Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team
If your dog's sneezing and/or nasal discharge is mild and he/she has a normal appetite and energy level, it is okay to monitor him/her for the first couple of days. Keeping your dog separate from other dogs is recommended until a veterinarian gives the okay, since he/she may have a contagious upper respiratory infection.
Signs that Your Dog Needs to See a Veterinarian
- Sneezing and nasal discharge that persists for more than just a few days
- Amount of sneezing and nasal discharge increases
- Color and/or consistency of the nasal discharge changes (i.e., it goes from clear in color and a liquid consistency to yellowish/green in color and a mucous consistency)
- Rubbing the nose or pawing at the face
- Noisy or raspy breathing
- Sneezing and nasal discharge accompanied by other signs of illness (e.g., yellow/green eye discharge, coughing, decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy)
What You Can Do in the Meantime
- Keep the living area clean and free of dust particles and foreign matter that can be inhaled. This will protect your dog's nasal and throat passages from further aggravation.
- The use of a humidifier, a vaporizer, or the steam from a hot shower may help your dog breathe more easily.
- Gently wipe nasal discharge from your dog's nostrils with a soft damp towel.
Common Causes of Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Dogs
- Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease ("Kennel Cough")
- Inhaled irritants and allergens (e.g., smoke, dust, cleaning agents)
- Dental disease
- Reverse sneezing
- Blockage of the nasal passage (e.g., foreign objects like grass awns)
Treatment of Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Dogs
- Antibiotics, nasal decongestants, antihistamines, appetite stimulants and/or subcutaneous or intravenous fluids may be needed.
- Diseased teeth may need extraction.
- Surgery may be required for the removal of polyps, tumors, or foreign bodies.