Never ignore your dog’s nose. It may only be a small part of Fido’s body, but it’s also a very important one. A canine can tell more about his or her world from smell than from any other sense, including sight.
Dog nose problems can range from infections to tumors and discoloration. The best way to tell if Fido may have a serious condition is by paying close attention to what’s normal for his or her nasal area.
In general, a dog’s nose should be cool and a little moist without being overly wet. And the color – which can range from black to pink and spotted – should be appropriate for his or her breed.
Four major categories of canine nasal problems exist.
1. Dry nose/discoloration
These two symptoms can mean absolutely nothing. Or they can mean one of several things, including:
- crusty dermatitis – this usually happens when a dog has too much sun exposure.
- solar dermatitis – the cause is the same as for crusty dermatitis. But this condition is also accompanied by mild to severe scaling on the nose.
- snow nose: this can sometimes happen during the colder months of winter. During this time, a dog’s nose can fade to brown.
If your dog eats out of plastic bowls, some of the ingredients in the plastic itself may cause allergies and nasal sensitivities. Switch to stainless steel or ceramic.
2. Nasal infection
Fido’s nasal passages may become infected due to a fungus, virus or bacteria. Colds, an upper respiratory or a sinus infection could be the cause. The most common signs of a canine nasal infection include:
- eye or nasal discharge
3. Runny nose
If your canine pal has a runny nose, it could be because he or she has:
- an allergy
- a foreign body trapped in his/her nasal passage
- a respiratory or sinus infection
- a nasal tumor
- kennel cough
The key is to watch for the color of the nasal discharge. If it is anything other than clear – and especially if it is bloody – chances are Fido is suffering from something more serious than an allergy or cold.
4. Nasal tumor
Tumors are usually not visible to the naked eye. The way to tell if your dog may be suffering from a possible tumor is to look for these symptoms:
- snoring or trouble breathing
- inflammation or swelling
- bleeding on one side of the nose
- discharge from one or both nostrils
- rubbing or pawing at the nose
Watch how long the symptoms last. If they don’t clear up within a few days, then make an appointment with the DVMs at Austin Pet and Bird. Our vets will run all necessary tests. It’s better to know what’s up (with) Fido’s nose than not, so contact us today!