a 2018 article, Falk writes, "Ever notice your dog's nose dripping before a trip to the vet or maybe your local dog park? If the dripping goes away once your dog calms down, there's a good chance nerves or excitement could be the cause."

If your dog is overly excited when you return home and it consequently starts the waterworks, it may be an indication that they have separation anxiety. You may also notice the dripping when you are getting ready to leave as well.


One way to combat these symptoms is to desensitize the triggers. Meaning, take those cues that alert your dog to the fact that you're about to leave and make them nothing more than normal, random events or sounds. Jingle your keys at different times during the day without going anywhere; put on your jacket and then sit on the couch; say goodbye and kiss your partner without leaving; and leave for random, short amounts of time.

When you get home, don't greet your dog with a big flourish of commotion. When your dog jumps around and shows excitement at seeing you, ignore them until they've completely calmed down. The excited behavior eventually diminishes along with your dog's nose dripping from anxiety.

If your dog's runny nose is more prevalent at night, separation anxiety still may be the culprit, unless other environmental factors are at play like certain noises. Either way, get them a calming dog bed to make them feel more at ease.


If your dog reacts to loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks, fit them with a calming dog wrap. If this still doesn't work, get them an anti-anxiety dog crate to give them a sense of protection.

The flashes of light associated with these noises are triggering as well. Draw your curtains or blinds during these events or cover their dog crate with a blanket to minimize the effects. CBD or other calming aids may help as well.

Human touching dog nose

Car Rides

Does your dog react nervously when taking a ride in the car? Use desensitization here as well. Load them up in the car, but don't go anywhere. Just sit quietly and calmly for a few minutes and then go back into the house. When they get used to this without reacting, make a couple of adjustments to the routine by first starting the car, staying in the driveway, and then working up to taking a short drive around the block.

If you see that your dog's nose is running most, if not all of the time, there is likely an underlying issue other than anxiety. Be open and very descriptive during checkups with your vet, so they have the most information possible to help diagnose the problem.

The End of Your Nose

There are subtle signs that are easy to overlook or ignore, but try to see past the end of your nose when it comes to caring for your dog. A runny nose may indicate an illness, but it may also be a reaction from a dog with anxiety. You read about the accompanying signs and now know what to look for.

Being sick is no fun for you or your dog, but having an issue with anxiety is no walk in the dog park either. Your dog's nose is the instrument they use to communicate with the world so it's important to take care of it. If your schnauzer's schnozzle is dripping like a nozzle, be a little nosy and find the causal. Your dog doesn't mind if you stick your nose into their business. In fact, they might even thank you for doing it.

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